Monday, July 11, 2011

The Search for Happiness

"There is nothing more beautiful, powerful, and free than the person who chooses to love themself." Christine Arylo, 40-Day Summer of Love and Miracles.

I am currently participating in a 40-day "Fear Cleansing" with the crazy, awesome, spirit junkie, GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN and her spiritual running buddy, CHRISTINE ARYLO. Through this process, I've realized I'm not so much afraid in life, as I am resigned, sad, bitter, and jealous, with an ugly dash of angry thrown in for "good" (aka,"self-serving") measure. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy most of the time. But there are those other times when I allow my Mean Girl or Sad Girl or Bitter Girl or, my personal favorite, Poor Me Girl to creep in and wreak emotional havoc. I hate when that happens. And what's worse is I know I have total control over it. The first thought isn't in your control. Fortunately (or unfortunately!), the ones that follow are. Admitting I have total control over my feelings proves that I do - on some level - at certain points throughout my day - CHOOSE to be miserable. 

But, why? Why on earth would I do a crazy thing like that? Why on earth do we do crazy things like that? It's simple. Feeling sorry for ourselves allows us to be right and make others wrong. It allows us to not take action/be lazy (I don't know about you, but when I'm down, I get VERY tired). It gives us a reason to complain, feel bitter, angry, and most importantly, to put the blame for our sorrow/anger/jealousy/resentment, etc. on someone else's head.

I watched the interview with Diane Sawyer and Jaycee Dugard last night. Jaycee was kidnapped by a deranged sex offender and his equally twisted wife when she was only 11 years old. She was held captive for 18 years, and had two children fathered by her captor. During the interview, Jaycee smiled a lot. She laughed a lot. She seemed genuinely happy. I'm inspired by her for surviving and thriving, and am deeply grateful for the HUGE lesson she taught: It's not what "happens to us," it's what we "make it mean." If she can be happy after losing her entire childhood and so much more at the hands of a madman, what's my excuse for not doing cartwheels every five minutes? (Besides the fact I might kill myself if I tried!) My sad story is a walk with the angels compared to Jaycee's.

Of course, I "know" this. I've participated in the transformational work of The Landmark Forum, I've read Byron Katie, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and many others who have great lessons to teach. 

For me, it's a matter of being present to and grateful for the magnificence of my life and the people in it. In order to remind myself of my many gifts, I get Weekly Happiness Assignments from the brilliant, generous, and deeply beautiful Sharon Chumash (I highly recommend you sign up for these magnificent - and free! - gems) and daily Miracle Messages from Gabby and Christine from the 40-Day Fear Cleanse. I'm getting back into the habit of meditating, stretching, and yoga, which I've found to be a profound way to become present to the wonder of my existence. In addition, I'm committed to performing transformational acts of forgiveness, kindness, and self-love.

In that vein, I want each of you reading this to know your heart touches mine. For that, I am deeply grateful.

What about you? What do you do to stay focused on the enormous gift that is your life? And, how do you give your Mean Girl/Guy a proper flogging?

24 comments:

Ruthanne Reid said...

Awww! *hugs*

Wow. What a touching post.

It's always amazed me when people are able to overcome! It really is true that your attitude determines your altitude.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Ruthanne, Thanks & hugs back atcha! Her story is so inspiring. It gives me faith in the human spirit. ;-)

Mollie said...

smile. It exercises your face.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Mollie, Words of wisdom.

Karen Walker said...

I suffer from a similar problem. For me, happiness comes in moments. It's certainly not there all the time. I don't wallow in self-pity or misery. I allow myself a pity party, but put a time limit on it. LIfe is hard and I can't always put my game face on. But we do have choice about how we react and respond to our feelings, and I'm working on that. Wishing you well, Debra.
Karen

Sharon said...

I keep thinking about this blog post and how beautiful, focused, genuine, inspiring, raw, insightful, and in tune you are with finding happiness. If everyone could be as determined, and in tune as you are with yourself and your surroundings, this world would be such a better place.

I can see how you take the weekly assignments to heart, and how you are putting the pieces together in order to find happiness from within. It is soooo worth it--it is what I wish for you.

It is such an honor traveling this journey with you. I love you!

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Karen, Isn't it amazing how challenging staying happy is? It's a universal struggle, which seems absurd on many levels. Supporting each other and being in tune with our "inner" selves is vital to happiness. Wishing you inner peace on your journey.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Sharon, Your smile is pure inspiration, as are your words, hugs, and support. Thank goodness S&D found each other! I can't imagine not having you in my life.

Karen @ Scobberlotch said...

I enjoyed reading this, particularly on the heals of the Jaycee interview. I had a similar reaction. ("What do I have to complain about?") Have you ever read Dennis Prager's "Happiness is a Serious Problem"? I loved it. He has a weekly happiness hour on his radio talk show each Friday and it is now something that helps me hit the reset button in a positive, meaningful way each week. :)

Andre Zollars said...

Debra,

Increasingly, because of living in this small town and forming deep bonds with the folks around me, I've become painfully aware of the transient nature of life. A young teacher died hiking last summer, a young father died in a propane explosion at a cabin on his ranch this spring. I know these people, I know their children, the whole town feels their pain and the loss. It's uncomfortable, it's foreign for someone like me who doesn't form bonds with others easily and who has spent most of her life moving from place-to-place. But, the gift it has given me is to truly understand that all we have is the moment in front of us. The rest is truly just imagined, a hope, a dream, nothing more. So, all we can do is take the present and shape it in our hands and minds like a piece of moist clay. I remember this when I hold my children close, knowing that in the blink of an eye that touch will no longer be present. And, I try to live in that moment as long as I can. Much love to you my soul sister. Someday we will drink wine with the Rockies as our backdrop and share our hard-earned wisdom. Peace. - Andre

Val said...

Hi Debbie, I don't often comment here on your blog, but I do read it as often as I can. I've always found you to be a spirited and optimistic person, always searching to be a better human being. In many ways Debbie, I wish more people were like you, personally responsible and open hearted because these qualities make life worth living on this earth. Your mention of Stacey in relation to her losses and pain have touched me deeply. I unfortunately have an understanding of some of what happened to Stacey and your respect, admiration and compassion for her suffering and survival have impressed me. HUGS Debra Lynn Lazar, know that you are bright star streaking across someone's sky at any given moment and that is a gift girlfriend.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Karen, I used to follow Dennis Prager years ago - I'd forgotten all about him! Tx for the reminder.

I love how you phrase it: helps me hit the reset button in a positive, meaningful way each week.

I'm trying to hit that reset button as often as I can!

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Andre, Your words brought tears to my eyes. This lifetime is so precious and so short, it sometimes feels like, "what's the point?" Thanks for eloquently stating the point: all we have is the moment in front of us. The rest is truly just imagined, a hope, a dream, nothing more. So, all we can do is take the present and shape it in our hands and minds like a piece of moist clay.

Sharing a glass of wine with the Rockies in the background can't come soon enough for me. (((hugs)))

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Val, I love you. That is all.

Kathleen said...

What a great post and one I found encouragement in. Thank you!

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Kathleen, Thank you, and you're most welcome. ;-)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dear Debra,

I am very happy to meet you! Thank you for taking the time to come to visit me from Koralee's blog. She is a great friend and blogging has been a great way to not only make wonderful connections with like-minded people, but to practice my love for writing. An audience, a purpose and basically, the MOTIVATION to think of GOOD THINGS to reflect on are a result of blogging for me. I have been learning as well that as I WRITE, I am shaping my thoughts and attitudes. What you speak of here is of utmost importance because first of all, no one is perfect, but if we are MORE aware of the alternative behaviors or reactions that we can display, then we can make choices. I am so grateful that writing has been for me, an active exercise in RE-THINKING my first reactions, opinions, impressions and I love this OLD quote by Sir Francis Bacon:

Reading makes you full.
Discussion makes you ready.
Writing makes you EXACT.

May we be exact in our actions as well!

Please come again!!! Anita

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Anita, Thanks so much for your comment. You are so right that writing clarifies things. Every time I write, whether it's on my blog, my wip, or even a comment on someone else's blog, I feel more fulfilled and complete - like, the purpose of my soul is being manifested and fulfilled. Namaste, my new friend.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

First, Jaycee Duggard is amazing! Talk about making the most of situations that are beyond your control.

As for me, I am just a naturally happy person. I'm been so lucky in this life--every day is a gift. How dare I be anything BUT happy?

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Linda, "How dare I be anything BUT happy?" That is going to be my new mantra. Love you!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dearest Debra,

Your visit today and short but POIGNANT words or rather REACTION mean a lot to me. Whether is was my choice of photos or my struggle to find just the right words, I am grateful that a WRITER....YOU, would come to visit. MANY THANKS and it is most kind of you to take the time to come on over!

Have a fab day! Anita

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Anita, Your site is a true dream come true. It lightens my mood, puts a smile on my face, and reminds me of the immense beauty this world has to offer. Tx for providing such an incredible service to the world. ;-)

(((hugs)))

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♥ Braja said...

Nothin' kills a mean girl like being happy :))

Hey Debra, long time....how's the writing going? :)

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