Happiness

William James, the founder of psychology in the US, explains that most human feelings aren’t just in our heads. In his book “Principles of Psychology”, written in 1890, he says our emotions are “tightly bound” in our actions and bodies. Here we are in 2020 and not much has changed.

Depression seemed to embrace me in January more than usual. The first of the year always seems bright the first week and then old habits seem to sneak back in. I have notes everywhere of what I should do or feel about day to day living but never seemed to be able to carry it through.

I have to say I didn’t really feel like going out much or even getting off the couch. Work was slow and I felt my age for the first time. “The business retires you” kept going through my head and I must admit I seemed to think that was the truth. I was falling into what James writes we do… “sit all day in a moping posture, sigh, and reply to everything with a dismal voice, and your melancholy lingers.” But he’s telling us to “act differently. To do something even if it’s the last thing we want to do. Get the blood flowing. Inactivity is the enemy.”

I had not written my blog for quite a while and felt I had little to say. But in fact, I have a lot to say and refuse to let myself run off course. It is my responsibility to choose how I will let life go without having a say in it.

I leave you with this quote from William James. “We don’t laugh because we’re happy. We’re happy because we laugh. Actions do not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”

Infinite

I wrote my first blog back in 2013 entitled Tribes. I talked about finding a group that you could hang with that would believe in you and inspire you to be the best version of yourself even when you didn’t believe you could. I can’t believe that it was written five years ago. So hard to believe the time has passed by so quickly. I thought then I would gather my tribe and would discover what I really was put here on this earth to do.

I have traveled and worked and searched and haven’t really found that group. Unfortunately, my work kept me away and disconnected from where I thought I wanted to be. I felt I was moving towards something that would give me the answer of where I wanted to be in my life. I now realize that I wasn’t ready to take the chance.

I recently listened to an interview with Simon Sinek who is one of my favorite thinkers and he has written a new book called The Infinite Game. I had written about him before and was so impressed by his way of looking at the world that when I saw he had written a new book I had to have it.

In it, he says our courage comes from being surrounded by people who believe in you even when you are filled with self-doubt. He says that when we work hard for something that we don’t want to do it’s called stress but when we work hard to do what we want to do it’s called passion. Ah, right you are Simon. It takes courage and strength to keep going even when you think you can’t.

I was so into my book and so ready to push forward until I asked for someone’s advice who I really respected. Their comments hit me hard but they were honest and right on the money. I needed to dig deeper. I got caught up in the story and not in the emotional reason why. I took the finite route. I took the direction of safe instead of the direction of passion. I realized now I wasn’t ready to go to that place. So I’m going back to the drawing board and write from my gut.

That’s what the infinite game is. It’s pushing for the truth and writing from that place where there is no filter. And I have my friend to thank for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself and encouraging me to write from my heart. I’m finally beginning to find my tribe.

Cool

When I was younger there were words I used to express what I thought of things. Whatever was good was cool or groovy or far out. I never really used far out very often but I did use cool and groovy.

Now I still use cool when I think something is good and sometimes even resort to groovy. But the words used today I just can’t seem to put my head around. In fact, I just don’t like them. Words like awesome (unless said by Eddie Murphy in Bowfinger) or Bro or word. Or sayings like “It’s all good.” Awesome is probably my least favorite.

Everything is awesome from winning the lottery to coffee being on sale. That word is used too much for my liking. It is originally from the 16th-century meaning causing or inducing awe. It became popular in the 1980s referring to Frank Zappa’s song Valley Girl. You know, surfer/Valley Girl type, a general positive adjective meaning anything from “good” to “incredibly amazing”.

I guess that could also mean cool in a more modern way. I do hear the word cool used every now and then. But not half as much as awesome.

So why should it bother me so much and why do I feel a need to write about it? Well, maybe it’s because I want the world to be a bit more how it use to be and not so much how it is now. I am definitely guilty of watching too much of the news and being on my computer more than I should.

I use to think a lot of information about things was a good thing, even cool, but now I’m not so sure. I know I need to be aware to be socially conscious but sometimes it seems overwhelming. There is too much to fix and it will never be done. Everywhere I turn there seems to be sadness and destruction. I find myself gravitating towards any romantic comedy or old musical I can find to help me escape from too much information about the world today.

I love watching CBS Sunday Morning for that reason. It seems to find a way to show all the good things in the world. Wonderful stories about everyday people and their kindness towards one another. Or the interview of an author or celebrity that is out of the ordinary and actually very informative in an inspirational way.

Maybe if I lived in a smaller city it wouldn’t seem so in my face. But this is where my work is and my family. Expecting a grandson any day now is also probably the reason why I am questioning so many things. Ok, awesome may not be so bad….Lighten up Grandma.