Summer thunderstorm from my front porch. . .
The partly sunny skies earlier today gave way to a much needed and welcomed thunderstorm this afternoon, and it reminded me of a quote I heard this morning that has been on my mind ever since. I was watching an interview Oprah (no need for a last name) did with Marianne Williamson, an author and spiritual teacher, and when Oprah commanded, “Stay tuned . Coming up, Marianne reveals how to be happy”, I was glued to the television screen, as happiness is a subject that fascinates and eludes me. I have a library of books on the topic and am well versed in the practices of positive thinking, meditation, prayer, visualization, manifestation, and every cliché, method, and belief associated with finding happiness. While I am wealthy in knowledge, I am poor in application of said knowledge to obtain and maintain the elusive happiness I seek. Now, back to Oprah and Marianne . . .
So, when the commercial break ended, I listened attentively, as Marianne described happiness in a way that was so simplistically beautiful and that brought me to tears. To paraphrase her eloquent words, Marianne said that we have been given all that we need to be happy, and she likened it blue skies. She said that the sky is always blue, and that never changes, even when gray clouds obscure the blue skies and the sunshine. The trick is to remember that the blue skies are there and to look beyond the gray clouds to see them. This sounds easy enough, right?
This quest to find my happy has had different incarnations and taken me down different paths over the years, and while I have found happiness along the way and enjoy happy moments, I still feel as if something is missing. I remember sitting in my bedroom when I was a little girl, and I would stare out my windows at night, gazing at the stars and wishing I could get a sneak preview into what my life would be like, as I just wanted to know I would be happy, loved, and accepted. I naively believed that becoming an adult would bring me the answers to my questions and that I would find my happily ever after. Ah, the innocence of youth! As the years passed, I learned that age does not necessarily bring wisdom or happiness, as you need to seek and find those for yourself, which brings me to the present.
On one hand, in dealing with the depression and anxiety, I definitely am happier now than I was last year, but on the other hand, I still have difficulty being happy. During a recent dinner at a restaurant off my beloved River Road, with two dear friends, Ellen and Michelle, the topic of happiness came up, along with many other subjects, and we talked late into the night with the sounds of the Ohio River providing soothing background music. I love engaging in open, honest dialogue about meaningful subjects with such genuine people, and it was so interesting and reassuring to hear their experiences and perspectives. I was able to admit that I often either do not feel like I deserve to be happy or that the happiness I feel will be short-lived, so, I sabotage myself in a misguided effort to lessen the pain of what I fear will follow when the happiness retreats, and I was grateful that these admissions were met with empathy and understanding.
It is so very easy for me to see the good in others and to believe that they can achieve and have whatever it is that they desire, whether it be something tangible, like a new job, or something intangible, like love and joy. I am most optimistic when it comes to believing in others and in supporting them as they strive for their goals, and sometimes, I want their goals and dreams for them more than they do for themselves. That said, when it comes to dreaming my big dreams and going after my goals, even when my vision is as crystal clear as the bluest skies, there’s a void in my heart and baby soul that swallow up my self-confidence and faith, at times. I feel like everyone else “gets it”, and there is an inner voice that tells me that I will not and cannot have lasting happiness. I am doing my best to fill that void and to quiet that voice, but at times, like today, they get the best of me.
I have come to understand that I, alone, am responsible for my own happiness, and I can, as Marianne stated, “choose to be happy”. This is tough for the girl who appears optimistic on the outside, yet is a closet pessimist. I still do not have all of the answers and am at a pivotal time in my life where I am questioning myself, my dreams/goals, and someone I hold dear to my heart, and despite the dark clouds, I still am looking for those blue skies to break through the clouds in my mind and heart. There’s one dream in particular that I have that I hope sees the light of day, much like how the sun in the picture below.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story