Someone told me I couldn't, so I did. Someone told me to shut up, so I spoke...louder. Someone made me cry, so I dried my tears with laughter. Someone told me to share my laughter, so I started writing, and writing and writing. And since no one has told me to stop yet...
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."
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.