11 Mar happy
I’ve been stuck on the topic of happiness lately, trying to figure out whether it is a choice or an involuntary feeling, a response to external circumstances. Can I just choose to be happy regardless of my situation? I’ve pondered the differences between happiness as an external response and joy as an internal state of being. Is joy permanent and happiness situational? Is it either of these feelings that I am experiencing, and deliberately choosing, or is it hope? I just don’t know.
I recently did the Color Run in Las Vegas with about 35 friends and it was a blast and a half!!! We were showered, squirted, sprayed, dusted, and covered in colored chalky powder at each kilometer marker. Laughing hysterically was a must, so you can imagine our teeth being multicolored as well, as we guffawed into the colorful air and choked down a few buckets of rainbow dust. It was a day of personal victories, family fun, and health awareness. People of all shapes, sizes, and demographics showed up in droves to complete the “Happiest 5K on the Planet!”
It’s difficult to be depressed when you’re moving. It’s hard to stay sad when you’re surrounded by whackos squealing as they are doused in color! It’s impossible to mope when you are running with friends, sharing stories, encouraging each other to do just a little bit more. Nope! No darkness followed me into that event, and I emerged energized and ecstatic as I completed yet another fun run in remembrance of my son who absolutely loved them! The challenge then is to maintain that level of enthusiasm and embrace each day with the same energy and excitement… yeah, right. Who does that? I used to. I used to be full of joy and very vivacious, actually. I looked for the laughter in each moment and sucked as much FUN out of my days as possible. I miss that feeling. I am trying to find a way back but it is so different now. Most days I feel like I’m pulling twice my body weight through wet concrete with arms that fell asleep and won’t wake up.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen a much loved pastor pass away while on sabbatical, another pastor suffered a heart attack (thankfully he survived), a friend of mine lost her brother to an extremely cruel and unfair twist of fate. A teacher lost her life as well and the tributes her students paid her on facebook were so very touching. There has been a sad cloud hovering and it seems to be gaining in size rather than dissipating. These are hard days to move through for anyone, and I find myself struggling right along with the crowd.
Do we all need happy pills? Is there music loud enough to energize the world? What can we do to shoo that cloud of sadness away and welcome the rainbows and unicorns and construction paper hearts and glitter back into our lives? I’m at a loss. I do not know what to do. Life is so hard, so painful, so aggressive sometimes. Is there a break in the near future? Where do we sign up for more joy?
By now, I’m sure most of us have heard the song Happy, by Pharrell Williams. It’s got a pretty catchy beat that doesn’t let you go. If you’ve heard the song, odds are you’ve been bopping your head to the beat or repeatedly singing the chorus long after the song is over. I find myself doing that allllllll the time… to the point where I am going nuts and will do almost anything to get that song out of my head. It’s not a bad song. It’s really quite fun and cool. I feel happy when I listen to it. I just cringe at the after effects, as does any friend that happens to be trapped in the car with me.
“…because I’m happppppyyyyyyy!”
I don’t know how to answer these questions. I don’t know where to look… I haven’t found any solutions in the many wine bottles I’ve drained over the past two weeks. I haven’t found an overabundance of joy in sleeping or moping or tv watching. I feel it when I am out and about, when I’m surrounded by people, when I am doing something that recharges my batteries! So is it possible that we choose it? By taking the next right step, as one of my fave bloggers says. Is it found by purposefully leaving the stresses and sadness behind, and actively seeking out people and events that make our heart sing? Is it found in songs with unforgettable beats? Maybe all of the above.
I’m choosing to be happy. I’m choosing to find joy. Call it my own little experiment. I’m going to make a choice every single day to find some reason to smile then kick it up a notch and find a way to make someone else smile.
We aren’t alone. We can reach out and walk this walk together.
“…because I’m happppppyyyyyyy!”