On the Inarticulacy of Happiness


(HAPPINESS Advice) In fernezz, it totally makes sense. (Image sourced from livability.org.uk.)

(HAPPINESS Advice) In fernezz, keri. (Image sourced from livability.org.uk.)

So today, I started teaching the first of a series of modules on the Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga at a 200 Hour Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training being led by the wonderful Jovan Nikolic and Yen Belarmino.

This is the third time I’ve taught this module (the first and second were at the invitation of the lovely Anna Carbonell), and it never fails to surprise me how much I love being a classroom teacher. To be given the opportunity to be an unabashed nerd with people who’re actually interested in what you have to share—the simple joy of it radiated through the rest of my day.

(And, this is the tricky thing about happiness really: it doesn’t leave much to be said.)

So allow me to post a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye instead that I’ve posted once before (you can find it in the Poems section of this blog):

So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

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