Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happiness 101 - Part 2

Many years ago, my sister (yes, the same one that bought me pralines for my birthday…yes, my favorite only sister, my favorite, nevertheless) bought me a book for my birthday. She was reading it and loved it…Talked about it endlessly. I whined till she bought me my very own copy. Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. On a daily basis, I devoured this book.
When I read the following quote, I stopped, reread and started thinking about how simple and powerful that message was: “If you consciously work to bring more gratitude, order, simplicity, harmony, beauty, and joy into your daily life, your world will be transformed.”
This was the start of a new way of thinking, a new way of looking at things, a positive and personal way of living. The word that struck me was “consciously”. Think about it… Simply, control the thinking. OMG…control the thinking! Gee…! Put as much effort in being happy, as you do in being unhappy. An excise for the brain muscle.

The second book that significantly changed my life was, A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. I started underlining the powerful messages in this book, only to realize that I was underlining the entire book. Again, the message is to control the brain, the ego, as he calls it. OMG…! This book describes how the “ego” chatters away, creating stories about me, you, them. Comparisons, come-backs, you know…the chatter that goes on all the time. Replays arguments, resentments, justifies, compares, and creates scenarios…past and future. It talks about our “life story” and how we make that a part of who we are today. Our “life story” is who we believe we are??? Let me give an example. I have a dear friend, who, some forty some years ago, discovered that her husband was gay. This is who she “is” to this very day. It comes up in every conversation, and is like her handshake to the people she meets. This is the cause of all her unhappiness, her failures, her failed relationships, losses… This sets her apart, makes her special, different, and justifies her seemingly tragic, sad life. It’s in the past!!! Look…forty some years ago and she carries this with her to this very day. She has never seen herself as I, and others see her. Talented, beautiful, intelligent, wonderful mother and great provider for her three children that she raised by herself. Her psychologist has tried to get her to read this book, but she won’t. The thinking here is, “if I’m not the person, in my head, then who am I?”
The message I learned from both these great books, is…”I’m not the voice in my head, I’m the space between the voices.” To be in the present, we must silence the ego, the chatter, whatever you want to call it. And, to be in the present, eliminates our ongoing thoughts about our tragic, unhappy pasts. Being in the present eliminates our sad visions and conversations and our "I'll be happy when..." sometime in the future. If we consciously put effort into happiness, letting go of the voices, we can live and find happiness in the here and now...


Arkansas Patti said...

Happiness is a choice. Sounds like you've got it.

MyShilohRanch said...

Omigosh, SIMPLE ABUNDANCE is one of my favorite books! LOTS of GOOD stuff in there! I pick up copies when I find them in thrift stores etc, to pass on! Somehow, it does not surpise me that you have a copy!
The irony is: I have been "too busy" to remember to FINISH reading it, myself! Isn't that terrible??
I am SO in the big middle of all of this. You are ahead of me, but I think we are on a similar path. I know that simplicity is a major KEY! I have been wrapped up in the Tyranny of the Urgent for far too long! (btw: have you read that little booklet?)
I know a change is coming ... not sure what it will be... but preparation IS, indeed, a delightful part of the journey!
Your blog serves as reinforcement for my soul. Thank you so much, for sharing your thoughts and experiences. And thank you for reminding me to finish this book!

turquoisemoon said...

I do pretty good most of the time, but it's crazy how that brain chatter can pop up, make you a victim, hero, better than, less than... Sometimes I've got it, then, just when I get a tad smug, it hits me that I don't. ha ha ha!! No I haven't read the Tyranny of the Urgent, I'll check it out. Thanks. Lately, I've been listening to books on tape and either doing some mosaics or knitting. As close to multitasking as I care to get...xoxox