Years ago I read Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat Pray Love. Although there were no parallels in our lives or stories, her search for happiness & her decision to do what ever it took to find her happy resonated deeply with me. She was daring enough to step out of her comfort zone to embark on a quest of self discovery that took her across the globe & ended in Bali & for that alone I was envious as for most of my adult life Bali was a dream that had eluded me for one reason or another.
I had heard many refer to Bali as their "happy place" & it turns out that "happy places" are a thing & I was about to discover that Bali was mine. And once I discovered this "happy place" I wanted to share it with anyone who listened or dared to discover it with me. I love the concept of a "happy place", a place where you can escape the constraints of everyday life & feel completely at ease.
I discovered that being happy in Bali comes easy. The Balinese approach life differently to most. The focus is on a simple existence & choosing to give energy only to the positives in life. Because lets face it, why would you want to think about all the bad stuff!! Simple in theory really & probably the reason so many come here seeking their "happy".
There seems to be a secret formula to happiness in Bali, a positive attitude & a real feel good factor if you like that seems to be the essence of everyday life.
Days start quietly & slowly with gratitude & a sense of calm and finding yourself in a such a relaxed world inevitably makes you happier. Life is slower & where you once walked now you stroll leisurely & you feel lighter somehow. And with wide smiles everyone is eager to wish you "selamat pagi" or safe morning which can be in stark contrast to western society in their rush to get where they are going & with heads down in fear of making eye contact.
Bali rich in culture with ceremonies & rituals that provide a constant togetherness & a culture of giving thanks and displaying gratitude for everything positive in life feels integral to the islands unmistakable sense of happiness.
There are ceremonies to give thanks for just about everything including their vehicles. I bet you have never considered thanking your car for getting you somewhere?
There seems to be an inherent lack of stress & as I've said in a previous blog regarding traffic & the lack of any type of road rage they just want to get where they are going safely & are not concerned about how quickly they get there. There is a genuine contentment for the here & now.
You cant take Bali home with you but you can take home a simple lesson from the people that live here. A lesson that could be the first step in finding your happiness.
So much emphasis is placed on goals & self improvement that the idea of just being happy & not constantly searching for the next best thing might seem strange to some, but if Bali has taught me anything it is to slow down & appreciate life, be grateful for what I have & spend my time in places & with the people that give me pleasure. Having an emotional connection to a place or an object that gives you pleasure can help to reduce stress & anxiety too giving you physical calmness. So is happiness, a place, a thing or a feeling? I think it can be all of them but its how you perceive them that determines your happiness.
Everyday events are neither good or bad it is only your perspective of them. When you realise happiness is a choice suddenly everything changes.
Happiness is a perspective, a state of mind & when you find the right perspective your happy place will be easy to find.
You are only as happy as you make up your mind to be!