The Key to Happiness

What Makes You Happy?

I find myself constantly keeping track of what I need to do or to how to fix some problem in my life or my adult kid’s life. Living in the moment can stop the feeling of tasks never being finished. When God created the world, after each day of creation, He stopped and said, “It is good.” Key point, he stopped. It doesn’t say He thought about what had to be done tomorrow or His next big project. He stopped and enjoyed what He had just done. We need to pause and enjoy the task we have just completed before allowing a single thought as to what we must do next.

Relish the moment.

Of course, our adult kids don’t want our advice (unless they ask for it) and, as adults, they sure don’t want to think they need a mother telling them what to do! It’s a fine line we balance between accepting them as they are, seeing their struggles and just watching from the sidelines and not butting in.

The Serenity Prayer

Worry will rob us of the joy to be found all around us. It is a block wall we unconsciously put up that will not allow joy to permeate our lives, to let us feel happy and at peace.

Don’t let tomorrow’s problems rob us of today’s joy.

On my worst days, when I let my personal problems and the constant worries about those I love, real or imagined, overcome me I have to consciously stop myself and let any little thing that catches my eye as a source of joy enter within to stop the negative energy of worry and stress trying to drag me down.

Some things we have NO CONTROL over and just have to let them be, no matter what we may conceive the consequences to be. If we can step up to the plate and actually do something, by all means, do it. If there is nothing we can do about a troubling situation, then we need to let it go and send positive thoughts and prayers out, asking that somehow the right person who can help will come forth and help,,, then let it go.

Take that monkey off your back.

We are not deserting the problem nor the person by removing ourselves from it, only stepping a short distance away and allowing ourselves to not get entangled in a state of anxiety and depression over something we can do nothing about. Strangely enough, this will help a loved one who is out of reach to our help more than our “wallowing in the mire” with them.

A personal example I have of this is when I was very young, I got mixed up with the wrong kind of guy. I ended up marrying him and for ten years lived in a very controlling, abusive and negative environment. It was so bad and I was so naive, I mistakenly thought I had to do as he said. One thing he insisted upon was that I have no contact with my mother, who had tried to prevent me from seeing him in the beginning. He resented that so much, he now would not allow me to see her.

I’m sure my mother lived in deep sorrow and despair, seeing things that were going on in my life but, to her credit, continued on living her life in what appeared a normal manner. Somehow, in the nightmare that I was living, I found strength just knowing that my my life did not ruin my mother’s life; that beyond my crazy, dysfunctional life, there was still a way of life, beyond the confines of my prison, that existed in a normal manner. My mother had no idea that she was my lifeline, just seeing her from afar continue on in a normal fashion bolstered me up. As sure as night follows day, I was drawing strength to survive and eventually move out of this hell hole, just knowing my mother continued living her life in a good way.

The point of sharing this is to let everyone know that we have to live our own life in a way that is the best we know how. We cannot let things beyond our control to fix or solve drag us down. It does no good to us or our loved ones we may be worried about.

Staying as strong and happy as we possibly can, in spite of whatever tries to rob us of our joy, is the best thing we can do for ourselves and those we love.

Take this day and find every little element in it that brings even a hint of gladness to your heart and let it in. Consciously seek the beauty all around you, the unchanging cycles of nature, a sunset, a child’s innocent countenance, a loyal pet…whatever is a source of happiness to you, let it in. Let all the little happy things in that you encounter in your day.

You deserve to be happy.

Your happiness is another’s strength and hope.

Happiness is a choice.

As the song by Bobby McFerrin says, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. If you get a chance, go find that song and listen to the words again. There’s a powerful message there.

A wise friend I once had told me something years ago as I was talking to her about feeling stuck in my own troubles, troubles that seemed to block out any hope of happiness. In responding to the prison I had unwittingly wrapped myself into she said, “The bars are made of paper.” Her words brought an image to me how I could easily rip them apart or cut them with scissors. They weren’t the strong, heavy metal bars I had imagined. My prison was my own making and I could break free of it.

Strive to be happy…the bars are made of paper.

Author: Mary Catherine

• Published writer that used to contribute a monthly article on any given subject to my local newspaper. I am no longer doing this and miss it. • Owned my own custom paint store, "Wild Woods". I called it "wall art" that consisted of murals, glazing, faux painting and also painting vinyl garage doors to look like wood or metal; usually copper. • Have had an interesting past 14 years living off the grid in a remote area in Southern Utah near the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in a progressive community that held many informative events with guest speakers, including a number of published authors, and hands-on exercises in various self-sufficient living. No longer living there. • I have another blog about grandparenting. This is a subject near and dear to my heart nowadays. *As part of "the sandwich generation", I was caught between helping my adults kids (usually with their kids) as well as caring for an elderly parent, my mother, who was suffering from dementia. I want to do some writing on the aspect of full time care givers to people with Alzheimer's as well. I feel I have learned a lot about this. ~ What a Juggling Act! Somewhere with all those balls up in the air, my own dreams had been put on hold for too long and now, after losing my mother just recently, and my grandkids in school, I hope to rekindle them. My husband and I are super busy doing major remodeling jobs on a house we purchased two years ago as well as extensive yard work. The house and yard projects, which include the restoration of an old cottage built in the 1800's that sits on the far, back corner of our three-fourths acre lot we own are keeping us both really busy. Amidst the ongoing projects, I try to squeeze in a moment here and there to work on my blogs. Creativity has always been an essential part of who I am and when I stop doing things like this, I feel like a robot mechanically moving around, just getting the necessities done. Art, Music, Writing, Gardening, Home Interior Decorating, Water Activities like swimming and kayaking are the things I crave and try to find time to do. We have to "make it a good day"!

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