“The world you inhabit is a reflection of your internal state. If you want to see external change, work from the inside out.”
During my senior year of college I took a course on Happiness. I recently decided to re-visit one of the books from the class and in doing so retrieved some valuable information. These excerpts impacted me more today than ever before as I could now apply them to a real life scenario. As I delve into the idea of happiness in relation to personal freedom, it is only right that I bring some philosophical homies along for the ride.
Confucius was one of the first philosophers to create the notion that we in fact hold the power to self-transformation. This idea of self-manifested change is quite empowering as it can be applied to any area of life. In knowing that we have the ability to change our life from an attitude, it is then not hard to believe that we can bring to life whatever we feel within.
Aristotle said that happiness is a state of mind arising from purpose. When a sense of inner direction guides our actions and choices, we remain afloat. However, once we lead from an outside desire, and seek pleasure without purpose, we sink. When we confuse “things” with happiness, we find ourselves in a pit of emptiness. Year after year I chased after pleasure and I came to find it only seemed to run farther away from me.
If I knew what I know now, I would have realized pleasure has the tendency of a firework; a quick burst of electrifying energy that comes as quickly as it goes (talk about impermanence). On the contrary, true happiness as a state of soul is everlasting. As I drive through Hollywood tonight, I first handily experience the role the mind plays in the quest for happiness as I admire the temporary pleasure of fireworks with a detached attitude.
|| MAV MANTRA ||
Today I am the architect of my own sense of fulfillment
Four years ago I was far from who I am today. I looked for fulfillment from just about anything material, which I now recognize as pleasure (thanks Aristotle). I was looking for something to fill the emptiness I so desperately longed to alleviate. As a result I blindly created an even larger hole with this vicious cycle. It was around the same time I met you and during this chapter of my life, I thought you were the answer to all my worries. I was so wrong and I am happy to admit it.
I waited to be set free like a genie in a bottle, or better yet a firework, confined to the limits of my own body. It was as if I was trapped in solitary confinement and the only prison bars in sight were those I had built around my mind. I had become conditioned to pleasure and attached to the idea of someone saving me. Little did I know, I would only receive more time behind bars for these actions.
I became lost in your world, a world that in all honesty didn’t co-exist with my own. I was searching for the hands of another and found myself waiting hopelessly on fireworks that would never make it farther than the ground. I was headed down a slippery road with no outlet in sight. As I reminisce I feel a jolt of restrictive energy rush through my veins as my current view is much more expansive and promising.
● ◎ ●
I drive down Santa Monica Blvd, occasionally glancing up at the explosive beauty that lights up the cityscape. It is July 4th 2015. The evening has yet to begin and I already feel a sense of fulfillment as fireworks light up my eyes. For the first time in four years I feel free from the outside world’s influence. A thought of you surfaces only to fade away in sync with a firework as it lights up, sizzles out and disappears into the night sky.
It wasn’t until I lost you that I could finally see I held the key to my desired freedom all along. They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. In a way I think they’re wrong, for maybe in losing, we can finally realize that which is truly important can never be lost. For me, I needed to set you free in order to see this clearly for myself. In shifting my attitude I broke free and the fireworks that I wished for finally took flight. Now I truly understand what it means to be free. The holiday begins to take on a new significance and I realize we continue to hold onto something for as long as the mind remains attached.
A burden lifts and my spirits soar as I arrive in West Hollywood to meet up with my friends. We stroll the streets, heading from Pump to The Abbey. As we hop around we pass a bar that’s playing “Genie In A Bottle.” I smirk at the irony. We head to Revolver as our last spot before calling it a night. I follow Austin down a set of stairs to the bathrooms and find myself in the men’s room. I giggle and shrug it off by doing what I know best in awkward situations as such, I dance. Whitney Houston belts out “I get so emotional baby,” as new arrivals greet us with initial looks of shock that quickly shift to smiles as they enter our dance floor and join in on the fun. If singing and dancing to Material Girl in the men’s bathroom on July 4th doesn’t scream independence, I don’t know what does.
I arrive home in the early morning, park my car and take a moment to listen. I hear the birds sing and my heart beat. I draw in a deep breath. In this moment I’m happy and I wonder what could account for this current state of mind. I have reason to believe it has to do with appreciating all the good of the past with a sense of detachment, as well as a thoughtfulness in saying, “that was good, but I’m here now.” As I look back, I can now honor the beauty found in letting go.
A few days later I received an email with these words: “In the long run those who don’t eventually go “within,” often go “without”? You’ve got the power.”Talk about impeccable timing! I allow this to reaffirm my decision to conclude one chapter of my life as I crack open the next. I am satisfied that I finally understand the power I hold in creating the life I know I deserve. Lesson learned, happy are those who fight to find their freedom and refuse to ever let it go.
(Shout out to Allen for turning me onto The Internet’s new album, Ego Death)
|| CREATIVE DIRECTOR | MODEL ||
|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||
|| MAKEUP ||
|| SHOP THE LOOK ||
Jersey | A Common Space
Socks | Nike
Shoes | Nike Force
● ◎ ●
|| MUSES ||
Happiness by Chittister (pg. 45, 172)