A Joyful Me…the Journey to Real

Last year not long after my birthday, I went on a journey, an internal journey to open up my internal luggage and face my real self. It hasn’t been an easy journey, there have been more than a few moments where I wanted to take some of my findings and stuff them back down, sort of like when you have too much stuff in your luggage and you find yourself sitting on your suitcase wrestling with it so that it will close. Thankfully I started this journey with someone who held my hand along the way and assured me that whatever I found, it would be okay. I admit if it hadn’t been for that person, I would have long ago abandoned the journey and continued to keep trucking away like a pot on a slow simmer. Instead I have found peace, peace in knowing that it’s okay and that I am okay and while I wish the road was less bumpy, I am far enough in this journey that I trust that no matter what twists and turns I now face it will be okay.

A few nights ago, I was having a heart to heart with a friend and she posed a question or rather a statement that has stuck in my mind for the past few days. It was nothing bad but interesting since she isn’t the first person lately to say something in a similar vein. It’s funny because I am far more open and honest with those I trust than I have ever been in my life, so much so that people are still sitting back and trying to figure it out. Yet it’s ironic that when we get real, that sometimes that realness can be hard to digest and sometimes seen as a cover.

For me being my real self, started off as a quest to be happy but along the way I learned that happiness should not be the goal. Happiness is often temporary and dependent on circumstances and often times we have no control over our circumstances, after all shit happens. Instead my focus along the way shifted to being joyful, on the surface joy and happiness seems to be the same thing, but joy and the state of joyfulness are deeper, more spiritual. Granted one can be filled with joy and happy at the same time, which is great but joy often sticks around far longer than happy. Personally I want the one that sticks around, not the one that is fleeting.

One of the many lessons that yoga has taught me (aside from the fact I can do stuff I never dreamed possible) is that when I stay anchored in myself and allow that quiet and peace to flood me, joy is beneath the surface. I mean there is nothing particularly happy about dragging your ass to a class when you would rather be sleeping but finding a joy that allows you to laugh at yourself and not sweat most things is worth losing the temporary happy of sleep.

One of the many gifts of getting older has been the ability and really the desire to dig deep, to strip away the layers of myself and be willing to bring those layers out in the light to see what is real and what is not. I have no idea where the end will be, but I am committed to enjoying the ride!


It’s okay to be mediocre

We are living in crazy times here in the US, many of our fellow country men and women are struggling to survive to the point where just keeping food on the table is a struggle. Yet at the same time many of us are still playing our role as the ultimate consumers. Fancy meals, coffee drinks (yeah, I am guilty of this one), standing in line to get the newest and latest iGadget, all the outward signs of success. I often wonder how many of us can really afford these things? Make no mistake, I know not everyone is struggling but most of us are living in denial. If we lost our jobs and didn’t find one in six months or so our world would collapse.

Yet despite the grim statistics that in this new America a permanent underclass is being created where a good 10% of us at any given time will be jobless and many more are underemployed. We still cling to the dream that we must achieve success and that well… success will include climbing the corporate ladder or maybe the non-profit ladder or owning our own business. Success is often defined by what we have rather than by who we are and frankly I think that is fucked up.

Social media allows me to stay connected enough to remind me that the second reason why I chose to move to Maine was that I wanted to get off the hamster wheel. Prior to our move to Maine and the eventual downsizing of our life, the Spousal Unit and I worked hard to the point early on we had a patch where work was fucking with our marriage. A boss who does not give a damn that your wife is sick has a funny way of creating tension in a marriage especially when your presence is requested on a Sunday just so you can sit in the office and be on call for a client. When the Spousal Unit was fired from his lovely well paid position at a Big 4 firm, it was the beginning of a turning point in our marriage that turned out to be preparation for life in Maine. Yet because we made the conscious decision that our marriage and family was more important than anything else I suspect its one of the biggest reasons that we have weathered the financial storms of life.

In many ways we have reached the point where we are okay having less, that as long as our basic needs (and I admit we are defining basic a bit broadly), are met that we are fine. In a world that says mediocrity and settling is bad we are at the place where we are ok with settling professionally and even financially when our personal life is so rich. It’s funny because the past few months have been some of the best times personally for us as the kidlet has gotten older and a bit more predictable (i.e. regular bedtime).

Last night before I drifted off to bed, I told the Spousal Unit that I was content with our life and he replied that he wished he could do more for us, like rehab this 127 year old dungeon we call a home. I won’t lie, it would be lovely to just hire contractors to fix this place but I am happy to just have a home and more importantly a home that is paid off, the rest will come in time.

To my young readers and maybe not so young readers, I guess what I am trying to say is life is too fucking short to spend your time chasing shit that won’t really make you happy. Sometimes we set goals of things we think will change our life and guess what? Those things often aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Instead happiness must come from inside, true its hard to be happy when your belly is empty and you are sleeping on a park bench but the fact is if you got a place to lay your head, food, and more importantly you have good people in your life that is the shit that matters.

I guess in some ways this may seem strange coming from someone who is holding a beg-a-thon to get a new computer after all if I had a better job I could just go out and buy the damn thing. But while that would be nice, the fact is even this blog is a labor of love that I could not do if I were tethered to some high paying gig, thus not having the chance to meet all you fabulous folks who read my ramblings. So don’t let others define who you are by what you have or don’t have, know that you are fabulous no matter what!