(Having peace and contentment today without being happy.)
As I have hinted at in a previous post, I decided to go on a grand adventure. It is very early on Saturday morning where I’m at. I’m actually in Thailand. I booked my trip with three days notice. Spent the 72 hours packing and figuring out how I would ever make this work and with much trepidation, I was on my way. Chronic illnesses set aside and knowing I was bordering on completely crazy for doing this, I boarded a flight in San Francisco.
It’s been interesting so far. I have been out of my country, but never to the East. There have been some very warm hearted moments, like watching a Japanese family sit in front of me on my flight to Tokyo care for their toddler so lovingly on a very long flight. The couple also were extremely loving towards each other and watching them work together to get a toddler calmly through a nearly 12 hour flight was awe inspiring for me and healing as I saw the way parents are supposed to do it. This tiny little boy was probably the most loved child I ever saw. For the first time, I saw a child being parented, and I didn’t have any worries about “Tiger” as they called him. It was also fun for me and my own inner children to play peek a boo with him and talk to him despite that fact that he didn’t speak English, and I know nothing of Japanese. Sometimes playing with small children just for fun is nurturing for the soul.
I’ve had some not so nice moments too. As much as I’m finding some peace in Thailand, and even a touch of energy, I was reminded today by a very subtle cue that the sex trade industry is illustrious and cruel here. It made me intensely sad and heartbroken and angry that the abuse of young women and girls (probably boys too) is just accepted here and part of normal culture. I guess I didn’t expect it to be so obvious and public. Nonetheless, I found myself in a deep funk as being reminded that people are being currently traumatized is very hard on me.
I did do something good for me and different. I reached out to people as I was extremely jarred and having a huge trauma response to this. I got some not so great feedback like “you’re overly sensitive”, “be happy you get to go somewhere”, “my life is more difficult than yours as at least you are away”, and probably the worst offender, “get over it”. On the flip side, I got some pretty amazing feedback. A friend told me to light some candles and say a prayer. I texted an old therapist who sent a decent length text that I can’t make a synopsis of, but it was very supportive, and my meditation guru scheduled with me to do meditation via FaceTime in just a few hours from now to become recentered and back to my place of peace.
With all of this, I realized I came to Thailand to get back to my middle path. It was validated for me and I validated for myself that it’s ok to have intensely sad feelings for people being traumatized, but it’s also ok for me to have peace in myself and be on my healing path. I can have both, which is the center in my eyes.
I love that I just reached out. I love that I got feedback, helpful and angering. I just love that I tried something new instead of sitting with my intense feelings as I am literally alone thousands of miles from home.
So the point of this post is to tell you why I never tell people to be happy. I tell people to be peaceful, content, have abundant hearts, follow their path, and the list goes on, but I will never tell you to be happy about something. I’ve touched on this a few times in this blog, but happiness, at least for me isn’t real. It’s an extreme that I’m not striving for. As a child and into adulthood, my family always told me to just be happy with what I have. To be happy about everything no matter how awful life was. I pretended to be happy really well. People thought I was happy. Reality is that I was a suicidal mess most of the first 40 years of life.
It’s why I now strive for contentment and peace and abundance and even some elation at times. It’s the middle for me. It’s real. Peace inside is real for me. Contentment is real and feels better than the emotional extremes I experienced before.
So today was hard. It was also insightful as I realize I feel others pain so deeply that I take it on myself to the detriment of myself. I feel it could be a clue into why I’m so sick. Taking on the world’s pain is an underlying major stressor I have always dealt with. It’s a big reason why I never completed my Ph.D. In clinical psychology. At that time, especially, I couldn’t have had any separation between my pain and others. I’m learning though.
Today was hard. It was also full of lessons. I recognize the beauty of my feeling for others, but today I also recognize the beauty in caring for me. I also recognize that more people support me than I realize if I just allow it.
So have a peaceful and content day that is full of the middle. I am going to.