15 Days of Happiness
I woke up last night every hour or so with the realization that I’d been trying to solve one difficult problem after another in one tense dream after the other. When, at last, it was time to wake the children for school, I already felt mentally worn out. While the things I was stressed about in my dreams were completely unreal, the feeling of dealing with successive problems was. As I look at the calendar and try to merge it with my to-do list for the duration of the month I wonder how we will possibly accomplish all that needs doing.
My next thought was that this is it. Today, right now, this month, is what I have to work with. While I know the stress of May will decline when my children are grown, it’s my reality for a good many years and I want the next few weeks to be fantastic. I want to accomplish much, feel happy and energetic, and help my children do the same. Much as I look forward to summer vacation, today is the time to be happy. It’s my responsibility to make time every day to feel and recognize joy.
To keep myself on track, I’m going to post a little series called “15 Days of Happiness.” Every day I will share something I’ve done that day which nurtured happiness. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the last 18 months is that happiness is a choice, but it’s also a skill. We can learn to do things in ways that naturally enhance our happiness, making it easier to greet life’s challenges with equanimity. I’ve come a long way in developing some of these skills, but feel that I need a little brush-up course. It will help me finish up May with a happy heart and should also be a great springboard into summer. (I picked these flowers from my garden to help get me in the spirit.)
So come back tomorrow for Day 1, and let’s make these next 15 days the happiest of the year so far!
*edited to add: It seems there should be a spot for a list “15 Days of Happiness” posts, so here it is:
Your dream resonantly with me. In addition to all the usual challenges that come with this transitional season, most of our kids are facing challenges that aren’t typical. Add in personal medical challenges and time my husband and I are needing to repair and make up for neglect in our relationship and I have a dozen or more unusual things that I’m trying to jungle each day. It’s mentally exhausting. I had a realization this morning though and a deep sense of calm washed all the anxiety of the past months away. It was such an enormous relief that my instinct was to cling to the feeling. To fear losing it is to experience it’s loss though, so I held the feeling lightly and used it as a touchstone every time I felt a bit of panic creep in as I was dealing with our daily challenges. It’s not as strong now, but I have faith it’s available to me always. I am out of practice, so I’m reminding myself I have all the time I need to get this right. That and taking many deep breaths!
I started a bit early in your 15 days of happiness. On our way to buy new shoes for my littlest guy, he and my daughter kept commenting on the flowers we passed. We talked about which were our favorites and wondered which might smell good. We passed a line of lilac trees on the edge of a parking lot and I tried to explain to them what they were and how they smelled. They were disappointed that there weren’t any near the store we were going to, so we got back in the car, drove back and stopped to smell the flowers. They were heavenly! It was a perfect reminder that when life feels hard and joyless, it’s almost always my state of mind that’s creating that reality. The joy is all around me, I just have to take the time to stop and breath it in.
Sorry about the long post. Your words always ring true to me and are often a great reminder to create the life I want to live. I’ll check back with you tomorrow!