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Wild Happiness.

I write a lot about my grief and sadness, mostly because the tougher emotions are what inspire me to write. I do this, sometimes, as an alternative to sitting with the tough feelings, which is difficult for me. It's vastly easier to be cognitive and analytical and wrap my pain in words to get it out. To think about my feelings, describe them and categorize them rather than just have them. I'm working on that.

That said, I've also found writing cathartic, and a good alternative to self-destruction. I don't claim that it's art, but I think a lot of artists feel this way.

I also don't narrate my happiness out of respect to my husband: "Look how happy I am without you!" seems disrespectful, thoughtless, and insulting, so I usually default to "I am peaceful and well" when people inquire about my state of being.

I am happy. Wildly Happy. Having a dance-party in my living room and laughing to the soles of my feet with my children happy.

I'm happy, because finally, I'm living a me-sized life. At me-speed. With me-values and me-politics. A spiritual practice that makes sense to me and connects me to the universe.

Showing up as me. Not proving anything or demonstrating anything to anyone, other than love and kindness and mutuality. Letting go of outcomes and results. Letting go of shame and masks and self-hatred.

Not being stressed to the point of self-destruction for the first time in almost three decades.

Having a good amount of control over my economic future and fundamentals. Paying my taxes in advance and not feeling bad at all about it. Honoring the place I came from and realizing that risk-aversion is not a sickness and doesn't make me weak. Loving my home and the daily-ness of regular life doesn't make me insignificant. Introversion and quiet-mindedness doesn't make me anti-social.

I understand how I got where I was - there was a certain amount of momentum required to make it beyond the gravitational pull of my family of origin - but I underestimated how much emotional fuel that took, and failed to refill my tank, and in fact, built a life based on long-term conservation efforts in service to goals I increasingly began to doubt were ever reachable, and based on values I slowly stopped believing in: ambition, achievement, externalities.

And I was self-destructive. I can admit that now, and I think it is a testament to how far I've come and how much better I feel. I talk about it because it reminds me of the work I've done, and maybe gives other people a much needed sense of reality. It isn't how it looks out there at all. The narratives you see on social media can be masterpieces of self-delusion and editing and (I think) serve no one.

In this process, I've seen an awful lot of self-destruction. Look around. There are people committing suicide slowly everywhere you look. We live in a sick world, just as sick as it's always been. Beautiful too, but that's another blog.

We use food, drugs, shopping, sex, beauty treatments, religion, work, exercise, media...(blogging) name it.

Anything can be a tool of self-destruction and distraction, from the forever empty, from the fact that this, just this, is in fact, all there is. Now. And that it will end.

Micah McLaughlin, one of my two amazing therapists, said of our journey together, "You had a little flame of you, and it almost blew out, and it grows stronger every day. Care for it, stoke it gently, and see where you are in a year or eighteen months."

I think the flame is that wild happiness that is available to everyone as long as we just get out of the way of ourselves. I feel it really strongly from time to time, and the practices of mindfulness, gratitude and forgiveness help me feel it a lot.

I do my best to be present, to honor the moment, and to let the wild happiness burn freely, like a flame in me.

A worthy thought for the coming darkness.