Labyrinth of HappinessSep 01, 2023 12:00PM ● By Daniela J. Jaeger
PHOTO COURTESY OF TOTI MEDIA, INC.
If the search for happiness is a journey, how is your trip going? Are you just getting started, or have you been on the road for a while? Are you still looking for the right direction? Have you found some happiness along the way, or has it been elusive?
For most of us, the search for happiness is like walking through a labyrinth: We are following a path that seems to have no end. We make many twists and turns—many course corrections—but it feels like we are not getting anywhere. We see other people in the labyrinth, but they are not making any better progress. We shout over walls or across paths, asking for advice about which is the better way, but the other travelers have the same questions. A few look confident—like they have found an answer. So, we may try to follow them, only to discover later that they have reached a dead end.
Have you ever walked a real labyrinth? Some of them have dead ends; others have only one path that winds around and around until you come to the center. There, you discover a place for meditation where you can leave your problems behind before you walk the path that leads out.
Sometimes, I wonder which kind of labyrinth the search for happiness really resembles—the one with dead ends, or the one with a place of peace at its center instead of at its end?
In addition to searching for happiness, we are always looking for better ways to get things done. Our minds must contemplate many different thoughts—paths that could lead to either solutions or dead ends. We must make choices, and we have to accept that even though we put our focus and energy into one way, it might not work out as anticipated. Decision-making, too, is a lot like walking in a labyrinth.
Labyrinths can be frustrating, and frustration often puts us in a bad mood. How, then, do you get through it? Start with acceptance. Admit to yourself that you might end up at a dead end. But also remind yourself that the search—the decision-making, the journey—does not stop there. Start working on a new solution, make a new start, try again, and watch your mood change toward the good.
In one of my previous publisher’s letters, I shared the statement: Do what you do, with what you have, where you are. That can be easier said than done, but if you are honest with yourself, you know that it is possible to get things done with what you already have. Maybe that just takes turning what is old into something new. And if you must start from scratch, maybe that means it is time to ask yourself if you truly need what you are chasing.
Focusing on unpleasant and negative things—dead ends—will not help you get out of your labyrinth. You must be inspired by the beauty on your journey. At the end, you will find what you have been searching for. It might not be sitting there waiting, though. You might just discover that you picked it up along the way.
I hope you enjoy this issue. We have some great things for you to discover on your own life journey. Find beauty among the ancient bald cypress trees in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (Amidst the Ancient Giants, page 50); or relax with some local entertainment (Let the Shows Begin, page 24).
Wishing you the best as you navigate life’s interesting twists and turns.
Group Publisher of TOTI Media