“Excitement is a great and necessary thing; without it life wouldn’t be complete. But happiness – real happiness – is something entirely different, at once calmer and more rewarding.” So says Harvard-trained Ph.D. and life coach, Martha Beck.
“True joy,” she states, “lacks the wild ups and downs of an excitement-based life. It’s a peaceful landscape, filled with peaceful thoughts and emotions. Indeed, it’s so peaceful that, to our adrenaline-soaked culture, it looks rather plain.”
The older I get, the more I agree with this philosophy. I have often used the cake and frosting analogy with my kids, describing how life and relationships are like a cake: the foundation is the most essential part, but cake is always better with some frosting. Finding the balance is the tricky part. Too little frosting is unsatisfactory, but on the contrary, too much frosting (while delicious at the moment) will make you feel sick.
So how do we avoid overindulging in this age of instant gratification? After all, excitement is all around us, magnified by both the mainstream media and social media’s never-ending stream of action and adventure. No wonder it’s difficult to instill peace in our own lives, much less in the lives of our children. We live in a fast-paced and hectic world, and it’s tempting to jump head-on into the fray. But there’s something to be said for occasionally putting the pace of our lives on slow-mo and breathing in the joy all around us.
This holiday season, I wish you and yours the gifts of peace and joy. And, plenty of cake with just the right amount of frosting.
Live. Learn. Laugh. (BREATHE!) Repeat.