Every Monday, I start my week by highlighting what makes me happy, because gratitude is the first step towards being happy, and I believe we multiply what we focus on.
There was no way to reframe those painful moments into something happy, and to attempt to do so would have been insincere and counterproductive. Sorrow is as much a part of life as joy. That’s just the way it is.
However, my quest for happiness has led me to a deeper appreciation for the present moment, for what is right now, and that has allowed me to cope with the pain, find beauty in the valleys, and ultimately be happier no matter what the day brings.
Happiness is what’s happening right now
I’ve recently finished reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. It is not an easy read and more verbose and esoteric than I prefer, but there were some things I really liked about it. One of the themes of all of Tolle’s writings is the concept of being aware of now.
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
Once I pushed past the flowery language, I saw that I do get caught up thinking a lot about the past or the future, especially when I’m upset.
Before Jay’s hearing, for example, I spent a lot of energy trying to prepare myself for how I would feel in the future – during the hearing, after the hearing, if the judge said this or the judge said that. And then what happened? The hearing was postponed.
On the day of the hearing, as we sat in the back of the court room, I tried really hard to soak up each moment for what it was. I focused on the love that shared the courtroom benches. I felt the sadness of Jay’s father, a man I have always had a hard time feeling compassion for. The day was still hard, but I felt like I not only survived it, but lived it.
All last week, I made an effort to stay present in as many moments as possible.
I lived the moments during my daughter’s first softball game. I felt the heat on my skin and the grass between my toes. I relished the opportunity to see a milestone in the making. I cheered and smiled, because those moments were full of simple joy.
I lived the moments when we went to the drive-in with my dad and step mom. I took the time to look at the stars before the movie and laughed out loud at animated zoo animals singing and dancing.
I lived the moments when I was working on my new writing gig. I gave myself over to the words and gave thanks that I was getting paid for doing something that comes so easily to me.
I lived the moments when I visited my grandma. I didn’t let myself carry in old hurts or self doubts. I didn’t question how she felt about me. I listened to every word she said and took note of the way her blue eyes sparkled, grateful for that chance to show I love her.
I lived the moment when my mom texted me to tell me she’d passed her boards. I let the love and pride rip through me and thanked God I got to see that day.
Yes, I cried a lot last week. But I also laughed. I loved. I breathed in and out, I put my arms around my babies, and I lived.
And I am not one bit sorry that I got to experience everything that was last week.
What made you happy last week?