What’s not wrong?

At the moment, I have a stuffy head. My bike has a flat. And, we’re still not very sure what our life plans are.

I’ve been reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace Is Every Step for weeks now. A thin book, my tendency has been to read small bits at a time. As a kid,  I remember taking my time nibbling on a Chips Ahoy cookie, the allowed sweet after dinner. I’d relish in each little bite, letting the chocolate melt, the sugar dissolve, before swallowing. I wanted it to last.

This book is like that. Small nuggets of love and wisdom; enough for a daily intake. When we go through transitions in life, these are precious.

In a recent chapter, the idea of focusing on what is not wrong is shared. Do we need to wait for sickness in order to appreciate health? Do we have to lose a dear one in order to tell others we love them? Does time have to show itself so that we can motivate to follow our dreams before we’re too old? Does something wrong have to happen in order to honor the right?

It’s true. Sunshine is glorious after weeks of rain and a hot shower soothes after a long voyage. Comparison helps enhance appreciation. But Hahn offers this:

The secret to happiness is happiness itself. Wherever we are, any time, we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other, the wonder of our breathing. We don’t have to travel anywhere else to do so. We can be in touch with these things right now.

So, what’s not wrong?

  • our adopted pup, Buddy, is on the other side of being very, very sick and nestles sweetly on my lap
  • there is a view of bamboo groves and banana trees from the window before me as I type
  • Craig and I have found a way to hug out our feelings of insecurity
  • shortly, I am crossing the Mekong to hike with one of my best friends and a small group of novice monks
  • this is one of the most vivacious times of my life

The more I live, the more I understand the happiness cliche. It is not a remote island, an ideal relationship, an amount in the bank account. It’s within…plain and simple…right there, within reach.

{image credit: Buddy}

  1. Diane said:

    I love it Chris. It is indeed within us. I am reading “The Happiness Project” right now, and more than what Gretchen Rubin shares about her own personal experience, it’s the little snip-its that make me ponder, and really appreciate what’s going on right under my nose. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. ~ Lao-tzu.

  2. it’s within. i love this….and definitely agree. enjoy the hike across the Mekong, what a wonderful experience.


  3. Loved this. Sad to hear you’ve got the cold too. It’s been a wretched week on that front in this house. Hope to see you guys soon when we’re all recovered.

  4. Thank you, Jamy. It was a really nice day…feel lucky to have made friends at a temple and share this with someone from home. Be well and happy new year!

  5. Thanks, Di. I’ll have to read that at some point as well. Funny how often we need reminders of simple lessons. Sending you much love in 2013.

  6. Anonymous said:

    Right on, Chris. It is not often that something such as thoughts printed in a book can offer so much inspiration. God kows I’ve tried. pops

  7. Sometimes I allow myself to feel down when it seems like everything is going the wrong way. I will let it happen for just a day or two and then I snap myself out of it but I don’t feel guilty about the time I wallow.

  8. Agreed. Letting ourselves feel our feelings is important, no doubt.

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