Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happiness Comes

Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.
Storm Jameson

The hardest thing, for me, on that list is to risk life, which makes it the one I often have to force feed myself. All the years of change will mean little, in the long run, if I let where I am be good enough to satisfy. It seems I am not really happy unless one part of my brain is screaming, in protest, for another portion to sit down and shut up.
Peace at any cost is no way to live. But major changes cause major upheavals, and I am in an almost constant metamorphic mode. Fighting it does no more good than a woman in labor just getting up and walking away, thinking that will stop the inevitable pain of birth.
Old demons surface, like a blanket of fog, inspiring actions programmed years ago. Letting echoes of the past silence the music of today seems like paying twice for something you never wanted in the first place. By nature, I would rather simply surrender, but by experience I know I cannot keep paying for nothing with everything that is in me or before long I will be empty.
It took me a long time to realize that being uneasy or uncomfortable is not the same thing as being unhappy. And risking momentary comfort for a chance at real happiness, seems less risky than abandoning any chance for the sake of peace. Ruts are made that way, inhabited that way, and clung to that way. And ruts have many comforts, but happiness is not among them.

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shaved perfectly applied, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
"I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."
"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.
"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it "
"It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life.
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories! . Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing." Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.