"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." ~Buddha
This picture was taken of me years ago at Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. My temporary happy place. Back then, I believed I needed a magical setting to see magic in the world. When I sat atop that wall I had a view of everything and nothing. I didn't know what I was doing with my life. I felt lost, and didn't know where I was heading, but I knew how to escape.
Above that stone wall was a cerulean sky, where angels hid in fluffy clouds. If you listened hard enough--when your ears expanded beyond the crashing of waves below--you could hear the swishing of grass skirts as some cherubs played leapfrog over a rainbow, while others kept storms calm by serenading them with ukulele music.
The wall overlooked aquamarine waters where dolphins danced during every sunrise and sang at every sunset--while deep below the surface, mermaids and selkies applauded them.
In the not-so-far distance stood an emerald mountain where--when the sunlight hit just right--you could see the sparkle of fairy wings flitting among the palm tress.
I created endless stories as I sat on that wall, yet I had no idea I was a storyteller. I had written, but I didn't know I was a writer.
I thought it was the place that made me happy: the island breezes, the aloha spirit, the ebb and flow of the ocean. But it wasn't the place; it was the stillness and excitement, the wonder and beauty, the unpredictable details and infinite possibilities. The feeling of living my story, which consisted of imagining fantastical new ones.
No matter how congested and busy life gets, no matter how many wrong paths I wander down, no matter how many road blocks or dead-ends I encounter, I now know the way back. Back to Happy Island. I can't get there by car, boat, or airplane; all I need is my imagination (but a pen or laptop comes in handy too).
My happy place is writing. Creating stories where my characters can be the people I am not, or parts of who I am. Where I get to paint a picture of how I wish the world could be, or erase the ugliness I wish I'd never seen.
I have finally figured out my role in my own story called life. I am a storyteller. And whether or not a hero ever rides in on his white horse, no matter how drastically my character arc changes, however many plot holes I may stumble into, I know the secret of every book is to keep turning the page. Keep going. Keep believing. Happy is a feeling, it's not a place.
My happiness is writing, creating, storytelling.
As long as I can do that, I am living my happily ever after.
What about you? Have you found your happy place? Or are you still searching?
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Write. Read. Imagine. Create. Learn. Love. Live. Repeat.