As of April 2017, The Workbook Project has bloomed into 29 Project, a radical happiness experiment.
Kalyn here. I’ll be publishing a blog (ish) a day leading up to my 30th birthday – that’s 365 potential stories and life lessons to share! 29 Project will be real time documentation of what it’s like to live a wildly productive, explosively happy, shockingly honest twenty something existence.
What’s Life Got to Do with Radical Happiness
Do you ever have those quick bursts of clarity that flash before your eyes in an ecstatic instant? There’s a snapshot of myself that’s been engrained in my mind for years. I’m tossing my head back in laughter, hair flowing, eyes bright and an aura of pure freedom and utter elation. It’s future me, happy me, living-the-life-of-her-goddamn-dreams me.
The image came to me through a visualization. I remember thinking to myself “That’s the destination.” That’s where I’m going. Not knowing exactly what my life would look like at the moment I became that version of myself, but knowing that vision was a symbol of the real me.
A few nights ago I sat cross legged in my living room for a pre birthday meditation. On my final night as a 28 year old, I wanted to envision my life as I’d love it to be moving forward. I don’t remember exactly what I envisioned, all I remember is cultivating a feeling of giddiness. As my Spotify meditation playlist lulled me into a dreamy stupor, I began to turn the corners of my lips upwards, smiling wildly and laughing to myself like a wicked woman (I think that’s called a laughgasm).
The next morning I put on my flowiest pants, hopped in the car barefoot and cruised off to the beach for a birthday dip. Being a sunshine junkie, I’ve made the beach a habit over the past few years. I love to pop over for a sunrise swim, afternoon walk or sunset and chill session. But this day was different. I felt different. I felt lighter, bigger, happier, clearer. I felt fuller, more whole, me.
When I got to the beach, instead of laying my blanket down and relaxing like I normally would, I just started moving. I ran to the shore, kicked my toes into the surf, reached my arms up to the sky and began to twirl. Then I started to twist and turn all different parts of my body, in an unashamed freestyle spontaneous beach dance off, moving with the wind and smiling at strangers. At this point you’re probably thinking “This b is cray cray,” right?
Hardly. What I was experiencing in that moment was total and utter bliss. I was a living, breathing, walking, dancing physical manifestation of the happy and free, living-the-life-of-her-goddamn-dreams me I had envisioned years ago. Holy shit.
Happiness is often thought of as this unattainable, broadly defined, crazy ideal that we drool over as a human race but don’t quite understand. If something’s not physically tangible, how are we ever going to “get there?” Happiness isn’t a big house or a sweet ride, a million dollars or a successful career. Nor is it an abstract, invisible mass floating around in the ethers somewhere waiting to be discovered.
I’m here to debunk the idea of happiness. It’s a fucking feeling.
It’s joy, it’s pride, it’s passion, it’s playfulness. Of course, we can make it more complex than that. But why not start with a feeling? Happiness is the freedom you feel at the beach. It’s the exhilaration you feel riding in the car with the windows down. It’s the thump in my soul when you hear a good song. It’s the fire in your heart when you’re working on something creative. Happiness starts with a feeling.
So, what’s life got to do with radical happiness? Everything.
Instead of our culture wide obsession with climbing, reaching, chasing and clawing, what if we chilled the fuck out for just a second, long enough to realize how easy it is to access happiness on a daily basis, instantly and with no effort at all. What if we took a step back and simply gave ourselves permission to feel good?
You know what I think is crazy? That it’s not more common to laugh by yourself in your living room. Or to spin in circles wildly at the beach. Or to toss your head back in pure joy in the middle of the street, soaking in the glory all around you.
Let go. Let in.
Radical happiness is your inner caged bird, waiting for the gate to open. Waiting to fly out, sing out, scream out and erupt into the sky like a ball of colorful fire. It’s the part of you that you don’t have to earn, you don’t have to work for, you don’t have to pay for or ask for or learn over time. It’s the tingle, spark or tiny particle of energy pulsating through you at every moment, all you have to do is open the damn gate.
Radical happiness is a part of you, just as much as fear, anger compassion or love. Get excited, feel aroused, be dazzled, experience thrill. Pump your energy up. Feel the stoke! Good feelings are easier to access than we think.