“All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within. “ – Horace Friess
“ My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?” – Charles Schulz
It was a Monday (Oct 2008) I will never forget…(hopefully)
Construction had begun on the remodel of a garage-soon-to-be-family-room to which my granny unit apartment is attached. Sledge hammers and crow bars were being used to rip away the old wall. I work, on the phone, on the other side of that wall. It was disruptive and annoying and the nightmare, as I called it, was only beginning.
Let me back up for a moment. On the Friday prior I got a warning signal. My computer crashed. It summarily told me, by way of some error message I can’t recall, that it was done and it died. I was grateful I had a back up drive and I used it regularly. I still had time on my 3 year warranty, so I picked up the phone and waited to have a conversation with a techie in India. Secretly, I hoped my computer would be pronounced dead so I could go out and buy a Mac.
The techie took me through a number of fruitless steps and then told me all we could do was wipe out my hard drive and start over. With her supervisor on the line, she asked me if I understood what we were about to do. I said yes and that I wasn’t happy.
We wiped the drive clean while re-installing the operating system. (Sometimes I wish I could clear my “drive” and re-install my own internal operating system. Do they outsource for this service as well?)
I spent the weekend re-loading software. The only reward was the speed I now experienced with the newly cleaned disk.
So, now back to Monday’s strike two. It comes in two parts. My back-up drive died after downloading a fraction of what it held. My computer’s wireless card died and some other, less memorable things got funky. Again, I called India (I mean my computer company’s Technical Service). There was a program the techie wanted to download to my computer, but since my wireless card was not working, that was not possible. I had to go around to the landlord’s place and download it through their computer to transfer to mine. This had me traipsing back and forth across the property into the dusky hours of twilight, carrying my computer at all times. I was hurrying back to get his return phone call at my place when…
I stepped down the two stairs between my bedroom and office and missed the second one. My ankle folded in half and my computer went flying out of my hands and into the desk leg. (Would this be my Mac opportunity?)
The phone rang and we continued our work on my computer, while I had my leg up on the desk with ice on it. The techie came to the conclusion that my problem could not be fixed over the phone and they would now honor my “in home service” warranty and send someone out to the house to fix things. (Gee, wonder why he hadn’t come to that hours and a healthy ankle ago.)
Before the choice comes the surrender
Tuesday found me propped up in bed with no online service available, painstakingly moving from spot to spot in the house with the use of a borrowed walker, unable to drive, listening to hammers, saws, and loud music as the construction crew continued their demolition fiesta. I was trapped. I felt like a cornered animal. My daily swim/float in the pool had come to an abrupt end. It was like the powers that be said “no more fun for you little missy” and pulled the plug. What’s with my life mirroring my computer anyway?
I had a call with my writing coach and she let me whine and blame for a bit. Then she reminded me of my exquisite imagination. There, on the phone, lying in the bed, I began to float on water. I was as much in the pool as on the bed. As we completed the imaginary float, she asked, “What did you hear while you were floating?” I was surprised to realize I’d not heard the hammering at all. I’d heard it, but hadn’t noticed it. I was no longer triggered by it.
In that moment, I integrated what, until then, I’d only known intellectually.
Happiness is a choice.
Despite the circumstances, I knew I did not want to feel miserable as well. How I feel is within the realm of my control. Days prior to this strike-out, I’d been blissfully happy and carefree. I did not want to lose that joy. I may be “out” but I’m not going down! I decided to feel happy. I surrendered to the what-is of a sprained ankle, a lack of internet connection, non-mobility and invasive noise. I asked for help. Rather than spending the hours in anger and frustration, I spent them following my heart’s desire in each moment. I was truly happy.
So, I suggest following these steps for the next time circumstances knock you sideways:
- Stop and breathe
- Notice what is
- Ask: what can I change and what is out of my control?
- Surrender to it
- Let yourself wallow for a little bit; feel what you are feeling. (I discovered something about why I’m so triggered by loud noises when I did this.)
- Ask for help
- Choose happiness
- Follow your heart’s desire and create it for yourself in whatever responsible (ability to respond) way you can
Oh, and my laptop computer? I still have it. The in-home technician replaced the wireless, gave me a new keyboard and an incredible deal on more memory and extended the warranty. ( Uhm…can I get one of those extended warranties for me too?) And the Mac is on hold for now.
Copyright (c) October 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved