We have compromised our own happiness for so long that we have no idea what it would entail to reinstate it. (I say "we" because surely I'm not alone in this.) It's easy to say you owe no one your happiness, but it's hard to pull yourself from the sticky web of "fitting in," of "people-pleasing," of "going along to get along." We've sacrificed so much, true, but we've done it by chipping away, sometimes by sanding away--losing such small quantities of ourselves over such long periods of time that we hardly noticed the change until we snap under our own sorry weight.
As always, I have no answers, only questions. *Find what makes you happy*--well, easy to say, but for many, many of us, an impossible ask, and a search that leaves us, not energized, but immobile. Immobile with the realization that we don't know ourselves at all, that we've forgotten how to find that pure, sparkly thing that made us who we were to begin with.
I always think of sunrise as a promise--a promise of what, I've no idea. But maybe it's more reassurance--you have made it through another night, and you're still here. You're still here to witness and if you're here to witness, then there's the possibility that you're here to love and to create and to find fulfillment and happiness in this day.
And if it doesn't happen today, well. There's another sunrise tomorrow.
We are already perfect and we should not only ask for happiness, for completeness, but we should expect it. That's what I'm trying to relearn. I'm trying to remember that every thought makes a difference, whether in healing or in destroying ourselves. I have to believe we can (re)make our reality.
I'm as tired as anyone abut the advice of looking at x or y from a new perspective. For one thing, you have to change out of your super-comfortable pity pants which, let's face it, takes more energy than most of us have at the moment. And, for another, you might just have to accept the reality in which you live. You might have to accept that there are some positive aspects to your days and that everything is not terrible all the time.
My very best friend in the world passed on this insight recently: the brain would rather be right than happy. **The brain would rather be RIGHT than HAPPY.** Sadly, that is incredibly true, at least speaking for myself. We have to work at finding happiness. The brain will find all kinds of easy reasons for our misery, but I'm not sure happiness is hardwired. Or maybe I just missed the download. Either way, happiness is something that can be taught. We just need to find the willingness to learn.
It's inevitable that people, habits, and belongings will fall by the wayside as we move into ourselves. And while we may mourn their loss, we cannot allow that attachment--if it will not stretch without breaking--to keep us from moving forward, moving away.
We are here, yes, to help, yes to serve, but also to see to our own happiness, our own contentment. If we cannot put that first in the delicate balance that is the process of living, then we will be not only of little use to anyone, but a great burden to almost everyone.
I don't really want to talk about my struggles. But I really don't want to talk about my joys, either. Really, I just don't want to talk. I only want to sit here in the sweet silence of this sweet company and give all my attention to being content here, now.
Perhaps that strikes you as a waste of energy, focusing it all on remaining content in the moment. But you know, I imagine it's how a kite feels the first fifty times it's launched, looking down and checking, again and again, to see if its string is still secure, eventually learning that yes, it is safe to be happy here now, to trust the currents here now.
It seems so simple and, at the same time, so impossibly daunting to realize that we are all that stands between us and our own happiness. The air, the sky, the sun, the universe bend over backwards every day in their own delight, dangling wonder in front of us, and yet we trudge on, compounding misery with every egocentric step.
It's fine. It's how it is. But how it is can change. How it is can stop short, for no other reason, than to see the cherry trees blossom, to hear the bees work, to hear the birds call in the day. We don't have to remain creatures of habit. We don't have to remain tethered to our own habit of flatlining, our own habit of routine, our own penchant for mild, daily misery.
The simple desire for clarity initiates the process of moving toward clarity--that's how powerful we are. That power is also why, prone as we are to doom and gloom, expecting nothing less than disaster, we run into roadblocks more often than not. We *expect* to fail, even if we don't consciously voice that to ourselves. We *expect* to run ourselves down, to underperform, to have to lower our expectations, to spend our lives catching up, to spend our lives winding down.
That expectation is so powerful. That expectation is also so ingrained, it's practically become another limb. The solution? Amputate that sucker. Will it hurt? I *expect* it will. I *expect* we'll feel the ghost of its presence for a long, lingering time. Maybe. But all we need do is look down to remind ourselves that it's gone--we aren't slaves to pessimism, to low expectations, to failure, to our own self-defeating patterns.
Please. When did we start giving away our power like lollipops at the...
We can no longer afford not to be heard. We can no longer funnel energy away from our happiness, away from our surprised delight when happiness drops in, every time it drops in. And if those moments feel rare? Feel too precious to risk frightening them away with anything other than a sidelong look? Well, rest assured that happiness is not a skittish sheep, dashing back into the pasture at the merest hint of a bell, a drum, a laugh, a dance.
On the contrary, happiness is drawn to the noise, to the light of celebration. It grows stronger the more energy we give it, the more energy we unselfconsciously allow, despite circumstances, despite whatever our present company. Happiness delights in spontaneity, in pleasant surprise, and the longer we tell it to wait, the longer we put it off until we're alone and comfortable, away from passersby, the less and less it will be inclined to visit.
And if it's been so long since happiness came around that you fear you'd never recognize it, try calling...
I hate that term, 'late bloomer.' Gah--it just implies that there's this set time by which we're all supposed to have flourished and, if not, then no worries, poor pet! We've still got time!
Please. Early springs happen. Late frosts. Early frosts. January thaw. 'Indian' summers. Blizzards that cancel Halloween. Nor'easters in April. This is all normal in the humongous, timeless grand scheme of things. Do you know how many 40, 50, 60, 70, 80+ year-olds I know who are, for the first time, happy? Or, their words, in the best shape of their lives? I hear it all the time in my work, and it's such a surprise to the individual; they'd thought themselves beyond happiness, too old to begin, too old to end.
I get that. I do. It's why I've removed myself from all pop culture, all television, all celebrity news, and anything not found on NPR, PBS, or a library book. I just don't have the energy for it. I'm older than I look. I'm determined to be okay with that. It takes more willpower to a...