The Physics of Happiness.
Life in the open air. Love for another being. Freedom from ambition. Creation.
I came upon Camus’ The Physics of Happiness quote in a book that I read recently, New Slow City by William Powers. My partner had dinner with William when he was in town for a book signing. The book was about William and his wife committing to a slower lifestyle in NYC, and their personal journey and sources of inspiration to combat cell phones, eating out, consumerism, and 80 hour work weeks.
The book was inspiring. Even the simplicity of the Camus quote inspired me. It got me thinking about the power of love for another being, and how much that aids in our happiness, and brought me back to why I feel so dedicated to helping people pursue love as a verb.
Life in the open air.
We find our most authentic selves in nature. Our civilization has a lot of creature comforts, but we pay the price for industry and a quality of life we have come to expect. I don’t know anyone who can remain as centered in a crowded city—stuck in a traffic jam with horns honking, looking at their cell phone, anxious to arrive to their next appointment—as they can in nature.
Take that same city person and drop them by a stream, surrounded by trees and mountain air, and you have someone who is more centered and open. Nature is the great equalizer; we can become simply human in nature, not defined by our to do list and our occupation.
Many couples talk about connecting with each other in nature. The authenticity that nature allows opens the door for deeper connection.
Love for another Being.
It is well documented that those who are happily married live longer than single people. This longevity extends to people who have pets versus those who don’t. We must have connection to others, whether we find that connection through friendship or an intimate partner. The key is devotional love: the kind of love that a parent has for a child; the kind of love that keeps you up at night tending for someone who is sick; the kind of love that cleans up after your sick dog without getting angry; the kind of love that is unconditional and places another’s needs above your own. Selfless love, even if it is counter intuitive, replenishes the self, extending our own energy and capacity. You get more than you give.
Freedom from ambition.
I think I would like to shift this statement to a balance of ambition. I am not sure that in this day and age we can be truly free from ambition, but the couples who thrive are the ones who place boundaries on their work time, and consciously prioritize their relationship, even when work still calls.
This also extends to being free from placing our own ambitions onto our loved ones. The couples who find greater connection are those who accept one another for who they truly are, without projecting our own goals for our partner onto them.
Many couples thrive in sharing creative energy. There are many examples of artists who collaborate and find connection within their shared passions in their chosen artistry. MC Yogi and Amanda are a great example of creative collaboration and talk about working together in this clip. But there is also the ultimate creation that any couple undertakes, and that is the creative undertaking of designing their lives together.
I invite you to contemplate these ideas on The Physics of Happiness for yourself, and see if it can inspire you to take one or several steps toward life in the open air, love for another being, freedom from ambition, and creation.