It’s quiet. I can hear my kids far away in the distance, their laughter bouncing off the water. I can see the drips landing as I lift the paddle in and out of the water. The wide open lake is stretched out before me with nothing in the distance but two ducks sunbathing across the shore.
Standing on my paddle board, this is my moment, my happy place.
Later, after dinner and bedtime routines, I find quiet again. This time, in my infrared sauna, with the lights dim, a book opened before me. The timer is set for 30 minutes of blissful, warm silence. My other happy place.
As I look back on my life, I realize that I have found my happy places everywhere: a coffee shop, a hiking trail, a yoga studio, a front porch.
These mini-retreats keep me sane. I used to think of my happy place as a chance to escape, a place to run away when life got too big or overwhelming. Now I realize rather than running away from life, I am finding myself.
My happy place is not just a place I go to feel happy but to feel connected to nature, wonder, comfort, and ultimately to myself. And that can feel like an escape, but it’s really just blocking out whatever is keeping me from connecting to myself.
And isn’t that what happiness really is? Even if I first have to work through what is keeping me from feeling happy or at peace, being in a space where I can navigate my feelings gives me a chance to check in and reconnect, ultimately putting me back on the path to joy.
I also find many of my happy places bring me back to what I enjoyed as a child – swimming, riding my bike, dancing!
Was there ever a time you were more connected to yourself than when you were a child? In the moment, head and heart aligned.
I vividly remember when I was nine, skiing the last run of the day solo, the sun setting, and the cool air on my face as I sped down the slope singing to myself. I can close my eyes and feel the pure joy of that moment, connected to myself and the slope.
I love to see my kids in their happy places and encourage them to find them.
My oldest will turn to the art table if he comes home defeated or exhausted from the day. I watch him light up as he creates, the day’s stress melting away. My boys gravitate to the swings in our backyard, where they fly high in the air as they blast music from our outdoor speaker and radiate joy, fully connected to themselves. They also seek refuge in our garden, connecting to nature, literally, with their hands in the dirt.
We all want our kids to be happy, but I think a greater goal is to spend as much time as they can connected to themselves and truly develop the awareness to seek out their happy places when needed.
We all need a little reminder at times and the space and place to reconnect with ourselves, ultimately leading to the greatest wholeness and happiness we already have within.