Tuesday, February 03, 2009


(Ball masque-Sun)

Don’t worry.
Be happy.
Right. How come it’s so hard to do?

Today is a busy day and that’s a good thing. I’m a little nervous, excited as well as happy. Yes. I said it, happy. Why is it so hard for me to say that I’m happy? I want to be happy- doesn’t everyone? Ok, maybe there are some people out there who don’t, but I do. I really do. So what’s the problem?

Fear. Oh, that old feeling back – again. It sounds ridiculous but it’s the truth. I’m afraid of being happy. Why?

Here’s what came up. What if it gets taken away? What if it’s a mirage that looks good from a distance but never materializes. What if it’s just a pretty frosting that covers up a bad situation. What if something goes wrong? What if I’m not worthy. Why should I be happy when others are not?

I wonder why I distrust happiness? Because in the past, it wasn’t what it seemed? It was a mask worn by someone who really felt differently? It was a rug that was pulled out from under me? Could be. We’ve all had good situations that turned bad. Or days that started out good and ended differently. But I know, I’ve also had the opposite happen, so have you, I’m sure. Bad situations, people, days that turn out to be good in the end.

So, what’s the problem?

When I look back at my life, I see times when I was truly happy. Enjoying a romantic picnic by the river with my husband. Holding my newborn daughter and son for the first time. Strolling the beach at sunset. Nothing bad happened.

Writing this now, I’m feeling less nervous and more relaxed. I’m looking forward to today. I have a sculpture piece to deliver to an art show. I have a mask making class to teach to fun-loving children at a local elementary school. I’ve got a party to go to at a jazz club.

I can be happy. I can enjoy my artistic accomplishments. I can have fun teaching the art of mask making. I can enjoy the party. There that wasn’t so hard, after all.

In the spirit of happiness, here’s my contribution to the happiness meme that’s going around the blog world right now. With all that’s going on in the real world right now, I know I need all the happy thoughts I can find. I hope it helps you find some of yours, too.

The meme is simple: You list six things that make you happy, not necessarily in any order, just the first six that come to mind. Ok, maybe that might be hard but try not to worry about it. (I’m smiling at you, see?) Then you "tag" another blogger or two with the meme, to pass it on.

1. The sun shining down on me as I walk my dog around the lake. I feel the luscious warmth on my back while my nose feels the frosty, winter air. I see the heron feeding, hear the redwing blackbird singing and lean against the powerful cedar trees and sigh.
2. Going over and kissing my husband and asking him if he’s happy and he says, “Yes.” I ask, “Why?” And he says, because right now, everything’s good…home, him, me, the kids, his work, my work. I kiss him again for reminding me once again, that life is good.
3. Playing with clay, pushing on smooth copper, painting with a rainbow of paints and writing the stories that the pictures want to tell me.
4. The first sniff and sip of fresh morning coffee.
5. The sound of my daughter singing. The sight of my son digging into a home cooked meal with gusto.
6. The support of friends and family. I don’t take that for granted…thank you all!

Ok, so now it’s time to tag someone else…Brenda Boylan, a pastel artist, http://brendaboylan.blogspot.com/ and Patrick Gracewood, sculptor, http://shadowsonstone.blogspot.com/

Have fun with your happy thoughts!


3 comments:

Susan J Tweit said...

I think it's hard to be happy when we feel we don't deserve it. That's when we're waiting for that other shoe to drop, and when it doesn't, it makes us even more apprehensive. So why don't we deserve to be happy? Good question, and the answer is probably different for everyone.

Good for you for writing through it! You've got a lovely list of things to be happy about.

Susan GT said...

I really do feel we all deserve to be happy. How we get to that feeling in the midst of other feelings and the busy-ness of life is the challenge, I think.

Thanks...for tagging me on this, I realize I really needed to sit down and make my happy list. It truly changed my attitude.

Janet Grace Riehl said...

Yes, good point about fear blocking happiness. The Buddhist point of view is that the main thing is not to "grasp onto" the happiness in order to attempt to make it permanent. That causes a tightness. If we can sometimes just allow ourselves to notice: "Ah, now I feel content, satisfied...and, oh yes...happy." Knowing that later on this happiness linked to an external event will fade.

I notice some folks have a talent for happiness. And, some of us, don't.

I can say, that for me, the outer context does matter. Having come back from one of the happiest months of my life in Ghana, I can say that although there were a few rough spots...mostly with my health...that yes, I finally felt like I was getting the knack of being, quite simply, just happy.

Love your list...and love Susan Tweit's essay on happiness for her meme list.

Janet Riehl
www.riehlife.com