Yesterday I did something I think is a little silly – I declared (with great flourish) speech-style to my kids – that May 1st marked day one of the Happiness Initiative 2020. My 16 year old daughter looked at me with big, round eyes and said – “Is that a thing now? Are people doing this?” I told her the Mosely family was, and my 8 year old (the little Lion-man) old started jumping up and down and cheering. Then he ran and found the sparklers and arranged a celebration of happiness for when it got dark outside.
I parked in a graveyard a few weeks ago and sat there for hours – the silence, the stillness oddly comforting. Covid-19 has made this a stange world and I had to get out of the house or lose my mind – I had to get in a space where I couldn’t hear anyone else’s voice or movement, or need of me, and I found myself sitting in that beautiful graveyard next to the church down the road. (i know i’m not the only weird-o that loves the graveyard.)
Sitting in the car in delicious silence, a gentle breeze blowing in the window, I began to talk to myself and talk to God – and questions started to roll out of me putting a pin-light on some unsavory emotions I’ve been having. What am I afraid of? Why am I feeling so unhappy? What if the worst actually happens? What IS the worst, anyway? And if everything does go to hell in a hand basket, what would that mean about my life? Who gets to decide that? Me? What? I decide for myself? What does that even look like? What do you mean I’m responsible for my own happiness?
And it was like a wave of ‘duh’ washed over me, inviting me into the simplest, most obvious revelation of my adulthood – but maybe the most profound. I had to stop waiting on something or someone to make me happy – it simply does not work that way. I don’t even know where I got the idea that it did. If you had asked me I would have told you, of course it’s not my husband, or my best friend, or my group of girlfriends, or my kids, or my work, or anyone else’s job to make me happy, that’s just silliness.
But what came up in the stillness is that I was still waiting on it to happen anyway.
I was waiting for some thing to happen, perpetuated from outside of myself, that would finally bring me this mysterious missing piece that would explode happiness onto my scene. If this is really up to me, then what is it that I really want? What is it that would really bring happiness into my every day? It kinda makes a big difference when that question is pointed in your face, and not at someone else.
I’ve said for years that what we think is not always what we believe. I can think something sounds good – “yes, i think that is right, that sounds true to me” – but buried under that thought is the belief that is driving my action. What I understood in that moment is that I believed I do not own myself. What a strange thing to believe. What a powerful
driving derailing force in a person’s life. What could I choose if I owned myself, and therefore owned my choices? And that is the roadblock I came face to face with that day.
January 2017 marks the beginning of so many things in my life. The beginning of my life without my sister in it. The beginning of the end of my ability to continue in my life the way it was. And it was the beginning of my understanding that I get to choose. Choose what, you ask? ANYthing. It was another of those colossal ‘duh’ moments. I get to choose. What a revelation.
But the belief that I do not own myself was blocking my ability to choose (pesky little underlying belief). I can choose whatever I want, but if I believe I do not really own my choices, it will constantly be overridden by whoever has a different opinion on the matter. What a frustrating way to live.
So here’s to the Happiness Initiative 2020! Here’s to uncovering buried beliefs that roadblock and override us. Here’s to choosing the things that bring joy into our lives – on purpose, with wholeness of heart – knowing that I truly do get to choose for myself, and I don’t have to wait on anyone else to bring happiness into my life. That decision belongs to me.