Saturday, October 15, 2011

Joy!



I have no idea where this is from, or who the child is, but it makes me beam.

Now for something off topic.

During our very difficult time (of which elements continue, of course), everything felt like it was on fire, burning all around me, burning to the ground. Everywhere I turned things that I had worked for over decades turned to ashes at our feet.

At one point, when I was walking through the house late at night I felt there was only one thing left I had control over.

Me.

I could wait for happiness to come on the heels of some change in fortune or I could try to grow it in this rubble. I worked on finding positive things, even if they were extremely slight. I downloaded the "optimist's creed" and taped it to my mirror.

But every day the creed was there on my mirror. I'd take one line and try to live it during the day. I found it was harder than I thought to keep to it, and I failed often. Yet it was still there on the mirror the next morning.

After about 3 months I started to feel different. It wasn't always easier, but deeper. It didn't feel as forced, thnking and being positive came much easier.

Then in small ways our lives turned around. Very small things at first, the equivalent of finding a few extra dollars in life's sofa cushion. Happiness showed up unexpected around corners. And then the big change when DH landed work.

What I realize is that the job, while a blessing, is not our source of happiness. No question that it relieves the pressure, but the happiness arrived before the job.

The next step on the journey slowly bloomed. I recently decided that it is my role in life (well one of them) to spread joy. Sure I have a humor column and that's a start. But I've been (obnoxiously at times) working on finding ways to bring joy to people. Making the guy on the phone at the pharmacy laugh. sending thank you notes. Calling colleagues to check on their family. You know, daily nice things, hoping it'll be a brighter point in someone's day.

Not changing the world, not yet. But working from the inside out.

I've taken this approach with my horses too. I've presumed that they too could use some joy. It's not about cookies, it's mostly taking time, trusting my instincts, and becoming more quiet, gentle and consistent.

The change there has been gradual too. Only recently have I been able to even become aware of the shift. I don't have a name for it, but I know one thing.

It sure is more fun.

14 comments:

Kate said...

Just lovely - thank you - we can all use a reminder like this.

Grey Horse Matters said...

The way you've changed your outlook on life is wonderful. If we could all take a page from your book or mirror I think we'd all find happiness. Actually, I'm like you, I try to be upbeat and bring a smile to people's lives when I can. So glad things are going better for your family now. I'm sure the horses appreciate the extra time you spend with them too. Great post with wise words.

Allenspark Lodge said...

Here at the lodge, we had a laundry service that washed and ironed the cloth napkins we used for weddings. They came back so out of square We couldn't fold them correctly. Finally I called the laundry and asked who ironed our napkins. The gal that answered the phone said "I did". I thanked her for doing such a wonderful job, and told her how delighted I was with her work and how much I appreciated it.

From that day on, they were perfect, and she felt like she was doing a good job.

You can catch more flies with honey that vinegar, but bull$#!t will REALLY bring 'em in.

Bill

Allenspark Lodge said...

That picture makes me very VERY happy. Thanks!

Bill

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Great picture and well said.

Dan

Maia said...

Me again. Don't you just love the secret!

Fetlock said...

Been doing a lot of thinking about this myself lately (I love your 'spare change in life's sofa cushions' line--ain't it the truth). My husband received an unexpectedly big bonus from work this fall--a bonus with neatly popped us out of the hole we were in from my four months out of work again this year. It was almost like we'd custom ordered it.

Even if positive thinking doesn't change much, it sure helps you feel better when bad things are happening--and isn't that a good enough reason to practice it? (Thanks for your nice comment on my blog earlier today, by the way.)

kden said...

Beautiful picture, it looks like they are both squealing at the same thing. Wonderful post and so in line with my new blog, thanks for stopping by. I've been to The Secret's website but it's been a long time. I feel like I've forgotten everything I had learned. I guess it's time to revisit. Thanks for the reminder.

John and Regina Zdravich said...

That is a great picture. And I love your "joy" philosophy -- it really does work! There is a book that runs down that philosophy for living, the title of which escapes me right now (groan!! -- somethng like "Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting..."). I read the book and while it came off as sort of corney and wierd, I started to follow it as best I could and saw some amazing results. I also believe that big change in the world comes in the form of small, individual contributions....You DO make a difference!

Leah Fry said...

Great photo, wherever it came from.

Matthew 6:27 asks if worry can add a single moment to our lives. It isn't that you are unaware of or in denial of what is happening, rather, you acknowledge it and choose to continue living in joy anyway.

Shirley said...

Wonderful post. The power of positive thinking shouldn't be underestimated, but it is so difficult to do when life throws you curve balls.

Jan said...

Breathe, Oh, this is just such a lovely, uplifting, inspiring, touching post! I'm so glad some things have turned around with your family, and am so glad for you that your optimism (and your perseverance at it) has bloomed and blossomed inside of you. So inspiring to hear about putting the optimistic guidelines on your mirror! And doubly inspiring about your efforts to spread joy- I want to be more like that. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.

Margaret said...

...becoming quiet, gentle, and consistent.

Horses read body language, pick up or slightest move .. and mood.

I think you are on to something good here... ;)

achieve1dream said...

This is an awesome post that I agree with 100%. I believe we make our own happiness with our own attitude. I've always been a "negative nelly" (learned from my mom) and it is very difficult to learn to be positive. It really is difficult to break a life long habit of always seeing and agonizing over the bad things in life, but when I finally made the decision to be more positive I quickly noticed a difference in myself, the people around me and the things happening in my life. Being positive makes such a huge difference. :) I'm glad you've discovered that secret too.