Evolution of m’bliss…

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[Bear with me, this one is a little philosophical…or something…]

Evolution: def. a process of change in a certain direction: unfolding.  A process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state: growth.

Bliss: def. complete happiness.

One of my favourite ‘chick flicks’ is Under the Tuscan Sun.   A newly divorced writer is sent on a gay tour of Tuscany(courtesy of her best friends – a lesbian couple).  In the process of escaping from the pain of her divorce she purchases a run down home in Tuscany.  To make a long story short her expectation is that love, happiness – her bliss – will come to her instantaneously and in exactly the way she has imagined (sound familiar?).  By the end of the movie she realizes that love, happiness and bliss have come to her, but in ways that she had never imagined.   It is an evolution of bliss, an unfolding of happiness.

In ballet we execute an unfolding movement called développé, an unfolding of the leg into a specific position (click the text to see the movement). When ideally executed there is a moment at the end of the unfolding at which point the leg seems to hover momentarily in space and time before resolving into the next position or withdrawing slowly towards the floor.   It can be absolutely exquisite, breathtaking.   So, when I think of  the word unfolding this is exactly what I envision…something (a thought, moment, or  movement) that evolves to its height, hovers momentarily and then either moves on or concludes gradually, yet at a somewhat accelerated pace.

Unfolding = evolution.

Is happiness a destination?  Or does it evolve throughout life, throughout our highs and lows?

In my mind, albeit idealistic and perhaps romantic, we evolve into our bliss.   We have moments of happiness where we feel that there is no possibly way that life could be any better than it is right at that very moment in time. And then, the moment escapes us at what seems like a rapid pace.   After some amount of time (and possibly therapy…) has passed, we find ourselves in a similar moment again – for it only to escape us once more.   With any luck, we feel gratitude for those high points, those moments of bliss…so much so that each one seems more blissful than the previous.  Tragedy occurs when we are unable to find that place of gratitude and are unable to linger in those moments for as long as we are able – our vision becomes clouded and the moments of happiness become difficult to recognize, to feel, to appreciate.

This is not to say that the low moments should be immediately turned into bliss…cause that’s just crazy talk!  As in that ballet movement, développé, the movement/moment must resolve at some point.  Bringing  some kind of conclusion, before moving onto the next step.   In life the lows can be really low, sometimes it seems like the lows just keep getting lower, however after we have sufficiently allowed ourselves to wallow in the muckity muck  (with lots of chocolate and red wine) there needs to be a moment when we wipe away the muck and begin to stand up again.  To begin the evolution yet again – to move onto the next step.

The evolution of happiness, the unfolding of bliss.  Could it truly be this simple?

What do you think – does happiness evolve throughout  our highs and lows,  or is happiness a final destination, something we either have or have not?

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64 responses »

  1. Pingback: Beautiful Post « Flame in Bloom

  2. I really like how you weaved the movie (Under the Tuscan Sun), ballet, and a very important lesson about life all into the same post. This post has sparked my interest in your writing and I will definitely look around to see what else you’ve written.
    ~~

    On this post specifically, I will say that it might be that the lows aren’t as ‘low’ as they seem. Our life is directed by our perception of it and thus, if we perceive the lows as (mediums?) or even neutrals, then there suddenly become no “low’s.” Furthermore, I do think that there is something to the balance of highs and lows… yin and yang… black and white… up and down… etc. etc.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  3. “we evolve into our bliss”

    Yes. We develop into and out of it… love it. I think the hard part about it is when we refuse to leave the blissful place, or we spend our whole life trying to get back to one blissful place that we had in our past, and then we miss the new places we could be arriving at.

    Great post!

  4. In ballet we execute an unfolding movement called développé…When ideally executed there is a moment at the end of the unfolding at which point the leg seems to hover momentarily in space and time before resolving into the next position or withdrawing slowly towards the floor.

    That’s an apt metaphor. I like it more than happiness is a journey not a destination.

    I love your header image.

  5. I read somewhere … “nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so” and I find it useful to remember that when I’m low (and as a caution when I’m high).
    For me, happiness as more to do with a state of acceptance, and appreciation than with bliss (if I can make a distinction)… those moments of bliss are too often a consequence of shared energies, and therefore to fragile and dependant on another.
    Happiness has a different rhythm and flow to it and is more independant of another in my experience.
    However, I think this may vary for different people depending on their perspective on life and their expectations.
    Thanks fr a thought provoking read …

  6. I LOVE your analogy…and I hate developpe 😉 more of a petite allergo gal myself!! For me, I have found that happiness happens every now and again without a whole lot of thought or effort on my part. Contentment is what I strive for. I really enjoy peace and contentment….when I attain those things the happiness usually follows…great blog!! You have a new follower!!!

  7. I think that happiness is something fleeting and ephemeral – it is our reaction to outside circumstances. There is also joy – this comes from the inside out, it is a sort of looking glass through which we perceive the world. I would define joy as a peaceful, powerful hope and faith in something better; a profound optimism that carries you through any situation in life.

    Maybe you are familiar with the story of Horatio Spafford . He was a Christian lawyer living in the 1800’s who suffered tragedy after tragedy. Everything cumulated when he sent his wife and four daughters on a trip to Europe and stayed behind on business. The ship sank in the Atlantic and all four daughters drowned. However, he is not famous for the tragedies he suffered, but for the hymn that he wrote when he crossed the ocean near the place where his children perished:

    It Is Well With My Soul

    When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

    Refrain:
    It is well, with my soul,
    It is well, with my soul,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul…

    This man did not have much happiness. But he had tremendous joy. Thank you for an inspiring post.

    • Joy. I love that word. The response to this post is teaching me that each of us has our own interpretation of what our bliss, our happiness is… For me true bliss both includes joy and also allows me to find joy. Beautiful poem…. with a beautiful lesson as well.

      Thank you!

  8. Chasing after happiness does not work, you can’t grab it and hang on to it … I agree, I think it does evolve in a way … as we grow and learn to examine our inner self. It is all about our personal perspective and attitude … I can find great joy and happiness in very small things … if I only look for it.

  9. You express it so well. The unfolding into extension, and that brief exquisite instant,
    when the goods news comes,
    the child is born,
    the agony comes to an end,
    and we hold those precious seconds….
    and as previous poster put it,
    it’s the journey not the arrival that makes up life,
    these moments are just moments into what comes next.
    Thanks for saying it so well.

  10. I think happiness is to be enjoyed as we experience it – we do not know what tomorrow will bring. You make me proud.

  11. As a former ballet dancer, I’ve never heard a développé described quite the way you have and it made me miss that feeling, bliss perhaps, of a really clean développé movement.

    I’ve always felt that happiness is immediate gratification, you could say the passé or excitement. Bliss is the extension or suspension of happiness, like the clean, turned out leg in the air–ultimate happiness. Joy is the constant pleasure of dancing in the first place, and to me personally that is most important. Without joy, why dance?

    Everyone has their own interpretation, and I definitely enjoyed reading yours.

  12. Very very nicely done. Thank you for the visual. I see it also in a wave coming in (and receding), or in that crazy unfurling of a fern, to the full opening (and eventually to the dried up leaf).

    Happiness, all emotions, ebb and flow, furl and unfurl, reach the height or depth, and move on, just as you said.

    Let go. Get more.

  13. I agree with you on “Under The Tuscan Sun”, lovely film. I think happiness is niot a destination. It is evolving and ebbing and flowing in and out of our lives… as everything else.

  14. Pingback: Tweets that mention Evolution of m’bliss… « Somethingtolearn's Blog -- Topsy.com

  15. SomethingToLearn,

    first congrats on your freshly pressed status. Well Done, it’s how I found you.

    I enjoyed your post. I am learning a great deal about path to happiness, in particular to hope, this year. It was my New Year’s resolution after a difficult 2009 to pursue it with all I have.

    I am discovering that happiness is a choice. I believe it was Abraham Lincoln that said people are as happy as they make up their minds to be. To a fair extent I agree with that statement.

    That’s not to say that there is not struggle and loss. (muckity muk) I think there is. I know there is. Grief is a profound emotion. The journey through it can sometimes lead down paths that seem impassible. But I’m learning that even if my grief, for a time, carves the paths I travel, it is my choice, to put down roots there or keep moving on. Even if moving on is just in baby steps, each step taken through grief is concurrently one step in the direction of the next iteration of bliss. It may in fact be defining it.

    To answer your question, I agree with Lincoln, happiness is a choice. I think the definition of happiness and the things that make us happy change as we evolve.

    Thanks for writing just what I needed to read tonight.

    – here’s to hope

    • You are very welcome. Good ol’ Abe — such a practical man. I believe that we need the muckity muck in our lives to help us evolve to the next phase/level/step towards our purpose. My blog originated from a time in my life when I was deep in the muck and struggling to get out…now on the other side I can see that I needed to get here, to this moment.

      “Even if moving on is just in baby steps, each step taken through grief is concurrently one step in the direction of the next iteration of bliss. It may in fact be defining it.” Well put!

      Keep moving forward!

  16. I believe bliss and happiness to be the balanced “default” state of every being, that everything we do in life is to find the way back to this “core”. This is what we look for in sports yoga and meditation practices. And when we try to “grab the moment”, it is gone, since it is made up of flow, and this is the state of bliss, the non-doing.
    Please visit http://annastao.wordpress.com

  17. Life does have highs and lows at various arena and what matters is the approach with which we deal with it. An optimistic mind-set does help us to have a complete power of what we can do or what we want to do.

    Happiness is a journey that walks with us and absorbs the loved ones around us. Life smiles at you when you are happy and that comes with a feeling of gratitude. But Life salutes you when you make others happy….

  18. I used to worry about being sad. My mom always told me to stop crying when I got hurt. I realized that it’s OKAY to be sad, to not be so tough, and to really experience the low. That way when I reach my bliss, my happy place – I enjoy it all the more.

    Love the journey this post embarks. Life is what you make it.

  19. I loved that movie too but you are right,it is definitely a chick flick. A great analogy to life’s unfolding …… a develope. The highs & lows are there but I feel the balancing point is peace. I feel lucky when I’ve found peace in life. I saw you on the Friday blog hop.

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