Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grooves of Happiness, Ditches of Anxiety

--I just ordered fabric markers from Amazon.  You might ask why I bought them there.  When I looked at every store last year, I couldn't find them.  Well, I could find expensive ones, but not the cheap Crayola markers.

--Why do I need fabric markers?  I've been asked to be the Arts and Crafts director at our Vacation Bible School again this year.

--That invitation makes me feel ridiculously happy for several reasons.  For one, it means that I must have done a sufficient job last year.  Of course, it may mean that no one else wants to do it.  But I do.  I found it immensely satisfying last year.  I'm thrilled to be an integral part of VBS again this year.

--Lately, I've been thinking that I need to make more room for happiness in my life--not contentment, but happiness and joy.  I get contentment from a tasty supper at home.  I get happiness from having people over for dinner.  I'm going to start doing that more often, even if it means that people will see how I really live, with unswept floors and a smidge of toothpaste in the sink.

--In this post, Rachel Barenblat explores happiness.  This paragraph resonated with me:  "I find myself thinking about a lot of these ideas in terms of what kinds of grooves I want to be carving on my heart and in my mind. We're all creatures of habit. I try to cultivate the habit of seeing myself, and seeing everyone around me, through generous eyes. I try to be kind to myself to and to everyone around me. I try to say thank-you to God, at least every morning and every night, for the many blessings in my life. This sounds a little bit corny, I know! But I've found that when I make a practice of saying thank you, when I make a practice of trying to give people the benefit of the doubt, when I stop to notice what's beautiful in my life and in the world, I am calmer and kinder as a result. I am a better person, a better mom, a better rabbi, a better spouse. And the more I do those things, the more well-worn that path becomes in my mind and heart, the easier it is to keep doing those things."

--This image of grooves seems to be popping up a lot in my reading this week.  In The Prosperous Heart:  Creating a Life of 'Enough,' Julia Cameron relates a story of a wealthy woman who can't stop fretting:  "She is habituated to worry, and worry about money is the most deeply grooved worry of all" (page 4).

--I wrestle with anxiety more than I want to admit.  Most of it is low grade.  Is any of it justified?  The anxious part of me says of course--what if we make the wrong choice and run out of money?  My serene self says that none of this matters in the long run or the short run.

--I also have anxieties on my brain because we're in the process of thinking about moving to a new house.  We will be moving to a new house, unless housing prices zoom out ahead of what we can afford in the next month or two.  It's more of a mortgage than I would have ever thought we could afford.

--Of course, our first house was a VA repo which we bought for $35,000 back in 1993.  Now I think that every house should cost $40,000-$50,000.  Yes, only 4 zeroes in that number.  And yes, I realize how unrealistic my anxiety brain can be.

--I have a vision that our new neighborhood will bring me more happiness and joy.  But I know I'll need to cultivate that happiness and joy. 

--To quiet my anxieties in the coming days as we move through this process, I'll start planning dinner parties!  I will keep my brain from driving off into ditches of anxiety by reading books like Cameron's that remind me that I have all I need already.

--And I'll pray more.  I'll ask for Divine guidance as we move through this house hunting adventure.  I will trust that the God of abundance will not leave me orphaned.

1 comment:

rbarenblat said...

I'm so glad that that post resonates for you. And I hear you about the grooves worn by anxiety, especially anxiety about money. I find that in my own life & practice, it's a constant process of noticing that I've allowed myself to fall into a rut of anxiety or negative thinking or writing scripts, and I pull myself out of that rut and back into savoring the present moment again. And then I notice that I've fallen back into the rut, and I pull myself back out again. Lather, rinse, repeat. :-)

I wish you happiness, now and always!