Friday, December 05, 2008


Sea lion in the Galapagos Islands
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

Peace is always beautiful - Walt Whitman

I'm thinking about joy and how to get to a state of joyfulness on a daily basis. A lot of things - quotes, articles, etc - have been crossing my path related to joy and the ability to be happy. "You're about as happy as you make up your mind to be" was said by Mark Twain. So I've been focusing on all the positive things in my life, and I actually have been pretty happy. I notice when I pay my bills and start thinking about money, I get kind of stressed. When I start thinking about the fact that I am sometimes lonely, I can get sad sometimes. But for the most part I do not think about money and bills or loneliness, and I'm 95% of the time thinking about the good friends I have, and my amazing kids, and the career that I love, and all the rest. Then just when things are really great, something weird happens.

Have you ever noticed that when people over-react or get mad, there's usually something deeper bothering them? But they won't just tell you what that thing is? Sometimes they don't even know! Have you ever done something minor, and they make assumptions, and instead of giving you an opportunity to explain, they yell? I don't get yelling. I grew up in a home where yelling was a daily thing. I made a deliberate conscious effort to not live like that -OK kids, if you're reading you know I make mistakes! :). I don't have friends that yell at me. I don't let anyone yell at me, family or anyone, and if that happens, I just say "OK goodbye! We'll talk later!" because I don't want to yell at people either but it gets kind of hard when they're yelling at you! So hence, I end the conversation.

Have I said this before? It's worth repeating: I believe that friends and family have a right to say whatever they want to me, even if it's critical, even if it hurts, but say it in a calm, respectful manner and then let's talk about it. It is NOT that difficult! Really it is not!!!!!! And if you mess up, and raise your voice, or over-react, or assign people characteristics that they really don't have... but maybe someone in their past had... then you apologize, you own up to your mistakes. Take responsibility. How hard is it? Didn't we all learn this in kindergarten?!! I mean, seriously?!

Why is the human psyche so weird? Why do most people hide the things they really feel or things they do, instead of just being honest? I don't get it. And what I really don't get, is why people sabotage things that are really good. Why, why, why, why?!! But... is this world really hard to figure out? No... I think that you just learn to not worry so much about the weirdness of people, and the weird things that happen, and just keep on plugging away, and just chase after the joy. Because have you ever been around a joyful person? It's contagious. I so notice that when I am happy, or enthusiastic, or excited - which I often am because that is how I generally am when I'm not letting life get to me - it rubs off on people, on my kids, on the students I've had. So that is what I'm trying to do. Because the last couple months I've maybe not been that way quite so much. And I want the joy back.

You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment. --David D. Burns

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Philippians 4:8(NIV)

It is not by accident that the happiest people are those who make a conscious effort to live useful lives. Their happiness, of course, is not a shallow exhilaration where life is one continuous intoxicating party. Rather, their happiness is a deep sense of inner peace that comes when they believe their lives have meaning and that they are making a difference for good in the world. -Ernest Fitzgerald

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