Is there Such a Thing as a Threshold for Happiness?
I was careening off a star and cavorting on a cloud yesterday. Two weeks before I moved last May, I fell and hurt my back badly. Fortunately no breaks. And if I didn’t have a super chiropractor/healer I probably would have needed surgery. Because my discs were out so badly I literally yowled in pain whenever I got up.
But I’m better now. The back is almost healed. And yesterday I emailed a friend that I was feeling terrific for the first time in a long time. So I wasn’t prepared for the “fall”. Today I’m totally out of sorts, at the precipice of tears, and feeling … for want of a better word … shitty.
I was to drive over an hour and consult today. But plans changed, the gig was cancelled, and I shifted all my other work from yesterday to today. After a leisurely, divine lunch and two glasses of wine I headed home yesterday to write this blog and tidy my house messy from a weekend of end-of-month consulting catch-up. Instead, I sat like a messy lump watching TV until 11pm and then on to a fitful night’s sleep.
So here I am … still in my jammies … feeling lousy. And I’m reminded of a recent conversation I had with a friend about my fall. She said, “I’m reading a book called The Big Leap. It’s about what happens when you are ready to radically change your life.” I thought about all the other falls I had had over the years … and instantly bought the book. I haven’t read a lot of it until now, but I’m convinced that the author is right. There is a Happiness Threshold … a place where you can’t cross or you’ll end up in a downward-spiralling funk like I just did. Just the statement “I feel terrific” had sent me into a tailspin!
So here’s what I propose to get you past this threshold. My strategies will most likely change over time … as they always do. As well as the aha moments the deeper into the book I go. But here’s where I’m at right now …
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. The theme this week amongst all my clients (and the message in everything else) seemed to be, “I’m afraid, but I’ll do it anyway!”. If you live by this mantra of doing it anyway, I guarantee that you’re going to fail once in a while. I can’t tell you how many times I have over the years.
But let’s reframe the word “failure”. As a matter of fact, my next article is going to be all about reframing … renaming stuff that keeps us stuck. So let’s think of “failure” as a “learning opportunity”. I’ve never failed to learn from my sometimes downright stupid moves. So don’t be deterred when things don’t turn out as you planned. Just hum the song that’s the title of this. Or … if you don’t like to hum … just tread on!
Honor your work. I don’t work at what I consider my dream job a lot of the time. But the consulting offers don’t stop. I recently spent my precious Saturday-off working for a few hours at a place where the staff was unhelpful, I got inadequate directions, and I wanted every moment to flee. But I have to bless the work I’ve been given, as it enables me to do almost all the things I want and allows me my heart’s-desire some of the time. So every morning I thank the Universe for all this employment that keeps coming my way.
Tidy and Clear Your Space. I’m planning on tidying up and putting away everything in my house this week. All the clutter is in what’s going to be my exercise room (yes, my machines actually now have a room), which brings us back to the concept of honoring work … work that has funded that room. I want to start exercising now that my back is better. Also, putting things in their proper places makes whatever space you’re in much more peaceful.
I’m also bent upon clearing the whole house by smudging with some pine, sage, or cedar as well as some other space clearing tools. And finally setting up my altar in that exercise room so I can meditate. I’m planning on that “big leap” very soon. So I need a nurturing environment that supports it.
Take Baby Steps … The Japanese call it Kaizen, which is their word for improvement. Their whole philosophy is taking small steps toward an inevitable, pleasurable end. Small steps that lead to big wins. Breaking down a task into tiny doable increments is the best way I know to be successful at it. Even though I’ve seen it with clients many times before, I’m always amazed when my eating-disordered people break out of restrictive habits and try new foods (one of them ate TWO this week) or others lose weight after applying just a few simple strategies. But they DO!
Do Something Inspirational. I was tired and teary-eyed. But I signed up for the final meeting of a girlfriend’s book club. I hadn’t read all the chapters. But the speaker was head-turning! Participating flipped my little teary self right around. And enabled me to have a finally fulfilling week.
So whatever works for you … taking a walk, getting some alone-time, doing community activities, or listening to someone upllifting like I did … do it! Whatever pilots your life-craft.
I don’t know if you’ve guessed by now that the important take-away for butting down that happiness threshold is … TAKE ACTION! Because just wishing will not make anything so. Even if you do it on a star.
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What do you do when you’re stuck in a funk? What kinds of actions do you take to turn your life … and mood … around?