In the eighties there was this super-groovy tune called “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. It has been a long-time favourite of mine as it brings back fond memories of my childhood and still provides the same warm fuzzies that it did when it first came out. How can you not smile and groove along when you hear Bobby McFerrin whistling away and singing in his fun island accent (with those cool sounding back-up singers)? 🙂
Well, my post today is a summary of some of my most recent thoughts – and there have been many! LOL – which, funny enough, this song more succinctly does. At the end of the day, my reflections can be best summarized by the phrase, “Don’t worry, be happy!” And, as I exegete this little phrase, watch me take all the amusement out of it. 🙂
Firstly, I think it is already evident from my previous posts that since my injury I have been consumed with the concept of balance. For me, that looks like a daily battle with honouring my “challenges” while striving to optimize every ounce of my capabilities. For you, it may be as simple (or not so simple) as making time for both work and rest, efforts dedicated to both self and others. Everywhere we look, we are faced with the idea of balancing two polar opposite entities – yin and yang, light and dark, positive and negative. So let’s look at how we can use a bit of effort and a bit of ease, to “not worry” but “be happy”.
As a part of my process of enlightenment, I have been blessed to encounter several “experts” in different fields who have contributed to my personal awareness and education – one of whom is my friend and boss who owns and runs his own gym and holistic health corporation. Tommy teaches people to be resourceful, be a sponge in learning new things, but discerning in their application. One of his common recommendations of late has been that each person should become his or her own experiment. What that means is, each of us is responsible for observing and reflecting and interpreting the data for ourselves, then applying the appropriate adjustments and “solutions” as necessary for our situation.
Inspired by this piece of advice, I have more enthusiastically taken the initiative to begin the regimented task of creating change in my life – one step at a time. Sometimes this endeavour is so big that it becomes overwhelming. But with a focus on one item at a time, one DAY at a time, I am already seeing positive change. Whether it be in my attitude, daily routines, or relationships, I have discovered the following two principles to be a key part of my establishing and maintaining the elusive state of “balance”.
Principle #1 – Don’t Worry. This principle is ironic for a few reasons. It is generally an empty exclamation used in situations that are clearly worrisome to some degree or another. The phrase is set in a negative tone, warning not to do something of a negative nature, which in turn intends to emphasize the positive.
My interpretation and application: we can positively contribute to our life by avoiding the negative. As I reflect on my life over the past year – my jobs, friendships, and personal “life stuff” – I can see in retrospect that so many problems could have been avoided (or altered) with the simple choice of NOT doing something. For instance, I chose to eat something I shouldn’t have, engaged someone when I could have said nothing, or perseverated on a worrisome thought (about money) rather than immersing myself in a more positive investment of time (like writing a budget). Overall, I think we can create more ease with a little effort in NOT emphasizing the negative of a given situation – and, so, increase the positive!
Principle #2 – Be Happy! This principle is also a paradoxical balance of effort and ease. The concept of “being” has the connotation of having no effort, yet in this context the speaker is giving instruction. Ironically, we really cannot “instruct” another person how to “be” as that contradicts the essence of the word. The phrase, however, has only the best intentions as it is usually used in the context of encouraging someone.
My interpretation and application: due to the very personal nature of this phrase, I believe it is the responsibility of each of us as individuals to invest in our own happiness. Contradictory to the passive nature of the verb “to BE”, I don’t think we should fall victim to living life with our emotions (or the seemingly natural state of “being”) when we were given brains to direct them. So while my last point was more passive in recommendation, this point is more active. I believe we need to actively participate in our lives more – as I mentioned Tommy recommending above. Whether it be investing in time with friends, or allowing for quiet times of reflection to rest and recharge, we can choose! Whether it be taking on a second job to pay the bills, or scaling back expenses to make the budget more manageable – it is within our power! Whether it be sulking at home feeling sorry for oneself watching mindless t.v, or cleaning and organizing the house to achieve a sense of accomplishment – in the end, it’s up to us!
I speak from lots of experience, folks. I am so grateful to sit here on this end – having struggled with bouts of depression, anxiety, overwhelm and utter despair – now feeling a sense of relief and empowerment as I see for myself the difference I can make in my own life. The balance is different for everyone, and it’s ever-changing, but let me tell you with certainty that the balance CAN be found and it’s up to us to honour it. All it takes is a little effort…and a little ease. Be good to yourself.
…this is my life…