The Perpetual Happiness Pitch

image000000_62Somewhere along the way someone pitched the idea that we should be happy all of the time. Should we feel any emotions that are not on the scale of yippy skippy or above, that should be taken as an indication that we are less than, that something must be wrong with us that needs to be fixed or medicated away, and that we have fallen off the right path. And to what I am certain was that person’s absolute amusement and utter shock, tons of people bought into those concepts and deemed them to be true.

The suggestion that a happy pill combined with a few positives mantras a day can permanently banish the blues away sounds dreamy. I rejoice at the thought of never feeling sadness ever again and always having the complete inner knowing that I finally have this human thing totally figured out. I would love for my emotions to be drifting higher and higher as my energy remains in incessant elation.

But there is one little hiccup with this idea. It’s not going to happen. Ever.

Perpetual happiness with zero down days are totally achievable. If you are a robot. A weirdly happy robot. But for the rest of the people going through the motions of being a human, that’s not remotely realistic. More specifically, the idea that you are failing as a healthy and complete person if you haven’t achieved unwavering joy is a complete scam.

That’s not how we are built. And in my personal belief, that’s not why we were built.

In same way that I am in firm disagreement with the idea of actual humans being able to attain genuine “perfection” (definition yet to be determined and current living example of said characteristic yet to be found), I don’t believe that we are meant to be happy all of the time. I feel strongly that we are creatures of contrast. Our growth and our understanding happens through what we can perceive specifically via those differences –  good versus not good, joyful versus not joyful, loving versus unloving, etc.

The emotional ups and downs give the perspective and shape your value system. The difficult times give greater worth to the good moments. Sometimes you are going to have a rough day, but sometimes you are going to have a rough year. That doesn’t make you damaged goods. Instead it gives you a more expansive range of comparison so you can appreciate and cherish the better times.

Everyone has stuff. Everyone goes through stuff. Everyone feels stuff. You’re not messed up because you do, too. Be proactive about taking steps to keep incessant unhappiness from controlling you, but don’t allow an unquenchable desire to be perpetually happy to control you either.

Our emotions are like the tides. They have a rhythm, and they will come and go. I do believe that we have some control over how deep we are willing to wade into those waters, but it seems to make more sense to let them roll with them with them versus trying to pretend that we can stop them altogether by refusing to acknowledge their presence.

You don’t have to act on the hurt, sadness, or anger on the outside, but you can give yourself permission to feel those emotions on the inside. That doesn’t make you broken. It makes you real.

We all drift in and out of the rough waters at times, but the smooth seas will eventually reveal themselves. Just keep afloat a little longer until they do.

Love and light always – Joanna

In the Mirror (I Remember – Day 16)

This is my wild little princess.

***I wrote this post almost five years ago.  At that point, I had been creating entries frequently for about a year.  Soon thereafter, life body checked me and certain parts of my mind and heart became closed.  In lieu of getting the wind knocked out of me, I lost my voice.  I am thankful that, on most days, it seems to have found its way back to me now.  I don’t know why so many of us feel the need to hide.  We attempt to bury our feelings.  To shield our hearts.  To minimize our place in the world.  We have a brilliant light within each of us that no tarnish can dull and a beautiful fire that no darkness can suffocate.  I remember that now, and I feel it’s truth growing daily within me.  I see the girl below more and more as I scrape away the layers I mistakenly tried to bury her beneath. Although a great deal has happened over the past five years, my song is still the same.***

I have a confession to make, and I fear that it may make me a bit unpopular.  Although I feel great trepidation about sharing this, I still sense the need to tell you this…

I don’t feel old.

I know.  You are unfriending me immediately.  But it’s true.  I just don’t feel old.  I recognize that I am in the minority-est of the minorities, but I can’t help it.  I just don’t feel like I am getting older and creakier by the minute.  I don’t feel like I am withering into nothingness and needing to order a rascal.  And if I did order a rascal, I would totally have it tricked out with streamers and wicked paint and a crazy horn – Honk hoooonk!  Move over kids!  Mama needs to get to the corn flakes!

And if I die tomorrow, I want my funeral to be a party.  Not like a “ding dong the witch is dead” kinda shindig.  I’m thinking of something along the lines of dance music, crazy funny pictures, colorful clothing, my family telling embarrassing stories of what a goof I was, ice cream, ponies (oh yes there will be more than one pony), and piñatas (because what kid doesn’t love those??)!  Also I think cheesecake and macaroni should be present as they have been two of my great loves.  And there should be prizes (like you could win a mani/pedi for having the kid that throws the first genuine meltdown or barfs on the pony).  Maybe it could be a pajama party!  Who doesn’t love jammies?  Or a toga funeral!!!  How awesome would that be???  Yes – I am completely serious. My funeral will be THE event of the year!

But as I said earlier, I don’t feel old so I’m not planning on going anywhere anytime soon.

Why do so many people seem so fixated on how old they feel?  I have heard people of all ages say this for as long as I can remember.  It seems to start in the 20’s (why would you ever feel old in your 20’s) and then gains steam from there.  I don’t even understand when someone in their 70’s feels old. They usually look and sound pretty good to me!

I am not saying that my body has not changed. I can very much assure you that it has. I am literally two inches shorter than I was a few years ago (disc thang – long story but I don’t buy into it anymore anyway).  My body doesn’t seem to be able to find an easy way to ride horses nowadays (a bit sad as that was my passion).  And I don’t even think about jumping or sneezing but I won’t go into details there – thanks a lot kids! 😉

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a small child, and I do wonder when the heck yet another line showed up on my face.  However those are physical changes.  The me inside of me hasn’t changed.  Well hopefully she is a little better at moving through life.  But overall I still feel like that kid I once was.  I still love to play!  I adore games, the zoo is a place filled with wonder, puppies and kittens are like furry magic, and I can barely sleep the night before Christmas (which is significantly ironic as I typically purchase 95% of the gifts…but that does leave the mysterious 5% and maybe one day it will be the pony I always wanted!).

Hold on tight to the kid in you.  Empower that person, not the old cranky “You kids get off my lawn!” fellow.  When you look in the mirror, look for that childlike spirit and energy you can never lose.  And when you find that little person again, call me because I am always ready to come out and play. 🙂

horse

Bury

Seeing the Extraordinary

Extraordinary

I was so excited to see this passion flower in my garden and had to take this pic.  Admittedly my amusement hurdle has a pretty low bar, but it’s a seriously cool flower, no?  It has a raw savage beauty and fierceness all its own.  And of course as fate would have it, this led me to contemplation on a completely different level.

Just because you can’t see it in yourself doesn’t change the truth that you are beautiful and extraordinary.

We often fail to recognize the amazing beauty around us, but the real tragedy is when we fail to recognize the incredible beauty within us.  We are weird and magical and funky and unique and wonderful, and we should own every bit of it.

I’m going a bit out of order today and writing this before my daily tech turn off challenge occurs.  The technology turn off rule has become a standard expectation by all in the house, so we are sans tech for 2.5 hours every evening.  Although there have been a couple of debates regarding what should and shouldn’t fall into the challenge restrictions, the change has been received with overwhelming support by every family member here.  I would have never believed it, but I’m a big time fan of the results and am perpetually awed by everyone’s commitment.

So here are my goals for today.  I’m starting to add a few more to the list, but my minimum personal daily requirement is 3 goals.  Again that means that I have to write 3 goals that I can actually do today to improve my health, happiness, well-being, world, and / or personal joy.  I’m on a mission to be happy dammit, and my intention is to bring others along with me.  😉

  • Write a post to keep my momentum momentum-ing and hopefully speak to someone’s heart in the process.
  • Take a walk (and not just to the fridge).
  • Finish the quarter end files I need to submit by tomorrow.  I’m not excited about doing these spreadsheets, but I will be able to relax more once I have them off my plate.  This task will have to happen before or after tech turn off time.
  • Tackle at least 5 items in the laundry basket of shame looming behind me…  This is an ever-changing pile of papers that once resided on my desk.  Later the pile moved beside my desk.  At some point I think it was even under my desk.  It ended up in a laundry basket so we could stuff it in the car when we had a house showing a few weeks ago.  From that day forward, they stayed in the basket behind my desk chair.  I’m pretty confident that the pile has now started to reproduce as I see other pile children in there (little pilettes).  I don’t know why I have been stalling on going through these.  I started avoiding eye contact with the basket several days ago and have continued to refuse to address our ongoing lack of interaction.  Please note that I really wanted to type “Deal with everything in the laundry basket” at beginning of this bullet point, but I didn’t think that it sounded realistic.

The point is to set goals that I will do today.  These goals need to be important enough to mandate completion on the same day or small enough to eliminate any excuses I could create to avoid them.  It does me no good to set a goal I can’t honestly 100% commit myself to doing.  So those are my goals, and that’s going to be how I finish out my lucky 13th day.

It doesn’t require much effort, but you still have to be willing to go after your happiness.  Create your joy, and stop waiting for your life to come to you.  Go get it!

I hope that you have a beautiful Sunday and an amazing week!  🙂

***Joanna***

(Day 13)

Savage

%d bloggers like this: