Where is your happiness?
Much of what has happened in my life has been beyond my control. I had cancer, became disabled, had an LDS spouse who turned atheist, and have had various other challenges. Back when I was in the throes of my cancer treatments I pursued hypnosis as a method for dealing with the rather intense pain that accompanied chemo and the subsequent amputation of my leg. The pain had become so bad that I was writhing and screaming all through many nights, which I’m sure was upsetting to my parents and others who could hear my anguish echoing down the hospital corridors.
My psychiatrist had me lie down and breathe deeply, then he spoke and told me to imagine the most peaceful and beautiful place that I could think of. He then led me through the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of that place to relax my body and distract me from the pain. After a few sessions with him I learned how to control my breathing and master some elements of mental pain control.
Since then I’ve had many times when I’ve needed to escape for a bit from the realities of my life so I can endure pain and/or regain peace and hope. Sometimes I still use the hypnosis/meditation skills that the I learned many years ago, sometimes I make a list of things that I’m grateful for to put the ‘bad’ into perspective, or I engage in a hobby (like crocheting or painting or baking or gardening) to bring me joy. On other occasions I will google images of waterfalls, cottages, or flowers and just let myself fall into them for awhile. Listening to Rachmaninoff’s piano concertos makes me happy even on my crabbiest days. A kindness from a stranger or from a family member nearly always makes me smile. Petting the soft belly of a cat, is a sure way to lower my blood pressure a few points.
I have an acquaintance who has had some really tough things happen in her life. For nearly two decades she was constantly in crisis mode as she dealt with the trials that were thrown her way. When all was said and done and she found herself in a space where she was free from all of the earlier entanglements and had the freedom to pursue just about anything her heart desired, she was completely stymied. She realized that she had no idea what to do. She had no idea at all what would bring her joy. Would it be taking up a new hobby? Full-time charity work? Moving somewhere away from all of the memories of her painful years? As I watched her struggle to figure out what would make her happy I vowed inside to do whatever I could to keep hold of my own happy places, to never forget the joy, peace, and contentment that they bring.
So today I’d like you to share with all of us what your happiness is. Where do you escape to when the trials come your way? What can always bring a smile to your face? What is your bliss?
Photo taken in my garden, one of my very special happy places. Note: even as you read this I am traveling to the Rocky Mountain Women’s Retreat to spend time with many awesome women including a handful of my sister-bloggers here at Exponent. It wil definitely be a weekend filled with happy-place moments! 🙂