Photo by Astrid Frisch at the El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary in Mexico

By Natalie Savvides

Thinking back over my life, I realize I spent so much time chasing what I thought would make me happy, that I missed what would have actually done the trick. The cycle led to some very difficult times… which I’m sure many of you would be able to relate to. It was tiring and often very upsetting.

From pure exhaustion and exasperation, I decided to slow down, to try and figure out what was going wrong. How could I be trying so hard yet getting nowhere? I began looking through my diaries to see if I could find a pattern… all I saw was that I was going around in circles.

Eventually something happened… In slowing down, I began to see more – only then did I feel the light and actually find what I was looking for.

Happiness is like a butterfly.  The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and softly sits on your shoulder.

So true!  We often spend so much time searching for what’s going to bring us the supposed utopia we crave that we actually end up blocking ourselves from it. Yes of course, it’s great to dream (I’m probably the biggest culprit), and I believe dreaming’s good and productive, but there’s a difference between dreaming and pining. You don’t want to get so caught up in scrambling after your goals, that nothing else matters and your entire existence becomes consumed by it. It’s draining, pressure and you’ll most certainly be missing ‘happy moments’ in the present.

“Life is a journey not a destination”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are all headed somewhere and have plans for our future, but striving solely for that as if with blinkers on, at the cost of all else, is missing the point. Life is happening now and is there to be enjoyed. Enjoyment brings happiness and we are more likely to achieve when happy, so feeling like we won’t be fulfilled until we’ve met our goal, is in fact a self-defeating prophecy. We need to be happy to do it!

Do dare to dream: it’s great and fun but it’s as important to believe. Trust that by keeping your dreams alive within and staying positive you’ll get there in the end. Time is important, it serves a purpose for us to grow, learn and be ready for what’s next – so let time play its part and, when the moment is right, all will fall into place.

Meanwhile – enjoy the small things. For me it’s often these that keep me going…

Many times over the years and even now, I feel grateful and occasionally sillily excited about breakfast! (Ha!) I love breakfast and as I eat my cereal, I think how happy I am about it. I know this is trivial but it gives me great pleasure, which lifts my mood and has a knock on effect throughout the day; I feel good and face it with a smile. There are many other small things like this that I love, am grateful for and try to acknowledge as much as I can; nice smelling soap, smiles of children, sun… I suppose it’s about not taking things for granted.

So yes, DREAM. Have your goals but trust that one day, when the time is right, you’ll get there. In the meantime, enjoy today. LIVE.

Children are a great lesson of this, they may want to be a fireman or doctor one day but they certainly don’t let it hinder their pleasure of the moment.

So don’t be afraid to let go. Don’t worry that by not focusing a thousand percent of your time on accomplishing your mission it will slip away – because you will simply be pushing it further from your reach. It’s only when you are happy now, counting your blessings, appreciating what you have and are, that more good will come. Just like they say… when you least expect it.

Natalie Savvides is a full-time mum/author, living in south-west London with her husband and two young children.  Having spent a lot of time searching for love and adventure, she eventually found happiness in the least expected place.  Natalie believes destiny played a big part in bringing her to where she is now and feels that her years of diary keeping simply proves it.

After many years she finally decided it was important to let people “in” on her journey so they too could learn from her experiences; and so she wrote the book Full Circle.