November 22, 2013

I'll Be Happy When...

There's a mind game that goes like this: I'll be happy when ... [fill in the blank]. I'll be happy when my work stress ends. I'll relax when I finish my to-do list. I'll love myself when I lose weight. Yet the self-improvements, to-do items, and work projects are endless. It's not possible to wrap up life.

There's a sign in our kitchen that reads "the time to be happy is now." The letters are all capitalized, so Mark sometimes yells the phrase during an apt moment. But the message is sincere. We have a choice in our happiness. We can choose to reduce our commitments; we can choose to prioritize what matters most; we can choose soul-filling activities; we can even choose non-doing. 

Currently I have no job. And I have no children. At a bare-bones level, I'm free of responsibility. Isn't this the dream scenario? I'll be happy when I'm retired. I assure you life with no responsibilities isn't non-stop bliss. I still want to control uncontrollables; be liked and respected; and avoid difficulty. I still judge myself harshly. These habits do not disappear, because we can't wrap up life. And there's great freedom in this realization.

Last week I envisioned a new creative path--a possible career that resonates with my heart. I was excited and motivated. I was alive. Then what happened? Distractions. It's easy to fill a day with striving and busyness not related to my core mission. It's easy for this to occur even when my mindfulness practice is strong. What a wonderful lesson.

I forgive myself for the distractions. And now a friendly reminder: dearest Joy, you choose how you spend your days. What a precious choice since "how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives" (thank you, Annie Dillard).


  1. It *seems* like it should be simple to do. It makes so much sense. But it's difficult to enact.

  2. Great reminder...this is so why I love Brene' Brown's work.

  3. It does seem so simple. A to-do list in my morning journal and then life gets in the way. We make choices.... thanks for the reminder.

  4. thanks, dear ones. i think choice is especially important as we approach the holidays. we can choose how to engage (or not engage) with gifts, parties, eating, sleeping, entertaining, etc.

  5. when I visit your page, I'm always glad I did. I think it's okay to say...I love you, your heart, your words.

    Love your friend

  6. today, I linked this to my blog. I liked it so much. Hope you don't mind.

    1. tracie, i'm honored when someone links to my blog. i'm glad the post touched you. and i'm sending all that love right back at you!