Tag Archives: joy

It’s Up to You.


I have learned so much in my life, from so many sources. Books, classes, movies, and of course, the lessons of experiences that I have had. One of my most profound teachers has been the person that I call my son. Through is own experiences, and what he has learned from them, I have, in turn, learned from him.


As I was parenting him, especially through adolescence, I often felt either inept, or helpless. Navigating through new territory even though I had “learned” so much about what teen years may look like. I was scared much of the time, and confused about what would be the right thing to say, do, or offer to him. I didn’t really trust myself, although I wanted to. When I did trust myself, many people around me challenged the way that I would do things, and had their own opinions of what was best. It was a roller coaster of a ride much of the time.


Yet, we navigated through. He made his way. And, today, he is one of the most brilliant human beings I have ever had the privilege to know. One of the deepest lessons that he has taught me, is that in order for life to change for a person, they have to have the willingness to change. A person can want the world to accept them, or to understand them; they can blame others for their pain and suffering. Yet, the only thing that will bring about a new beginning, is when we say yes to ourselves. It is all up to us.


Now, I have known that my whole life, not just as a concept, but as a reality. That for someone to be truly happy, contented, or at peace, they had to decide to do so for themselves. Yet, when it came to seeing my own child suffering, I didn’t want to believe that it was that simple.  I was terrified of what he would, or would not, potentially choose. Yet, I waited. I agonized.  And, eventually, I learned to trust that no matter what I wanted for him, for anyone in my life, it was always up to that person, to him, to choose for themselves. 


We can blame the outside world for our internal condition. We can believe that it will be someone else or some other circumstance that will make us happier than we are right now. But the deepest truth is, that it is always up to us. It is always up to you, to decide if you want peace or conflict; joy or unhappiness; release or constriction. 


To finally say yes to that simple Truth is freedom and Peace indeed. 



Even happiness has an opposite.



I seem to remember that as I was growing up, and making a life for myself, one of my most important goals was that I wanted to be happy. When I was ten, or thirteen, or even twenty and thirty, happiness was a list of certain circumstances or “things” that I would have in my life that would create happiness. A new bicycle. To lose twenty pounds. My first apartment. A meaningful relationship. Giving birth to a child.  To me, each of those experiences, and many more, were on my wish list in order to create a happy life.


And, I eventually had each of those things, and then some. Over the years, I have acquired experiences, things, and people that have, I thought, brought some level of happiness to me. Yet, it never seemed to be enough. The bike, the apartment, the relationship- no matter how amazing it was for a time, seemed to bring happiness that was short lived. It always seemed to fade, or at some point, I always was left wanting more. 


Fast forward twenty years, and the beginning of my journey to a deeper awareness of what all of this form world means. And, I began to learn about what it was that I was really desiring. I began to understand that I wanted more than just “happiness”.  Happiness, as a state of feeling, is fleeting. It is impermanent. That is because we equate it was circumstances outside of ourselves. And, like most things in this world, happiness has an opposite. Although that new car or new job or new relationship will bring me happiness, as long as I am getting what I want, the eventuality is that I will be unhappy when it no longer seems to do so. Or, I get bored with it and want something else. Something shinier, newer, or more in line with my wants or needs.


Gratefully, I learned in the last few years of my life that I wanted to go a bit deeper than the surface nature of the world. I don’t want just happiness, that is fleeting, temporary, and has inherent in it, the opposite state of unhappiness. Within me, there is a desire, a fire burning, that wants to feel a sense of peace, and joy. Peace and joy, which are not feeling states like being happy, but rather states of being, emanate from a deeper place. They are our normal, inherent state of Being that we only have access to if we remain present, aware of the Now, as often as possible. So, I have come to understand that the more that I am here, now, rather than projecting into some future goal to attain something, than I feel at one with everything, and a deeper serenity than I have ever experienced by acquiring something.


Because I live in the world, there are constant distractions; always things that seem to be more important than my Peace. And, I keep learning, over and over again, to come back to Now, to cultivate that which is my essential nature, and that will never leave me.

Peace and Joy are my truest aspirations.