I was having lunch with the girls recently and noticed the many other tables of women of varying age and group size out to lunch also.
Lunch with the girls is a ritual, something we are initiated into at a very early age and continue on until we can’t anymore.
We lunch in pairs or packs; pairs for an intimate catch up and packs, which are never less than four and often well over eight for a more general, lively catch up.
You see, lunch with the girls serves many purposes but none more important than having a forum to discuss life, love and the universe. We were a mix of women at the lunch and whilst there were many topics we could and did discuss the main topic was around relationships of every sort; family-friends-work-partners-lack of partner and the degree of happiness those relationships provide.
Interesting, that the focus of the relationships was mostly external. That is, the expectation that our relationships are what make as happy.
It got me thinking about happiness?
How do we or should we define happiness, given the Dalai Lama says “we are simply on this earth to be happy”.
Perhaps the following two questions are a good place to start?
(1) what is happiness? and (2) when am I most happy?
It is useful to listen to the language we use when talking about happiness to determine ‘when am I most happy.’
Is our language (therefore our happiness) based in the past – “I was so happy when we had the house down south and I didn’t have to worry about xyz” or future oriented – “I will be really happy when … the kids are finished at school; I can take that holiday I have been yearning for years.”
True happiness or authentic happiness is appreciating the here and now, finding happiness (and feeling thankful) in every day simple things such as I am happy to wake up today, I am happy to have a roof over my head, I am happy I can eat pancakes and enjoy good coffee in the mornings.
That is, true happiness radiates from within.
You may be thinking that this is a little simplistic, however happiness is ours alone. Relying on others to make us happy, is not sustainable. When we are happy, it attracts others to want to be in our life; it attracts all the things we think happiness is about without trying.
Happiness is not authentic if it is conditional. That is, happiness cannot be based on something else needing to happen such as “I will be happy when I lose those extra 5 kilos, or I can only be happy if you do this, or give me that.”
Being happy is personal, it’s a choice.
This is why lunch with the girls is a ritual that we honour. We get together to ponder life, challenge each other, provide alternative views and share story.
The lunch part of lunch with the girls is really inconsequential; it is not about the food (although it has to be good) it is the collective support and nurturing we offer each other. Lunch with the girls is the best therapy session any of us can partake in. And lunch with the girls also expands our social networks as we each invite someone from our pack to join us for lunch in another pack therefore connecting with more women and broadening perspective.
Is it any wonder we women are really good at talking about life, love and the universe; we have been practising for years.
Lunch with the girls?
Now that makes me happy!
Let’s do lunch? Checkout the Lifelong Learning — Long Table Learning Lunches — and participate in a good dose of fellowship over great food.