musings (the quest for happiness)
Good day friends!
Boy, the thoughts I left you with last night were discombobulated and skewed. I did not elaborate or make the sense of those thoughts that I wished to. In all I have been processing the last few days with my two friends strange behavior, I have really had a lot of time to do some reflecting on myself. I wonder what cycles I perpetuate over and over in my life. I evaluated the gifts I am thankful for, and how pleased I am to be looking into a situation, as though through a window, that I was at one point inside of. Try to explain true peace to someone who has never known it, and there are no shortage of people who have never experienced true peace. I feel so blessed to have been given an opportunity to know peace. It breaks my heart to see loved ones struggling with something so simple, and yet, I remember a time, when peace seemed like the most foreign concept in the world to me. Through a series of behavior changes, profound theories offered, and careful examination of my heart, it was not hard to find peace at all. It was really quite simple once I understood healthy behavior. Too bad so few understand healthy behavior. So many people running around trying to find peace and happiness, while it is right under their noses. Even after having been in those shoes, I have no idea what to say to a friend who is grappling with her demons? I have no idea what advice to offer to someone who has never had a healthy day in her life, and who has no idea what it feels like to have healthy behaviors. If you have never been content, it is a strange feeling to get used to. If you are used to feeling uncomfortable all the time, being comfortable can be an unwelcome and strange sensation, and most people fight it. Accepting comfort, grace, peace, and happiness is a difficult thing. It has something to do with gratitude, and faith. Contentment is a rare thing to come by, and I struggle with the inability to give other people the simple wisdom that happiness encompasses.
I offer these tools as a quick course to happiness. Walk. Whenever your brain is unfocused, in fight or flight mode. Walk. Walk hard for twenty minutes, at least. Get your heart rate up and it will trigger your logical brain to kick in and turn off your survival brain. It is not healthy to live in survival mode all the time. Too many bad chemicals and hormones put into your body. Those emotions are meant to be used for short periods of time in survival situations, not to be lives with day in and day out. Walk. Walk hard! Feel your heels hit the pavement. Breathe with every step. Pace yourself. Walk. Hard. It will start to feel as though situations only last while they are happening, and not set the mood for the whole entire day. And on that note, realize that one bad thing does not mean that your day is wrecked, or gonna be “one of those days”. It just means that this particular five minutes sucks, but it will pass and you can get on with your day. Even a series of five minute events, a stubbed toe, out of milk, empty gas tank, forgot your purse, are only a series of minor inconveniences, not the definition of your day. You control your happiness, but when a person is in a funk, or depressed, that is pretty hard to believe, or learn how to do. You still have the option to redirect. Slow down, get back in your car and go back for your purse, give your boss a call. Sorry I am going to be late, it has been a rough morning, and we will see you soon. You are only human. Take a second to take a deep breath on your way back for your purse, and count whatever blessings you may have. After all, it is possible that having to go back was God’s way of protecting you from a car accident just ahead in your path, or a burner that you forgot to turn off at home. Is it a nice, sunny day, and you now have fifteen more minutes to enjoy the sunshine before you clock in? Its your choice, what you make of it. Can you see the bright side, what positives might come from this minor inconvenience?
I have already shared the concept of “shoulding all over someone” with you at length. This includes self. If you spend a lot of time dwelling on what you should have done, or should be doing, you are not getting anywhere, so get up and move forward. Are you really willing to give up even three minutes of joy to be irritated that some guy didn’t use his blinker or that some girl was on her phone and cut you off? Maybe he is on his way to his wife in labor, or she may be getting directions to the place where her daughters car went off the road. We just cannot know other peoples circumstances most of the time, but we all have circumstances some times, so best to just give people the benefit of the doubt and have a little compassion. Plus, not only are you happier, but it makes for a nicer world when we don’t assume the worst about others. Unless, of course, you are perfect, have never made a mistake, and do not wish that others would give you the same benefit of the doubt when you are being all human and stuff.
Gratitude is huge in the quest for happiness. Are you grateful for your blessings, or are you busy being irritated about that thing the snobby girl at the office said; “she is so spoiled, she has no clue what the real world is like”. Right. By the way, not only is this lack of gratitude, I hear a little shoulding going on there too. Implied shoulding, but shoulding nonetheless. I hear people saying, why does she get this, and he get that, and I just struggle all day and get no where. I have said it too…not any more though. Next time you feel like you are less than joyful, sit back and think about your blessings. Get out a pen and paper and start writing them down. I don’t know anyone who cant get to at least ten, and by the time you have listed ten things you are thankful for, you are feeling pretty joyous! It takes all of three or four minutes, and it is a quick reminder or how blessed you really are. Gratitude is the best tool I know for genuine joy, and gratitude is something we can make a decision to tangibly reach out and grasp. And, when we give thanks, we give it to our creator. Which leads us to faith. You must have faith to have genuine happiness. Without faith, what do we have to hold to for hope? What do we have to be thankful for. Faith is a cornerstone of happiness. A basic foundational need. Faith teaches us to trust, and to see the beauty in things. It gives us a reason to keep improving upon ourselves and it gets us through the most difficult of times.
I have spent the last few days reflecting on those lessons, in my quest for happiness. I found happiness, peace, calm, and faith, all in one big swift move. I have restless days, but I turn to my good Father and know that it is only a chapter of patience or solitude or reflection that I am in, that it shall pass, and that I am not lost. I know that He has a plan for me, and that I am right where I am supposed to be. There is a tremendous amount of solace in that. I find peace in the gifts I have been given. They are quiet gifts. Not a big house, a fancy car, a big college education, but I was given such gifts as compassion, insight, the ability to communicate effectively, and the knowledge that through even the hardest times, I am not alone. I have a knack for understanding and taking positives out of the Bible that many lack. I have a gift of intuition and a deep sense of nurture. I have the gift of humanitarianism in me, and that is such a huge compliment from my dear Father. What He has given me is heavy. A responsibility to the underprivileged. What a huge compliment and so much obligation. I am humbled by the tasks He has appointed me. I feel blessed by the compliment that I get to help care for the less fortunate, and awed that He thinks so highly of me that He would deem me competent for such a huge task. Part of the key to happiness, is learning to see your misfortunes as tool sharpening devices.
I had a less than ideal childhood, as many would agree. It is what I did with that childhood that is a gift from God. I see so many people using their childhood to perpetuate cycles of abuse, misfortune, and sadness. I choose to take my misfortune, and turn it into a positive. A learning opportunity, and I dig as deep as I can till I find the bright side of it. For the longest time, my mom thought I was crazy when I told her, “if I wouldn’t have been molested, I probably wouldn’t be a write today, plus, it gives me compassion and understanding, and the tools I need to help understand the victimized women I will be working with” rather than wonder why God is not protecting me from satans ways, I wonder how God will use satans meddling to do good in my life. I do not blame the negatives in my life on God. I blame them on the meddlings of the evil one, but I know that God will get me through and make me a better person for it, and that is why He allows it to happen. All along, He knew the pain and heartache that I would endure, and all along the way, He carried me when it got to much, knowing, that one day, I would help people find the peace He offers. That I would be the one to offer tangible, physical comfort, to those in storm, in His name. Wow! the enormity of that overwhelms me. He gives me so much more credit than I give myself. I am thankful, for the blessings, trials, tribulations, and saving grace, in my life! Every situation offers an opportunity for growth, it is what you choose to do with it that will determine your happiness. Can you find the silver lining in the gray of the clouds? Can you find calm and peace in the storm. It is all so much simpler than words would make it sound, and yet, so incredibly difficult to put words on. On that note, remember, we are all just working with the tools we were given. Our foundations are full of shame and unmet needs somewhere along the line. We are all human, all subject to heartache, mistakes, and basic human error. If you give everyone that benefit of the doubt, you will come a long way in that quest for happiness. Until next time…God bless!