I know, “supposed to” is like a bad word.
The title of this post is inspired by a recent conversationI had with my boyfriend.
We had a conversation that brought up alot more than I thought would surface. In trying to figure out what direction we were heading, I got a text that read, “you are not happy,” to which my reply was, “my unhappiness is largely about me, not you.” It’s true, you can’t make anyone else happy if you can’t make yourself happy. I’m not talking about just a little bit happy, but happy in life and with life, versus moments of happiness sprinkled in.
Part of my life’s purpose is to figure out what makes me happy, what freedom feels, tastes, and smells like and to be joyful. Now I realize that everyone could perhaps say this, to keep finding their bliss, which I hope is true.
The reason why this seems like a big deal, is because I have spent so much of my life unhappy, chronically and conditionally. In alot of ways, it is my own doing, my unhappiness.
It started out harmless, being worried and anxious about things when I was a little girl, which more or less translated into being worried and anxious about things when I was not so little, and then again, being worried and anxious when I transitioned to a young woman.
My way of dealing with things is to tense up, to freeze up, to see the worst possible outcome at the outset of anything going awry.
Which is why…..I believe it is my life’s purpose to discover what I have deemed my theme moving forward into 2015 and beyond (can I say infinity and beyond) which is LIBERATED JOY.
Now I know it is in there, in me, and in you, and in every human being, yet it is not always liberated. On the contrary, it can be concealed.
I recently saw my friend Jenny go through this. She realized that she had succombed to the darker side of life and she was finally sick of it. In some big and small ways, she started to aim her life in a different direction and I watch her as she continues to shift, to make good choices for her health and wellbeing, and most essentially, to liberate her joy. She liberates alot of other things as well as she is a dancer and artist, but most poignantly, it is her own personal joy she is unleashing.
When I teach yoga, I am happy. Most classes I teach these days are an hour long and I teach anywhere from 1 to four classes a day, so for those hours I am teaching, I am happy. Sure, there are days when I feel like my energy isn’t great and the class isn’t dynamic or interesting enough, but generally and regardless, I am happy when I teach. But I started to notice an interesting paradigm recently. When I wasn’t teaching yoga, those hours in between, I was not happy.
Clearly, the solution is not to teach yoga 24/7, but why was I so unhappy?
It recently hit me, on the heels of having my boyfriend tell me a number of truthful and not so warm and fuzzy things.
I am not happy because I have been passively waiting for life to happen to me. My boyfriend likes to say that he happens to things, that he happens to life rather than life happening to him.
Now I grew up playing and loving soccer. I was always a defender, even though I secretly coveted forwards and mid-fielders. They ran a ton and had the glory and fame of scoring the goals. I always wished I was cut-out to be a natural born forward, yet there I was in the back of the field, defending the goal. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about this, defenders are bad asses and I was a good defender. The best defenders are the one’s who also attack on goal, yes, think Sergio Ramos.
That wasn’t exactly me. Whenever I would run up the field I always had a harkening sense that I needed to get my butt back to my area so that nothing would go wrong, so I wouldn’t let the team down. Still, I thirsted for something different, for putting the ball in the back of the net.
The beauty of hindsight is always 20/20. And the beauty of acknowledging your wishes and desires out loud is that you realize just because you were a defender on a soccer field for many many years and it seemed to suit my nature, that you no longer have to be on the defense. In fact, it would be good to learn how to play all the positions well, because they all serve a darn good purpose. I have often thought that you couldn’t win a game without the offense, but equally so, you can’t win a game without the defense. It is good to know when to attack, when to defend, and when to just move the ball around and create strategy.
And so it is, an insight that has so graciously opened up to me, that my unhappiness is largely due to a learned behavior I like to call, waiting for life to happen, or as the song goes, “Waiting for my Real Life to Begin.” It is not like I have never noticed this before, but there comes a time in all of our lives, when we see something for what it is and we recognize the source of pain and we finally say, enough is enough.
Every year I pick a word that is like a mantra, a driving force that reminds me of something bigger in life, a frame of reference to come back to you if I have gone adrift. This year is no exception, Liberated Joy is my mantra and the beauty of it is, is that I don’t actually have to attain anything before it is accomplished. It is a moment to moment connecting with myself and making decisions that are seeking those two words.
I encourage you too, to find a word or words, that resonate with you. Words that the moment you say them, the cells in your body agree. They can serve as a good compass, guiding you on your path not just now, but always.
Cheers, Love, and Life