In Pursuit of Happiness

I quit.

I’m done.

I can’t take more of this chaos, this insanity, this week , this year . . .

I refuse to accept that human beings have nothing more to offer each other than clinging  to stupidity in the name of the perception of freedom, and allowing a minority ignore the will of the majority who just want to feel safe from the brutality of those who see violence as the answer to everything.

I refuse to believe that we cannot find our way past fear and the perception of difference to live in  a world full of peace, kindness, and love.

I can’t continue to gather the pain and anger that fills this world, and feel so helpless. I can’t watch as media agencies care more about being first than about reporting news properly.

I can’t take any more.

It’s time to make change . . . inside myself, in society, in this world.

I don’t like walking around feeling angry, sad, frustrated, tired, and hopeless. But, I realize, that I’m the only one who can change that for myself, and maybe making the  internal changes will somehow create chain reaction that will grow into others.

Today is the day that I am going to close my eyes and ears to all the negativity in the world, and focus on happiness.

This doesn’t mean I will stop caring, but that I simply cannot take anymore in. The  only way I’m ever going to make a difference. The only way we are ever going to make change, is for each and every individual to say “Enough! This insanity has gone on for too long! We want  a better life for everyone!” And then they have to start . . . with themselves.

“Your personal contentment is more than a feel-good story. New research shows it can have a profound effect on your health. . . It’s not too late to pursue your own happiness today.” (Ronald Siegel “Why You Need to Pursue Happiness”

Today I choose to pursue happiness and love, because if I don’t I think I’m going to lose myself into a darkness m which I’ll never escape.

Today I choose pursue happiness because I cannot accept that humans cannot rise above the darkness, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Today I choose to pursue happiness and hope.

Does anyone want to join me? If we do, maybe we can change the world, one step at a time.

Yellow and purple flowers make me happy.

Yellow and purple flowers make me happy.

UPDATE (a few moments later): I’m going to learn from the wisdom of the incredible “word hermit” Andra Watkins . . . visit her post to find out more.

Face it: LIFE is confusing!

Seven-ring classical labyrinth of unknown age ...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday’s Post A Day suggestion asks

What part of life confuses you the most?

My answer is simple. Life confuses me.

To try to explain this, I will resort to a confusing mass of metaphors–a bubbling stew of life’s issues that contains ingredients that only clarify for a moment before melting into a more confusing whole.

Seriously, nothing every really makes sense. Even when my faith was strongest (rather than conflicted) the answers were never clear. One day you may feel like you understand everything that is happening around you, and 5 seconds later something else is thrown into the mix–a grenade that blows understanding to oblivion. (I warned you that I was going to mix metaphors)

Life is a series of questions that only you can answer for yourself. Your answers may be right for you, but wrong for someone else. Questions that add to the confusion:

  • Why are we here? Is there a purpose to life?
  • Do we have destinies? Are we fated to follow certain paths?
  • As we make our way through the labyrinth of life, do our choices always lead only one place? I mean, yes we all are heading to death, but do all paths take us in the same direction even if we think we have chosen something new?
  • Why does my to do list never get done, or regenerate itself when I think it is finished?
  • Why do “good” people get smashed and “bad” people win over and over again?
  • Why do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, when the laws of kindness and common sense should treat us all equally?
  • How do pets and children take up so much space in bed?
  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • Why does it take hours to clean up a mess, and only minutes to make one?

This list could go on forever. I’d love for people to add to it in comments below.

Of course, for me, one of the confusions of the moment is: Why does the food I love have to be so bad for me? Why can’t I just live on chocolate and cinnamon buns and all sorts of decadent gooey-ness? Why? Why? Why?

Now I am off to find a healthy (although less yummy) breakfast.

The Perennial Student, A Collector of Experiences

Join me at a table in a restaurant set for eight. One empty seat for the woman who does not show. The rest of the seats filled with people who seem to have one passion in common. Well, maybe two . . . the most obvious is their passion for theatre, but the one I am interested in is their passion for experiences and for learning. To this group, I believe, that is the meaning of life. Or perhaps I should say, from this group, I am learning the meanings of my life.

On the end, the youngest member of the party, seven years old with a personality all her own. Bright, energetic, and embracing everything as if it was new. Because it is new. Through her eyes, I re-learn the discoveries of childhood, and begin to learn the truths of parenthood.

Next to her, her father. My partner. A talented man with a job he likes, and a dream he’d love. Through him, I learn about relationships and struggle, as well as how to live embracing simple joys.

Next, after the empty seat, a man who lives his life passionately.  Whether it is raising the child that is his theater company, or helping his family, or fighting for justice and democracy, or saying goodbye to his father (who passed away last week) he throws himself in 110%. From him, I learn the power of passion, but also the necessity of balance.

Next, an actor who is recognized for his work. He has a thriving career, but more importantly he has the desire to share his experiences with others. I don’t know him very well, but listening to him talk I recognize a kindred spirit, one who believes that creating an atmosphere where everyone feels involved is crucial. Through him I learn the value of making choices and committing to them, and that teaching and sharing is part of the journey and the joy.

Across from him, a director who lived through the 60s and evaluates life and belief systems in everyday conversation. He is silent when he has no opinion, but that silence speaks volumes. Through him I learn the subtlety of questioning and experiencing in order to find meaning that rings true to your heart.

Next to him, a man in his 70s who lives and breathes Shakespeare, but is even more than that.  I have been watching him create character in  a way I cannot describe. He takes each word written and uncovers more meanings and variety in ways that I have yet to discover, both as a director and as a writer. Yet, his humble quietness is as powerful as his use of language. From him, I learn to trust the words, because the answers lie in them.

Next to him, a playwright, who writes whatever she is passionate about.  Love. Religion. Tango. She seems to look at the world as an opportunity for learning and questioning. What about this moment, this time, this place is interesting? What can I learn from this person’s story?  What story can I share with others? These are questions that I think she asks herself regularly, and then she tries to answer through words.  From her, I am learning my thoughts matter and that it is time to put them out there,  in my own way.

Finally, we come to me. A well-educated woman who is still searching for what I want to be when I grow up.  At this moment in time, I’m also experiencing an odd layering of life. There is the me who is knowledgeable and professional, who knows a lot about her field. Then there is the me who feels like a student next to these people, and recognizes that is okay. There is the me who feels like a novice, and is afraid of doing something wrong. Then there is the me who is a teacher and a mentor, for my students and my daughter; that is the me of responsibility. Finally, there is the me who simply is.

As I pursue this week of multiple layers, or this meal of multiple moments, I realize that the experiences I have, the learning that I do, is who I am. I am a perennial student.  When I try to be the expert, I feel uncomfortable in my skin. When I embrace the unknown, and admit that I do not know everything, then I feel joy.  Sometimes the unknown is scary and uncomfortable, but what I learn after that is filled with energy.

My work is learning. My work is sharing.

My classroom is life.

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