Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Secret To My Happiness: Taste Buds

People ask me all the time why I'm so happy.  They want to know the secrets to my joy.  People want to sit with me chat about how to find a better life.  To be honest, I have no idea how I ended up this way, but today, I found one clue to my contentment.

This morning I watched a video I had heard many times before.  It was Brene Brown's Ted talk on vulnerability. (  Every time I listen to her talk I know that I need to be vulnerable, I need to be comfortable with being open to others, but today something struck me that I never noticed before.

In the talk, Brene Brown suggests that because we don't want to be vulnerable with others we find ourselves not living a wholehearted life.  And because we don't live wholehearted lives, we start to numb ourselves with food, and alcohol, and drugs.  But the problem is that we can't selectively numb.  When we numb the things we don't like, we also numb our joy and our capacity to be happy.

It suddenly occurred to me, could my 8th grade taste buds, the taste buds that keep me from drinking coffee and wine, that keep me from going wine tasting, do those taste buds actually keep me happy?  There have been MULTIPLE times when life is hard, when things feel overwhelming, when people say to me "If only you like wine..."  or "You need to learn to drink."  But instead of drinking, I just sit in the problem, I face it head on.  I don't escape it, I soak in it because there's no escape for me.  On the flip side when things are good, I toast with a Coca-cola.  I get to feel it all.  The horrible and wonderful.

Maybe the secret to happiness is not numbing yourself from being unhappy, but rather allowing yourself to feel unhappy in order to also allow yourself joy.  And maybe, just maybe, I totally did that on accident, by have taste buds that hate the things that numb.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Gentle Slope

There is one thing that is true about anything that holds you down, haunts you, ruins what is good; it never happens obviously.

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts...      -C S Lewis

What if you replaced the word "Hell" with "the loss of a dream" or "the distance between you and your spouse" or "a debt so great you can't get out"?  Indeed the safest road to the loss of a dream is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts..."

Evil doesn't come crashing in on you because you would notice it.  Instead, it is usually just tiny baby steps and then you turn around you are 100 miles off course.

Things that are harmful sneak their way in.  It's that decision to confide in your attractive coworker rather than you spouse.  Then it's just a casual lunch.  Then it's just a quick drink after work.

Maybe you took that job that was a little deceitful, but it payed more.  And sure you had to lie to one client, but it didn't really hurt anyone.  And yah, you are now having to work extra hours to cover up the lies you told, but the extra money is good for your family.

You're going to think about the reality of heaven and hell... tomorrow.

Everyday you are making tiny little decisions.  Changes are happening so slight that you don't even notice, but what if you made a time-lapse of your choices?  What will these small choices look like in 30 years?

Don't go down the gentle slope.  Instead choose to walk uphill, even if it's hard, even if you are tired. You won't regret it.


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