On my journey towards happiness, I have wandered through many books continuously drowning in their words as I searched for a lifeline. I have stamped down my impatience that threatens to derail my learning and have finally accepted that each piece of knowledge I collect, will eventually build, one upon the other, to help form the path I need to follow.
When all comes into focus, I will eventually understand, and will recognize, what I have been missing in my life. Once I know myself, for truthfully that is what this quest is all about, my pen will fly across the page, and the words I have been afraid to release, will stretch out uninhibited into the distance. At least that is what I believe, and believing is akin to dreaming and that is what I do best.
I have, as mentioned in my very first post, recently delved deeply into Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project, its title drew me over one sad day when my worries had me bent low, and I felt a need to hide from life. I had taken refuge that day in Chapters, one of my favourite haunts, and with latte in hand had tucked myself off in a corner to begin my introduction to Gretchen.
I liked the way her words tumbled around in my mind, bumping and grinding their way into my confused thoughts as they called for attention. She laid out her faults freely at the feet of her readers, lacing them with honesty, and humour and a promise for change, and…steady, my pounding heart… she drank diet Coke…in the morning!
A bell went off in my head. I sat up a little straighter and smiled. Oh yes, there was no mistaking it, I recognized a kindred spirit, and a fellow Diet Coke addict…she had my attention!
With her monthly resolutions that stretched out over a year, Gretchen confirmed what she loved to do best: read, write, read some more, and make books. Along with the importance of family, she illustrated the value of welcoming new ideas and untried pursuits into your life while always keeping your eye on exactly “what makes you feel good”.
I liked the structure her project grew from as it could be easily incorporated into any ones life, no matter their circumstances.
Although I tend to write my stories in a rather loose undisciplined manner, I’ve always known that my life, and my creative projects, needed more direction. Solid blue prints of my own making were called for, something that I could depend upon and follow.
So pen and paper at the ready, I have begun the framework of my blue print that will lead me towards strengthening my life and populating it with more smiles.
One of the starting components of Gretchen’s Happiness Project was to construct your own twelve personal commandments, points that would ground and assist you as you worked through the resolutions for change. One, out of the few commandments I adopted for my own, was to be yourself, for my purposes… Be Carole-Ann. Okay, an easy command one would think, it is merely a request to live authentically, to be true to your own heart.
The problem is, I feel we are, at certain times in our life, made up of a patchwork of the expectations and ideals of others. We spend a large chunk of energy trying to fit in, to be part of the gang, in essence, to be accepted. We imitate those we admire, sometimes unconsciously changing the way we dress, the way we talk; our beliefs and opinions become biased while our real thoughts fade away, all but forgotten as they grow smaller and smaller and finally become as transparent as smoke.
Ingrid Bergman’s words offer hope for me as I recognize this loss of self, she stated, “Be yourself. The world worships an original”. Like the earlier oil paintings from one of the old masters, who we are is a value that needs to be protected, or in my case, rediscovered.
So, my first step, a project on its own really, is to learn how to finally act, well, like me. Perhaps it will be like reconnecting with an old friend, a much-loved friend who got lost in the wake of my passing years.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. E.E. Cummings