I just got engaged! For those of you who have known me a while, you will know this has been a looooong time coming. But amazingly, miraculously and magnificently, it finally has. Suddenly the world seems full of sunshine and rainbows – I walk around with a big cheesy grin all the time. It’s also been such a pleasure telling my friends, and seeing their happiness in my good fortune, which makes me feel really loved. (Actually – responding to good news is more important than responding to bad news to create good relationships, something I have really been experiencing.)
But there is also a little fear behind the happiness and excitement. What if this feeling doesn’t last? What if there are problems and sadness ahead? What if I don’t always feel like a fairytale princess?
The thing is, of course this exact feeling won’t last. No feelings do, exactly. They fluctuate and change and grow and diminish constantly. That is being human. There will also be problems and sadness ahead – no life occurs without misfortunes and difficulties. But there will also be joy, unexpected delights, hilarious evenings and wonderful moments. That’s the nature of life – constant change. So how do I let go of this strange fear that seems to go along with the excitement and happiness? William Blake puts it beautifully:
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise
William Blake (1757 – 1827)
Good one Will. I guess we humans haven’t changed much over the past 200 years. I can remember many of the happiest times of my life being tinged by a nostalgia that they wouldn’t last and a desire to hold on to them for dear life. But Blake has it right – we can’t bind ourselves to joy. It is transitory and flies past, just as other feelings come and go. What we can do is kiss it as it flies. To me that means truly savouring the moment, without worrying about the future. Right now, it means enjoying the whole wedding thing – indulging myself going round expensive bridal shops, and getting a kick out of choosing ridiculously cute dresses for the flower girls.
It also means enjoying this period with my fiancé. Knowing it’s special, and again, savouring it. Remembering that it is just one of many special times we will have in our lives together. Keeping a note of some of the best things in my gratitude journal so I can look back at them in the future when life brings me a different set of joys and challenges. And if I find myself getting nostalgic about the present….I will just read a bit of Blake.