30 January 2011

The Journey Begins

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love,
 and something to hope for."
 ~Joseph Addison

While perusing  the dish aisle at Ross For Less a few nights ago, a coffee mug caught my eye because of it's size and unique shape. *laughing* Yes, I pick out my coffee mugs the same way "most girls" would pick out a diamond ring. It's just as important in my world. As I reached for the mug, I noticed it had something written on it. I turned it around to see the word, "Happiness" written in Chinese, as well as English. There was no way I was going to leave that store without that mug; my new favorite mug! Obviously, it would hold a lot of coffee, which would make me VERY HAPPY, in and of itself. But just in case that wasn't enough, the big bold writing would would serve as a constant reminder on those days that required much more than a good cup O'Joe.

A few days later I was at my favorite little thrift store and came across even more "Happy-ness" in the form of a framed picture. Of course I had to have it too! Does one ever have enough HAPPINESS? It sits on the shelf with all my favorite books (most of which are "manuals" on how to find happiness....ah the irony) and my little money Buddha; a gift from a former co-worker. Now I'm really laughing! It just occurred to me that perhaps, this shelving arrangement is sending a very conflicting message as fundamentally, I DO NOT believe that money is the key to happiness.  I'd probably get 20 to life for this if I lived in China. (Notice the ever so slight difference in the Chinese writing on the mug and the picture, proving that even in China they, too, "struggle" with, "You say tomato, I say tomahto." Teehee)

So if I didn't already have enough Happiness flowing into my life, I tune into Oprah on Wednesday and her show topic was, guess what? Yep....Happiness! Goldie Hawn was her special guest and she, in my opinion, sweats happiness! "Motivated by the alarming jump in stress, depression, and violence among today’s children and young people," according to her website, in 2005 Goldie created The Hawn Foundation. "Our mission is to help young minds by nurturing resilience, hope, and optimism," states Goldie. I love that resilience is the first thing she mentions in her mission. I believe it is as paramount as Reading, Riting and Rithmetic.

This past summer, a counselor described me as "abnormally resilient." It made me happy, but it also reminded me how tired I am, of being resilient. The concept of nurturing resilience in children makes complete sense to me. I wonder how many lives would be so very different if they only knew what it looked like, felt like...tasted like. It's a powerful tool when you get to pull it out when you need it as opposed to not being able to survive without it. A beautiful mission by a truly beautiful human being. Here is the link in case you are interested in learning more about Goldie's organization. http://www.thehawnfoundation.org/welcome

Another guest on Oprah's show that day was Dan Buettner (total eye candy and boyfriend to former supermodel, Cheryl Tiegs). He is the author of a book entitled, "Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way." He has traveled the world studying the happiest populations and even the happiest place in America (San Luis Obispo, CA) to find out what makes people happy. Surprise, surprise, it is NOT money. According to Buettner, "the average person can control about forty percent of his or her own happiness that requires only slight changes." Relative to your job, he says, "Do what gives you bliss not bucks." (I like that!) Buettner also stresses the importance of sex as it releases a hormone called Oxytocin, a.k.a., the cuddle hormone. [You know you want to....cuddle, that is.]

And then, of course, there are the no-brainers like healthful eating, exercise, friends and family, keeping in mind Oprah's words of wisdom, "Surround yourself only with people that are going to lift you higher." Amen?! I am so lucky in that I have the most amazing friends in the UNIVERSE! They are all so different and bring a myriad of wisdom to the table. I learn something new every single day about each one of them and in turn, am taught something new about myself. Life is a learning curve, in and of itself and knowledge, especially about one's self, is certainly key in the journey towards happiness. 

That said, my own journey TO happiness FINALLY begins tomorrow and I feel like a child on Christmas Eve. I know any sleep tonight will be near impossible. I pray that tomorrow will be the first day of the life that I was meant to live....that each and every one of us are entitled to live. Tomorrow, after a year of waiting, I begin EMDR Therapy. EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro as a means to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories, and allowing negative beliefs to be reformulated. It is nothing short of off the charts fascinating and has an 80-90% success rate. BOO-YA!! 

I have spent eleven plus years in and out of therapy attempting to make peace with a multitude of childhood traumatic events and it wasn't until a year ago that I learned about EMDR. I suppose this would completely negate the idea that money doesn't buy happiness. I could have purchased a nice cozy home with all the co-pays and out of pocket expenses incurred trying to "buy" happiness. And inasmuch as I am a firm believer that we all can use a little unbiased conversing with someone who gets paid a lot of money to ask, "And why do you think you feel that way?," I'm up to my hairline in coping tools. Know what I mean, Jelly Bean? 

I'm one of "those people" who has spent their whole life researching how to fix the problem while everyone else was having fun and already experiencing happiness. So when I heard the term EMDR a year ago, it was something new; something I had not yet researched. I'm also one of those people who will try ANYTHING short of biting the head off of a rattlesnake, in order to live the life that God meant for me to live. I drove straight to the library to get any and all books on EMDR. I read the entire week sobbing at the thought of living normally. So here I am, the eve of EMDR, and I find myself elated one second and filled with trepidation the next. What if it doesn't work? What if I lose my sense of humor that has kept me alive for the last 49 years? What if it does work and I am unable to survive in a happy person's body? How will I adjust to knowing and BELIEVING that I am lovable and worthy of all that is good and decent in this world? What if, like a prisoner that has been pardoned, I am unable to process life "on the outside?"

I will keep you posted and would love for you to keep me in your thoughts and prayers. In the meantime, if you are struggling with something that is interfering with your ability to lead a productive and meaningful life, I am attaching a link that will give you a peak inside the world behind this amazing technology. I do not know who this therapist is as I found her on YouTube, and found her to be most informative in her explanation.

Pay it forward,
The Paper Whisperer


Anonymous said...

Love it!!! God Bless!!! :) Tina

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Robin. I hope that you find whatever it is you are looking for. Happiness, Joy and the light from above :-) Robyn

Anonymous said...

You're such a colorful writer! I can't vouch for the efficacy of EMDR, but I can answer your last five questions! 1. It doesn't matter if it doesn't work... you won't give up. 2. You will NOT lose your sense of humor...It's a part of who ...you are..it may change, but it won't go away! 3. You WILL live in a happy persons body...you are meant to. 4. You WILL adjust and BELIEVE in your worth, because it's TRUE and it will hit you like a ton of bricks one day! 5. You will process "life on the outside" because you are surrounded by people who truly love and care for you and will be there to support you no matter what! Now, memorize these answers because there will be a test! : ) Jack

The Paper Whisperer said...

Thank you Tina! Robyn...me too and thank you for always showing up exactly when I need you. Love you dearly! Jack, I think you've taught me more about myself in the last 6 months than I would have ever thought possible. Your wisdom is price...less! I look so forward to the possibility of you joining my group of "Angels" who want to lend a shoulder and a voice to those who struggle with ANYTHING! You are such a wonderful soul and I can't tell you enough what an honor it is to call you friend.I know you would "prefer" that I would let go and let God, but that didn't completely work for me. But I promise, He is the reason that I have NOT given up and the reason that I never will.

Anonymous said...

I'd be happy to be in your group of "Angels!" After all, I'm always "up in the air and harping" about something :p ... I have no doubts about you Robin, or about His influence in your motivations. As far as "let go and let God", that's only... a platitude unless someone walks with the person trying to learn that. Kind of like telling someone non-mechanical , "Oh, that sputter? Just change your fuel filter, it's easy!" Yeah, it is...but it ain't, lol. While that phrase is true, it's usually more frustrating than it is helpful when just thrown out there.
Later, my friend! I'm off to eat lasagna!... I mean, I'm off to eat bean sprouts and tofu and other healthy items! Jack

Anonymous said...

Awesome, amazing as always!! I saw Oprah that day too!! Praying that all will go well with therapy!! We all will still love you no matter what!!! Let us know how it goes!!!

The Paper Whisperer said...

Jack, I loved your "non-mechanical" analogy and I'm glad that you understand where I'm coming from. And by the way, I adore Tofu and have actually made Tofu lasagna before...good stuff. I ate healthfully all day today for extra inspiration.... I had Tilapia, edamame and a sweet potato for dinner, sauted eggplant for lunch and an egg white, mushroom, onion and brown rice omelet for breakfast. I feel ten years younger already. OH and about 6 cups of hot green tea....drink loads when I write. Oh how I'd love some Ben and Jerry's about now. :0)

Jeanne, thanks for your sweet sentiments. You saw Oprah? Now there's a shocker. hahaha You never told me how the cake was. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Robin. I love you and pray that the EMDR therapy will make a huge difference in your life. You are such a beautiful person, a great mom, extremely funny, and an inspiration to everyone that crosses your path IN SPITE OF the difficulties you encountered in the past. Sending you best wishes and happiness as you begin this journey. May God blessings shower down upon you. (((((HUGS))))) Looking forward to hearing from you my sweet friend. ♥ Donna

Anonymous said...

I always love your blog writings. Your words are always inspirational and energizing. I truly wish for you to find the answers you strive to find. Just remember, the only one who can grant you peace (of mind and life) is you! That is the hardest lesson to work through I have ever known, but it is attainable, Darling! Much love to you! Robie

The Paper Whisperer said...

Thank you Donna! I love you back and am so blessed to have you in my life. I certainly ALWAYS feel your love. I hope your trip is going well so far and I will continue to keep you and John in my prayers. Happy Trails Sweetie.

Robie....I LOV...E "ENERGIZING." What a very nice compliment....I WILL TAKE IT!! I'm granting, I'm granting....one little piece of mind at a time. Life is going well and remaining a perpetual lesson. The world is bigger, better, and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined and I am sure glad you are in it. Love you, Robie!

Anonymous said...

robin, let me say you are a remarkable lady. looking at you in school, i was always so intimidated by you. you were one of the beautiful people who had your life sooooo together( i thought ). getting to KNOW you after all these years is one of the highlights of my fb time. i join you in your search for real joy and peace, having been in and out of therapy for over 35 years. i will covenant with you to pray for you daily as you start this new path on your journey. if there is anything else i can do for you, please don't hesitate to contact me. my info is on my profile. big hug!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing and I am glad you have not given up on happiness.
It is a difficult but worthwhile journey you are making & you will be in my thoughts and prayers for sure. The one thing I want to tell you is that "Your Worth It". Your value as a human being is huge and I hope you can find your "happy place" inside your own thoughts and heart. I mean if Jesus was willing to die for us, we MUST be of great worth right?

I like you am a fixer and I have spent the better part of my life trying to fix everything & everyone and can report that I have learned (still learning) to be happy in whatever situation I find myself in. Walking down my own road however, I have found that many times it is easier to "walk wounded" instead of forging on. I spent 23 years trying to make someone love me and she would'nt. I thought to myself "everybody else does, why not her"? Not good. Sometimes its easier to stay miserable because it can be a comfort zone for us. "We're miserable, but at least its a known commodity" & is easier to deal with than change. I want to encourage you to keep @ it, dont give up, & dont be too hard on yourself. Your gonna be great.I look forward to talking to you soon.

Anonymous said...

Ha, found ya. Hope the treatments are going good for you. Sounds like a great plan. Love it when a plan comes together. Know what, I love ya and keep on keeping on.