Monday, July 4, 2011


I am enjoying the somewhat strange sensation of happiness. It is descending slowly, brushing up against my soul and inviting me to relax into its gentle ebb and flow. After walking uphill for a long time, emotionally speaking, it feels like ice cold water on a boiling hot day to feel this happy right now.

A curious thing occurred when I offered myself permission to unwind and relax this summer. I began to notice everything in much sharper detail. I walk into a room now and I see the contours and nuances where I wasn't aware of them before. I notice the smell and the feel of a new place. I am present where before I was rushing, worrying about the next thing. Slowing all of that down has brought peace, and a fresh awareness of what is beautiful and good, and instead of barely registering the background laughter of my kids I'm now joining in.

The result is a banquet for the senses, and on the coattails of that luxurious spread rides happiness. The great Anne Lamott says, "Laughter is carbonated holiness." That was just a phrase to me before, but now I see exactly what she meant. There is a lightness of spirit which comes with certain times in our lives, and where laughter and happiness reside, so does a sense of the sacred.

I am soaking up this time, like a cat does in the sun, for I know it fades. This last year has been so hard, and exhausting, and turbulent with change, that this break feels sweet, and necessary. It's the thunderstorm after the heat wave. It's relief from more strain. I'm standing at a peak on the climb, and the sun is breaking over the water, and I can glimpse how far I've actually come.

I'm learning to enjoy things as they come. The good times don't last, but neither do the terrifyingly bad ones. It's one step at a time, as the addicts say, and I am a recovering people-pleaser who is finding my way in a new landscape where I have boundaries in place to protect me.

I feel a surge of gratitude for the battles which have already been won, and I hope this will give me strength for the ones that I can't see coming on the horizon. I will take this joy, and tuck it close to my heart, for it comes with a sense of self that I couldn't have attained without fighting hand-to-hand combat. It was worth the fight, and this happiness may be fleeting, but while it's here I'm going to drink it all in, and store it up for the lean times.

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