Making it through every day can feel like a struggle. Happiness can lighten that load a little at a time.
Blasting out of a sheltered life can be pretty cool. Let me explain.
A number of days ago, I went to see “Sophisticated Ladies,” a theater production based on the music of Duke Ellington. It was put on at the ZACH Theatre in Austin, and it was tremendous. Goofball here was going down there to hear a piano player friend at Happy Hour. Afterward, I was planning to head home.
Well, those plans changed. The entire cast was incredible. I had zero idea that the great Jennifer Holliday was part of the cast, either, so to see and hear her was just awesome
This was the first time in nearly 40 years that I have seen a show like this in person. Sitting five or six rows from the stage, I could feel the energy that never let up for over two hours. It didn’t hurt that songs like “I’m Beginning To See The Light,” “Take The A-Train,” “Caravan” and others were part of the show, too.
Even writing about the experience brings such joy and happiness to my heart. I want more happiness experiences.
For far too long, I’ve denied myself healthy opportunities to taste the goodness and richness of life. It does not matter if it was because I was too emotionally stuck with other people’s issues or even my own. I’m more than willing to continue doing that important soul-searching work within me so that happiness trumps sadness, anger and fear.
Doing the soul work has led me to this point of my life. Spending too much time asking the cursed “how” questions takes me out of living and breathing in this very moment. I do wonder, though, if I would have been ready to appreciate that show or anything else that brings me joy, happiness and bliss a number of years ago.
My sense is that I would not have listened to my gut intuition, followed it and allowed that pleasant experience to happen. No, I would have found some made-up excuse to not go. There is a magical and spiritual quality to trusting that gut instinct. Throughout these columns, I have used the term soul a lot. For some strange reason, I do believe we all have a soul within us. It is where answers lie. It is where mystery lies. It is where, alas, happiness lies.
Life, though, starts pouring drama all over the soul’s domain and drowns out the happiness senses within me. That drama takes the form of self-made and others’ situations and it sucks. There is no peace, no joy, no fun, no happiness, and no bliss. It’s like sleepwalking through a sun-filled day and wondering if the sun will shine tomorrow. Hey, this is today. This is “the show.”
What about reality, though. There are meetings to attend, bills to pay, family members that need our help, friends going through hell on Earth that could use encouraging words. Have I forgotten about those who are hurting, wounded, broken and ailing? Not in the least.
I’m truly not attempting to paint a picture of eternal Utopia, although believing in it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. There have been too many times where the flip side of happiness has reared its head and stuck its fangs right into my neck. Admittedly, I wish that I had the magic answer for all people who are in pain at this moment. While I may be the magician over my own life, I can’t waive a wand and make every person’s pain go away. Even my wand looks a bit cracked most days, and that’s good because it lets me know that I’m still pretty human.
Happiness is contagious. Hang around men and women who are consistently upbeat, hopeful and joyful and pretty soon you’ll join that crowd.
I hear a cynic out there. Look buddy, nobody is making you believe in happiness. If you want to remain angry, bitter and upset, then go with it. Not every single human being wakes up 99.9 percent of the time in that happy state. Is it possible to reach a higher level of enjoyment in life? Hey, anything is possible when it comes to human beings.
By the way, I do believe that people can change. Situations change. Relationships change. While certain constructs or paradigms might stay in place, the energy within them remains dynamic and flowing.
As I’m typing this column out, my right index finger has a Band-Aid over the tip of it. Somehow, I sliced it (no, it is not a life-threatening situation). Yet without a Band-Aid, I’d be bleeding all over the keyboard. Some people might think this entire column is one big bleeding-over-the-keyboard exercise. Bad joking aside, I can tell that energy is flowing through me both from a creative and physical standpoint.
Happiness is energy and it’s always active and vibrant. Thousands of people seek happiness in so many ways, whether it’s from going on a spiritual trip or basking in the glory of nature. Even sitting out on a backyard patio and watching birds fly around can bring a person such happiness that they “lose themselves” in the moment. Holding your lover close and kissing her passionately can definitely be a happy moment.
This whole subject of happiness and wanting that feeling of happiness more in my life is rather new to me. I’ve had happy moments here and there, but I’d rather have a consistent stream of happiness with the occasional downward dip toward reality.
Don’t give up on yourself. Keep striving for a life filled with joy and happiness. Life will knock you on your ass. Sit for a while if that’s part of your plan, make adjustments and get back in the game. Yes, your life might suck. Mine has at times, too. We all, though, are worthy of happy lives. Feel your worthiness. Know that you are loved. Should you be going through hell right now, I hope you know that happiness is just around the corner. When all else fails, fall back on love. Join a caravan of happiness, too.
Did I say “Caravan?” Yes I did, and I’m ending this on a happy note with The Duke and Lady Ella.
Photo: Getty Images