Happiness is…Not A Given Everyday! S’okay.

Life is hard. I hard that in a podcast yesterday, referencing the first sentence in Dr. M. Scott Peck’s bestselling book The Road Less Traveled. He said it’s important to reinforce that idea these days when we all think we need to be happy or we are doing this life thing all wrong.

That’s simply not true.

Whaaaat?

Sometimes, for maybe a day, or maybe a few years, we won’t be happy, because LIFE IS HARD, and things come up (a pandemic, a breakup, hating a job), but it doesn’t mean it won’t get better, or that you’re doing something wrong. It is just another piece to this big puzzle, and it is mercurial and evolving. Being happy is not somethings we can always maintain, despite our wishes for “a happy pill!”

I thought about that this morning when I went to let the dogs out early, and it was kind of rainy and damp, and I felt a sadness wash over me. I then thought back to yesterday, when I was at peace on a walk, and feeling so optimistic, because it was a beautiful and warm sunny day on the ocean (oh, and a vaccine may be coming and the election is over…sort of). It struck me how nothing had really changed since yesterday, so I thought I should shift my feeling to being happy. Ya know, ‘cuz it’s that easy!

Yesterday

But I did not. I decided to sit with my feelings and to accept them for what they were. Because life is hard, and we can’t expect so much! We may have to just let things be and ride the wave without impressing our own harsh judgments.

Easier said than done, I know. But something to consider, nonetheless. Remind yourself that the end game is to survive and enjoy MOST, but not all, of the ride. If we didn’t know sadness, we would not know joy!

Actual Joy Pictured

It’s Okay to Cry

I have cried, I think, once a day for the last seven days. That’s unusual for me…now. In my 20s and 30s, I am pretty sure I cried every day. I remember one of my close guy friends told me he hadn’t cried in several years, and I was befuddled. I was like, ‘HUH!? You must be so repressed! What is happening!?”

So I used to cry about big life things, such as, “I am never going to find ‘the one,'” and ‘Why can’t I figure out what I want to do with my life?” Ya know, your basic lame, white girl problems when you’re still on the dole of your Dad.

I know I’m 28, but can you send me my rent?

Now, I cry about things like when my son and I were walking the dogs last night, and he told me that my ex-husband probably married me for my looks, but “those have lowered.” Or, when I miss my long-distance boyfriend, and it hurts. Or, that I don’t always fit in.

I am not sad, really, no. I am just in-tune with my emotions, I guess?

I cried, too, this week when I saw my daughter sleeping next to me, as she does every night, and she’s so big now. She’s almost 8. I know, I know; she should sleep in her own bed. But, I’m alone, and I like to touch her ankles with my cold feet, and to hear her breathing, as I did when she was an infant and wouldn’t nap unless I lay down with her. I cried, because I remembered how tiny she was, in her zebra, zip-up, onesie, and how she smelled of powder and cornsilk on her fine hair. And how, at that time, things were so different, and I didn’t envision co-parenting and sleeping alone on Wednesdays.

The point I guess I’m trying to make is, it’s okay to cry, even if you’re happy. The tears stream down, cleanse you of those thoughts, and you can move on. People seem so concerned with appearing happy. I guess I’m just here to say, well, it’s okay to cry…

So Was it a “Mistake” or an “Experience?”

Today I heard the quote, “Experience is the name we give our mistakes.” It led me to reflect on all of my “mistakes,” of which there are plenty. I wondered if I could actually just chalk them up to experiences instead of what I’d felt were mistakes. And, the answer is: I’m not sure, and leaning towards ‘no.’

I mean, I can’t get those days, months, weeks or years back that I spent with someone I regret. Nor can I undo something tragic, that I think was a mistake, but I chose to do it.

I did it. It was my doing. So, was it an experience or a mistake?

That is the question.

This leads me to believe that if you CHOOSE to do something, it might, in fact, be a mistake, not an experience. Do you agree? An experience, to me, is something that happened to you or you were a part of. Like, you went on a trip to Cancun in college with a random group of kids on something called Sunsplash Tours–that’s an “experience.” (okay, full disclosure, I did that, and it might have been a mistake. Just saying.) Or, an experience could be getting stuck in an elevator. That’s a tough “experience,” but it’s not a mistake. It happened to you.

I think this quote was created so that we can exonerate ourselves and not feel shame or guilt for making a bad choice. It’s a pass, an out. I don’t like it. If you consider this wrongdoing a mistake, you are less apt to repeat it. Whereas you often can repeat an experience, and some are good and some are bad. Mistakes, to me, are not something we think of as good.

I spend an inordinate amount of time on wishing I could undo mistakes. Like, if I hadn’t done this then I’d be…always somehow in a better place in life. #wasteoftime (click here if you want to find a way to welcome unwelcome feelings).

We can’t undo our mistakes. We can someday call them experiences, I guess, but the best thing we can do is LEARN FROM THEM!

The other thing we can do is keep making them. I think if you are too afraid to make a mistake, then you will always stay in the safe zone and on the sidelines. You may never make a discovery, personal or professional. I believe in jumping in, full force, and then just spending inordinate amounts of time hating yourself later if it doesn’t work out.

Ha! I mean, that’s kind of what I do. That’s rotten advice. Sorry.


This is good advice though:

And a person who has only experiences, and not mistakes, is not real.

Pet that unicorn for me.

The Universe IS a Thing: How do I Know? (Read to End)

I’ve become sort of obsessed with the idea of a universe, and the notion that there is some invisible hand guiding us towards where we are meant to be. I recently listened to a podcast in which a woman was struggling with fertility, and she lay very still one day, crying, and she asked the universe to send her a sign, any sign, that she was on the right path in her life. It didn’t happen immediately, but later that day, she was sitting at her desk and saw a flock of wild turkeys. They were all over her lawn. She took a moment to notice and looked up what the wild turkey is a symbol of, and guess what? It’s a symbol of fertility! She knew, in that instance, the universe responded to her plea, and she was on the right path.

Okay, for you skeptics, stop laughing, and, no, I have not lost it! I decided, though, I would just try this for myself. I stood very still on my walk after hearing the podcast, and I closed my eyes. My head was tilted up towards the sky, and I said, “Universe, please send me a sign I’m on the right path.” I said this quietly, in a whisper, so a passersby would not think I was a complete freak.

And, you know what happened?

I got a sign! (Well, I think…).

Oh, hello.

When I got home from that walk, I was in my backyard, and I saw something in the baby pool. It was a cricket! And it was drowning. I reached into the water, held the cricket, and let it go. It was safe. I then looked up what the cricket is a symbol of:

“If the cricket crosses your path, it is a symbol of good luck and fortune, so you don’t have to worry for your future. You have worked hard and now it is time to make all your dreams come true. The cricket as your spirit animal will protect you and it will bring joy into your life.”

The cricket is a sign of exceptional luck! I was reassured that I was on the right path. The only issue, and tell me what you think: does it mean something that it was drowning? So, then, I had to look this up, and it said:

“Because of the water, drowning depicts fear of being overwhelmed by difficult emotions or anxieties,”

So, yeah, I think the cricket was reassuring me and mitigating any worries I have about my life in its present state, which is a little unsettling at this time that I’m not working, other than focusing on my writing.

I suggest you, too, try this exercise. Keep your heart and eyes open for the rest of the day to take notice. Let me know what you find in the comments!

P.S. THIS IS CRAZY: I finished writing that sentence, and I saw something coming towards me on my dining room table. And, get this: it’s a ladybug! On my table. Oh my God. It’s on my computer now! I am freaking out. Here is the photo:

Let me see what that means.

What Do Ladybugs Symbolize?

Whether you meet the ladybug in reality or in a dream, it is generally considered a symbol of good luck and happiness.

  • The main meanings of the ladybug are:
  • Good fortune
  • Innocence
  • True love
  • Importance of lightness
  • Changes, even metamorphosis
  • Divine intervention
  • Going beyond illusion
  • A happy resolution to a hassle
  • The miraculous at play in the everyday life
  • The importance of staying alert to avoid pitfalls
  • The need to know yourself well to make the right life choices

WOW! Okay, go try this, guys. Oh, and I guess I’m lucky! Stay tuned!

That was weird! There is a universe…

Welcoming Unwelcome Feelings

Sometimes I wake up in this awful shame cycle and think, “I’d be better off if I just locked myself in a basement.” Does that happen to you? Like, you do something or say something and realize you are really not fit for society? Initially, I woke up today feeling that angst and did everything I could to recalibrate and combat that feeling, like go on my new elliptical machine for 45 minutes while watching reality TV, walking my dogs, and now writing. But, I think, as the poet Rumi suggested, maybe I should just welcome this feeling and sit with it, because it may bring me guidance.

Do you ever feel like this?

In his poem The Guest House, Rumi uses uses the image of a guest house as a metaphor that each day is an opportunity to experience something new in our lives, even if it’s unexpected, and each feeling should be welcomed, no matter how unpleasant. We must welcome these “guests,” or feelings of happiness and joy as well as shame and depression. In treating these visitors with equal respect and courage, no matter how unwelcome the feelings are, we can learn from them, and perhaps use them to navigate moving forward.

Okay, so I am sitting here now, welcoming these feelings…and eating pretzels #truth. That is one thing I feel gross about: I ate like 9,000 carbs yesterday, including hot pretzel nuggets with cheese and, that’s not all, it was followed by a bowl of pasta. That’s so not on the diet. However, I did run 7 miles, so maybe that’s allowed! Don’t runners maul pasta before a race? Okay, so I did it afterwards, with a glass of wine…maybe not a tip in Women’s Fitness magazine.

I also can over-share. I do this like every day. I mean, I guess being a blogger, you need to share yourself. If I didn’t write anything personal, it would not resonate with readers. I so envy those who wear their cards close to the vest: the keen listeners and observers who probably never leave a party and think, “Wait, WHY did I say that?!”

So, on the flip side, here I am criticizing myself AGAIN, adding to the shame cycle, which I should in fact be instead welcoming. What can I learn from that? I guess to shut my yapper? Become a different person? I like myself though! I just wish I could be myself, but alone in the basement. I care too much about what others think.

Who are your “house guests” today? Please leave a comment. Oh, and if you don’t know the poem, here it is:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks