Shaman Guy and I are nestled in bed. The words coming out of his mouth shock me.
“Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens?”
Pull your minds out of the gutter, Shaman Girls. It’s a Saturday night and we are under the flannel in our jammies. He’s reading from Michael A. Singer’s “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Self.” Yep, reading in bed on a weekend night. Pure (somewhat lame) pleasure.
“Happy, happy, happy,” is Shaman Guy’s favorite catchphrase, stolen from the patriarch of our favorite TV show, Duck Dynasty. You’d think that for a couple that devotes our lives to happiness and living purposefully that this question wouldn’t be so jarring. But it was.
Michael Singer’s words keep flowing, “Do you want to be happy or not? If you keep it that simple you see that it really is under your control. It’s just that you have a deep-seated set of preferences that gets in the way.”
Wow. Yes. I do. For someone who talks a good game about happiness, I have a hell of a lot of conditions for happiness to happen. Starting with…
I was jolted into thinking about putting Shaman Boy to bed. Like all normal 5-year-olds, he tried every trick in the book to delay the inevitable. Not being able to cajole or demand or okay, control, him into bed faster, I felt myself become annoyed. “Really?” I am now thinking to myself. “My happiness is dependent on my child going to bed on my timeline?”
Next I flash to a bigger potential happiness buster. What if Shaman Guy or Shaman Boy died? I would (will) definitely be sad, heart-broken. Huh. So my happiness is dependent on circumstances that I can’t control – which covers a rather large swatch of life?
And what about all the scenarios in between? Would I still choose happiness if our house burnt down? Or our finances drastically changed? Or my favorite possession was broken? Or…
I felt an urge to argue with what Shaman Guy was reading. Was I willing to commit to unconditional happiness? Because Life is, of course, going to bring circumstances that I would prefer not to happen.
Shaman Guy lays it all out, “It’s just that you don’t really mean it when you say you’re willing to stay happy. You want to quantify it. You want to say that as long as this doesn’t happen, or as long as that does happen, then you’re willing to be happy.”
Bam. There it was. The realization that, in truth, I haven’t been all that committed to being happy.
I become unhappy multiple times each day for someone who lives, breaths, and professes a commitment to happiness. So was I willing to make a commitment, a real commitment, to unconditional happiness?
I wrestled with my beliefs.
Start small. And easy. Take all the life-changing, please God no, possibilities off the table.
Yes. I was certainly willing to question my knee-jerk reactions to the little daily annoyances that seemed to steal my happiness away.
I’ve started choosing playfulness in response to Shaman Boy’s occasional obstinance. When Shaman Guy picked a place for lunch that doesn’t have many items on my no wheat-corn-sugar-cheese diet after a delicious day together, I choose to be flexible and keep the yummy energy flow instead of going to crankiness.
When Yellow Pup shredded the tree that we planted after Shaman Boy’s birth, I watched as my mind went into “What does this mean? And how dare he…” And then I caught myself. My happiness is not going down over a few dead branches.
I am still hanging on to a shred of authenticity. If (okay when) Shaman Guy dies, I will be sad. When life circumstances change and these rub against my self-image and long-held beliefs about myself, I tend to cry.
And yet, my overall, ongoing commitment to happiness allows me to feel what I authentically feel and then eventually return to a contented state.
When we are rubbed – whether by a few words from a book or by the vagaries of life – we have the opportunity to see who we are and what we believe more clearly.
So yes. I am committed to happiness. Unconditional happiness. I just might take my time in getting there depending on the circumstance.
And you, my happiness-seeking tribe?
Are you committed to unconditional happiness? What preferences are you willing to let go of to bring a little more happy into your life?
Let’s share our happiness tricks and deep seated beliefs with each other. And make more happy, happy, happy all around. Leave a comment here or post on Shaman Girl Facebook.