I was not happy, or so I believed. It was another day off to the job that was not writing, which meant I was a not a success which meant I was not happy. Before I left for work that day my wife begged me to listen to a teacher she had recently discovered. I did not like to listen to her teachers; I did not care what they had to say, I cared about getting published. But on this day, I said, “Yeah, fine. As long as it’s short.” Right away, I liked this woman. She was funny and she was talking about how human beings are creative and how this is what we do all the time, that this is what we were meant to do. Then she said something about happiness that I had never considered before. It was the exact opposite of what I had always believed, but she said it with such humor and matter-of-factness that I wondered if maybe it was true.
And as I drove to work, I thought about those times I felt happy. First I thought about winning races and wining awards. I thought about ovations and acceptance letters. The imagination is powerful. Think something and it is as if you are living it. Driving to work, I could feel that warm hum in my chest I would feel at the sound of applause, or when I wrote a great scene. I had always called that feeling happiness.
But didn’t I also feel it when I listened to “Hey Jude”? Couldn’t I sing “Hey Jude” right now and feel it just the same? Wasn’t it the same feeling as victory? And didn’t I feel it when I laughed at Seinfeld or read Dylan Thomas? And didn’t I also feel it the first time I met Jen? Wasn’t that the same feeling as what I called victory? Wasn’t that the same feeling I called success?
And then I arrived at work and parked my car and turned off the engine and sat there in the gathering darkness thinking about happiness and music and Jen. It was time to go to work, but I wasn’t ready to leave the car. I got very still and stopped thinking about anything, until I thought this: “And aren’t you feeling it right now, Bill? Aren’t you feeling it right now without any reason whatsoever?”
And work would never be the same after that.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com