Wow, what the hell was yesterday’s all-day soul-hole vomit-fest about? I have to admit, I was not expecting that this journey toward happiness was an emotional roller coaster in disguise. I woke up today feeling remarkably better, and this entire day has felt like one elongated sigh of relief. I’m at the halfway mark today, and I am glad to say that I go into this final half with a renewed sense of purpose and way more gusto than anything I could have mustered up yesterday. Today feels good. I’m high-fivin’ this day like no one’s ever high-fived a day in all the history of days. Well done, day!
Let’s throw some more love at this day because today was THE day. The day that I hoped would come, that I suspected would come, that I feared would come. After searching the back caverns of my closet, I brushed off the cobwebs of my running shoes.
It’s been important to me in tackling these tasks that whenever possible I try not to spend money (with the exception of occasional food, gifts, and donations as part of the random acts of kindness). I want to know that working towards happiness doesn’t require money, that it’s available to anyone and everyone. So I’ve avoided things like paying for classes and a gym membership that I might not ever use. But I also need some help here. So I found an app that runs you through the Couch to 5K method, a detailed schedule that gently eases you into a running routine. It’s free until a certain point, but at least I get a couple of weeks to try it out.
The run was hard, especially with all those damn hills, but I felt great afterward (once the sweating and anger subsided – physical exertion makes me angry when I’m out of shape). My lungs feel a little roomier today. The app was great and told me when to run and when to walk. My favorite part was that someone was telling me NOT to run.
I did another guided meditation today. I like those, but it kind of feels like cheating—probably because I find them easier, and if something is easy I figure I’m doing it wrong. I think I expect everything to be hard, which is why I get too tired before even trying. Damn, I got problems.
3 things I’m grateful for
1) This really beautiful day. (For the record, I am not someone who is usually grateful for beautiful days).
2) That I went running, and it’s over, and I don’t have to run for the rest of the day.
3) That today is not like yesterday.
Reflect on something good that happened
My roommate made coffee this morning, and after a satisfying night’s sleep, I had the luxury of lying in bed while drinking coffee and reading random articles about interesting things (overtone singing-check it out). It was nice having that little guilty pleasure before tackling the day. “Tackling,” that word seems harsh and aggressive. This day needs gentle love and appreciation, not tackling. I’m taking that back. It was nice having that little guilty pleasure (full stop).
Random act of kindness
Today’s kindness needs a little explanation and requires two pieces of information that I’m going to be rather blunt about.
First, my dad is dead. He died from a heroin overdose when I was in my early twenties. Though I was raised by his parents, I rarely ever saw him, and I didn’t really like him. He wanted nothing to do with me and it showed tremendously.
Second, my mother and I have had a difficult relationship for years, and for a variety of reasons, I recently had to draw the proverbial line in the sand and stop communicating with her. I will tell you one of those reasons because it’s important here. My mother battles some serious depression. She has made a lot of mistakes in her past and instead of learning from them, she prefers to drown in her own personal sea of shame (yes, much like I’ve been doing these past two years). I have an enormous amount of compassion for my mother; she’s had a hard life, but she refuses to put the work in to help herself and instead blames everyone else for her misery. In my final letter to her, I let her know that I felt a lot of pressure to be the parent because she won’t parent herself, and I urged her to take steps to get some help. She accused me of turning on her and said she’d never “bother” me again.
I realized today that part of the reason for taking this happiness work on in such a big way was in large part an attempt to take my own advice. Both of my parents let depression rule them and ultimately destroy them. I want them to have something they can be proud of, something of themselves that gives their life purpose, something good. Even if they can’t or don’t know that it exists. And I want it to be me.
I’ve been trying to think of something that I could do, a random act of kindness for them that doesn’t involve having to open the floodgates with my mother or take a flight back to Texas to visit my father’s grave. So my random act of kindness today is the drawing below—a highlight of the good things about them, secret and public proof that someone recognized, recognizes, something good in them. Though they were unable to parent me, though they were unable to parent themselves, today I thank and honor them.