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Happiness Is A Seagull On The Beach

I remember when I was little and on the beach at a summer cottage, I was determined to catch one of the many seagulls that were poking about along the shoreline.

To my mind, they were slow and seemingly unaware that I was just steps away from capturing the most inattentive one. Though I thought this, I was unable to even touch the feathers of any of the birds, let alone capture one.

Expressing my disappointment to some of the adults in my midst, I was told that if I sprinkled some salt on a seagull’s tail, it would be much easier to catch it. With this new information, this four-year-old blonde set out to make her wish come true.

I ran, blocked, jumped, sneaked, ambushed, attacked and crept up on my prize but alas, no luck here either.

Bringing the salt shaker back to the cottage, I admitted defeat, and settled on playing on beach in the midst of my “unreachable stars”. The disappointment disappeared as I relished the sun, sand and water as any child does.

The same idea is true of our relationship with happiness.

If we try to chase it, saying that “if I attain this” or “if I have that”, then I will have happiness – be happy, it won’t happen.

Happiness is not a movement toward but a state of being. Catching the seagull is not what made me happy but the state of playing on the beach – being in the moment that made me happy.

Pursuing happiness, like trying to catch the seagull, is not what makes you happy.

Being in the moment and having satisfaction in it – whether in its beauty, its circumstance or gratitude for that moment is what creates the inner feeling of ease and contentment.

So whether you’re on the beach, reading a good book, catching the ball game, or barbecuing with family, don’t hanker for anything else. Be exactly where you are. Take it in. And guess what? Happiness is yours to be had.

Read more posts by Kita Szpak.