While I certainly respect folks who are able to have this experience, after years of trying, I no longer assume I ever will. My own "recipe" for perfect love seems to lean more towards a willingness to accept the presence of fear-in-love, and love-in-fear.

While I realize I have already devoted two whole posts to a fascinating article entitled “15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently,” I continue to find myself drawn back to it again and again.

Perhaps it is my inner obsessive coming out to play (for weeks at a time). Or perhaps it simply means that this article sings to my heart and helps me to put semantic meaning to qualities I have long seen in my own beloved mentor and thus persist in attempting to cultivate in my own life as well.

So here we go…first in a series of 15 attempts to decode the “meaning of happy” through deeper understanding of not just the knowledge of “what to do” by the mechanics of “how to do it.”

For instance, in item number one, “Love Vs. Fear,” it is posited that there are only two emotions in the world. One is love. The other is fear. I will acknowledge here that I often find it sooooo tempting to boil down complex experiences like love and fear, happiness and sadness, to their simplest foundations.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that doing so isn’t highly accurate. It just means that, for me at least, it often isn’t equally as highly helpful.

When I am feeling “anger,” for instance, I am not at all tempted to re-label it as “sadness” or “fear.” It is anger, pure and simple. While I am feeling that emotion, I would describe what I am feeling as anger and would be willing to argue the point with anyone who disagreed. It is often only later, after the actual experience of the feeling-anger has been fully allowed to pass through and out of me, that I can perceive a deeper anger-fuel potentially being derived from sadness (which could get as complicated as abandonment, disappointment, neglect of self or others, etc) or fear.

So for me at least, when it comes to love versus fear, the only way to is through. In other words, I must first acknowledge and allow myself to deeply FEEL my fear before I have any actual chance of – not replacing but transforming – the fear into an experience of love.

All of which, of course, also makes me tempted to take the urge for simplicity one step further and claim that there is only ONE emotion – fear-love. Or love-fear, depending on individual preference. Or maybe we need to make up a new word. Fove? Lear?

At any rate, if the issue at hand then becomes one of transformation rather than replacement, then the mechanics of that transition come about by learning to ride the wave of one-emotion from one opposite end to the other.

For instance, often my awareness of my own fear arises from an experience of my own love.

Me. Pearl (safe for the time being on the brim of my hat).

How this works is, let’s say I suddenly become aware that I love someone (my bird, Pearl, is an excellent example). I then become deeply afraid about all the bad things that could happen to her (especially if they might – horror! – be my fault). So here I am propelled by my awareness of experiencing love into an experience of its so-named opposite, fear.

Kind of the opposite of how I understand the process is supposed to work.

Or let’s say I fall in love with someone, and then proceed to ruin that experience of pure love by discovering in me a fear that current-love may follow the path of past-love and leave me right where I started again…..abandoned and alone.

Yikes. You can see now why I stated in my last post that I have a “thinker’s head.”

So then my task becomes to recognize in fear my love, and in love my fear. THIS is starting to sound helpful.

This I believe I can do. This, to me, sounds exactly like what the article is describing: “…. those people who are really happy, FEAR less and LOVE a lot more. They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.”

Today’s Takeaway: Are you tempted to plumb the heights and sail to the depths (confusing and inaccurate metaphor intended) of your own love-fear and fear-love? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!