Monday, July 21, 2008

This is......what makes me happy.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, yesterday afternoon.

Wow, what a theme! I've been thinking about this so hard.

Earlier today I was about to start my response to the theme and planned to just simply state that being able to raise my son was what made me happy. Then unexpectedly, he launched into a tantrum after waking from a rare nap and started screaming and screaming and screaming - for about 30 minutes. He then chased me around the house screaming. He wanted me but didn't. He'd ask for a hug, push me away etc. I could not deduce what in the world was going on. This kind of thing can make me angry and exasperated. I have a hard time not engaging in it myself and have to work quite hard to remain mindful of my reactions and assumptions. I frequently don't succeed.

THEN, he stood in the kitchen and wee'ed in his pants, stopping the screaming long enough to ask sweetly for a dry pair of socks. My 'in the head' reaction was - "this parenting thing sucks the big one!!" Can I really honestly say that this is what makes me happy when I'm feeling so miserable right now?

So it occurred to me during this mayhem, that happiness does not live in isolation from all the other emotions we experience. There is an interconnectedness, a fluidity between emotions, actions and reactions which provides the platform for happiness to exist. Without strife, how would we know what we've gained. Without agony, can we truly recognize joy? Buddhist thought reckons that pure happiness is felt when experiencing 'being in the moment'. Continually 'being in the moment' is a simple idea, but a very difficult task requiring a lifetime of mindfulness practice. This does not come easily to me. Still, I've experienced happiness of this kind - where the mind is not engaged in reviewing the past or worrying about the future but instead, every cell is awake in the moment and time slows down enough to relish it.

The potential is there for transformation. Contentment becomes happiness, pride in accomplishment transforms into happiness, thankfulness leads to happiness, patience evolves into happiness, love is happiness. Even in ones worst possible moments in life, hopeful emotions can co-exist next to the despairing ones. When Søren died, my agony penetrated every cell of my body. That is to be expected. What I didn't anticipate was how the pride and love I felt for him, my son, my beautiful son, would bring little green runners of happiness to me. I learned that while I'd always feel deep pain about his absence, I'd also in contradiction, feel immense pride for my beautiful boy, for all my children. And that pride can not exist without little runners of joy, not happy that they died, never that, but quite precisely, happy that they lived. Death does not sever love.

Whew, went off there. I wasn't intending to write a thesis! So what does all this mean for me this afternoon? Well, I'm happy to say that I did not engage in the battle of the tantrum wills. I was very proud of my husband for his expertise in calming the bubster down and that pride made me feel love and happiness. He then took the bubster out for a car ride which allowed me to accomplish something I rarely do - mop the kitchen floor. Happy! Then I've been here writing, spending time with myself with few distractions (my projection into the future about what to make for dinner being the most persistent). And it feels good to be with myself. And you. So, what makes me happy? This quote by Deborah Hay leads me to happiness because it gives me permission to be me.

"You are whole. You are changing. Whatever you see reminds you of your wholeness changing. Invite being seen. Invite being seen but not identifiable in your fabulously unique 3 dimensional body."

And to add, eating chocolate while drinking Baileys on the rocks makes me extremely happy. Talk about being in the moment!!!

This week's thoughtful theme is brought to you by Jacinta at One Little Acorn. To see who is playing along, please visit our host Angela at Three Buttons.

P.S. I've decided on spaghetti bolognese for tonight.


Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

Another great post. I enjoy your blog so much.

I love those moments when you manage "being in the moment". I often experience it when I am crafting. It happens at other time but crafting really makes it happen.

Karin said...

Bigcat, dancing has always been 'in the moment' for me because you can't do the movement if you aren't. Performing on stage is very in the moment. But I'm continually applying what I learned and experienced from that time in my life to my current life. I'm so so thankful that I had those experiences. And that makes me happy. LOL!!!

By the way, I enjoy your blog too. It is a daily stop for me!!!

Maureen Reynolds said...

Karin, thanks for visiting me. You have had quite a life journey. Your posting really clarifies the shadow side of happiness, the quality that takes it from superficial to a happiness with depth.

fwiw, I think adults have those tantrum-y times too...with no visible reason it seems. ;-)

Jacinta said...

Beautiful post - very sensitive and thoughtful. That you can find happiness in so many things is a tribute to your family and how much you obviously love them.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly.

kate said...

beautiful post! And so very true.

Anonymous said...

Wow Karin! THANK YOU for writing this. I love how you keep this website and share these things. Miss you heaps. Katxx

Anonymous said...

Wow Karin! THANK YOU for writing this. I love how you keep this website and share these things. Miss you heaps. Katxx