Whenever I feel happy, I try to record it. Write it down, snap a silly selfie, wiggle my shoulders and belt out an NSYNC holiday song, smother one of my dogs with hugs and kisses, dig in dirt, stare at some trees, whatever. I wrote the following in my journal just two weeks ago…and last night I cried and cried until the veins on my temples popped like on the biceps of bodybuilders. Where had that joy gone? Why can’t I keep it in my locket and open it whenever I need my mojo back? It’s so easy to get sucked into the quicksand of sadness. But the more I get to know myself, the quicker my recovery time is. Why? Because I know what specific things I can do to lift my spirits. I can fake an obnoxious smile until my cheeks hurt (see photo). I can read poetry, or an inspiring story. I can curl up under a heated throw and eat dark chocolate chips out of the bag. I can sip tea and tell myself, “you are worth it. You have a birthright to be happy.” And there it is. My cup of positivitea. It is my foremost goal in life to discover what it is that makes me/people/communities happy.
10.3.15 Journal Entry
I feel so inexplicably wonderful in this moment. Full of love, devoid of anxiety, relaxed, and grateful. I smile because I am blessed. Suddenly, I noticed that I was brimming with love and I was not trying. Maybe my metta meditation has worked. Maybe I’m moving closer to my dharma and that makes me feel hopeful. Maybe it’s just that there’s nothing going horribly wrong right now.
I feel held by something greater than myself. Quiet, soft, my body billows like a down comforter. Self-love, perhaps, is the culprit, the wellspring. Maybe that’s what this feeling is. The idea that I am in charge of my life. That I have the passion and the inspiration to be successful no matter what I end up doing. Maybe I’m starting to enjoy the journey. Trust the process. Know, deep in my gut, that everything will be as it should be, and so I can let go of my worrying about it all. This is a remarkable feeling.
Next I think, “I hope this never ends.” Clinging to comfort. Buddhism says grasping causes suffering. I am mindful enough to recognize this knee-jerk reaction to clutch to comfort.
As I began writing this, halfway through the page I started to feel that old pang in my chest come up again, like that stubborn eyebrow hair you keep on plucking. I wonder if that anxiety comes from not wanting this happiness to end. Or maybe the anxiety comes from the ever-increasing hushed words of the self-critic, who could be suggesting that I don’t deserve this happiness, and it, in fact, won’t last, and I’ll be back to discomfort and dissatisfaction. Even still, I feel pretty darn rooted in the belief that I can accomplish anything, and I no longer need to seek approval.
I’m an adult. I have to remember that. Sometimes I still feel like a child. But I’m an adult. A fierce, compassionate, innovative healer. I can eat popcorn for dinner and soup for breakfast if I want to. It’s exhilarating to start to release perfectionism, approval-seeking, whatever. I am happy being me. Finally!
What dream of yours seems so outlandish, that it couldn’t possibly materialize into reality? I challenge you to challenge that belief. Instead, say, “why not?” Why can’t this dream happen? Pay attention to what stories you might be telling yourself. Write them down. We’re about to turn all of that on it’s head and chuck it into the ocean.