Lesson No. 1 – The Search for Happiness
Well, you can’t say that I didn’t try to obtain formal permission to blog about The Joy Within (Joan Goldstein & Manuela Soares ISBN 0-13-511338-5). I posted a request in the forums at the Simon and Schuster website, and when that attracted nothing, I found the “contact us” form on their home page and sent an e-mail. It’s been about 10 days now and still no reply. So, I’m going to delve into the project without formal blessings from the author or publishers and hope that I don’t piss anyone off in the process.
Here’s the official up-sell, and if you want to pick up a copy and join me in my quest for JOY feel free. I think it would be fun to have a few “cronies” to compare notes with.
www.amazon.com – everyone know who these guys are!
At my age, I like to think that I’ve been there and done that (I’ll be 48 this summer, FYI). In the grand scheme, I really haven’t. But you develop a certain “jaded” quality with age. I am divorced, have a number of X’s and until recently was quite content to stick my head in the sand, and just dream about building my farm (www.summerberryorganics.com). I can’t explain it, but physically, I am precisely where I am supposed to be. Emotionally, however, is another matter entirely.
It is said that only your soul mate can break your heart. I agree. I had started writing about that experience and then that project got set aside in for lack of devotion and a driving need to be as far away as possible. This seems to be a trend with me, I start things but never truly complete them. What I have discovered via many hours on the phone with my girlfriends (and I keep very FEW close friends) that what I’m missing in my life is MY OWN JOY. I’ve never truly pursued ME. There’s always been one reason or another to avoid finding my own happiness, and now, that needs to be corrected. My nest of assorted children is just about empty, so there’s no excuse there anymore.
The lessons in The Joy Within are broken down into Outer Focus and Inner Focus exercises. The first exercise is to make a list of what makes me happy.
My list seems to be REALLY, REALLY long. I have found that in compiling my list that I find I keep adding to it. The “list” is seemingly never complete. It also seems to give me an excuse to NOT get to the Inner Focus exercise which is actually doing the meditation.
The pattern repeats itself. I know that I have a true gift for procrastination, and am not entirely certain how to fix that. I’m sure that answer will come along with all the others I seek.
SO, to get busy here – the SHORT list…THINGS THAT BRING ME HAPPINESS:
Money – this has to be number 1 on the list. I have a huge hang up about security and money. I will tolerate pretty much anything to make sure the bills are paid and there’s food in the cupboard. I suspect this stems from not being able to really MAKE a lot of money at any given time.
Skating – I LIVE to ice skate. Currently I have been blessed with coaching assignments in three small towns. When I enter those rinks, skate bag in hand, the entire world ceases to exist! My feet hit the ice, the music plays, the students smile and start their practices. It’s the closest that you can get to flying without ever leaving the ground!
Going to work – I know this seems a little out of line with the standard definition of being happy, but I truly enjoy my job as a grocery clerk in the local retail. The customers, the ever changing inventories of food items, chatting with people. I don’t make bugger all for money (retail wages, well, they suck) but I feel great when my shift is over.
Summerberry Organics – this will be “the farm” one day. I like to think of it as a painting that will never truly be finished. When I leave this world, I would like my ashes distributed there. There is peace, solitude, a blank canvas. www.summerberryorganics.com
Roses – To me there is perfection in them. I’d have to say I like red ones the best, mostly because I’m a romantic fool at heart. A single rose says more than any bouquet. They are a perfectly simple, perfectly profound statement in a single flower.
Stars – Every so often I will open my eyes in the morning and there will be a single, bright star shining through the spruce tree outside my bedroom window. These seem to be the BEST days for me. That star fills me with hope. Hope for my future. It’s an assurance that everything will be fine. One day. Where I live, we have vast open skies. There’s many nights when the weather is clear that I will just stand outside and stare up at them. I give thanks to them for being there. I marvel at them.
Sunrise – This may seem a little silly. After all, who DOESN’T like sunrise. There are days when I’m actually UP before sunrise (see note about the star above). With coffee in hand I venture outside and just stand there and watch. I wait for the sun to blaze over the tops of the houses along my street and I just stand there in it. I let the rays wash over me. I find them cleansing. I will say a prayer in honor of the new day.
There you have it. The SHORT list. Now to get on with the INNER focus of the exercise. I’m not sure which item I will start with. I have read through the prefaces and the introduction. I think the hardest part of settling down to the inner focus will be quieting my own mind. It’s a total chatterbox! I need to be able to enter a mode of “no thought” in order to properly visualize that which brings me joy. I think achieving the “blank brain” zone is going to be the hardest part of all.