This simple animated film is just what we needed to end a year like 2020. Soul was able to articulate what we've been trying to understand about happiness and how that relates to meaning in life. Day after day, there is a general sense that we are always striving for something, reaching for something, that is just on the horizon. As it becomes attainable, another thing arrives to be sought after in the distance... and life goes on this way.
I frequently talk to my clients about what they believe they will feel after they hit a milestone, get a new job, get through covid, buy a bigger house... A process by which I am assessing how much they are relying on this event to define their happiness, level of contentment and identity. The reason that I italicized believe is because it's important to recognize that these beliefs aren't truth. The truth is that these "beliefs" almost always fail to produce feelings that stack up to their imagined sense of excitement or relief.
How is it that we spend so much time focusing on "how we will feel when...." and not focusing on how we feel now? Is it so uncomfortable to be in the moment that we must escape to the ideals of the future? Is it what we imagine we need to do to thrive or to get to that part? What if some of the joy is in the process of obtaining our goals, learning hard lessons, being whole, instead of happy?
I read an article a few years back about Thin Slices of Joy. The idea is that joy is all around us, every day. Taking that first sip of coffee in the morning, hitting all the green lights, stepping into a steamy shower, a bite of a doughnut (just me?!). Can we slow down and appreciate these things? Can we be content with the "working towards" part of a goal, knowing that those times make up the majority of our lives?
Needless to say, Soul is a touching portrayal of learned gratitude and mindfulness in practice. It's a bright, refreshing reminder that the rat race is a real and that you can step out of it to enjoy your life at any time.
I'd challenge you to ask yourself: What am I working towards and for what reason? Am I content, fulfilled and challenged in the process? How am I learning and growing? What parts of my day bring me joy? Am I present for those moments? How do I want to live?
Practicing mindfulness throughout the day tends to make us more appreciative of the big moments in our lives. It allows us to see the importance of the little things and move into a state of active appreciation for the things that bring positivity. It's why so many people started talking about gratitude and mindfulness during quarantine -- life slowed down and we were able to take a breath, look around and see what things we really loved. This year, let's focus on being mindful. Mindful of people, comfy sofas and movies that bring us joy. Maybe this process alone will allow us all to feel something more than happy. Maybe this process allows us to feel (dare I say it...) whole.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!