Thursday, June 4, 2009

How to Be Happy. Now.

I have a confession to make.

Lately, I've been waiting for all of this to just be over and forgetting to be happy.

My thoughts have looked like this:

-Once this is all over, we'll be happy.
-I just want this to be done.
-I can't take it anymore.
-We should never have bought this house.
-Why was I so stupid?
-I'm just so tired of all of this.
-I just need to save us to make it all better.
-Why has everything gone wrong?!
-We just need to get out of here.
-Once we get out of here, go back to Chicago for a respite, regroup, get back on our feet, everything will be fine.

But what about now? This moment?

These thoughts make me pretty miserable. They're anxiety-causing. They're trouble!

As soon as I dwell on the past and my mistakes, I'm immediately suffering. As soon as I focus on just getting out of this and on with my life, I'm missing my life.

We've been going through this for 9 months, right? What if for 9 months all I thought was, "Everything will be fine once this is over." Well, I would have missed 9 months of life... of living, discovering and creating. I would have sat around waiting for it to be over and might possibly have had a nervous breakdown.

Waiting for it to be over = missing out on life

And that is not okay with me.

When this all began, we agreed to stay 'in the moment,' and see the opportunity in every moment. To get that being happy has nothing to do with the circumstances of your life. If money can't make you happy, then lack of money can't make you sad. Right? Right!

We've learned so much along the way. The biggest triumph for me is really getting that we don't need money and stuff to make us happy. To be complete. We just need each other and a good dose of perspective. Love. And each other. Sharing our fears and hopes, connecting and rising above the morass.

I have to say, this blog keeps me honest. When I hear myself complain or lament our situation, it doesn't take long for me to think:
Hey! You started this blog for a reason. You're committed to being happy in the moment. Remember? In the now. In foreclosure. In default. In debt. Happy. In limbo and in love. In whatever. That's your commitment. That's what you write about. And you know being happy is just as possible as being miserable. You know this. So stop this nasty downward spiral and go do something productive. Give Bob a kiss. Pet the dog. Clean the kitchen. Sit in the sun for a minute. Write a blog post. Call a friend just to say hi. Whatever, but just be happy. Now.

Yesterday Good Karma Housekeeping blogged about "Love in the Time of Foreclosure" and referenced this wonderful quote from Michael J. Fox who said:
“Happiness grows in direct proportion to your acceptance and inverse proportion to your expectations. This is what I have today . . . I don’t have a choice about this, but I have a million other choices. And if I choose well, I’m going to be a happy person.”

I so agree. There's so much that is out of our control, but our happiness is not. It's one thing that is most definitely within our control. Like Michael J. Fox, I believe it is a choice. And I'm choosing happiness.

Now if you'd excuse me, I have a husband to kiss, a dog to pet, a kitchen to clean, possessions to sell, a friend to call just to say hi and sunshine to enjoy...


Do you ever intervene in your unhappy thoughts? If so, what do you do to re-presence yourself to happiness?


bejaypea said...

I was voted class pessimest when I graduated high school. This fact embarasses me. I have spent years putting the pessimism tag behind me. And, excepting a few negative bits here and there, I am pretty good at maintaining a positive attitude. But it took a pretty strong calling out (and a terrible picture in the yearbook) to nudge me towards the life change. I agree that attitude is a choice.

Kim Hooper said...

I have to say that I really admire your resolve to be in the moment. I'm very, very bad at this. I don't tread much into the past, but I like to run, full-speed, into the future...all the time. I worry so much that, like you said, I miss out NOW. Attitude is a choice. Sometimes we have to catch ourselves when the spinning starts and just say, "Stop" (or have a glass of wine).

kaballera said...

The lesson you are sharing here is such an important one and totally applicable to so many things that we experience in life... The practice (and it really does feel like a practice every time you do it!) of being in the moment has saved my a** on more than one (thousand?) occasions... This post reminds me of a lyric by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Mirah:

"The trouble with everything always is nothing's just right. Just to figure out nothing could keep you awake half the night."

Anonymous said...

I have a good friend who told me that if you are laughing you are living in the moment. I have reminded myself of this frequently lately since being laid off. I have been laughing alot in between crying. My last day of work was today. The door has closed on this phase of my life and I am in the hallway waiting for another door, or perhaps a window, to open. Attitude is definitley a choice, Steph, you are doing fine. Good luck in your journey!

Holly said...

I love the quote in the comment above: "If you are laughing, you are living in the moment." What a great perspctive.

Happiness or Bust ;-)

Love in the Time of Foreclosure said...

Oooh, I'm loving these comments. Thanks, guys.

That IS great. About the laughter and living in the moment. I think I'll see a comedy this weekend. Maybe "The Hangover." Has anyone seen it yet? Will it make me laugh?

primetimemom said...

I'm trying to conciously think positive thoughts. I go into a dark funk sometimes and don't want to exercise or talk to anyone but I am trying to get out of that funk by getting in touch with nature. Even if it's watering my plants, picking up the dog poop or taking the dogs for a walk on the beach. It's one step forward. I refuse to take any more steps back.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steph,

I'd like to take this one step further and see a post about the things that you and Bob experienced in the last nine months that you wouldve missed out on if you werent being present. Nothing like concrete examples to really remind you of why its worth it!

Love love love!

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