Thursday, November 04, 2010

Are You Truly Happy?

This morning, the rain seems to be a lot heavier, with a bit more steam behind it. I can’t imagine just mere clouds in the sky having so much tears to shed; a constant flow of sadness and bleakness barreling down my roof and the streets below. In ways, it’s a beautiful, comforting sound, and in other ways it feels very dreadful and sad. On the other hand, the rain inspires me to write, however it also makes me think of things in the past, conjuring up thoughts that tug upon my heartstrings: a past love, a death of a close friend or feelings of inadequacies, etc. Sometimes it even churns my current situation and asks, “Are you truly happy?” Am I truly happy? What does that even mean? What does that mean to each and every individual? “Happiness”. The word alone sometimes makes me wonder if it’s all a facade; a mask that hides the hidden tears, just as umbrellas save us from the rain. We’re still “in the rain”, yet not getting the full effect, showing everyone around us that we’re okay - we’re “dry”, at least for now. I think many of us do that in life: put a smile underneath all that sadness. Truth is, it’s just human nature.

We all get into funks or little depressions in life, but sometimes we find ourselves trapped in it for longer than expected. I know for myself, I would dwell in it, welcome the sadness because it was a good outlet for my emotions. On the other hand, the side effect was a lingering feeling of hopelessness that seemed to have parked itself with no motivation to move out. I couldn’t shake it. I decided to go with my last resort which should have been my first resort: God. I prayed and prayed but more so, listened. Meditation is so important while you are praying. Without meditation, it’s like talking and talking without listening to any feedback in return. It’s pointless. What I found through prayer and meditation was the only answer possible. It was my only ticket into slipping out of this depression: gratitude. Well, what did I have to be thankful for? Things were going crappy and it seemed as though there was no change in sight. But wait --I’m breathing, I have my family, I have my friends, my health and I have this wonderful outlet & career that makes me --- “me”. I have a job that I love, to which I can’t even call it “work” because it’s exactly the opposite. It’s my passion. It’s my lot in life. So instead of praying for this and praying for that, or perhaps, just wanting "more", I thanked God for everything I have ‘now’ and everything good that is about to come. I also thank God for the best day of my life, before the morning even begins. That right there, is instilling faith (in whatever faith you practice) and putting positive reinforcement into your life, which in turn, brings back a positive outcome. Although I’m of Christian faith, I have learned a lot by those who practice Buddhism.

To some, this may sound a bit ‘wishy-washy’, but for me it’s truth. It borderlines the laws of attraction to some degree, but more so, it’s all about faith in knowing that your gifts from God (or your faith alone in whatever practice) are coming into fruition. Faith alone speaks volumes and shakes up the universe bringing back things that are supposed to be just for you. They were in fact, already there, waiting for you to call upon them. It’s not about monetary things I speak of --it’s the little things in life that make us happy like having no pain when you wake up or sipping on a delicious cup of coffee with nobody interrupting you. I used to be an adrenaline junkie where I had to get my high off of some sort of excitement in life, whether buying a big ticket item that I would soon get tired of, or spicing up life with a big party, until the next morning I had to clean everything up and retreat into hermit-mode. (I still love having parties though.) But it's more than that - it’s all about the constant joy, whether you are feeling happy or perhaps feeling a bit down about something. The constant joy of gratitude: knowing what you have right now; what’s right in front of you. Some people take these wonderful things in life for granted. This past year I went through many health issues as you’ve seen if you’ve been reading me for some time. I must have visited the ER about twenty times with various health problems, having doctors wanting to open me up and dispose of my gallbladder as well as other organs just to "eliminate" this & that, to finding out I had all sorts of gastrological problems. I came home and automatically thanked God for healing me completely, even as I sat there in pain crying. I prayed that God would baffle the doctors by healing anything that was detrimental to my health. I had complete faith that nothing---I mean nothing was wrong with me. When I went in for more testing, oddly enough they couldn’t find anything, as they have seen before. The doctors were completely baffled. After my last visit to the doctor’s office plus an endoscopy - I have never felt better in my life. "Umm, your stomach is fine and there seems to be nothing wrong..." the doctor said, as he shuffled through my medical records indicating a much different story. This stuff really works! By your own words and most of all, complete faith, you can turn things around.

With any circumstance, whether it be health issues, relationship problems or just a dose of depression, your words have so much power. I used to toss all that up to a buncha’ b.s. - but after experiencing this for myself, I know for a fact, (through faith) that it works. With the clocks soon changing back one hour this weekend and the nights creeping up on us faster, many of us are bound to experience S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is the depletion of your vitamin D, which we get from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, milk and by through supplements. With lower levels of vitamin D, most people experience depression or a lack of motivation. So even on a physical level, but keeping our vitamin D levels up, increasing our time outside and even buying one of those ultraviolet ray lights, you can up your doses. I prefer taking supplements, as I enjoy the evening hours very much. I’m like a vampire. But chemically, it can wreak havoc on your pysche without you experiencing anything ‘bad’ in your life. “I feel sad but I don’t know why”---is the most common thing heard when having S.A.D. You can get your levels checked by a doctor & see which source is best for you.

So what’s the secret to happiness? There is no secret because nobody is completely happy, unless they are content with having the constant joy that comes only through faith and positive thinking.

Here are some great quotes I picked out:

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~Abraham Lincoln
“If you want to be happy, be.” ~Leo Tolstoy
“Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.” ~Palmer Sondreal
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Happiness is not a matter of events, it depends upon the tides of the mind.” - Alice Meynell
“Attaining Happiness is an ‘inside-job’.” ~Author unknown

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budh.aaah said...

A great read Deb..touching one issue on so many levels.

Yes I spnt my childhood feeling unbelievably sad and couldnt fathom why? Wrote my first poem when in 7th grade and it was so sad that it upset me just reading it later. I was happy generally as a kid. Had that inner content and yet..

I found solace in God till it all turned into a big ritual. So finally chucked it all and looked within..for comfort and His presence. Thats where I found him too.

Shadow said...

you know, i get like you too. start asking myself those questions. and it always ends up with the we basically do the same things, to a greater or lesser degree every day, and THAT thought really depresses me, and then i know its time to stop thinking so much, to just live with what i have, love who i have, enjoy what i do and who i do it with, and that puts gratitude back automatically and i go on living... generally quite happily too...

Deb said...

Thanks for your input! I'm starting to realize that things can be so much worse. And when I realize this, I look around at all the things I do have: family, friends, a partner, and my own free will to make up my mind that yes---I am happy. Contentment seems to be such a "bad word" when in actuality, it's a comforting word for me. It means constant joy in my opinion. People want more more and more when they don't see what's right under their very own nose. I was one of them...Strange how "happiness" means so many things to so many people, right?

Susan said...

Great quotes! I didn't know that Abe L said such a thing. He suffered from depression, but let's face it--life was pretty depressing for him.

I don't even know how to define happiness anymore. I think it is a feeling, not a state. And it isn't frequent. Great blog, buddy.

Just_because_today said...

*sigh* happiness is circumstantial. It comes and goes based on what we are looking at the moment, but contentness lasts. If we are content with our lives, it can be enough with infrequent or frequent moments of happiness.

I totally believe in the power of prayer, no need to say more.

And when those moments of sadness want to come in...think of the rain, it stops and then another beautiful sunny day comes. Dont let it rain on your parade.

Deb said...

Susan: I totally believe that those who suffer depression know what true happiness is at times, because when you’re at your lowest and have experienced those heavy days where there’s no hope, you also are grateful for the good days, hopefully hanging onto them more than the bad ones. Thanks for stopping by!

JBT: Well that’s just my point, even if we have those dreaded rainy days and things seem to be dark for us, it’s the ‘constant joy’ inside of us knowing how grateful we are to have our partners, family, friends and most of all our health. The constant joy of just “being” --- not circumstantial type of joy. But there are days where nothing seems “good”, so I totally hear what you’re saying.

Susan said...

I may write about depression soon on my blog. I see depression as almost a physical pressure that weighs us down--sometimes it feels like being buried alive. Is happiness relief from that horrible state? No, it must be something else. Gosh, I just don't know. I wish I knew happiness as well as I know depression.

Xmichra said...

I think your quotes are pretty much bang on.

If you want to be happy, then be happy.

You can still have sad days and be happy with your life. It's the overall feeling of weather you are happy or not that leads into troubles.

Be happy that you are with who you are with. If you are not happy, change it.

Be happy with the job you are in. if you are not happy, change it.

Be happy with the level of schooling you have had. If you are not happy, change it.

Be happy with the lifestyle you lead. If you are not happy, change it.

See where I am going with this? Sure, change is sometimes no as easy as just saying it outloud. Sometimes there are a lot of factors involved. And I understand that, I have been there. But the fact of the matter is that happiness is one of the few things that we can control if we choose to actually control it. Let someone else (or fear) choose for you, and you will find that the dream of being happy is quite dissapointing.