I’ve decided I’m going to attempt a writing challenge, to “prime the pump.” My creativity and inspiration have lain dormant for awhile. They’re sputtering. A poem or three, a bit of journaling here and there, or . . . nada, nothing. One of my consciously unconscious thinking errors is that I need to be inspired in order to write. Another, is my perfectionistic mindset: everything I write must be well thought out, structured, and formed – relatively error free – the first time I share it. Neither of these are true. However, for me, it’s like exercise: If I can’t go all out each and every time I do it and do it almost daily, then what’s the point? (A MAJOR thinking error.) That’s why I keep getting injured and continue to regain lost weight . . . losing all momentum. Time to challenge that thinking. Ergo, writing challenge.
Today’s prompt: What are you most thankful for?
So many things to be thankful for:
People, places, and events galore,
Too much focus on what came before,
Left me discontent and craving more.
Suffering from all the trauma and pain,
Distorted, shaped, and wired my brain
In ways that made me seem insane.
I believed there was naught to gain.
All my life, I fought like hell,
My mythos becoming a spell
Despairing and despondent I fell,
In sorrowful darkness I came to dwell.
Thinking I had nothing left to lose,
Bitter helplessness did suffuse.
Yet, I still sought the good news,
Slowly changing my views.
In me grew a yearning
To believe what I’m learning.
From melancholy I’m turning.
Hope and faith I’m discerning.
The thing I’m most thankful of
Gives peace like a dove;
Falls like a gift from above;
Is the greatest love.
Happy is a feeling and feelings are fleeting. Happiness is a state of being and takes work.
The experience of Happiness is more challenging for some more than others and may seem impossible to achieve.
That’s because Happiness isn’t a goal or destination, but a byproduct, a side effect of the combination of our genetics, circumstances, beliefs, attitudes, and actions.
For many of us coming from lives filled with trauma and/or mental illness it will look different than it does for neurotypical people. We have to work through the trauma and confront ourselves to heal and grow. These are our prerequisites to Happiness.
There is no set formula for experiencing it. However, common and necessary elements include self-care (nutrition, activity, personal hygiene, etc.), engagement in healthy community, gratitude, service, and passionate purpose.
Pain, loss, grief, and other feelings and experiences, often considered “negative,” may suppress Happiness and cause us to lose it. But, what is lost can be found again. The negative doesn’t necessarily negate the ability to experience Happiness.
Of course, I could be way off and this is hypomania talking…but, I don’t think so.
Today was the first of seven of these workshops I’ll be attending this week on my “90 meetings in 90 Days” journey. (I owe you a post to explain that. Tomorrow. Maybe.) Today’s discussion was interesting. I’m looking forward to see how it gets addressed in the other workshops.
The weekly handout suggested that being happy makes the healthy activities we do in our lives more possible and increases the experience of those things. It also acknowledged that partaking of those activities increases happiness.
The workshop’s Coach listed a formula that determines one’s happiness level:
+10% Life Circumstances
+40% Attitude, Thoughts, & Actions
My immediate reaction was to scoff at the Life Circumstances percentage. I mean, although it hasn’t been as painful and difficult as other people’s, it’s been generously peppered with a lot of trauma. Consequently, I have PTSD. Plus, I experience Depression, Bipolar 2 Disorder, fibromyalgia, and am parenting a child with regularly tells me things like she wishes I would kill myself or that I had been born dead.
Yeah. Happiness is HARD. That’s a LOT of genetics and life circumstances.
I spend a lot of time fighting tears, dealing with bureaucracy, and managing conflict. I’m skeptical that Happiness is a state of being that’s more than occasionally possible for me.
I think Acceptance and Contentedness are much more doable. I think there can be moments of happiness. I think we have to be emotionally and mentally healthy and functional to be able to experience even those moments of happiness. I simply don’t believe that Happiness is achievable as a permanent state.
All that being said, I have my own formula:
+A supportive community
+Choosing to be in positive environments
The fluid had a pleasant scent, obfuscating the poison. He turned pale, as it went to work. The cup shattered as it hit the floor.
She came into the room, horror evident in her eyes. Right then she knew. He had framed her for his murder which was a suicide.
Cold fear gripped her heart. Squeezing her chest, it made her forget to breathe. Pain shooting up her arm, she collapsed to the floor, beside the one who had made her life misery. She gave up on her life, knowing he’d achieved his goal.
“Mom! Dad! I’m home and I’ve got a surprise,” their son announced later that day, as he unlocked the front door and entered with his fiancé…never imagining their life together was over before it had begun.
They could never get past the vision of a marriage of such hidden unhappiness, ending in in such horrific and tragic darkness.
His death certificate read: Death by poison, suspicious circumstances. Hers: Death by heart attack, natural. The headline read: Wife poisons husband, dies of a broken heart.