I talked about what writing is to me in my first blog post. A long time ‘first love’ and yet I feel like my relationship with it is just starting to blossom.
But making happiness? It’s no first love. It is a budding affair that has just very recently become acknowledged. And I am sure everyone is having the same confidential/not-so-confidential affair, too.
How often in our lives do we think about being happy? How often do we work for it, desire it, fantasize about it? How many times in a day do we find ourselves chasing after fractions of happiness, only to find ourselves picking up the salty leftover crumbs when happiness just seems to have zipped so quickly by? How repetitively do the schedules scribbled on our daily planners and our chronic goals-setting rely on the obsession of finding every route to a life of bliss? How constantly do we redirect our minds towards ideas and mental pictures that should guide us in becoming happy “one day”? How do we get hold of happiness in its ever-elusive and all-consuming forms?
The answer to all the frequency questions is, most probably: always.
The answer to the last one is, well: by finding our frequency.
Sustaining this car ride affair with happiness is not about controlling the dials on the radio and listening to as many songs as possible. It is about rolling down the windows and opening ourselves up to our ability to tune in.
I used to get so excited over big moments. A foreign trip, a birthday party, dinner, a performance, getting a new dog and dancing on top of tables. My maternal grandmother was an actress, my dad was a dancer, I am a performer. Life, in my head, is a production number. It has a storyline. It is, despite the necessary plot twists, linear. I have an active imagination and this makes me look forward to things. I also love adventures and the unknown. I go after new experiences, I go after different. All these interests have made my life consistently colorful…
That is, until they wouldn’t anymore.
The radio becomes repetitive. But you love the songs, you’ve carefully selected your good vibes playlist, so you have them on repeat and the music just continues to fill your room. But what happens when the radio breaks down?
Because the radio will break down.
The radio stations will change directions and go underground.
Your favorite band will break up.
So will that one relationship on which all those favorite songs are hinged upon.
Do you have all those songs in you? Will you let them stay?
What if the chords become incomprehensible in your heart and the lyrics are no longer the slightest bit relatable in your head? Will you always remember how it felt to know what music could do to you and how you could sing a song in your head?
Because the music doesn’t come from the radio. Or the bands you listen to. Or the chatty DJ. The music comes from your personal wavelength: what your entire being – your imagination, your memories, your childhood, your desires – is able to make and take and give out of what you hear. What you experience.
You make happiness from understanding what your music is and listening to the silence that makes you want to play it. Your music is the silence even before it is played. Before the music plays the happiness. All those unsung songs that wait and tremble in you when all the radios have conked out. The music comes from your state of mind, your rules, your mood, your context. Your frequency. Your music is always free and not always easy to understand. When you have begun to understand your music is when you can begin making. This is not easy to learn – the understanding of your very own music and have happiness pouring out.
Teaching yourself to learn this means that you have probably lost happiness – your intonation and your ability to hear beautiful songs – so many times and so bitterly that you are beginning to understand that songs can’t make you, but you keep making them. The good ones and the bad ones. You make them. And each time you listen and tune in, you can keep making more.
Make the distinction between “being happy” and “making happy” and recognize that the former results from the latter and not the other way around. Instead of being happy, making happy should be our everyday endeavor. “Being” and “happiness” are even more separate entities. The latter, again, is only a result of the former; the former is much bigger than the latter. To be is to be, while happiness is something that will keep running around in the air.
When you take all that existential pressure and weight off happiness, when you pick it out of that swelling orchestra or the rock band slaying it on the top ten list, when you hold it and ground it and make it as easy as a little song or tune you thought up in your head, it becomes soft and malleable. It becomes giving and cooperative. It becomes melody, a tiny bar of it. And then you can start making and re-making it, working with it. And learn that it’s not about what you finish making in the end but it’s about what you heard deep within you that propelled you into making. That is being. And then that is what will make you make happiness.
Be music. Make Happy.