|photo by robby cavanaugh via flickr|
In the darkest hour of the night, when everyone around you is lost in heavy dream, when the moon hovers high in the sky and the trees are more shadow than green …. your body stirs. You blink your eyes, trying to clear the dark, but you can’t. It stays. Your feet find the floor, they softly pad down the hall, down the stairs and into the kitchen. You find a glass. You pour yourself some juice. Your swallows fill the blackened air. And suddenly, like a tender memory, you realize you are alive, so very much alive, as you stand there, alone, in the darkest hour of the night.
You walk to the nearest window feeling the coolness of the floor. You tickle the air with your fingers, you scrunch your nose up like a rabbit, you tune in to the mystery of the night because you remember you are alive, so very much alive and this is your night, your moment to feel it all. And then…
Something begs you outside…
And you listen.
The grass is wet. You stop to feel…. the slight breeze, the whispers of the trees, the distant murmur of the sea, and there it is again, your heartbeat. Again and again, Again and again. Again and again. You touch your chest to be sure. And when you do, the cottage appears. Just like that. Beneath the trees.
Its windows glow golden with candlelight. Flickers dance upon the grass. You want to step where the flickers are, to catch them like fireflies. Are you a kid again? Where is this silliness coming from? You smile at your spirit. And run off to play.
A figure moves in the cottage window. So it’s not a dream. Another walks here, too. You hold your breath. Again and again. Again and again. Again and again. The figure opens the door with a wood-aged creak.
“Door’s open. Come, when it is time.”
“Wait!” you say, “Who are you? What's happening?”
But no one answers.
So you walk into the light and toward the cottage, to see what’s called you near. Bare feet on wet grass, candle flickers sparkling up your eyes, and a familiar voice that doesn't speak, but still, beckons you near.
As you enter the kindness, you feel at home. You see things from your life on the walls and on the shelves. Things your mother saved and your father wrote. Things you loved and things that gave you joy. You look around in awe. And then you see you aren’t alone. For there in the rocking chair, sits you. Not as you are. Not as you were. But you, as you will be. Your hair is white. Your face is wrinkled. Your legs and arms are weak and sagging. But you are smiling. Smiling so deeply and so contentedly, that your joy warms up the room.
“But I’m not happy like you,” you blurt out.
“No?” says the elder you, “then when? When will you begin?”
* * *
You are smiling in a rocking chair, remembering all the things from your life that brought you joy. Memory after memory pass you by like shooting stars, each one more precious than the last. What are those stars that lit up your life? Can you see them? Can you see them as an elder looking back at a life well lived? Go there, find the older you. Sit there. Rock there. Be that elder you. And when you look back, when you see what brought your heart its deepest joys, hold on to those feelings. Hold on tight. Then return… to the now…. to breathe life into what you know is already yours.
Listen to your playful you.
Honor your feelings.
Remember your inner happy.
Then feed it.
Not tomorrow when it’s more appropriate
Or a better time.
Not someday when you can finally afford it
Or make the time.
This very moment ...
Begin Your Happy