Have hope. Two words to tell your past self. What would yours be? Honestly. I've always believed (ok for the past decade) that hope sucks. And I have never said that to be pessimistic, I say that from experience and an acceptance of reality. I don't want to be disappointed because I am hopeful for a big pleasant surprise…I accept that life is what it is. Sometimes I wonder how much more beautiful and wonderful life would be if I was naive and filled with hope, but then I know deep down that I don't want to change anything about myself.
When is happiness an illusion and when is it real? What is your definition of happiness? Jot it down here (or if you're reading this online, write it on a piece of paper near you. Don't just type it…grab a pen or pencil and feel the letters flow from your fingertips. Don't think, just write whatever your fingers feel like saying, describe your definition of happiness. I'll tell you mine at the end of this chapter.
Everything happens for a reason, I can't believe that hard enough, especially when things become so chaotic it's a perfect, beautiful mess. Life isn't always going to be sunshine and daisies, I anticipate the rainstorms because it makes the rainbows that much sweeter. It hurts but I kind of live for the pain. It's a reminder that I am alive and have so much to live for, and when those moments come across my path, it makes me cherish every second to the fullest. I cherish the pain as much as the pleasures, because ultimately both are what make us full and complete. Accepting the pain with the joy, knowing that good things are worth waiting for, and sometimes they don't come in the way we imagined. I feel like most of the time when we imagine something it presents itself in a very different way.
I have struggled lately with having so many distractions in my life. And by distractions I mean hobbies. I love hiking, training my dogs and birds, crocheting, wood burning, quilting, scrap booking, sketching, penmanship, felting, reading, mosaic, writing, photography, editing, graphic design, and the list goes on. I have so many interests that I'm not great at any one thing. I am mediocre at several things. I love watercolor and acrylic painting, yet my paintings are subpar to so many others who call themselves amateurs. My photography is good, but not amazing, it's nothing special. All of my skills…they are just distractions for me. And yes, I do know what I try to distract myself from. Perhaps that's why I seem to have a short attention span, even with projects at work, I will get obsessed with something for a day or two, and for various reasons, I get distracted and while I always return to them, my interest can wane for days. My work passions are set, my interest wanes for other reasons than my personal passions though.
The shadows on the corners of our minds often whisper secret desires or temptations, or sometimes brutal truths that we don't want to see. What would you change if you could? Would you wish to be naive and ignore the whispers? Or would you wish for courage to hear those truths?
There isn't anything wrong with either choice, each one shapes a person into the beautiful soul they are meant to be. Even if they don't see it happening, or feel that they are beautiful; every imperfection and “blemish” is a beautiful line drawn through the colorful design of a butterfly's wings. A monarch could be solid orange and be considered lovely, but the more lines and intricate patterns on its wings and it turns from something lovely into something that you can't take your eyes away from. Every brush stroke, every drop of color, no matter how out of place it might feel, to the eye that's looking, it's a masterpiece.
"To me, happiness is feeling more than whole, it's feeling like everything positive and negative that's happened has been perfect because there you are, feeling like more than just yourself. It's seeing your reflection and feeling a warmth from deep inside. It's ending a conversation and smiling like smiling is the only thing you've ever known and it's ok to grin larger than your lips will allow, because nothing matters except for the emotions you feel after the conversation. The way your body reacts against your control, your insides pull, twist, and ache with a longing of never losing that connection. But it's a happy ache, and for every absence there is a sweet whisper of a promise for next time, next time you talk, next time you smile, next time you recall a memory that makes you feel whole, and more than perfect. It's a garden of eden in this concrete jungle, and for some moments in life it's our peace in this crazy world."