one day i decided to walk away from the drama, the conflict, the discomfort of my own home. i didn’t like what i was becoming – the woman who wanted something more, and kept looking for it somewhere…somewhere outside herself. i kept finding myself dissatisfied with others and their actions thinking that things would be so much better if they could just learn to do it my way. i kept thinking that nothing was wrong with me, and everything was wrong with everyone else.
the day i decided to walk away – not physically walk away, but walk away from the thoughts that were running around in my head – was the day i decided to begin listening to my heart instead of my head. it was a conscious decision, one that i was very aware of making. i decided that if i wanted to stay married, i was going to stop thinking that i could be happier in a different relationship, and i was going to stop wanting to change him…in fact i decided that i was going to see every little thing that i didn’t like about him as something i loved about him.
i know it sounds crazy, but i had to give it try. could i love the way he likes to make the bed, folding each edge just so, and pulling the edges up so everything is exactly aligned – taking twice as long since every corner has to be perfect? yes, i could love him for that if i thought about it as his need to do things taking no shortcuts whatsoever… instead of his need to control me; i could easily love him for his need to be tidy, just as he could love me for my untidy ways ( i grew up in a home with no order whatsoever). i found myself remembering how he grew up in a home with a father who drank, and a mother who was obsessed with order and cleanliness as she desperately tried to find control over a never ending cycle of rage and sorrow, disappointment and unfulfilled expectations.
i found myself loving the little boy who still lives in my big man. i started to see him with compassion instead of impatience. his need to clean and dry the shower every time, his need to pack and repack the trunk of the car, or the dishwasher…even if it meant having to miss a plane or an appointment…if i just loved the little boy in him, and loved the little girl in me, i found myself at peace. and slowly over time, he is seeing that things don’t have to be perfect, but it’s not me telling him so, it’s him seeing the peace that exists between us.
when i started to look inside me, into my heart, my perspective took a severe shift. i was no longer a victim; instead i began to see everything that was happening to me as a blessing. (i am happy to report that i am tidier than i ever was, that i now can find things because ‘everything has its place’, and as a result maybe my mind is a bit clearer too….hehe.)
i used to visualize myself standing atop a mountain, with my arms outstretched, singing at the top of my lungs, hello world! i thought i’d never reach that mountaintop. when i had this shift in perspective, i was no longer looking for this place where i could be happy…i suddenly found it right there inside me.
what i know now is that i can’t buy a ticket to a place called happiness. i can’t even climb to a peak and find happiness. i can’t even find it by falling in love with someone else. happiness is more like a relationship. it’s how i decide to relate to the world. if i relate to the world lovingly, finding gratitude in every little thing, suddenly my way is not the only way.
happiness is not having to have the perfect life, because there is no perfect life. happiness is more like realizing that i can’t try and change what’s happening to me on the outside, but i can change the way i relate to my heart, my mind and to the people around me. it’s kind of like getting into a canoe. if i try to fight with the waves and the wakes of life, the tippier my canoe becomes, but if i remain still and listen to the waves, i can be at peace, and be oh so happy enjoying the ride.
when i can laugh at the bumps, i know i’m happy…