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"Happiness is not a circus clown rolling around in a big tractor so that his arms and legs form 'spokes.' Happiness is when he stops."
We never seem to notice how good we feel until the good feelings stop. We take feeling good for granted. I mean, what's to say about feeling good! Now feeling bad! That's serious! Once the clown walks off into the spotlight and the laughter stops, we are thrown back into that dismal reality-Life! Life with its wars, hunger and oppressive regimes. Life where people struggle to make ends meet. Life with potential danger around every corner. How shallow it is to feel good in the light of reality. Feeling good is so simple. The problem is giving up our bad feelings. We seem to relish our misery. How can we believe we can live in the world and feel good. Are we crazy! Somewhere along the line we decide that feeling good is bad.
"If you're trying to remember a happy memory, don't think back to a time when you were also thinking of a happy memory, because man, how long does this go on?!"
When we lose our loves, the memories of warm intimacies we enjoyed fade away. Are we too ashamed, frightened or embarrassed to seek new loves!? In our isolation we forget the wonder and excitement of our environment. Are we so deficient and needy that we cannot feel safe and at ease in our society!?. When we lose a companion, we can't remember that we were once happily creative people, deserving of love. Are we too proud and unworthy to accept the support offered by our friends and family!? When we lose our dreams and the memories of our good feelings, we feel sad, sad and bad. Pretty soon 95% of our life is unhappy. How long can this go on!!?
The first step in allowing ourselves to feel good is discarding the idiots delight theory. You know the one about beating yourself on the head, because it feels so good when you stop. We sit in harsh judgement of our good feelings. When we condemn ourselves, we become prisoners of our own judgement. By judging ourselves we instill sense of separation, fear and aloneness. Since we reflect our society within ourselves, we impose our own judgements, instead of checking out other peoples feelings and thoughts. We turn potential friends into enemies. So let's forgive ourselves. Let's decide we are worthy of happiness. By understanding and taking responsibility for our own inner thoughts, we can accept who we are and how we think. We free ourselves from the bondage of judgement. Let's pause and relish moments of our day. Let's visualize our day in segments and keep our minds flexible. Let's allow the transitions of the day's events to move happily. Check out your problems. Move on to the nex t experience.
"Instead of having 'answers' on a math test, they should just call them 'impressions' and if you got a different 'impression,' so what, can't we all be sisters and brothers?"
"Life's a bitch and then you die." My youngest daughter used to retort to that, "Life's a virgin. A bitch is too easy!" One of the pervasive impressions about life in our society is that life isn't fair. Yes it is! It's we the people that are fair or unfair. Life is neutral. Nature just patiently waits for the imprints we impose upon it.
We the people can open our minds and serve each other with joy in our hearts. Accepting our right to have good feelings, communicating clearly and sharing our good feelings with others will prevent misunderstandings. Keep communication simple. Trust your relationships. Give honest commentary at every stage. We humans have a multitude of needs that involve other people's cooperation. These needs can be the real basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing and transportation or the more close to the heart needs of emotional and spiritual support. Supportive relationships depend on our ability to communicate. Support often comes from a long term relationship such as mates and/or best friends. Sometimes support comes from the person who just helped carry your groceries. We can trade rigidity for flexibility and allow for shifts in circumstance. We all make mistakes, make decisions and create conflicts. We blindly jump to conclusions and get angry, instead of paying attention and coming up with produ ctive alternatives. Acknowledge mistakes with the understanding that no mistake is permanent. Make manageable commitments. Treat communication as a friendly alliance, rather than a declaration of war. Synthesize the information received and do the best you can to understand the other person's point of view. When in conflict don't bull-headily insist on "ULTIMATE TRUTH". This is just a delaying tactic. Truth is truth! Don't be mean. Kindness makes us much happier than meanness. We nurture ourselves when we joyfully help others. If we unselfishly serve each other, we create a never ending feel good loop . Perhaps a new societal impression will convey that life is life and we get to, ever so briefly, live it. So now can't we all get along happily!!?
"What am I afraid of? I'll tell you: a feather. That's right, a feather. How could anyone be afraid of a feather, you say. That's an honest question, and I'll try to give it an honest answer. First of all, did I say it was a poison feather?"
I can remember times, when my teenage children would be out at night. I couldn't sleep. I would stay up waiting. I would do crossword puzzles, play backgammon on the computer or just lie in bed waiting to hear the car door slam. I would think of all the worse case scenarios usually ending with a terrible car crash and a visit to the morgue. This never happened, but somehow I felt that it would if I didn't keep constant vigil and worry. I knew in my heart that none of these worst fears were going to protect my children. Somehow I had a superstitious belief that if I kept myself from feeling good, nothing bad would happen.
Feeling good is definitely a serious subject. It can affect your health, your job and the people around you. Learning good feeling management is very helpful to productive communication.
"It's funny that pirates were always going around searching for treasure, and they never realized that the real treasure was the fond memories they were creating"
Often in search of health, wealth and happiness, we become so intent on the immediate prize, that we miss the larger rewards of life. When we engage in useless struggles, we lose sight of our feel good goals. We attempt to force enlightenment, instead of savoring the moment. We rush hither and yon, denying our fears. We allow pride to overrule common sense. We feel we have to copewith everything all at once. We become martyrs, blaming and attacking, instead of pacifying, accepting and understanding what we reflect in each other. By creating useless goals we get mired in the "I must" and cease enjoying the moment. We let the "shit that happens" scare us and hold on to old baggage for security. Let go! Make your amends! Turn from the past and pay attention to the here and now.
Remember to exercise your ability to be happy. Ask yourself if what you are doing is what you want to do. Though there are many arenas in which we would like to get the hang of feeling good, I have chosen a few that seem to span all our lives:
"When you go for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges"
"When you grow up would you like to be a fireman? Every fireman knows. They eat Cheerios." We would all like a job that we love doing, that will pay well and that will give us a modicum of challenge and adventure. No job, no matter how much we love it, meets these requirements every day, five days a week for a lifetime. So how can we possibly consistently feel good on our job I remember one of Jesse Jackson's catch phrases, during his presidential campaigns, was "I am Somebody". He would get whole crowds chanting this phrase. People went away feeling good about themselves. There are no custom designed perfect jobs out in the real world. To start with the assumption, that who you are is dictated by what you do for a living, is a plan for feel good failure.. Here are some of the helpful tools I have run across in my quest for feeling good on the job:
"If I had the time to sit down and write a thank-you letter to everyone who sent me a nice, expensive present, what a wonderful world that would be!"
Try talking to someone about money and you're liable to be brought down to the murky depths of depression. Money for all its publicity, seems to cause people no end of worry. If you're rich money is your business. People want your money. You must keep your money working for you or you might lose it all. If you're poor you are in constant search of money just to keep yourself alive. And if you're plunk in the middle you worry about how to make more so you can become rich or how not to lose it all and become poor. We feel a sense of guilt about money. Did we spend too much or should we have driven 5 miles to spend less? And what good is money if we have nothing to show for it? So we buy stuff. Does this stuff make us feel good? Well for a while. Then what? Buy more stuff. Then the bills come. We need more money. Are we feeling good yet? Put money and possessions in perspective. What do we want them for? Are the money and the things money can buy important? More important than what? Your ma te! Your children! Your friends and loved ones! Should our life be preoccupied with thoughts of money and stuff? Should we live in fear that our money won't really make us happy in the end? Can we learn to simplify our lives, rather than endure the clutter of an accumulation psychosis. Well I agree that money is important. I just ask, "FOR WHAT!"
"When I think back on all the blessings I have been given in my life, I can't think of a single one, unless you count that rattlesnake that granted me all those wishes"
Our body is the domain in which our mind and soul abide. Our body is reflects how we feel. We use our bodies to attract and to perform. We make harsh demands on our bodies, as if we expect them to perform boundless tasks. When we are young we look for the ideal body. As you mature you realize that though the body can't be perfected, it can be changed. Nothing you do will keep your body in a permanent state. Your body will change not matter what you do. If you are overweight and out of shape you can change that with a good workout program. If you feel weak and want to get stronger a weightlifting program can help you on your way. If you are having health problems due to dietary deficiencies change your eating habits. Becoming too preoccupied with your body, however will lead to the bad feeling of melancholy: Oh why am I so flawed! and dismay: Nobody can ever love this body! Feeling good about your body requires a fearless mind. Your mind can push your body to perform and attain goals. Your min d can help your body refrain from harming itself. Hey I think I'll eat the whole cake! Then again, maybe not! Your mind can quiet your body. You can meditate. You can pray. You can put your body at rest till you are ready for the next segment of your busy day. It is not only allowed, but good for you to search and find overall comfort. Try various options. If our mind is willing to accept variety, our body is well on the way to being healed and our soul is well on the way to enjoying the good feelings of life.
A word about drugs, sex and rock n' roll: They do make a body feel good.
"If doctors ever tell you that you've 'flipped out,' don't believe them, and just keep on doing what you were doing, because something tells me 'the Man' is behind this."
The catch word when discussing "bad" drugs is abuse, rather than use. There is a societal illusion that drugs will take care of all that ails us. We use drugs that keep people from enduring excruciating mental or physical pain. We also use drugs just for fun and frolic. A little fun and frolic is good for the soul after a hard day's work. Drugs become problematic when we depend solely on those drugs for our feel good feelings. The political nature of drugs in our society nurtures and often exacerbates the power and money struggles already endemic in our above, as well as, underground markets. The inner balance we wish to achieve must come from ourselves not our drugs. Drugs whether legal or illegal are only a temporary fix for our depression, worry and pain. Doctors would be well advised to apprise their patients of the counterindications and long term use drawbacks of prescribed drugs. Our lawmakers would be well advised to stop meddling with people's pleasures. At best, the drug laws do nothing to curtail abuse. At worst, these laws have created a more volatile and dangerous living situation throughout our world communities. I'm with old Henry the Randy, who said about peoples feel good methods, "I don't care what the people do, as long as they don't do it in the streets and scare the horses."
"I remember one day I was at Grandpa's farm and I asked him about sex. He sort of smiled and said, 'Maybe instead of telling you what sex is, why don't we go out to the horse pasture and I'll show you.' So we did, and there on the ground were my parents having sex."
A person I know when asked about what he considered the appropriate number of people to make an orgy responded, "One and a mirror." Sex is definitely one of those feel good devices in life. Besides procreating, sex can actually be fun and healthy. You can enjoy sex at eighty as well as eighteen. Shedding misconceptions, that we cannot get older and still enjoy sexual activity or that enjoying sex is somehow sinful, is the first step in feeling good about our sexuality. Sex is a wonderful way to blow off steam at the end of a hard day. Sex can energize you and relax you at the same time. Sex can help you express the deep feelings of tenderness and mutual caring. Sex can provide comfort when there are feelings of loss. Non-coercive, consenting sex can add to your day of good feelings. Sex can enhance the process of giving and receiving. Sex can help us in our appreciation of a fleeting moment and its pleasures. As long as we desire it sex can be a part of our lives.
"If your kids make one of those little homemade guitars out of a cigar box and rubber bands, don't let them just play it once or twice and then throw it away. Make them practice on it, every day, for about three hours a day. Later, they'll thank you."
Music can help you relax or it can set your toes a tappin'. Music has even been known as an aid in healing stress-related illness. I know when I workout I use a variety of tapes to take me through different parts of my program. I enjoy Mozart pop hits when I am stretching. It creates an easy lilt that allows me to maintain a calm relaxed mind-set when I stretch. When I get on the stairmaster, I find Gladys Knight and the Pips' energetic renditions help me through what I normally find a boring task. Then I might switch to some Reggae to do my lifting. When I'm making supper I'll listen to Bonnie Raitt or Ann Murray. I love to dance to almost any rock and roll song, though any mushy romantic tune will do when dancing a slow dance with the one I love. When I used to daydream as a child growing up in hectic New York City, I would put on one of Beethoven's symphonies that would take me to woodland meadows with meandering clouds, beautiful wildflowers and warm breezes blowing. Music can make you feel good . Listen to some.
"Hey Jude, don't make it bad
And any time you feel the pain
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
Hey Jude, don't be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better"
Hey Jude, refrain, don't carry the world upon your shoulder
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA
And any time you feel the pain
My quotations are from a calendar one of my children gave me called Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. I believe it is a compilation of many people's input.
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