I was listening to Rosie Radio (http://www.sirius.com/rosieradio) on Sirius the other night and she was interviewing Florence Henderson, otherwise known as Carol Brady, the mom from the Brady Bunch. Florence is in her mid to late 70s now and is still doing Broadway shows. You can find her somewhat annoying website here: http://www.flohome.com/main.htm
Anyway, she said something that resonated for me...She said, "It takes courage to be happy." She was discussing the death of her husband and her general joie de vivre spirit in spite of loss. Yes, our lovely Carol Brady actually spoke as though she had a good bit of spiritual wisdom. And, thus the statement that I am mulling over.
If I'm in the midst of confusion, frustration, guilt, and despair, can I still be happy? As soon as I push out of the troubling thinking (Tolle says it's the thinking that gets us in troble in the first place) and decide to be happy no matter what, the blackness of the other emotions fades. But where does the courage come in? Is it because it's easier to let the world happen to us than to realize that we have control of our own worlds?
When I'm frustrated and angry about things I can't change for the better (now I'm talking 12 steps!), does it take courage to step back and realize that I do have a belief system that allows me to be "in the moment"? When I recognize my own strengths, am grateful for the prosperity that's come my way, and see the beauty around me, I can put the blackness away and yes, feel happy. But, did it take courage to leave the pity party--especially when it's brought on by very real challenges and loss?
As I was speaking to friend about an entirely different topic, I mentioned that over the last 10 years, I had gained about 60 pounds. I was chastizing myself and beating myself up over the horror of that number. Then, my friend reminded me this: that's only 6 pounds a year, and in those 10 years, I've been laid off, led an international organization, lost my mom, sold a house, bought a house, moved back to San Diego, contracted for a while, began working for one company, became part of an acquisition to another, laid off an employee, had a total knee replacement, cared for my mentally ill sister, traveled to England, France, Scotland, Israel, and China, and had a dog and cat die.
Hmmm. The funny thing is that I bet your list is similar. It's called life. And, if you asked me how I felt over most of those 10 years, I'd say I was basically happy. Guess it does take some courage, at that.
(PS: Sunnyside is the name of the community I lived in from 6th through 12th grade.)