Men + Myself + God

Tag: Happiness

Things We Talk About When We Talk About Thanksgiving

by P. Braithwaite

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One of my best friends was hit by a car yesterday morning. I woke up with comfort food on my brain and sun in my eyes to find a text saying surgery would be necessary.

“Pray of me,” she managed to text.

That text message framed entire morning. It colored my experience of all Thanksgiving festivities. I was worried, and sad, angry and helpless. But mostly, I was grateful she was alive (AND able to text). Ironically, the week before, I wondered how I’d manage to feel anything new or unfamiliar about Thanksgiving.

There are only so many times you can blog about being thankful.

I was wrong.

When we talk about Thanksgiving, we often speak of gluttony, pilgrims, indians, poverty, capitalism, small pox, families, food justice, dysfunction, Black Friday, and greed. We mumble about gaining weight, Christmas shopping and cooperate holidays. We rub our belly and eat sweets, but I’m pretty convinced we Americans need this day.

Even the most gracious, need a day where gratitude is paramount. We need a day where gratitude prompts us to organize and prepare. We need a day where we reap harvest and give thanks. We need a day where its socially acceptable to express we’re grateful for our blessings because its so easy to take all this shit for granted. It’s almost natural to get used to your own blessings. It’s so seductive to forget that, in one moment with one car, the person passing us potatoes could be gone.

None of us make it out of here alive. We must never take each other’s breaths for granted.

So today, I am living in the space of unceasing gratitude. I am sitting in the space of profound respect for life (though I’ll be setting some mousetraps later on).

I rose this morning aware that no moment is guaranteed; how blessed we all are to have these moments to decide what we’ll do and who we are becoming. Profound love and gratitude for you all. I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings.

And so it is.

(Oh! The Awkward Sunday Sermon is next Sunday! Details coming soooon)

Reflect, Transform, Love

What are you thankful for today?

More on Happiness

by P. Braithwaite

Your happiness is waiting for you.

Can you see it? It’s right there behind the feelings you aren’t willing to face: it’s behind the loneliness, the sadness, the nervousness, and the fear. It’s behind the shame, the anxiety, the secrets, the tension and the white lies.

It’s right there wearing a Sunday dress, holding a pink balloon.

By the time you read this, I will be well into my 10 day silent meditation retreat. This is one of those terrifying things that seemed like a good idea months ago when I signed up. You don’t realize how loud you are until you remove external stimuli.

I imagine that all the things I feel in drips and drabs will be unleashed — the feelings I avoid with television, books, friends, snacks, and drama, journaling and writing — in silence will have room to reveal themselves. I won’t be able to write. I won’t be able to speak. I won’t be able to make eye contact with other people.Mostly, I won’t be able to hide from or avoid myself.

It will be about sitting with myself and watching these thoughts rise and hopefully dissipate.

And what will be left?

I’ll be sure to let you know when a I return.

I’m hoping happiness will be among the remains. 🙂

How to be Happy Right Now (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

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I wake up most mornings sad. Maybe melancholy is a better word? On some days I wake up quietly sad; the feeling is a whisper drowned out by other feelings. On other days, the sadness is resounding — pain in my chest, heaviness in my heart. The sadness lives in every exhale — intertwined with my breath. Sometimes the sadness is palpable.

And yet, despite how I wake up, almost every night I go to bed peaceful, happy, and full of gratitude. I go to sleep knowing I am loved.

This dichotomy is teaching me some lessons.

I am learning to expand my definition of happiness to include a little sadness. I am learning that, to embrace life fully, I must allow all emotions to move through me. This means I must allow them to arrive and I must learn to let them go. I am learning that life is a series of choices and perspectives — I can embrace whatever I choose whenever I choose it.

Often we create stringent definitions of happiness. Happiness becomes a rubric, a detailed list of things that must be present AND absent. A job, a partner, no bills, a bonus check —our happiness often hinges on things we cannot control. And, as a result, we end up controlled by the things we cannot change.

Happiness becomes this metaphorical vacation we’ll take when everything that plagues us finally cooperates. But that’s not the way life works. Life doesn’t always unfold the way we want it.

And so, to live a happy life, one must budget for moments of sadness. One must embrace moments of discomfort. We must learn to live and transition comfortably between peaks and valleys. That’s where all the living happens, in the movement between milestones.

That’s were the real happiness resides.

And so it is.