Saturday, October 4, 2014

100 Happy Days...Part 10

Day#91 - September 12, 2014

Day #92 – September 11, 2014
You know that time...when after you’ve made a big decision…big like you’ve really had to wrestle to get to the right answer...and when that answer...your decision....and it's right-ness….is confirmed and then re-affirmed to you. That time…when you know both in your head and in your heart that you found clarity….those…those are the best of times…

Day #93 - September 12, 2014

Day #94 - September 13, 2014 

Day #95 - September 14, 2014 

Day #96 - September 15, 2014

Day #97 - September 16, 2014 

Day #98 - September 17, 2014 

Day#99 - September 18, 2014 

So, ninety-nine days of happy thoughts. I'm sure for some...this silly Internet craze can be considered both cheesy and perhaps a bit exhaustive at this point.... I mean 99 posts....excessive? Neurotic? Overboard? Lame? Perhaps a little bit of all four. To those who have wondered...will this silly countdown ever stop? Thanks for your patience and Woohoo we have both finally made it. For me, this little reflective practice started with a determination to find...and let’s be real, some day’s milk...a little focused happiness out of life. I'll be honest, some days it was easier to write about happiness than others. However, now 100 days later.... this little positivity seeking practice has proven to be very beneficial in increasing my overall outlook and mood and I've discovered a few important things about myself.
What is happiness anyway? How do we get more of it? AND when will they start selling it at Costco? Endless self-help books, seminars, workshops, conferences and research projects are centered on the idea of lassoing and even harnessing life happiness. I'm clearly no expert on the topic but I do know that there is some kind of cosmic connection between happiness and our willingness to seek it out. After 99 pesky posts...I think I may have a better idea. It’s long lunches with good friends. It’s flowers and mountains and gardens and vistas. It’s belly laughs with family. It’s children…children and teens everyday. It’s movies and music and books and podcasts. Its color-loaded paintbrushes and jars full of sharpies. It’s every book written by Dr. Berne Brown. It’s road trips. It’s sleeping in and working hard both in the same day. It’s getting acquainted with teens and young adults who were once children and realizing what incredible adults they are becoming. It’s the determination of garden slugs. It’s fine art and pom-pom and pipe cleaner creatures made by children. It’s the knowledge that families come in all shapes and sizes. It’s ping-pong patio parties with popsicles and popcorn and people you love most. It’s starting and ending each day with Burke by my side. Happiness takes work and it’s not for the weak at heart. It takes focused energy and attention to chose the better part…daily…and especially when you’d rather crawl back into the comfortable dark places of doubt, indecision and fear.
Now 100 days later, I can easily report that I’m a big believer of actively seeking out the sunshine especially when so often this human experience demands we not only deal with… but dance with our personal demons. Sometimes it's a Waltz and the demons show up with measured… the demons demand a Tango with dramatic changes in perspective and direction. On other days, the emotional and mental throw down looks more like a Cha Cha with equal parts progression as regression. All the while, with every carefully choreographed port de bras, barrel roll, split leap, jazz hands and courageous shuffle ball change…its happiness we want to reach, experience and hold on to. My demons are no bigger or more challenging than anyone else’s demons. Over the last year, life has provided ample opportunities for me to build up my Ginger Rogers dancing skills and focusing on happiness each day has absolutely increased my ability to both deal AND dance.
I claim to be no expert on happiness and Burke can quickly report that not all 100 days have been jam packed with kittens and licorice rainbow experiences. Like so many, most of my days are held together with scotch tape and string and in the end…I think that is actually pretty all right. My flowerbeds have weeds. My bathtub could use a good scrubbing. My car has not been vacuumed in….months? I’ve got stacks of “to do’s” and piles of “when I get time…”and I think it’s actually just fine. What I do know is that after 99 days of searching for the good...even when at the garden snail level...and writing it down has increased my ability to stabilize and balance. I have a greater understanding of life limits and the need for self-care. I've learned to slow down a bit and focus both my brain and my camera phone on the little things that make up the big things. I’ve learned that I need to paint and write everyday. I now take greater confidence in my limited understanding of THE great Creator; in the world He created for me and in my tiny abilities to improve it. The older I get the more convinced I am that life is as messy and nuanced and complicated and dynamic for EVERYONE! This human experience is beautiful and exciting and challenging and fun. After 100 days of posts and photos and attempts of capturing, investigating and identifying happiness I think Henry David Thoreau actually said it best: “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come sit softly on your shoulder.” Thanks for humoring me along the way. 

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