Elusive Happiness

Photo by Elizabeth Munroz

What ever happened to happily ever after? That was all hype, like Santa Claus, Leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, and all that other bunch of lies that were perpetrated upon us as kids. There ought to be a Law!!!

Really... I think happiness is what we make it.

As the Buddhists say, one of the first truths is that we all have suffering, none can escape it. Once that sinks in, we can work from it, or around it or with it, or whatever. The Buddhists also say that the one thing in life that is constant is change.

My life often seemed as though it had all been one big dark pit of suffering. Truly, a lot of it I brought on myself by my attitude towards things. At the time I didn't know any better. How could I cope if no one I knew had the skills to be an example to me? I guess I could say I came from a dysfunctional family. But, how were they to know, either, if they were brought up when times were so challenging all you could think about was where the next meal would come from.

The person I am today is not who I once was. Somewhere along the way I learned that happiness is not meant to be a permanent condition. What a shock when I found that out! I thought I had been missing out on something everyone else had.

I think it's a good thing we don't have an abundance of joy. We would get bored with it. Don't you think? In order to appreciate happiness, thrill to it, we must be deprived of it, before it fills us to overflowing. (Shades of "My Cup Runneth Over").

Photo Art by Elizabeth Munroz
It's funny how the littlest things make me happy now, that I never even considered worthy of the appellation. Simply watching what's going on around me without judging it, for example. When I'm down, I might just make myself smile. At first, it makes me feel a fake happiness that catches on and becomes real the more I do it. Perhaps the body, the mind, the spirit needs reminding? Sounds crazy I know, but I am probably somewhat that, too. Psychiatrists say that everyone has a bit of neurosis. Yes?

Then, of course, there's Chocolate Happiness!  'Nuf said on that one.

I'm of a believer in the concept of destiny. Not that we are pawns of it, but that we have opportunity to enhance life and challenge us to become the best we can be. Naturally we do not live the perfect path, but some acceptance of the painful things sure goes a long way for making life easier.

When I look back, I can see that so many things I previously considered disastrous in my life were actually good things. While I was going through challenges and difficulties, even of the worst kind, I clung to the "woe is me" sentiment. I sometimes felt victimized and helpless. I tolerated those situations way too long before setting myself free. Often this occurred in a very traumatic way, as I went through it all in a most negative attitude. "Oh, poor me. Life is hard. Other people have it so easy. No wonder they are happy." Life might have been easier had I not looked at life from such a viewpoint.

Photo by Elizabeth Munroz
Yet, today, looking at my experiences, I do not regret a single moment of it. Lessons were to be learned. Understanding needed to be gained. Everyone goes through it. If I had clung to what I thought was going to bring me happiness, I never would have been able to face today. It is all the more precious!

All this brings me deep in my soul, healing and satisfaction beyond mere happiness. I find that I can accept the things that happen in my life. I am aware of the attitudes I had about them in the past. I feel it brings me a compassionate heart that opens to heartfelt pain and full love for others I have never met. See what I mean?

I had cancer, and many disfiguring surgeries. I had marriages that failed. Children lost to me. Friends who couldn't deal with illness. I suffered and had such a negative attitude about it for years. Yet, it has all made me the person I am today. Way stronger of an individual than I ever could have dreamed of being without it. Dealing with Leukemia, even the so-called easy kind is my permanent future. I'm not pretending to be a positive thinker. I just take one day at a time, and thank science for having a chemo pill I can pop every day so that my cancer is controlled. Sure, there are side effects, and I don't always feel well, going to the doctor is a regular part of my life. It is what it is. Some days are worse than others. But, I make the best of it.

I know not everyone looks at things this way. But this is my take on it, and it makes me happy.

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