Blog UF Mind #2: What makes you happy?

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

By Sabine Grunwald

Sky and snow

Have you ever pondered about “what really makes me #happy?” and “how can I bring more happiness into my life?”. Lately this question what fulfills me deeply and makes me happy has been nagging. So I sat with it, journaled and observed non-judgmentally what came up. Just let it flow and in free association contemplated this question. You know that this is easy to say but actually somewhat challenging to do because it requires letting go of the thinking mind. Try it. It is about getting to the deeper levels of knowing that are typically buried in our unconscious mind. Contemporary psychodynamic theory assumes that there are dynamic unconscious processes that shape our moment-to-moment experience and behavior. Making them conscious is a step toward freedom, insight and healing. Psychodynamic theories assume that a person is somehow structured intelligently by “forces”, “parts”, “voices”, “internal objects”, and so forth that have the capacity to self-organize and often unconsciously run our lives. We all are familiar with these somewhat crazy sounding voices that make up stories about us, others and everything that we encounter at work or at home. And these voices can get us into trouble to show up in ugly, demeaning ways ……. To recognize that they are only egoic voices is a relief. But these voices are not really ‘who I am’ – deep down.  When I connected in that way to the experiences arising in the present moment it became clear to me that creating space and probing into this question about ‘what makes me happy’ was self-soothing and self-compassionate. It immediately made me smile. The point I like to make is that all of us can create mindful spaces in our ordinary and busy life to find out what’s beneath our typically monkey mind chatter, what really matters to us, and what makes us ‘who we are’. This smile when we pass somebody walking across campus matters deeply and touches me and others. Happiness and joy arises. Indeed, it is important to meet the next project deadline, exam, assignment or whatever demands our life brings. But missing these moments because we are distracted and mindless we may also miss to feel alive, connected and happy.


P.S. The photo shows an incredible, beautiful sky in the Rocky Mountains, CO. When was the last time you have looked at the clouds in the sky?

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