For me, the absence of happiness — which is not the same thing as un-happiness — has been linked to what comes down to overwhelming circumstances. Generally, I fare well if my family, friends and loved ones are faring well and if the planets are aligned such that things are mostly not working against me (which, is not the same as things always going my way… which rarely happens and I’m ok with that). Don’t get me wrong, I can and do find happiness every day even when nothing goes my way. But when the universe introduces circumstances that challenge these very simple happiness tenets, my underlying feeling of happiness is reduced. I fall prey to the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. I can SEE the golden ring — happiness — but as my world spins round and round I come to believe I just can’t reach it… right now!
This pretty much explains why the feeling of happiness has been so elusive for me lately. Circumstances are not working in my favor right now and at least a couple of my loved ones are having health issues that concern me on a daily basis. Yes, I still laugh every day. Yes, I enjoy the heck out of every moment I get to spend with my children. And, in short bursts, I even find the time to bask in the 70 degree sunshine… waiting with The Boys at the school yard for the Old Soul to join us when the 3:00 bell rings or clearing my perennial garden in preparation for the inevitable blooms to come… while we wait for the therapist to arrive.
That garden is a great metaphor for my life right now! The blooms will break through all the detritus that’s built up over the winter. But, it certainly helps me and the garden to actively clear some of the cr*p away… Proactivity is one way I know to mend the poor camel’s back in my heart and to help make way for the flowers. It makes me feel like I’m doing something instead of just sitting back and waiting. Yes, the flowers will bloom either way. But I like to feel like I acted to facilitate the process and positively impacted the outcome. A more beautiful garden, unfettered by weeds and garbage.
And so it is with all the circumstances that are driving down my feelings of happiness right now. Sure the flood waters in the basement will eventually dissipate… but I feel more empowered when I grab that vacuum and suck up some of the water to the extent that I am able… even when The Sarge says it is “still coming in”. Yes, I will get to the other side of my children’s Transition-to-Kindergarten Meetings (from CPSE to CSE) and, one way or another, I and the committee will come to an agreement on how best to meet their educational needs. But researching, preparing and supporting my opinion makes me feel more confident, enabled and influential with regards to the outcome. We’ll figure out why my little guy gets those broken blood vessel spots on his chest one test at a time — each result easing my fears and my mind. And my dear old Dad will live on with his Alzheimer’s Dementia until he doesn’t. We can and will change his meds and/or move him to another facility as we feel necessary to ease his suffering… but the outcome will be what it is. The same holds true for my aunt who may or may not follow in Dad’s footsteps. This is life. And the only way I know to do this is to proactively go through the motions. I do the footwork and leave the rest to God, to fate, to life, to be whatever it will be.
Yes, this is MY garden. I planted it. And I will nurture it. I will take steps to help it grow. And I will take the time — however fleeting it seems — to enjoy not just the flowers, but the process!
When circumstances conspire against me grabbing that golden ring — when the flowers in my garden are dormant — I know I can still make a difference by addressing the process. I can switch horses. I can close my eyes and enjoy the breeze for a moment (yes, choosing inaction is action). I can lean in harder, reach farther, dig deeper and plant the seeds. The goal is not getting the golden ring but tending to my garden. It is that action that drives my happiness.