Boston Women’s Journal - April/May 2004
Finding the Elusive Bluebird of Happiness
Yesterday, I was stomping away on the treadmill at my gym and halfheartedly looking at CNN (it was infinitely better than the choice on the other TV, a thigh slimmer infomercial complete with burned out celebrities), and saw an interview with Carlos Santana. Ah, something interesting to pass the time while I huff away running toward health. I can learn about a man of talent and integrity, who is a major contributor to worthy causes, and a fine musician. As they showed his life story, his progression from boy, to man, to mature adulthood - noting his rise and fall and rise again as a popular musician - I saw a happy man with a handsome family and wife of 30 years. The interviewer asked him “Was he happy?”
I perked up my ears over the hum and grind of the machines and heard his response. He said, and I of course paraphrase, that he and his wife had explored eastern and western religions and found things of worth in all of them, believing that they all taught the same basic values, but the most important thing was to continue to “shed your skin, and always grow a new one.” He explained that he had learned this over his 54 years, and said he still felt 17. I thought about that a lot as I sweated through my workout and continued thinking about every time my busy life stopped for a few minutes. Hadn’t Bob Dylan said “He who is not busy being born, is busy dying?” Much the same thing. What did they know, these wise men of my generation? The ones who survived and thrived as others fell by the wayside.
How could I use this in my work as a Medical Intuitive and Alternative Therapist? Did I agree that all you really need to be happy was to continue to grow and change? They had stated in two sentences what I have been trying to communicate to my friends and clients for years. I thought about all I had learned, often the hard way, and yes it really is that simple. What way could I take what effectively sums up my personal philosophy on happiness and its pursuit and communicate it?
I believe what they both were saying is that we are always in a state of growth and change, and we must be open to these changes and growth and keep trying to be better and more interesting people in each day of our lives. By doing so we also teach others around us to live better lives. We walk “the beauty way” and teach by example. Wow, is that simple. But how do we do it?
We all get caught up in the trials of life, jobs, kids, mates, parents, and constant motion. Was there a way to really stop and assess and learn when to “shed your skin and grow a new one”? I think so. But like all things it takes some work. First we must listen to ourselves not occasionally, but learn to listen at each moment to our body, mind, and spirit. Make that listening a part of each day, in meditation, in the car, on the bus, or wherever, and to have it come so naturally that each minute of each day we have access to the information we need. Our inner bellwether of happiness.
I do a lot of Shamanic training and therapy in my work and realize that what I am doing is teaching people how to listen, not to their peers, or the TV, or their old personal “tapes” but to what feels right. I do this by making people stop and find the authentic voice that each of us is blessed to have. The voice of their mind, body, and spirit. They then learn to create a personal discipline that allows them to implement this. I have taught Buddhists, Atheists, Jews and Muslims, it makes no difference. We live in a world where perhaps individual personal happiness could change, by its ripple effect, the lives of many others. We cannot be complacent regardless of our age or the trials we are challenged with, to live we must grow and learn. No one is too old, or too young or too sick to learn.
What I teach is just one of the many paths leading to the same place. Happy people, growing and changing, will change the world. I would love to see myself in the company of wise men such as Carlos Santana and Bob Dylan.** Are you with me?**