Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happiness--A Sometimes Not So Simple Task.

"We choose the path we take but sometimes the path can change. The East becomes the West, the North becomes the South, the normal becomes the abnormal, and the fantasy becomes reality."

Early this week a very dear lady asked me, "How do you maintain a constant state of happiness?" I chuckled to myself and very simply replied, "I don't." I am not in the business of perpetual happiness. I am in the business of life. I see no reason to be unhappy, but sometimes there is so much more to experiencing life than reason alone. Sometimes, emotion trumps reason. And I'm okay with that. To the very dear lady, I went on to explain my statement with what shaped up quite nicely into my unofficial pseudo-guidelines for experiencing life:

(1) Every action is the result of a choice.
Every move I make is the direct result of a personal choice. These choices can be acted upon sub-consciously or consciously, but my actions are the results of choice-making either way. One must live with the choices one makes; so choose wisely, for a future spent looking back is not a happy future. To live consciously is to act with awareness. To act with awareness is to live in the moment.
(2) Live in the present.
When you live consciously and act with awareness, you release yourself of your past and future. A mind occupied by thoughts outside of the present moment is a cluttered mind. Your best can not come from a multi-tasking mind. When you live in the past, you live with regrets. When you live in the future, you live with worry. Neither regret nor worry can bring happiness. The present presents you with choices that determine your future, and happiness is a choice.
(3) When in doubt, respond to life with logic and reason.
If for some reason you become lost in life, and you find you can not live with the choices you have made, take action so that your future may be different from your unhappy present. Should you find the thought of your life unbearable, try a different lifestyle on for size. Any new or atypical action is a step away from your momentary circumstances and a step toward happiness.
(4) Love.
When one is able to love and accept oneself, one is better able to love others; and to love others creates an exquisite natural and self-perpetuating high. Giving love to others brings love and positivity into your life. The more you give, the more you get. Feeding on that positive energy creates more positive energy upon which others may feed.

I've learned in the last six months that life can be lived as fast or slow as you want it to be lived. You can play by the rules or you can break them. You can sit passively or you can stand actively. You can use your mind, or you can depend on the minds of others. Bottom line, actively participate in your life; make choices that have consequences with which you can live happily. And when you lose sight of that--which, we all do--do something about it. All hope can never be lost. Never is it too late to turn your circumstances around. Tonight I dealt with some demons. I used logic to forgive myself and free my soul at last of some past regrets. I acted.

The Task of Happiness
If I have faltered more or less
In my great task of happiness;
If I have moved among my race
And shown no glorious morning face;
If beams from happy human eyes
Have moved me not: if morning skies,
Books, and my food, and summer rain
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain:--
Lord, Thy most pointed pleasure take
And stab my spirit broad awake;
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
Choose Thou, before that spirit die,
A piercing pain, a killing sin,
And to my dead heart run them in!
--Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, July 4, 2011


I am flipping through Colleen Baldrica's book, Tree Spirited Woman. It's sort of like every other book on "spiritual awakenings" and all that inspirational self-help jazz, but this is geared more toward women to make it just that much cheesier. Anyway, it's just a small booklet, which I find handy and easy in my fast-paced life this summer. It's not big enough to feel daunting. It's just the right size to keep my brain turning on a slow moment.
This morning I read a section about relationships. It made me smile to think of all the new relationships I formed this last school year, and how all my previous relationships changed so dramatically too. Good god. I experienced an abundance of awkward moments this last year--all of which are streaming through my mind in great detail at the moment.

It's funny when you allow yourself to step outside your mind and consider what may be going on in the minds of those around you. I know that I am not at all static, and I am incredibly dynamic. I get into trouble though when I assume that those around me are static. People change. People change on a long-term scale over the course of years, and people change on a very short-term scale. What upsets a friend one day may not bother them at all the next day. And then the next day the very same thing might infuriate them. It's all a matter of what has been going on in their life up to those moments. And unless you are foolishly forgetting to live your life, you cannot be expected to live and understand the lives of others in an attempt to gauge their reactions. Live for yourself. Tread lightly in the lives of others and understand those around you are always changing.

On that note, I especially love looking at relationships I've shared for more than a few years. Some people I used to hate I now consider great friends, and I think of them fondly. Some I loved dearly years ago I am now not so close with. Some I hardly knew at all years ago I am now intrigued by. I have changed. They have changed. I guess I will have to wait and see how these same relationships change in five more years.

No matter what the dynamics of each relationship in my life, you can bet I love them all. Every relationship serves a purpose and fulfills different human needs. Each one is unique and has its own dynamics. You may learn from it, or the person on the other end may learn from it. A relationship is a relationship. Foster each of your relationships in a way best-suited to that relationship.

Life's Mirror

There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,

There are souls that are pure and true;

Then give to the world the best you have,

And the best will come back to you.

Give love, and love to your life will flow,

A strength in your utmost need;

Have faith, and a score of hearts will show

Their faith in your word and deed.

For life is the mirror of king and slave;

'Tis just what we are and do;

Then give to the world the best you have,

And the best will come back to you.

--Madeline Bridges

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Thoughts 2

Just being happy is a fine thing to do;
Looking on the bright side rather than the blue;
Sad or sunny musing
Is largely in the choosing,
And just being happy is brave work and true.

Just being happy helps other souls along;
Their burdens may be heavy and they not strong;
And your own sky will lighten,
If other skies you brighten
By just being happy with a heart full of song.

--Ripley D. Saunders.