My friend has just announced she is taking a sabbatical year to go to Asia and learn all about the art of being happy.
She stares at me, possibly expecting words of praise and admiration.
I look back at her, wondering why so many folks leave London only to venture down a road so often travelled.
I can’t help thinking that one day she’ll be back, and her newly found happiness would be tested at every turn.
Never the less, I wish her good luck and tell her to treasure her heart.
It always amazes me when people set out on long journeys to “find” themselves.
We are so enamoured with the idea of conquering the unknown of a foreign land that we often miss out on the gift every single moment offers in its impermanence.
The following morning, as I make my way into work, I notice how many people on my train have their noses stuck in their tablets or smart-phones.
Despite the early hour, they are completely lost in games and Tv series.

We avoid silence because it scares the hell out of us.

We constantly search for distractions because being quiet may land us in a place we’d rather never be. A void that may swallow us in.
So off we go to far away countries believing that our happier self is somewhere out there waiting for us.
Later on we’ll entertain friends with details of our adventures. We will tell them how we touched real poverty with our hands (Why? Is there a fake poverty, I wonder?). How we were blown away by people’s love and generosity and how we watched the sunset in awe and gratitude.
What happened to the love and generosity we received back home time again?
Do those who embark on spiritual sabbaticals ever realize that their lost self was always there next to them at the bus stop? Hidden behind the strangers’ smile, they walk past on the street?

I believe we like to complicate life as “hard” sounds better.

It gives us more credit.
It makes us sound brave because we challenged ourselves by going all the way to a remote land. We conveniently forget the times we politely ignore our neighbours in the lift just because it is never a good idea to get too close to others. We’d rather go all the way to the Himalayas rather than being in life here at home.
Next time you wonder if you should pack up and move abroad in search of happiness, look at how you choose to show up every moment right where you are.
Watch yourself surrounded by others only tot retreat in your little world. Too afraid to receive and even more so to give because you may end up feeling bare and vulnerable.
What would happen if you kept your heart open instead?
You would probably come to learn that your smile is the only ticket to that “self” you are looking for, and the more you offer it to the world, the further this journey will take you.
And so be it,
Antonia Lyons

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I’m the founder of Evoking Grace, a coaching program designed to inspire others to be their very best while bringing ease and balance into their everyday life. I can be contacted by email for more details on the work I offer or to schedule a free “Wisdom Within Session”. Follow my mumbling & musings on Facebook , Twitter & Pinterest to be part of my “online tribe”.