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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Troubles and Happiness

       Happiness often shows up on the ridges of trouble.  I think it was Elizabeth Kubler Ross who reflected about the beauty of canyons,  formed only in harsh conditions.  Likewise, happiness has a bigger edge when there is something pushing it into contrast.
  Zen Buddhism speaks of life as 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows.  I can tell you for sure you have to be asleep or die young to pass up the last half of that bargain.  No choice for sorrows if you choose to live.   But sometimes we seem to think of the joys as trivialities.  As if This Life is Serious Damn Business, and Don't You Forget It, less you flunk the final.

Did I mention this mind-blowing Koan of DBT founder Marsha Linehan?  "Whether you are walking to the 7-11, to the alter, or to the execution chamber-- in that moment you are just walking."  I hated that when I first heard it.  My regular "let's be black or let's be white" mind heard it as the most idiotic form of denial.  Now I see it as possibility that living in the present can allow a moment of peace.  There is potential for joy or disaster (or banality) around every corner, and until we get to that corner, well, we're just walking.  We might as well look around and see if there is anything of interest here, where we are.  And be open minded that we cannot know what for sure on which side of the list of 10,00 joys or 10,000 sorrows the next checkmark will go.

About all we have the semblance of control is what we are doing in the right now-- where we are choosing our focus, such that advance sufferings (or happiness) can wait their turns.

It doesn't take much to bring joy.  This weekend alone I found comfort and pleasure in food shared with family, the new blooms in the garden, the exquisite brightness of young musicians (hit play button at end of post to here the amazing BEE EATERS).  In the latter, such genius brought me also to tears.  Real beauty can do that-- bring both those joys and sorrows smack in our heart in one harmonic package.  It takes no more than an open and curious eye to see wonders everywhere.  

Admittedly, one woman's wonder is another's horror.  After a few grumbling hours spent trying to subdue the invasives from my garden, I came upon a bursting mound of baby orb weavers.  They delighted me (see photo right);  my companion at the time was decidedly less pleased.

After diminishing the biomass to negligible effect, I'd been considering the sell points of an all-paved yard.  Seeing this clot of bristling life brought me straight out of cranky thoughts of dandelions, holly seedlings and springweed and into the present, and then a future where my garden would be delicately decorated with lacy mandalas, each with a stripy guardian.  It was a happy yank up from my grumbling.

Spring's bounty--an iris jutting out from under a miniature Japanese maple, the fiery pokers, a plethora of clematis-- maybe they are worth it, even when it's hard to see my intention for all the weeds.   So I'll potter around the garden, not knowing what will poke up around the next corner.  And what the heck,  while I'm potttering, might as well Be Happy.


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