Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always behind our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

First, you have to stop thinking of life events like a series of wasp attacks. Second, you have to see the butterflies in your life. Happiness is not an event. It is not this thing or that thing. Happiness, like life, is a state of being. We are human beings and so happiness is the most natural state we can find ourselves in, if we can sit quietly and let happiness alight itself upon us.

It’s not going to be easy. The demands on our time and our life just keep coming and coming. Some we must wholeheartedly undertake but for the rest, sometimes the vast majority, we simply need to let them go and ignore them. It’s not going to be easy and needer is sitting there trying our best not to seduce a butterfly.

Moving and getting at the next task feels like we are accomplishing more. Driving our children from one recital to another, from one practice to the next seems very satisfying, but we often don’t engage our children in meaningful conversation. We don’t do anything with our time when we wait for them to finish. We imagine there are so many things that are important in our life, but when we look back at where we are and what we’ve accomplished we can clearly see the dead ends and all the wasted time we cannot get back.

The key to being happy is not to chase life but let it come to you. Not to produce something but to be something. A writer will find happiness in writing, not in personal validation of being a number one best seller, except of course I do understand how economics work, and without monetary support it gets very difficult to keep writing for writing’s sake. But even with that in mind, it is always about the writer and what they are writing about. That’s where happiness is. That is where the butterfly chooses to land. The same holds true for playing music, preparing a gourmet meal, or trying to save the world in some small way or unrecognized gesture. 

You need to seduce the butterfly. You need to be in happiness instead of working so hard to find it. What you want and what you seek is already in you and around you. Not of course, if you’re one of those wasp people. They get stung a lot and focus on their pain instead of noticing the butterflies in their life.

Happiness is never a byproduct of idleness and it doesn’t come by accident. But it is not unreachable and far out of reach. We just have to change our mind and see the world a little differently. We have to change a few little things so that we are more aware of who we are and what really makes us happy. If we constantly come back to this and readjust our efforts the butterflies will alight themselves upon us.

Happiness will find us. More aptly we will find that we were among happiness all along.