Self-imposed happiness

I have many days free this time of the year. Easily sucked into the anxiety surrounding me and within me, I am not enjoying the free time. Logically, realistic reasons exist, but, as with anything, getting caught in that frenzy of what is not, what I do not have, what I need is keeping me out of the present moment. Yes, I can say at this present moment I need to pay rent, but this very second I do not. I don’t need to pay it for another week. Not that I am going to shirk paying it, but a clear anxiety-free mind and spirit is more likely to attract what I need. I am not observed as anxious and wouldn’t consider what I am feeling fear, but it is. Any time there’s number crunching, hiding away, ruminative thoughts, lots of planning on paper without a result, the person’s mind is effectively “closed for business”, is stuck, and energy is stagnating. Really the only “cure” is going out or going in and connecting. I am unproductive in attaining my goals when stagnated in rumination and long-term daydream-like planning. I had side-work which would have brought in a little money, but I can do it tomorrow. Clearing my mind with this exercise seemed important plus I was dying for a chunk of time to absorb a book.

So I tried it for a day. Friday.

I rolled out of bed at 7, smiling, no, smirking. No reason, but I guess I was giving permission for the day to unfold. I reheated yesterday’s coffee since I was out of coffee beans. I observed my sunny neighborhood from the window over the stove while I breathed in the coffee aroma and steam from the coffee wisped my chin. I took a deep breath. I prepared the living room for a morning of loungy reading; curtains wide open, Sam’s bed on her chair and my blanket, coffee, notebook and book ready. I actually started with a meditation which got the happiness rolling with its focus on interconnecting with nature to reconnect to the joy point. I could hear kids start piling into the schoolyard across the street as I finished the meditation. I was able to read the Book of Ruth (all three pages of it -yep, the Bible) and the heady TCM book for a few hours, ate my lunch for breakfast, and headed out to find some nature with no view of the city. Leaving the jumble of city energy is strong medicine for me but that was not possible today. I could feel all this bound energy just unravel from my chest as I watched the animals, water and every-so-slightly budding trees around me as well as absorbed everything I read at home. I breathed easily and deeply.

The cold finally numbing me, I went home to eat my breakfast for lunch, and crack open the books. This time, I looked for some good quotes from Beat-era authors. I only found a couple, both from Joyce Johnson, “I believe in the curative powers of love as the English believe in tea or Catholics believe in the Miracle of Lourdes” and “He took extraordinary pleasure in small things like that”. I think those are the themes for my day though I felt myself physically scoffing the first quote. I was searching for joy in the little things and waiting for it to cure what ails me.

I returned to reading my TCM book for a few hours and I broke for tea and toast, a little French cafe music, and playtime with Sam. Now hearing the kids running out of the schoolyard to the streets, I realized I spent an entire day without anxious thoughts and feelings, without chest tightness, without number crunching, just reading and being in the moment.

I now have the task, nay opportunity, of maintaining this feeling moment after moment after moment. Watch out, it might be catching!


PS friends asked what were my reverse meals. Nothing exciting. Lunch-for-breakfast was grilled almond cheese on gluten free bread with hummus and breakfast-for lunch was a granny smith apple with sunflower seed butter.



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2 Responses to Self-imposed happiness

  1. Dave Carlson says:

    The Carlson-Molloy family has settled in for a week on Sanibel Island, FL.

    For me it was not without anxiety. I’m always sleepless the night before a trip. Anxiety about teaching my final session of four Masterpiece Arts classes for the 5th grade in Silver Bay had me awake the previous two nights.

    The anxiety lifted once we were in the air enroute from Atlanta to Ft Myers. Kari was emerging from one gate at Ft Myers as we arrived at another. How’s that for timing flights from Minneapolis and Chicago to arrive at the same time? It was some adventure finding our rented condo in the dark. Things worked out.

    What to do about chronic anxiety, or repeating patterns, I don’t know. Work through it to get where you are going?

  2. Delara says:

    thank you for sharing this beautiful moment!

    i just wanted to say… during a really difficult time in my life, i lived in south andersonville/north uptown (some people call it sheridan park), and my apartment was a couple of blocks away from a school. it was such a gift! i completely loved the sounds of the children on their way to and from school as they passed my windows. the laughter and playful teasing and squealing were like bursts of sunshine each day, regardless of the actual weather. and the morning and afternoon times they would commute to school created such a great rhythm and routine to my days.

    it resonated for me when you shared about that, too. good for you for recognizing that there are ways to get “un-stuck” and actually DOING something. that was a good reminder for me. thank you.