December 16, 2013

Your Happiness Brings Me Joy

Mark once traveled to Key West for a sailboat regatta. He escaped during January--the coldest, grayest month. People asked me: "Isn't it frustrating he takes a trip to Florida, but you must stay here?" Just the opposite. When we talked on the phone, I asked for every detail--the weather, sunshine, racing, rum drinks, and fun. I felt vicarious joy from those conversations. His happiness filled my heart.

Sympathetic joy is open and expansive. Envy (or resentment) is closed and dark. I'm sometimes still drawn to the dark. Yet now I use envy as a wake-up call. If someone's good news triggers resentment in me, I examine that space: Am I pushing myself too hard? Am I working from the intention of my own heart? Or am I losing energy in comparing mind? What's the seed of my resentment? What needs attention in me right now?  

There's more than enough happiness to go around. It's not a limited quantity. We can rejoice in the abundance of others; we can bathe in their contentment. And we can still appreciate the good in our own lives. I think true happiness begets happiness (or at least openings of the heart). The moments when I resist are exactly when I most need the boost. Indeed, your happiness brings me great joy.

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