This is us. You and me. This is us on an everyday basis.
We are all more relatable than you think. I mean, here we are on Project Earth, basically moving around on this huge conveyor belt we call a planet, trying to find our place in the circle, and at the end of the day, all we want to do is finish strong and come to some kind of constructive conclusion. Whether we get along or find ourselves on the same journey is a different story altogether. Either way, the sun will go down at sunset; and if we’re lucky, we’ll all wake up to see it rise one more time.
We all want the same thing. Don’t we? To be happy, to live, to have our own things, to be without concern, to laugh a little, dance, to sing a little, eat some, sleep well, rest a for a while, and then one day when the evening of our existence comes to call upon us, in whichever hour this may be, we all want to look back at the life we lived and say, “Yeah, that was me. I did that!”
At the end of the day with hopefully at least of semblance of self; we all just want to make it through, safe and sound, without regrets or heartache.
At the end of the day, we all want to be able to rest our heads without the worry of what comes next. We want to escape the blame machine and get away from fear.
Above all things fear is the most draining. This includes fear of pain. This includes fear of rejection, fear of humiliation, and the fear that we missed something.
Maybe we missed an opportunity. Maybe we’re afraid that we couldn’t rise to the occasion anyway, —or, maybe we are afraid to find out that we’re simply not good enough, which is still rejection; however, this rejection is internal. Maybe we’re afraid the thing we missed will never pass this way again.
I have been searching to find the best road to wellness. I want to find out what stands in the way. What are the obstacles? And what’s the difference between real and imaginary problems?
I wanted to learn how to help me (as well as others) without confining people to one single program because the fact is; life is not a one size fits all model.
Along the way, I learned the hardest voice to contend with is the internal one. I had to learn how to differentiate between the voices of reason and insecurity. Along the way, I had to find out what stops us from coming to a constructive conclusion at the end of the day. Moreover, I had to learn how to remove the roadblocks that keep me from the roads i want to travel.
The dictionary defines happiness as the state of being happy; it means the state of good pleasure, contentment, and joy.
If given the choice, isn’t this what everybody wants?
To be happy:
to feel pleasure
to be content
and joy . . .
Joy is defined as a feeling of great delight.
This means to be satisfied.
Satisfied . . . I like that word.
This means to feel fulfilled; to be sufficient, to be justified, and solved. This means to be paid up with nothing outstanding, nothing lurking, and nothing looming in the background. To be personally satisfied is to fill the requirements of self.
This is all we want.
We want to be clear-headed instead of overwhelmed. But no matter what we want, life happens. Situations occur. We feel pain. We experience loss. We make the wrong connections and wish we made other decisions, long ago, so that this way; we didn’t wake up in the “Here and Now,” living in the wrong place with the wrong people.
There is nothing more unavoidable than life. Sure as I stand, life will happen.
I understand this.
I understand that due to circumstances beyond my control; I will find myself (at times) on the short end of a bad deal. I will experience. I will live. I will learn. But above all, I will endure.
There are three things that get in the way of my process. Anxiety tops the list. Depression is right up there. Insomnia doesn’t help either.
One could argue all three intermingle and go hand in hand. I certainly think they do.
I once read a chapter in a book by Fulghum in which he describes a day he lived and would like to relive, as it was, exactly the same way, without any changes.
He discussed his method of cooking a chicken fried steak. He talked about the biscuits and the sauce and although I am not really a chicken fried steak fan, I thought about the sentiment behind this.
I thought about the attitude and the attention to detail. I thought about the ingredients he discussed and his care to be sure to add just the right amount.
In Fulghum’s chapter, he mentions how important ingredients are. And don’t skip. Don’t skimp either. Add what needs to be added and never substitute.
Fulghum was right.
Ingredients are important. More than the process of cooking a meal; even if everything is cooked well, the wrong ingredients will only give us the wrong flavor.
Years back, I came home from a transformational place after undergoing a transformational process. There where’s and whys are unimportant for this topic. I will only explain that I was in a bad place at a bad time and feeling regretful. I was given coping skills. I was taught a few tools and given a program, which I worked to the best of my ability.
However something was missing.
I forgot something . . .
I forgot to add the right ingredients. I forgot that to live a happy life it is necessary to add the flavors which I enjoy the most.
I needed to learn how to have fun. I needed to learn how to add better things to my diet. I needed to learn the healthy mixtures of life; otherwise, I would find myself back to my old self. I needed to stay clear of boredom and complacency. I needed to find my sense of purpose and continue my focus on being better by any means necessary..
I know that life will not always come my way. I know that there will be bad days and there will be worse days. When I began studying and doing my own research of anxiety and panic attacks, I heard the best way to ease the threat of anxiety attacks is to remove the stressors in your life.
I laughed at this.
I laughed the same way I laughed the first time I heard the saying, “In the history of calming down, no one has ever calmed down, simply by being told to calm down.”
Into each life a little rain must fall . . .
I get that.
I understand the storms that come my way. I also acknowledge that some of my personal storms have been self-induced or caused by contributory negligence. But I learned.
Hopefully . . .
I learned that in order for me to be well, I need to maintain my balance. And balance is related to the ingredients I add in my life.
Years back when I was fresh to the world after completing just over a year in treatment, I did what I was told.
I went the 12-step way and did my thing. I went to 12-step meetings and did 12-step things. I did not do much else though.
I did not have much of a social life. My ingredients were off.
I found myself feeling bored (at times) and lonely. I wondered about the life I lived and why I did not have the things other people had. After all, we really just want the same thing. We all want to have our own place in the circle.
I compared myself to others. I saw myself as less than. I looked back all too often at the things I could never regain and came to the realization that once time passes it can never be recaptured the same way.
The problem with my process was the ingredients I chose, which led me back towards the wrong flavors.
Know what I forgot to do?
I forgot to have fun . . .
The reason I chose to make transformational changes is because I was tired of feeling unhappy. I was tired off feeling unsatisfied.
And sure, I worked my program but I was still unhappy.
I was far from fulfilled. My depression was as bad as it gets, which is chemistry, but still —it is hard to absorb new information and new ways of living while going through old familiar thoughts and old familiar feelings.
We are all more relatable than we think.
Deep down, we all want the same thing. We just use different ingredients. And me, in order to find my own path to wellness, I needed to find my own mixture. I needed to get the ingredients, add them equally and properly, and just like Fulghum, I had to pay attention to detail.
Life is no different than a cooking recipe . . .
By the way, there was an afternoon I had when I cooked my favorite meal. I made sure to have all the ingredients. I did not substitute. I did not skip anything nor did I skimp on the ingredients.
It was just like the chapter in Fulghum’s book. It was an afternoon I would like to relive, exactly as it was, without any changes.