Spring is in the air! The less than frigid breeze, the earthy smell of thawing ground, and glorious sunshine all seem to have a magical effect on everyone. It’s like a collective sigh and smile; a knowing look shared between strangers who feel a little lighter with the longer days. The coming of spring practically breathes mindfulness into us.
Most people I talk with have experienced a hard winter. Many have battled the flu or multiple illnesses. The days have been cold and dreary and it’s seemed particularly hard for those who struggle with any kind of seasonal affective disorder. These are hard things to stay mindful to and the tendency is to seek pleasure, mistaking it for happiness. It’s not good or bad, just a distraction. We look for pleasure in food, screen time, or any number of indulgences that bring us pleasure. But, I for one, was starting to feel like those “happy” distractions were not equating to happiness. Rather, they were like little bursts of dopamine that started to feel frustrating when it fizzled out. It’s not that I didn’t ever feel true happiness this winter, but I have been reminded that happiness is not synonymous with pleasure.
To explain this a bit more, I want to share some thoughts from Brother Michael Ciborski on happiness. I recently had the opportunity to attend a retreat with Brother Ciborski and very much appreciated his words on happiness. He defined happiness as a “freedom to be in the moment” and gave the reminder that happiness embraces both pleasure and pain. As I was listening to him speak on that cold February day, I realized I had been spending a lot of time chasing pleasure versus freeing myself to be in the moment. It became very clear to me that while I was making sure I was doing pleasurable things for myself, I wasn’t cultivating happiness. I was more like a dog chasing its tail. I was distracting from feeling not happy, finding momentary pleasure, and then searching again.
It was a heavy feeling that I didn’t fully appreciate until the sun shone through and I felt . . . “happy.” It seemed odd at first, and then I realized what it was. The sun, the smells, the smiling people around me called me back to the present moment. Spring sprung me back to be present which is a very happy feeling. Spring’s freshness hasn’t taken away any of the pain that was there yesterday. I still have work, issues, sadness and all of the other bits and parts that make up life. What Spring did was invited me back to the moment, the pleasure and the suffering, which is truly happiness.
We have lots of opportunities to practice mindfulness this Spring –
John Turnquist and Aurora Moreno are facilitating an Intimacy and Attachment workshop for Couples on March 16th
Mind Body Medicine class starts March 21st
You can also check out our regular schedule of yoga and mindfulness meditation HERE.
Begins March 30th 1pm (8 weeks)
Sign up HERE.
Yoga For Fertility
Begins 3/21 at 7 PM
OIC Lakeside $125 SIGN UP
Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Group
March 19th 1-2pm
Sign up HERE
What’s Happening at OIC?
Mind Body Medicine begins March 21st OIC Main 5-6:30pm. Insurance may be accessed
Interested in signing up please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try our NEW Integrative Spa services, see a list of all our services HERE!