The Dalai Lama's Art of Happiness, however, deserves its own entry. This book truly did change my life for the better. I clearly won't do it justice in a brief posting, but it's not as if I do anything else full justice with my writing...so that's not going to stop me. In an effort to avoid explaining the points raised in the book (a hopeless cause for me - especially at bedtime), I'm just going to tell you how I'm finding myself changing for the better when I remember to incorporate these new concepts into my everyday life.
- I get it that when Life sucks (and it sometimes does) that it's temporary and that it's destructive when I try to "fix" myself so that I'm happy every single day of my life.
- I've learned how to be grateful to my "enemies" - or people who are just mean to me. (I know that one sounds weird - but trust me - it's amazingly liberating.)
- I understand that what I need for balance in my life isn't necessarily what other people need. I have to trust myself and love myself just as much as I love my own children. (Or, as one of my Yogi Tea bag notes said a month ago: "My head must bow to my heart.")
There's a lot more to it than those three things....but for me the key concept is that of gratitude. There's been some shift for me - and when I find myself depressed or discouraged (I've been there quite a few times in the last week), I stop and ask myself what I can be grateful for. What am I gaining from a particular experience? There's always a benefit. Finding the joy is such a release. It doesn't wipe out the pain, and I don't use it to tell myself how I "should" feel - rather, I choose to go towards joy instead of choosing to go towards sadness.
In Life - joy and sadness are both there all the time. Sometimes one is a little more difficult to find, but it's still there. I choose joy. Some days it's a lot harder to make that choice but I'm so grateful to finally understand that I'm in control of that choice.