happiness

Be Happy, Damn It.

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I am happy to report that I am a normal human being when it comes to sex and sexuality.

W.H.E.W.

I know, you were worried, right?

No, really. I’m normal.

When I hear people talking about sex or when I hear jokes about sex, I get it.

When I see sex in the movies, I get it.

I don’t get every kind of sex, but I mostly get sex.

I would say that when it comes to down to it, sex – and the topic of sex – just isn’t an issue in my life.

Again, I know you’re relieved to know this.

Being normal about sex is the reason I know I’m not normal about happiness.

It’s not that I can’t be happy, I can.

I can be happy. And I have been happy. And I’m often happy.

I know what happiness feels like.

But the thing is that happiness isn’t a normal and natural part of me. It’s not my default status.

I never really would have thought about happiness, to tell you the truth. I’ve been pretty busy in my life being other things and thinking about other things.

But happiness is in my face pretty regularly.

There’s always a study about happiness or an article about happiness or a catchy song about being happy, happy, happy.

I never really would have thought about happiness, but it feels to me like happiness is something people really like to think about.

I end up thinking about happiness a lot because I wonder if other people just take happiness for granted. Mostly I think about happiness when I’m feeling really happy.

When I’m feeling really happy, I notice how happy I am. And I wonder if this is what other people feel like on such a regular basis that they don’t even really notice it. Kind of the way I don’t notice I feel sexual.

And the truth is, I don’t know the answer.

It’s not that I’m an unhappy person. It’s just that I’m a person with faulty wiring. I was born with chemistry that doesn’t make sense a lot of time. And my chemistry doesn’t appear to be related to life’s circumstance.

I could win the lottery on a day when my chemistry is off. And I would know that I was technically happy about winning the lottery but that I might have to wait a few days to actually feel the happiness.

Bad wiring.

This week I read something that made me feel significantly better about happiness.

Vanity Fair interviewed David Byrne, asking him about happiness.

Luckily for me, David Byrne – who is one of my creative gods – didn’t say that happiness is all you need. I really would have been screwed if that were true.

David Byrne said the following, which I “love, love, love” to quote Teresa Guidice.

Happiness, as I’ve experienced it and observed it in others, seems to be random—some of us are happy fairly regularly (I am, mostly), and some of us not as much—but there seems to be no clear explanation as to why. It comes and goes at unexpected moments, too. The graph of happiness doesn’t even seem to match what is going on in our lives. Or maybe it does and we don’t know it. Money—is there a connection between money and happiness? It takes away a world of worries and anxieties, but are rich folks all happy? Are you kidding? Donald Trump is ALWAYS scowling. That said, it’s hard to be happy if you don’t know where you’ll sleep or where your next meal is coming from. The pursuit of happiness? Where are we supposed to look? Are there clues hidden somewhere? The very act of searching and striving for it can lead to frustration and unhappiness. I suspect that happiness finds you—I’m not sure you can find a road that leads to it.

So today I need to send a thank you note – or perhaps some thank you art – to David Byrne.

Because my understanding of happiness can’t come from my own messed up head.

So I need really smart, creative, talented, amazing people like him to tell me what a normal approach to happiness is. And what he told me makes me very happy.

xoxo, d

The Problem with Quiet

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If Quiet comes to you easily, this isn’t the blog for you.

If the idea of actual Quiet doesn’t scare you on even some micro and impossibly invisible level, then you’re in the wrong place.

But if Quiet is a struggle for you, in even the tiniest way, keep reading.

First, we should probably define what Quiet means, which, of course, we can’t.

Because Quiet is different for every person. And Quiet, for even one person, is different at different times.

Which is the problem with Quiet.

Quiet is like Success, Happiness, Joy, Relaxation, Accomplishment and any other words that sweep too broadly to be defined without further information.

Try it. Gather more than one person in a room and ask them their definitions of Success, Happiness, Joy, Relaxation, Accomplishment or anything else you can think of. Sure, there might be some overlap in themes, but mostly there won’t be overlap. Because people are different. And even if there’s overlap, it generally becomes narrower once defined.

For instance, you and I gather in a room, virtual or otherwise.  And we answer this question:

“What do you want most of all?”

And, just for the sake of this essay being shorter than Anna Karenina, let’s say we both say happiness.

Let’s just say we both say happiness, even though I would never say that.

But let’s just say.

Okay. We both want happiness most of all.

But what does happiness mean? For me, it would probably be good health and/or the closest thing possible to the absence of stress. But I wouldn’t call that happiness since I have issues with the word happiness.

But I digress. For you, happiness might be something more exciting like true love and world peace. Who knows?

Or maybe your happiness would be roller derby and flea markets. Who knows?

Because even if you knew what your happiness would be, you’d have to think about what your happiness would be for now. And for later. And for after later.

It’s not that you would need to know exactly what your happiness would be, but it would be helpful – and insightful – to understand that your current happiness might not do if for you as much later. It would be helpful to allow yourself to allow your definition of happiness to change.

Because wants, needs, resources, unavoidable conditions and general ideas about life will change your perspective on happiness over time.

Which brings us to Quiet. And I’ll assume you can see where I’m headed. Because you’re smart.

Your definition of Quiet is very personal to you. And it’s a ‘for now‘ definition that is susceptible to change over time.

And so, the problem with Quiet is that it’s a useless word without further information.

So it pissed me off today when I heard Oprah say something about getting quiet so that you could find your true self.

I know Oprah shouldn’t piss me off. I like Oprah. I do.

I respect her journey. And her discoveries. And her contributions. I do.

But I worry that so many people are listening to Oprah and thinking that getting quiet works for everyone. Or that it’s easy. Or that it’s automatically better than being unquiet.

And I know Oprah doesn’t mean for any of those interpretations to be interpreted, but Oprah has experienced a lot more than the average person has experienced. Oprah knows what all different sorts of quiet sound like and feel like. When Oprah talks about Quiet, she is talking from a place of knowing all about Quiet.

But most people don’t know about Quiet. Because their life isn’t Quiet.

Or because the lives of those around them aren’t Quiet.

Or because, for them, Quiet has been a hurtful experience and eventually Quiet becomes a thing they avoid.

I’m sure that Oprah would agree with that, but she doesn’t need to think about it. Because she has many, many, many resources that enable her to achieve the exact kind of Quiet she needs to achieve in order to be with her inner true self.

I don’t mean to end on a noisy or disturbing note. I just mean to say that when you hear the word Quiet, don’t think it has to be the kind of Quiet you see in the magazines in line at Whole Foods or in the Oprah magazine article that tells you to take walk in the woods.

Quiet is your Quiet. It’s how you define Quiet to be for you and for you for now.

And, just for the record, I prefer my Quiet to be not so quiet.

xoxo, d