Day 51/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Mood; distracted
Mid-forties, miserable and mothering, the motivation for that quest for happiness was seriously becoming jaded.
You know what they say about searching for happiness? It's not something you find, it's something you are. Well, unless you know how to do happy, it's definitely a search. There's a path that you're looking for. You know it's there, but where and what are the keys that you need to discover.
Eventually the tide turned as I began to look back over my life to try to remember anything that brought me a modicum of joy.
If you're looking for happiness look back before you look forward. Yes, thank you Sarah, that's an important key. Could I have stumbled onto this simple idea earlier?
Today's inspiration is to look back for glimpses of joy, pleasure, excitement that you've forgotten about.
Just focus on the things that brought you joy today.
Take some time, make a cuppa, put on your favourite recording artists, Elvis, the Bee Gees, the Beatles, and open those boxes of high school yearbooks, family photo albums, old journals, school projects.
Trace your life back through the ages to your earliest memories, and look for evidence of your joys, your preferences, things that brought you pleasure.
Most of us have forgotten these. Be patient, allow time, it doesn't have to be done at one sitting.
Just two words sent me on this journey back.
It was said as though it was a command. FEEL GOOD!
If you recall the movie, The Secret, it was the very last scene. Rhonda Byrne drew these words in the sand on the beach. FEEL GOOD! This last scene was the most impressive part of the movie for me. FEEL GOOD!
I put that last scene on replay and watched it over and over. FEEL GOOD!
Piecing together the puzzle of when I last felt good took me about 3 weeks. My list was short, I sat there with pen poised and no clue where to start.
The first day I couldn't write anything on that list, the second I came up with a few ideas, the 3rd, nothing.
At the end of 3 weeks I had about 6 or 7 things on my list:
walking on the grass barefoot
walking through the soft warm sand on a Queensland beach, or any beach would do
brunch out on Sunday mornings
long chats with old friends
and pink roses
Each day going forth, I would indulge in one or more of those activities.
Vases of pink roses graced my work and home desk for months. My days became animated as I looked forward to when I would do that one feel good thing from my list, usually scheduled for the end of the day.
Small glimpses of pleasure began to glow through the cracks of a life that was filled with responsibility, hard work, making ends meet, and parenting solo.
The experience of pleasure began to delight me. And it triggered all manner of guilt. Raised with the ethos that "we're not here to be happy, that our rewards would be in heaven, that hard work and sacrifice was the honourable way", it was a tricky transition.
That list continued to grow. Finally a breakthrough in my search that changed my life.
Are you happy? Ask yourself that question. Some people suggest that they are not seeking to be happy, they like to be challenged, or they prefer contentment over joy. So if your form of happy is not joy, that's all good and fine. Make sure you're living it.
On another note: today I am feeling particularly sad. It's difficult to write this blog. Yesterday, another family was murdered in Brisbane in an act of domestic violence. An ex-wife, and 3 beautiful small children in horrendous circumstances. My heart is very sad today.
Take care of you and yours. Get help if things aren't going well for you. We live in times when it is difficult for most of us. We struggle with so many things and we forget to reach out and ask for help. We need to find ways to support and connect and share the worries and find collective solutions. We're all in this together. Please don't struggle alone.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.