Life is not Fair
By Kathy Saul
Eleanore Kane wrote about happiness with “My Pink Balloon” in StrokeNet’s February Creative Writing Issue. Her words started me thinking as she described the, “sudden burst of happiness, that sudden feeling of joy in being alive.” I loved her use of a pink balloon to represent joy and understand her desire to continue to hold on to her feelings of happiness. How do we find, and keep joy, amid life’s ever changing situations?
Remember a time when you really felt connected to life? Maybe you had just experienced personal growth from a painful experience or accomplished a goal you had been working towards. You felt everything was going to be good from then on. You were happy. Then, some event occurred, and you once again felt out of balance. Why does this happen?
Life is not fair. You know it. I know it. Our feelings, along with life’s opportunities, come and go. Realizing that living is a cycle of ups and downs and keeping in mind that “this too shall pass” when the downtimes occur helps. People who live life with a sense of joy have several strategies to help them navigate through life’s cycles with a positive attitude.
We often read about the importance of a positive attitude on The Stroke Network’s message board. It is true. How we think makes a huge impact on our sense of life’s joy. Thoughts such as, “I will never get better; no one can understand what I am going through," or "I know it would be better if I could just accept, but I can’t,” can keep us from realizing the good in our lives.
Knowing our problems and situations are not unique can help us step back and realize everyone has challenges. Yes, some of us do seem to get more than our share of problems and trauma. Yet how we approach these challenges may impact their outcome. For example, sometimes we need to work to change a situation and other times we have the option of accepting the situation and moving on.
Accepting a situation does not mean giving up, but rather, acknowledging our suffering and how it affects our lives. We can add to our acceptance respect for our emotions and our feelings. This means not labeling them as good or bad. This change in thinking about our feelings can create freedom and joy and is often the first step to remove depression and anxiety from our lives.
Another strategy is to shift a sad and blue time and try to lighten our mood by focusing on areas that bring us pleasure such as music, pets or hobbies. Slowing down and taking time to enjoy the beauty around us can help to create joy. Taking pleasure in small things such as the sound of rain, a child’s laugh or that first spoonful of ice cream can help us to stay in the moment and living in the now makes worry and regret almost impossible.
Getting our spiritual house in order is another step in creating happiness. Praying or meditating does not makes us immune from asking, “why me?” but, when bad situations occur, our spiritual selves will step up and help us take responsibility for our happiness. Add to this the Practice of gratitude and we can reverse our negative emotions as we count our blessings.
Eleanor ended her thoughts saying, "in spite of the cloudy skies and downpour of rain, there it is: a giant bubble of euphoria that I clasp like a child clinging to a pink balloon. Would that I could hold the string forever! If only I could prevent a sudden gust of wind from whipping it away, or a thorn or needle from puncturing my bright pink treasure of joy.”
Perhaps keeping joy in our lives is not always possible, but we do have a choice in how we think. Our thinking can give us the power to revitalize our bodies, minds and spirits…..all of which can create joy. And remember, take the time to relax and just be.
My Pink Balloon by Eleanore Kane
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