Happiness seeks its own level

Talking to a friend for the first time in… maybe 15 years tonight, about the early 80s, our band, our troubled times, reminded me that as bleak as the future sometimes looks, the present right now isn’t so bad, certainly a lot better than the past.  Sometimes when you ask for something, like creative opportunities, friendships, success in one form or another, and then you get it, it can be as much of a shock as not getting what you want.  Especially if you have never had much happiness, or success in things that mattered before.

I have a water seeks its own level theory of happiness, which can also be translated to wealth, and probably other things too.  I have found that if you have a certain comfort level with how much happiness you have in your life, or a level you are used to, and it’s not much, then even if you get more, your mind will somehow create that there’s still a bunch more you still don’t have, will focus on a bunch of areas of your life that are lacking happiness. Yes, someone gave you a present, but is it the right one?  Does it show they know you?  Yes, someone liked this thing you created, but will anyone else like it?  Were they sincere?  Are they crazy to like it?   If you are used to happiness only coming up to your ankles and suddenly it is up to your eyebrows, it can feel like you are drowning in it.  Understandably, it takes some time to get used to such a change, to trust it.   Happiness needs a track record to prove that it isn’t a fluke, a flash in the pan.

I guess I am lucky enough to be at a point where I am drowning in friendships, opportunity, and creatively gratifying projects.  Yes, my mind goes to the vacancies and inadequacies in my bed, my day job and my bank account, but after talking to my friend and remembering that my thoughts were once a constant slave to misery, I am realizing that the hundreds of times a week my thoughts go to happy things is new, the characters and worlds I create in every improv rehearsal, improv class and show, and writing syllabi for new classes to teach with my new friend is nothing short of a trip from hell to heaven.  So, after being used to hell for so long, maybe my thoughts retreat to all the scenarios whereby all this good could end or become irrelevant, but for some reason it’s not affecting the good and the good just keeps coming.  I feel like I finally reached critical mass with my own personal baggage getting lost at O’Hare and try as I might, I just can’t really find it anymore.  It’s like my subconscious is on board with more happiness than my conscious mind can fathom.

Best advice I ever got in life, I actually got from my mother, and since it’s mother’s day, it seems appropriate to quote it today.  “It gets better.”  So far, this has proven to be true.


2 responses to “Happiness seeks its own level

  1. Amen. And perversely, ‘faking it til you make it’ does seem to work as well for me. It forces my conscious mind aside and lets my subconscious receive.
    Very glad it’s all going well (or better) for you – long may it continue, for so many people.

  2. Susannah Raulino

    Thank you for the comment and for getting me back in touch with John Jacobsen. He’s certainly up to interesting things with the film school in Seattle and and the PBS show! I encouraged him to write a book. It would be a great outlet for his teaching and there aren’t enough good books about directing. I remember that class being great!

    In case anyone is interested:

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