How to Achieve Spontaneous Happiness…Gradually

posted by Momo Fali on September 24, 2014

I’m reading a great book right now called Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil and last night I came to a passage about how creative-minded people often do the most self-reflection. This can be both good (leading to positive changes in oneself) and bad (leading to regret and bouts of depression).

Just a few hours before I read that section, I went on a walk and actually yelled at myself to stop looking at everything metaphorically. Every falling leaf is not a sign that I’m getting old, every flower blooming from a crack in the pavement is not me reaching beautiful heights despite broken beginnings. I think Dr. Weil has me nailed.

Honestly, if I were to really look inside myself I’d likely just see cell inflammation and I’ve yet to find a metaphor for that in nature. I think the only way I’ll really know what’s lurking under my skin is if I come across a puffy, bloated, dead fish.

The thing about the brain is that it never stops. You can not set it to pause or control its reactions. The brain has a mind of its own. Get it?

So, while the massive self-reflection I’ve done lately is leading to bettering myself, I’m kind of in this non-stop spiral of looking inward. I barely have a second to figure out how to improve upon a flaw, before I find something else to fix. Hello, chaos? It’s me, Momo. My hygienist is totally going to yell at me for all of this teeth-grinding.

What I want is immediate change so I can get to the next task. Find it, fix it, move on. This, to me, is the key to happiness, but of course it’s completely unrealistic. My expectations are set to freeway driving, while real life is in a school zone. I think I have metaphor problems, for real, you guys. *adds it to list of things to work on*

While this book has been incredibly beneficial to me, I think it should have been named Slow, Steady Happiness, because happiness doesn’t come with the snap of one’s fingers. We have to search, then focus on what brings us joy and work to maintain it. Unsolicited, permanent, giddiness is not a normal human condition. Apparently, hot flashes are, but that’s another blog post.

It’s hard to know this is going to be a long journey when I just want to get to the finish line, but at least I have well-fitting, comfortable shoes. I can’t stop. I just can’t. Before I can start, though, I have to wrap my mind around the long haul. I have to know that the first few miles are going to be painful, I will feel heavy and every step will be a struggle, but by the end I will be lighter and happier.

Then, and only then, will joy be spontaneous. It’s not going to happen without much toil and trouble, but I like to think you get more satisfaction when you’ve tried really hard.

On my next walk, I’m going to go ahead and think metaphorically. I choose to believe that someday my happiness will be evergreen.


  • Melisa

    Beautifully written. Sending hugs because that kind of mental to-do list is exhausting. I hope you find that evergreen happiness like SOON. Love you.

  • Shannon

    I love me a good metaphor. But it would be nice sometimes to just turn it off – the thinking, the introspection.
    So you would recommend the book, then?

    • Momo Fali

      Definitely, Shannon! I got it from the library, but I’m going to buy my own copy so I can highlight and dog ear the heck out of it.

  • Kari

    I am a constant over thinker.
    And I love Andrew Weil.
    I learned from him, in the 90’s mind you, that it isn’t good to use warm water when cooking for a recipe.
    Always use cold water.
    I need to read this book…..

  • AlisonH

    Ah, but see, I get to read this, immediately sit down and write a Hi, Momo! Thank you for taking me on a walk with flowers to enjoy!

    See? Instant gratification right there. It’s all good.

    Leave a Comment

    Your email is never shared.
    Required fields are marked *