Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Welcome's been a while

Hey everyone!
It's been a while since I was on here and the timing just felt right to pick up and start writing again.
A lot has happened since I was last here and there's so much to write about. :-)
But, since I don't want to bombard people with "EVERYTHING" all at once I'll start slow...hehe.

Being a mom to an almost one year old is a pretty tiring job! Chasing after him non stop and (lately) planning his first big birthday bash has me a little more stretched than usual. But one thing I can always count on is a few quiet minutes before bed to curl up with a good book and just escape my hectic mind for a little bit.
The book I have been re-reading lately is
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. Cutler. There is something about reading the words of the Dalai Lama that truly touch my heart and uplift my spirits; and paired with the "Devil's advocate" and "modern man of science" role that Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist, plays it is the perfect dialog to bring peace, compassion and hope into my mind when it is at it's most chaotic and distressed.
It's a book, that I feel like everyone should read at some point in their life; because it is about finding your happiness and living it. But it's presented in such a simple straightforward manner, even in light of some of Dr. Cutler's arguments and questioning, the answer always seems simple; albeit one that requires a lot of hard work.
It was just a few short weeks ago that something clicked in my mind that seemed to change the way I looked at everything around me. I'm not sure what event or series of events brought this on, but suddenly I was seeing the world from a different angle. I felt a little disoriented and lost for a bit but then something led me to pick up The Art of Happiness again and start reading. But, instead of beginning from page one, I simply picked up the book and started reading the section about "Self Created Suffering". That's when it all started to make sense. I read the lines,
"All too often we perpetuate our pain, keep it alive, by replaying our hurts over and over again in our minds, magnifying our injustices in the process." [page 150] "To a large extent, whether you suffer depends on how you respond to a given situation. ...Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation." [pages 151-152]" and I realized that I had somehow started making a conscious effort to stop making myself suffer. While it felt strange to not indulge in replaying my problems, over exaggerate the injustices in my life, and focus on the hardships I was facing, I started to realize that I was happier and more aware of how different events and exchanges really effected me and how I could change my reactions and lessen the negative feelings.
To make a long story short; I'm not perfect. I'm still very much a flawed individual and I am far from able to completely control my suffering; I have just taken that first step in the right direction, and there is still a long road ahead. But, each night as I sit reading another snippet from this book I see myself moving forward, little by little, towards a truer more complete happiness in my life. I am starting to live a more compassionate, loving life and paying closer attention to living in a way that brings me "true" happiness; not just simple pleasure or contentment.

I highly recommend this book to anyone; happy, sad, confused, lost, or even just curious. The Dalai Lama has an unassuming, simple way of looking at even some of the worst situations. And if you open your mind up enough, it's not that hard to read his words and say, "Yeah, that actually makes sense"

Love, Laughter and Happiness to all.

Photo Credit: Photo Bucket

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