Some Thoughts on Happiness and Unhappiness

Some thoughts on happiness and unhappiness, and the amount of control we have over these feelings:

I agree with author Eckhart Tolle, who says “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is. There is the situation or the facts, and there are my thoughts about it. Instead of making up stories, stay with the facts. For example, “I am ruined” is a story. It limits you and prevents you from taking effective action. “I have fifty cents left in my bank account” is a fact. Facing facts is always empowering. Be aware that what you think, to a large extent, creates the emotions you feel. See the link between your thinking and your emotions.”

So, generally speaking, your thoughts lead to your feelings. Whatever story you have made up in your head (a fantasy, frequently based on one bright shining picture of a distilled moment of possibility) will probably be let down, because usually we aren’t even aware of the actual distilled moment we are in. When you stay attached to that fantasy about who someone is, or how something should be, reality won’t fit. You can easily spend all of your time thinking about everything that is not how you want it to be, and be constantly frustrated, because reality doesn’t fit into your fantasy.

The fantasy of *how things should be* is interfering with the ability to be happy now. The fantasy of *how things should have been* is interfering with the ability to be happy now. The fantasy of *how things will be* (someday) is interfering with the ability to be happy now and in each successive moment.

I know this to be true, but living it is exceedingly difficult. I think the key is learning to detach from the outcome. Easier said than done.

When people say “It is what it is”, I frequently scoff, thinking that it is a defeatist attitude (someone has given up) or, conversely, a woo-woo new agey everything-is-beautiful attitude that doesn’t live in the real world.

But here is the thing: it really is whatever it is, regardless of what we want it to be.

Let go of the fantasy. Be mindful of the present. Detach from the outcome. Rearrange your thoughts.


You Are A Gift, And So Am I

What if you realized today that YOU are a GIFT, exactly as you are, to the people that love you?? How would that change your day?

You are NOT a burden to shoulder, not a performer to impress or entertain, and not someone that is only partially acceptable. You are a gift, the way you are, including both your talents and self-perceived flaws.

You are not your job, nor your successes, nor your failures. You are not your diagnoses. You are a gift that comes without strings or conditions. You may have been broken on the way; that does not affect your perfection.

You are the perfect YOU. You are still a beautiful gift to the people that love you. Go be the best you, insecurities and all; I’ll be over here, being the best me I can be.


Some things I want to remember daily…

Life Lessons


They Tried To Kill Me

They Tried To Kill Me

They tried to kill me, you know,
with their razor-sharp sideways glances,
stiletto-pointed fingers, poison-tipped scowls.
Tut-tuts, hush now, and the long silence loomed,
quiet in the hallway.
No one ever lingered there, the scene of the almost crime.

Oh yes, don’t look so surprised,
it happens all the time!
Do you really think your parents wanted you?
All helpless and hungry, crying and shitting,
and needing, needing, needing all the time!

“Let’s put it out in the cold!”,
I’ll bet that thought crossed their minds.
“Put a pillow over its mouth and be done with it!”
“Let it cry, maybe it will choke on its own tears!”
… “Let it ROT!”

No more responsibility, no more incessant noise,
no more clothing or diapers or special foods to buy.
NO MORE TIME WASTED.
“Package it up and send it back! We don’t want it!”
Why, of course they thought that.

Babies aren’t likable, you see;
they certainly can’t carry on a decent conversation,
have absolutely no thoughts on current affairs,
why, they positively reek of helplessness,
and they always want more, more, MORE!
Honestly, it’s exhausting!

“Tell it to be QUIET! Tell it to STOP CRYING!
TELL IT TO SHUT UP!!”
I can picture it now, the silent scream coming from
their mouths, like in the painting by Edvard Munch.
Messy, dirty, noisy, NEEDY, B O R I N G,
. . . terribly inconvenient.
Need I reiterate?

Blank faces, dull eyes, absent smiles.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before…
“Children should be seen and not heard.”
“Children should be small adults.”
“Children should be less … EVERYTHING … that they are.”
“Stop crying this instant!”
“STOP NEEDING ME!”

They tried to kill me, I know,
with sneering faces, eyes rolled back in disgust,
lip curled in contempt,
cigarette dangling,
wine glass in one hand,
the other leaving me out
for the garbage men.

(c) Sandi Adams
05.13.2014


Unbroken – A Follow-Up Poem

(This is a follow-up to my poem “Broken” from February, a prompted writing by my counselor. It’s not going to win any awards, but if you read Broken, you may be interested to read this.)

Unbroken

Broken as a child
by your hands,
I have spent my lifetime
reeling in the waves
and trying to patch myself up,
trying not to sink,
I thought I was unable
to be enough
for anyone,
not even me.

What I didn’t know:
my body is a self-healing vessel,
and though scar tissue
doesn’t always heal just right
to allow for full movement,
those scars held me together
and have their own special beauty.

Now I come to my life
bearing gifts from my
once-broken body:
high sensitivity,
strong empathy,
clarity of insight.
Gifts that I thought
were horrible flaws,
flaws that I thought
were ugly scars,
from a once-cracked,
but not broken,
body.

It’s a gift to see
beyond the scars,
to see inside
the grey walls of my mind,
and I see that
there are places in me
that you couldn’t reach,
there are things
that you couldn’t break in me
and colors
that you couldn’t take from me.

I can build a rainbow
of color in my mind,
a mosaic from
the million pieces of me.
I can be loving
and I can be loved,
I can laugh,
I can feel
and I can be kind,
I can learn
and I can adapt,
I can forgive
and I can move on,
I can be enough
for anyone,
even me.

(c) Sandi Adams
10.24.2013


That Girl

That girl,
she wears her wounds
like battle armor,
stained with mortality.

The world,
it comes through
in black and white,
crisp with righteousness.

That pain,
it is as familiar
as breathing,
decadent with bitterness.

Her living fortress,
promising protection,
is overwhelmed by shadows.

She dreams in archetypes,
in fear and despair,
the hunted and the hemorrhaging,
she always fails before the dawn.

And letting go
is as unthinkable
as the gift of forgiveness,
a deep crevasse with no end.

(c) Sandi Adams

03.28.2013


Broken

When
I was a girl
I was broken
by your hand.
Was it like
breaking a daisy?
The ones that grew
up the street,
that I gathered up
in my arms,
but never made it
home intact.

I watched you
break me
from lowered eyelashes,
they swept my cheeks.
Never make a
sudden move,
never show that
I am here.
But it’s true,
I was not there.

My mind
taken flight,
hidden
in the tombstones
in the little graveyard
I bravely walked by,
every day.
Fresh new flowers bunched
here and here on the grass.
The dead flowers,
windswept, broken,
cried out to me.

And there,
there was my tombstone,
In my house,
in my bed,
in my fear.
The fear, so reliable,
the one thing
I can always count on.
The flight from
the center to the shadows.

I was broken
in a way that
only a child could see.
I too am a child
since the night that
I took my first flight,
lashes sweeping my cheeks,
frozen in fear.
Loving parents, nearby,
saw nothing,
heard nothing,
did nothing.
There was
no broken glass,
in that soft turn
of the door handle.

Saw nothing,
heard nothing,
did nothing,
failed to see me
breaking
a little more
every time,
over time,
frozen in time,
like the graveyard flowers
dried from the crisp night air,
breaking apart into
a million little pieces
of me.

 

(c) Sandi Adams
02.14.2013


What we see as victory

What I see: on a bad day, getting out of bed, getting dressed, going to work., these are major victorys!
What the rest of the world sees: I’m late, I’m lazy, I’m irresponsible. I think the rules don’t apply to me.

Every minute past the deadline hour that I don’t get out of bed, I am perfectly aware of how much worse my situation is getting. Now I’m anxious on top of depressed. The anxiety increases in some strange algorithm the longer it gets. I start thinking of lies I can tell to excuse my lateness or at least explain it away, without having to say “I couldn’t get out of bed”. Or really, I couldn’t stop getting back into bed. I got up several times… bathroom, take the dogs out, get some water. Each time, my brain says “get in the shower, get dressed!” and each time, my emotional self says no, and crawls back under the covers.

In the end today, I got up 1/2 hour past the time I should have been at work, so I got there 1 hour late. I didn’t tell any inane lies about it, just apologized and said I was having some problems this morning. I didn’t offer details and for once wasn’t asked for any.

I really wish I could just “wish” this stuff away, just decide to be happy, and be motivated. The real world doesn’t work like that though, at least not for me. A quote making the rounds on facebook “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be” by Abraham Lincoln. That sounds really good. Seems profound, seems …. “doable”. Doesn’t seem to take into account chemical depression. I’m not unhappy. I probably have an enviable life in many ways. I’m just depressed in a way that doesn’t take happiness or lack thereof into account. We need another word for this. Maybe there is one. It’s almost closer to inertia really.

Taking it One Day At A Time, even if the rest of the world expects more.


ironic

Ironically, a month after my last post about suicide prevention day, another person in my life tried to commit suicide, without me noticing the signs. Each time, someone who lives in my home with me. These kids are tremendously skilled at covering up their feelings.


Suicide Awareness Day, 2012

DEPRESSION LIES! Depression is a lying rat bastard… hard to ignore, but never trust it!
:: Today is Suicide Awareness Day, 2012. ::

If you feel hopeless and alone, remember that people love you, even when *you* don’t believe it, and they would be devastated to lose you. I’m still here based on that one bit of knowledge. (And my puppies. I think Dylan would be lost without me.)

And because I came *so close* to losing someone I love most dearly to that lying jerk, and I realized the pain that caused everyone around her. I know now that I couldn’t do that to the people that love me. Sitting with her at the hospital waiting to find out if she would live was terrifying.

And because my asshole stepfather killed himself and took his dog with him, and even though I hated him, I cried for days (possibly more for his selfishness in shooting the dog though, I’ll admit) upon hearing the news.

And because there are beautiful days around the corner, that you can’t see ahead of time. Keep your eyes open!

Learn the warning signs of suicide. http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/SuicideWarningSigns.aspx
If YOU or someone you know is thinking about it, mentioning it, showing signs: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.

Thanks for your attention.