“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” ~ Carl Jung
What would you do on your first day in search of true everlasting happiness? I went to a funeral.
Presumably, if you venture on a year long journey for happiness, you don’t already feel you have tight grasp, so there didn’t seem much to lose by embracing sadness. I wanted to cry. Instead, I found reasons to be happy.
The strength, support and love shared by family and friends made me grateful and memories of a well-lived life made me not want to waste mine. I didn’t cry.
All relationships end; usually not in the neat and tidy way of death. This is a shame. Without death, there is no funeral. Without a funeral there are no reminders to be happy. I haven’t yet met anyone who found good reasons to be happy at the bottom of the inevitable tear-filled ice cream pail, so I decided to hold my own private services for the relationships that ended with two warm (but separate) bodies.
Voluntary self-torture ideas can include:
- revisiting places of meaning
- listening to songs
- looking at pictures of happier times
- writing long drawn out venting letters (if you really want to do it right, you actually send them ensuring an untidy ending)
Warning – a well designed pity party can result in the following:
- wanting to disintegrate and be swallowed up by the earth
- a roller coaster rush of feeling strong, free, independent and open to fresh opportunities
- the rarely publicly practiced fetal floor pose (think sideways inverted bow pose accompanied by the exact opposite of pranayama or breath control)
I did very well. Eventually the crying stopped but the tears kept coming. And for once, I let them.
When a cold floor becomes more unbearable than reality, life has no choice but to begin a new chapter, so I did what I’m supposed to do; I rose, splashed cold water on my face, and smiled at my children when they returned home from school.
I remember reading a book to the kids when they were young about a tiny dragon who got bigger and bigger because no-one believed he existed. By the end of the story he had become so huge that the family whose house he now wore on his back had to acknowledge his presence. As soon as they did, he shrank back to kitten size and the little boy said, “I think he just wanted to be noticed.”
Maybe hurt works like that; the more we try to ignore it, the bigger it gets. I’m not entirely sure how happiness works (obviously) – whether a happiness cloud can smother pain or enough injected happiness can weed out discontent, but maybe it’s as simple as acknowledging the dragon in order to make room for the happy.
I think relationship dragons grow so big because on the day we get to have our own funeral, we want to feel that we were truly known, understood, and loved anyway by someone. The end of a relationship is the end of that chance.
Right or wrong, I emptied out the emotional closets today and then took a page from a happy man’s closed book.
“At the end of each day, he found a reason to celebrate.”
Itchy feet to start and happy hour at the end. Now that’s the way to do it! Rest in peace, uncle.
So…it has come to this:
No matter what is making you sad, happiness can be found anywhere. When it comes to happiness, you can fake it til you make it, but you can’t ignore the dragon forever.
Rating: Purging the pain (6 out of 10)
- Itchy feet – 2 out of 5 (can’t say I was particularly looking forward to a day of enforced sadness)
- Twitch – still there
- I’m adding a new rating scale…the happy hour effect – did I find a reason to celebrate the day? 4 out of 5 (found unexpected reasons to smile – like finding a penny…)
What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Click here to get to the ‘Happiness Is…?’ page. You’ll find out why I’m doing this and if you scroll towards bottom of the page you can read about the rating system.
Tomorrow: Starting a tradition. Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it.