Happiness Unexpected

This is how we get everything we want, and want more. We as a species are capable of performing actions of service towards ourselves and others. So, when we get everything we want, We are happy for a full second, then: onto the next thing.

We are destined for more than we think. It’s not chasing happiness, we are expanding it.

Our whole existence unfolds in moments, one moment at a time, in the present. Fear is based on too much worry of future events, while guilt, resentment, longing, and other forms of non-forgiveness are centered backwards in the past. In the moment, one may remain truly focused, motivated, and continue to exist as one pleases. Through presence, however, one may truly eliminate factors that hinder oneself from achieving what one sets out to accomplish. A new weight of confidence is added to the ever-expanding brain. Through presence, one can perform the best one can, because all the energy required is put into what needs to be done.

Once, I was constantly engulfed into what would happen next. Later, it struck me; I forgot what I was doing, now. I forgot that there is only one state of being, that is, the moment that we are present in right now. Throughout day-to-day life, I have many things to accomplish, as most people do. Many of us, however, concentrate on what needs to get done, and not necessarily, what we are getting done. This releases a flood of stress throughout not only the brain, but also the body, and inhibits our true potential. I was guilty of this crime, shrinking my potential by stressing my brain’s power, for I was constantly thinking, distracted from reality and the present moment. Instead of trying to find a solution, I relished in my vicious thought cycle, almost nearly impossible to escape; this is the precursor to chronic anxiety, stress, and depression. After years of this madness, I sought to escape.

My vavó (Portuguese for grandmother) once said that even with a room filled with loved ones, you can still feel completely alone, trapped in one’s own thoughts of the past or future, not acknowledging what is right beside you in the present moment.  My vavó was dying from cancer, and in the last few months of her life instilled in me an urgent need to solve my dilemma of constantly keeping my thoughts in the past or future. I have made simple changes, such as meditating and focusing on my breathing for two to ten minutes a day, taking more time to be mindful of my environment, and I look for ways to be a positive contributor to society. I realized that when one is especially ill or elderly, the dilemma of not being present is most prevalent, and yet most important.  During my junior year in high school, I decided to start the “Make Me Smile” club because it does not take much effort to bring someone into the present moment, brighten someone’s day, encourage a smile, provide a moment of joy, and maybe inspire hope.  Throughout the year, we make, collect, and deliver inspirational homemade cards to local children’s hospitals and senior nursing homes. In addition to Brentwood High School, “Make Me Smile” now includes a middle school and two elementary schools. We will continue to grow with the objective of bringing someone into the present moment and producing a smile. As a result, incessant thoughts and worries of the future and constant reflection about the past are gradually diminishing more and more as I increasingly enjoy and work with what I have in the present moment.

Josephine Wall

In summary, we forget about the clarity that arises in the present moment, unclogged from the waste of the past and the hopes of the future. The present moment presents us with infinite power. Time is the most underrated asset we all posses. I have learned to pay attention to every moment I pass through. I have never been so motivated to get things done, to be happy, and productive in the present moment, in an effort to improve my future and the future of others.