I was chatting with a dear friend the other day about the vision quest I have been on this last year. You know, vision quests like Indians used to have when they walked into the desert with no food or water and had to struggle to survive while seeking spiritual enlightenment? I am pretty sure that is the best example of what I have endured this last year.
Of course while enduring and learning to survive, many spiritual gifts have been given and much guidance has been received. And it all leads to happiness.
I have not always been a happy person. I have had many times in my life when it seemed an insurmountable task to just get out of bed. Pasting a smile on my face was the equivalent of scaling Everest. In flip flops. I understand what it means to be unhappy. I get it.
The last few months a smile has found its way to the corners of my mouth without me even realizing it. No effort or thought involved. How do you get to this place? Sure, living and breathing each day helps a lot when you have faced the reality that you could die. That isn’t what makes me smile though. Not even close.
Health concerns are stressful. Money is a headache. Kids, family, work, school… they are all a bundle of anxiety and nerves. When you combine all of these things, everyone has plenty of things to make them unhappy. Life gets to us. A lot. I still have all those stresses despite the dodging a death bullet.
As I mentioned before, I have had a lot of realizations in the past while. Amongst the many is this one.
EVERYDAY WE CHOOSE .
We choose to feel the pain and wallow in it or celebrate the fact that we can feel anything at all.
We choose to let the kids/work/family get to us or smile that we have theses things.
We choose to be mad at the old lady that cuts us off in the parking lot or shake our heads at the crazy that comes with aging.
PLEASE don’t get me wrong. I know there are times when the choice is incredibly difficult. When life seems so hard that it doesn’t seem we have choice at all. I hate that we have to go through those times. I wish I could make everyone happy everyday.
For me it all comes back to slowing things down a bit. Taking the time to realize the choice we have. Making the choice. Choosing the good parts. I let myself be upset now and then. And then I try to smile. Even when it hurts.
I read a quote the other day and I loved it. It went something like this. “Sometimes I am sad. Then I stop being sad and be awesome instead.”
We are all awesome. We have awesome stuff. Now smile about it.