Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy

If I go out in the morning snow in my pajamas and my winter coat, and take from the house our darker thoughts, and take away the memory of loss, and if I drop them in the snow, will we never find them anymore?
-The Innocence Mission

I have set some goals for myself for the year 2011. Some seem very big and important, others are smaller with less of a “wowza” factor, hopefully all are attainable. One of my goals is to be happy . . . no matter what. Happiness is so easily found at times. Right now I look at my two sleeping cats and feel peaceful and content that we are all home on a snowy Sunday night having a little quiet time. I’m wearing flannel jammies and eating chocolate almonds. How can I not be content, peaceful, happy? Sometimes though, harmony and feeling the milk of human kindness flow through you is a bit more challenging. As I mentioned in December’s blog, when you ask for something, let’s take feeling happy for example, you will get many, many, many chances to test that theory, drive the point home, and learn that lesson. As soon as I decided to be happy some decidedly UNhappy things happened in my life. I’m not talking about missing a bus or breaking a nail. I’m talking about a couple of things that have brought me to my knees spewing out guttural cries and tears. How can I be happy in the face of this pain? But then I realized, I could ask that question rhetorically (and throw in a little dramatic flair) or . . . I could really ask that question and find an answer. Why did I have to run into the last person in the world I want to see right as I decided to be happy? Because I decided to be happy, that’s why. I realized that I don’t have to give all the power in my life over to other people and situations beyond my control. I own my happiness. Happiness is a choice and my happiness is my responsibility. I can harbor bad feelings, I can point fingers, I can blame misfortune and sad tales of woe on someone else, and claim that I was happy until that one person did that one thing and then that other thing happened and then there was that whole domino effect and my personal empire came tumbling down like Jericho and now everything is their fault. I know I can do this because I’ve done it. I can promise you that just gets you (and me) a whole buncha nuthin’. So, I’ve decided to stop allowing other people to have so much say in how I feel. People will still affect my life of course. The way I am treated by others and the things they say will still make me happy or sad or overwhelmed or underwhelmed but the change I want to enact is acknowledging and moving on. Yes, that totally sucked that you ignored me. Yes, it hurt to be forgotten. Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t get invited to that party. Yes, when I reached out to you and you turned your back it hurt. Yes, burning my tongue on magma hot coffee hurt like a sonuvabitch. All these things will pass, I’m choosing to let them pass by more quickly and not keep them close at hand. And really, what else can you do anyway?

So here’s the great part, it’s unbelievably freeing! It’s like losing weight. You lose the chip on your shoulder, the monkey on your back, the . . . the . . . the . . . , I think I’m out of clich├ęs here. Anyway, your life is free to just move on, happy and unencumbered, like water flowing over a rock. There are moments when sorrow tries to come back for another visit, if you want to let it in for a minute or two that’s ok. Invite it in for a beer and sit with it, chat with it a bit, but don’t let it stay. Send it home . . . soon. It hasn’t come back to make you feel good, it came back because without your misery it has no life. You breathe life into either happiness or sadness and you can decide which one you want to spend more time with. Your life is not someone else’s responsibility; don’t put that burden on another person. Sure, other people can hurt you. When it happens let them know, talk it out, hug it out, duke it out, dance it out, and then move on. What if they don’t want to talk? You can’t help that. Shelve it and maybe it can come out at a better time or maybe it’s just time to leave it. Sounds crappy doesn’t it? But you know what’s happy about it? You can stop being hurt, you can stop blaming someone else, and you can stop giving someone else control in your life. Whoever your “someone else” is will probably appreciate it too, they’re sick of taking your (my) blame. People are still going to hurt you, but you have the remote control to your own life. Sometimes ego and fear get in the way of openness and love only to undermine our peace and happiness. There are times when we are justified in our hurt and anger, so we fiercely dig our heels in because forgiveness and letting go would seem to condone bad behavior. We want our trespassers to pay for their trespasses. But listen, the only person who really pays is the person still holding the ransom note for happiness out for someone else to pay. Someone much wiser than I once said “Blame is a sad man’s game”. It really is.

And think of all the small happiness’ in everyday life. C’mon people, I’m eating chocolate almonds right now! How ridiculously awesome is that?! I’m wearing flannel jammies and eating chocolate almonds all while sitting in a fantastic new (used) chair that I got from Craigs list for a lousy $20. That is awesome. I have purple sneakers. Heck yes I do! Purple! I may go put them on right now just so I can look at them. You know what else I have? I have happy memories, even from people that have, at times, hurt me. I can think of so many happy times in my head right now with people that are no longer in my life . . . and those thoughts bring me a lot of joy. I don’t like to use silly, overused phrases like “I can complain that rose bushes have thorns or I can rejoice that thorn bushes have roses” (cheesy) but that’s what I’m getting at here. I can be pissy if I want, but bleck, that’s just no fun and it doesn’t suit my flannel jammie wearin’, chocolate almond eatin’, new (used) chair sittin’ happiness. Life really is good, even when situations seemingly suck. When someone leaves, someone new is on their way. When you lose a job, a better one is coming. When you get a traffic ticket . . . I haven’t figured out the good part of that, but I guess you could be happy that you’re able to pay it? When you get a cold you get to lay on the couch watching movies all day long, totally guilt free. Besides, being happy is so good for your skin and your digestion and your sleep. When you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it (clap your hands). And happy people are about a million times more pleasant to be around than crabby pants people. Don’t be a crabby pants.

Be sad when you need to be, it’s ok. And then drop it, feel the peaceful calm feeling deep in your belly, remember how awesome you are and move on.

Well, I’m a happy boy (happy boy)
Well, I’m a happy boy (happy boy)
Oh, ain’t it good when things are goin’ your way? Hey hey

-The Beat Farmers

Feelin' so good this entry got two lyrics.