While he was trying to put me under, he told me to go to my happy place. My what?
I sat there struggling to think of what my happy place was. Then I broke out in a cold sweat with the realization that I didn’t have one. How can you not have a happy place?!
I didn’t; at least not in my recent memory. Snap! Talk about experiencing an Oprah-like ah-ha moment.
A 40+ year old woman who lived (what I thought was) a full life couldn’t find one memory to concentrate on that made her happy. I left his office after nearly an hour of trying to subdue my panic.
My memory got instantly better on my drive home as I went over the last dozen or so years of my life (which I affectionately call my teeth grinding, potato chip and dip eating years).
Isn’t it eerily funny (in a peculiar way not a ha-ha way) how you can spend so many years unhappy and yet be able to convince yourself that you are just fine? Not a good trait to have.
I was raised not knowing that happiness is something you just may need to work on. It isn’t automatic; it doesn’t just appear and stay with you. Life was not like the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ sitcom (yes, I know, I’m old) portrayed it to be.
Life was hard. Money was always in short supply, we lived above our means, love was generally one sided and we had a daughter to raise, tuition to pay for, shoes to buy, cars to fuel and careers to build. I’m exhausted thinking about it even now.
Not long after my visit to the hypnotherapist, I remember being at a New Year’s party and a friend asked me what I was looking forward to. I didn’t have an answer. My life seemed to be filled with ‘have to’ rather than ‘I’d love to’. That’s when it hit me in the face like a sledgehammer; I needed to change things.
Happiness takes work. Life doesn’t. Life just happens whether you are involved or not. Like a car that is driving uncontrollably, it careens down its path with little regard of its passengers.
Happiness? Well, that is something else all together. Wishing and hoping for happiness only guarantees its elusiveness. Happiness requires work, planning and a steadfast resolve. This is something they should teach in schools.
If you assume that you are entitled to be happy, you also assume it will come your way with little effort from you. Don’t look now, my friends, you’re in for a long wait.
I made up my mind that my life was going to change for the better. I was going to add myself into the equation of priorities. Something I was foolish enough to overlook for way too many years.
My life did change. My 27 year marriage dissolved. My daughter became a victim of parents unable to work through their problems. Things got harder. A lot harder. But I got happier. Go figure.
That’s when I realized for the first time that ‘easy’ didn’t mean happy. That marriage didn’t guarantee love and that taking a stand for myself was my greatest gift to my daughter.
The moral of the story is this. Assume nothing in life is coming your way. Assume that you are in charge of your happiness because you are. Assume that it is your responsibility to live it and live it big. Easy to say, hard to do.
I have a few friends that have come to me in the past months telling me how very miserable their lives are. How they feel it escaped them. My heart aches for them. There but for the grace of God, go I.
If you believe in God and in the moment when you will meet your maker, then I’m betting it would be a good thing to be able to look Him in the eye and tell him without a doubt that you used everything he gave you.
I’m hoping I don’t run into that situation anytime soon. Happiness finds me easier these days, and a lot more often. I love with passion and wild abandon and I’m loved back by a wonderful man. I achieve and work to achieve more, I travel, write, speak, spend good time with friends, read awesome books, enjoy lazy walks with my dog and I am blessed to be able to spend time with my now grown 27 year old daughter and the best son-in-law a mom could have. Life is good and gets better each day.
I find that I now have a lot of happy places in my memory. So many, in fact, it would be hard to choose which one I would need to visit should I ever want to be hypnotized again. Ironically, still top on my list are the ones I have of playing with model clay, board games, treasure hunts and silly string with my little girl. It’s pretty hard to trump the kid.
People say they don’t know how I can be so forthcoming. I answer that I don’t know how to be anything else. It’s a blessing and a curse.
I’m hoping that at some point, some time, somewhere, it will help someone find themselves. Life waits for no one.