Jinsoon Stephens: Want to be happy every day? Be a creator.
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Over the last year I’ve been thinking and exploring the field of what makes us happy. There are so many resources out there, but all these little practices didn’t always seem enough for me. A lot of the information out there tells you to do things like surround yourself with a community and good friends, seek new experiences, practice positive-thinking, and simply choose to be happy. I feel like I have tried all those things and it just didn’t seem enough. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right or maybe I was asking for too much. But I knew I needed something…stronger.
In August, I decided to put aside school and work, and even left my poor husband alone by himself, to travel in Europe for two months. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but what I gained from it made everything seem worthwhile. Little did I know that my experiences there would lead me to discover my answer – and of course it was something I had known all along. It’s always like that.
I can say that I was quite a happy girl most of my trip, even though I was travelling on my own and sometimes got lonely. So I thought that I was happy because I was on an adventure and having new experiences, but I realized that it was the things I was doing that made me happy. Everywhere I went I was either helping to build something (like a house), work on gardens or cook new foods. I was constantly learning new skills and implementing them with my own touch, as my hosts often gave me a lot of freedom to do things how I thought would work – I was always creating. I was using my creativity, my hands or a part of me, to make an impact – it’s almost like making something come to life. I realize, in hindsight, that it really is like the Divine Principle (a book written by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of CARP), which teaches: when an artist “…visualizes his idea or beholds his work, he is stimulated to feel his own internal nature and external form reflected in it and feels joy and satisfaction (Principle of Creation, 3.2).”
When you create, you see yourself reflected and it brings you joy…happiness. In that moment, we are like our own Creator, like God. Didn’t God make us in his own image? Then we were meant to be creators! I couldn’t believe how simple it was. Creating doesn’t just mean you have to be a carpenter, inventor, or a crafter. It’s almost like arranging. After all, the things on Earth were already created by God. You can create/arrange poetry, music, cuisine, an event, a moment…anything. Everything that you put yourself into, your creativity, even cleaning the house, is an act of creating. It all comes from you.
As I’m writing this, I feel so much joy. I didn’t invent these words, but I’m writing something that reflects me, and for the rest of today I will feel a sense of happiness, even if I get no other work done – because this article will be my source of joy and satisfaction as I am stimulated to feel my “internal nature and external form.” Woah, I can’t believe how much those words actually make sense to me now.
The answer is even in that third Blessing that God gave us, “Be fruitful, multiply and have dominion.” Have dominion – take hold of God’s creation and put your own self into it…arrange something beautiful and wonderful out of it. So, work on becoming a better person every day, get that eternal spouse and have a beautiful family together, then create all the days of your life.
One…two…three…boom. And we lived (almost) happily ever after.
Jin Soon Stephens