Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Choice Factor

"Reflect upon your present blessings - of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."
- Charles Dickens

As if to cap off a week long spaced out feeling, I am now faced with a lady throbbing head pain, sweet body aches, and a burning sensation broiling inside my.....insides. The makings of a flu. I shall think of this as the final curtain call of my dramatic soliloquy. A purging of my body perhaps to burn away all useless angry, worrying, and fearful thoughts I have been harboring the last plenty of days.

I've heard some say that "happiness is a choice."

Where I heard this is something I can't quite place. It must have been in church, and I swear I've heard some pop psychology guru croon it as well.

In a way I've always believed that happiness is a choice. Not all my friends agree on the "choice" factor though. Oh' but not me... I try to live that way. Well..I think I do..until something around me goes awry..or when something I expect doesn't materialize..or when someone acts contrary to my likes..then my whole happiness living factor crumbles around.

Today I realized how largely dependent on others and circumstances and things my happiness really is. It isn't the inner joy that comes from believing in God or my sacredness or how this universe is truly designed to embrace my needs...No...It's a happiness based sanctimoniously on things that look good around me. I am Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall kind of believing.....just waiting for that one great fall.

"...and all the kings soldiers and all the king's men couldn't put Luxie together again!"

I'm no Lady Humpty and sitting on walls isn't really cool. My friends..well they see me as cool I bet. Cool and lucky. I'm fun to be around, I have stories to tell and advice to give when needed. But nobody really knows the questionings that course through me. Rarely will I talk such things with them.

The good light is that I'm aware. I know why I've been muling storm cloud blue. It has to do with the fact that in a few months time I will turn another year...been somersaulting in my mind for months now. The final 39 it is for me and a countdown to 40. Triggered by the hooplas that have been going on around my world, I forcefully and desperately ask myself if "this is it (?)"

I've thought this before, but not as poignantly and with uncertainty and a real panic.
Is this the me I can be? I face this question with a twisting fear knowing that I am no longer young. Life, my life, can end any given moment....accident, the big C....heart attack, falling into a manhole ......I can die and what have I done...really?

And what of my children?..Have I done my best? If I were to take the liberty to honestly answer myself I would say no. I could have done better if I had half the sense I do now. But to tell me that would be unkind. They aren't bad or rebellious or giving me a hard time. For this I should be grateful. But if I had the chance to roll back time..I undo the days when I knew I should have done better.

And what of me as a wife?..No..I don't even want to go into that.

The fact is in spite of the trials we went through, and the lot of boo boos I've made....we are in love with each other. It isn't a marriage of just commitment. Meaning, just being together because you have to endure and I know quite a few who just endure. I don't think I can do that. And so I have to treasure this.....that I don't just endure. Sometimes I forget....

The hardest question I throw myself concerns what I have achieved in terms of career. I have talent. I worked myself through college. I'm hardworking...I've done work people would consider truly worthwhile. But I'm not there wherever there is so lately I find myself comparing me to other women. Like wow (!)..she's country manager of of bla bla corporation or she's CEO of Crinkles dee' dum' wonder she's driving that!....I could have done that...drove that..worn that!......Or geez'...she's involved in the Literary Foundation for the Challenged and Oppressed blah' blah'...

Me....I don't "foundation" anywhere...Not in the Save the Trees movement or the Feed the Hungry of Fifth District slums...Makes me I so callous...uncaring?...Not that I never was involved in anything...I was...a long time ago..

I remember being in a gathering of women missionaries. I was introduced to a pretty lady who promptly asked, " so..what's your mission?". Kinda' threw me back because the only mission I was on at that time was eating every crumb and morsel of my "empanada."...

But that question lingers you know..."what's my mission?'.....Do I really have to have one?

Right now ( sigh), I'm not bent on rolling back time or finding my mission. I just want to be here. To be calm and worry free and hopeful and genuinely enjoying what surrounds me.

Relax. Rest and listen..listen......( straining ears)

A lovely bird is crooning outside my window. Perched on solid branch, its craning neck reveals a pretty tinge of yellow on its breast...A chorus of tiny chirps are singing along with him...Another magical tune is being hummed by a birdie way up the mango tree from where I'm writing this...It's a huge huge tree.

crickets...I hear crickets....

a rooster's crowing and two from afar...

The sun is a' hiding..the weather is cool....Everything else is quiet...quiet..and all I want to do is to......listen...listen..listen...

They seem to be chirping happy...those creatures...

I wonder what they're saying?....

Could it be.....

happiness is truly a choice...?


Amber said...

Luxie, are we on the same wavelength or what? I was just blogging about following true intention earlier today.

I do believe happiness is largely a choice...but of course that also depends on the people around us and our surroundings. All of that IS part of God, mah no dichotomy there.

We've all made mistakes...we can all thin of how we could be better mothers, better wives, better friends. Even better to ourselves. The fact that you stop to consider shows your depth of feeling, your compassion. Your sacredness.

Don't reject these feelings...listen to time the answers will be clear! I am just getting there will happen! said...

do we choose our choices? or do they choose us? i have pondered this question, of late. why? b/c i am surprised to see and hear that so many (present company excepted, of course) really see themselves as that egg on the wall, at the mercy of the forces which push it this way or that way.

do we choose happiness? do we choose love? do we choose sorrow? do we choose darkness? do we choose light?

YES. IMHO. our life becomes what we make it, i think. and ... all those times we tell ourselves, 'i have no choice.' ~ perhaps those are times when we'd rather think that, instead of choose between two less than optimal alternatives, and then live with the choice we made.

how much of the 'i don't have a choice' thing is somehow related to the refusal, or unwillingness to accept responsibility for the choices we make? y'know?

our bodies are wise ... and they purge what we don't even realize needs purging. sorry to hear you are feeling under the weather. said...

hi. you spurred me ... to write about this ... about choice. check the latest post.

foam said...

okaaaaaaay, man...
i think i'll finally not be interrupted and can leave a comment..
lez see...
1. lady throbbing head pains are worse then gentlement throbbing head pains...that must be true.
hope you really didn't come down with the flu, but didn't you say your hubz was sick not too long ago?

yah, i can believe that happiness is a choice. if we choose a positive attitude with which we approach life, even though what we are facing might not be the most enlightening, creative thing we'll ever do or live through then chances are we might approach something similar to happiness...or at least contentness.
that doesn't mean that there aren't circumstances where positiveness gets sucked out of you at times.

turning 40? nanananabubu. well, this is from somebody who will be 48 in 6 weeks or so. and i've made the choice to be happy about it.

LADY LUXIE said...

amber: I am so waiting for the time for all the answers to be clear. Meantime, I am doing as you said..just accepting the flow of things and living at the present moment. Thank you.

Red: Sometimes it seems like the choices choose us...Other times it perfectly appears that I have the power to make my choices. And yes, admittedly..there are instances when I refuse to make a choice. The last mention more or less causes a stupor..a kind of lethargic letting go which creates my spaces of doubt. Thankfully, I somehow always come to the point of realizing when this is happening ( the Humpty mode ) and gather strength to shake myself off and get back to owning my choices. I'll be cruising by.

Foam: I like what you said about,"....even though what we may be facing may not be the most enlightening creative thing..."

I believe that when we face living through a situation such as what you it with positiveness...then happiness comes...yes...or something called contentment. One cannot be content without having a degree of happiness. So nicely said by you..thanks.

Jac said...

luxie, today I am jealous of your writing because I can't write the way you do specially about a subject that many wouldn't choose ... you have written about it so easily, like the smooth waves of the ocean when it is so calm, so soft and easy like a piece a home made butter. Yes, I am amazed at your writing talent.

Would you trust and beleive my words ?...then I would tell you that you are somebody with talent and its a God given gift which many crave to have.

About the question of happiness I would say it is not entirely our choice, though we could make the best out of it.
BTW, if you have the liberty to choose your mood, would you ever choose a sad mood willingly? ...unless you have a sadness, will you ever know the sweetness of happiness ?

Mirror Me said...

indeed it is luxie...happiness is a choice. And I'm finally free from the cell! wooohoooo...;p. hv a great weekend ahead.

Bless said...

Hello Lady Luxie it is a pleasure you visited my site. I will add you to my links if it is okay with you.

I like your writing. It's a talent I wish I could have. I would definitely be back here reading your works.

Thanks again.

Mr. Althouse said...

Hey Luxie!

I have been down this road myself and I have come to the same conclusion - I think. I think that happiness truly is a choice, however, it is also not so easy as all that. It has taken practice and perseverance... patience and sacrifice... and regular re-commitment. And even then I find it difficult sometimes to choose happiness.

But I get it.


Merelyme said...

what beautiful writing! i love your expressions of soul searching. Happiness is a Choice is a book by the Son-rise dude who wrote a lot about his son recovering from autism. I like the philosophy but I think it puts undue pressure on folks who do suffer from bad biochemistry. You can't be happy all the time. Why should this be the goal?

While we cannot realistically be happy all the time, we can make choices to up the ante for joy. While happiness is fleeting, joy is something which resides in your core.

Perhaps I will write more in a post of my own. Thank you for the inspiration.

Oh and 40 is fabulous! You'll see!

Hann said...

Music does it for me, when ever I feel down or depressed and can feel the dark clouds coming in I can rely on nice music, up beat and jolly to get me singing and dancing.
So I can choose I guess to switch it on and make myself happy or feel sorry for myself and let it be.
I hope you are well and it's not a flu coming up.

Bla said...

Such a vivid blog you have! :)

Bubbie said...

Beautiful writing. Thanks for sharing.
Your account of being asked "what's your mission?, made me smile. Being disabled often finds me in a position of meeting new people who always start conversations with , "What do you do?". Always makes me think of Ram Das. "Be here now."

Mayden' s Voyage said...

I think there is a difference between happiness and joy. There are things that make me happy, but it's fleeting...and there are times of deep pain and grief when I can sense joy.
Joy is the still deep of the ocean, happiness is in the waves near the top. I seem to rarely have both at the same time.
Lately- a deep sense of sadness has been brewing- like I'm experiencing a loss of some sort, and yet- from all outward appearances- my life looks wonderful and happy.
It is in some ways, and not in others.
At this time in life we are, as my book says, holding the "tension of the opposites"...we are in a place in life where the "end" begins to come into view- and yet, we still so clearly see the beginning- it is our past- it is what we know. Tomorrow holds things we don't know- things we have never faced before- and each tomorrow brings us closer to our ending- and that is difficult for us to face.

In mid life we are experiencing losses like never before- friends dying, parents slipping away, our kids becoming all adds up to a loss- the loss of our yesterdays...the loss of our youth...the loss of getting to choose again.
And, add to that we are not the same women we were 20 years ago. We are wiser (hopefully)- and yet find that we still have so much to learn.
Oh friend...I've been lax in sending you a letter- and I guess this was it. I'm so often amazed at how you and I circle the same flames- worlds apart. It's what makes you seem so near-
I hope you are feeling better- take good care :)

X. Dell said...

(1) If you're worried about he boo-boos, and not concentrating on the good stuff, I'd say you're becoming a bit bourgeois.

There are musicians who are "perfect players." By that, I mean that they never make a mistake, no matter how difficult the passage they play. Trouble is, nobody really wants to listen to them. You see, when you concentrate on playing perfectly, you do so at the risk of playing expressively. And that's what the audience pays its money to hear.

So if you and the huzb are making good music together, then why sweat an occasional clinker in the brass section?

(2) It seems to me that the only people who say that "happiness is a choice" are people who are happy. I'm guessing that this is a rationalization, a self-justification of why they have good fortune, and others do not. It's kinda like blaming the victim for their misfortune.

After all, there are some people who have to endure tremendous tragedy and hardship. Psyches break under inordinate stress, almost the same as bones do. People can mend, surely. But they have to have an enviornment to mend in.

Morover, I've met thousands of people in this life. I've never met one who didn't choose to be happy. Nevertheless, I've met a lot of unhappy people.

X. Dell said...

With respect to your recent posts:

(1) Your former student is right. She is weird. She might as well learn early on that her weirdness is a blessing, not a curse. More power to her.

(2) Can we credit Foam with the origins of the term 'oatmeal rant'?

(3) You're probably not disorganized. You're just organized differently. If you're the kind of person who does a thorough spring cleaning, but later cannot find anything, you're definitely organized--just not in a conventional way.

alison said...

whatever choices that we make, we need to find balance. life is kinda like the waves, it goes up and down, smooth ride to the shore and sometimes crashing on hard rocks, but it'll find its balance eventually.

you are doing just fine. yep, even with the flu and all, cleansing process. beautiful process. :) *hugs*

we are all in serch of clarity, we ask... we wait... in time the answers will come, all in divine timing and order. we just need that extra faith that universe knows what it's doing. :)

did you read the recent news about mother theresa? she had a 50 year crisis of faith. For the last 50 years of her life, she had felt disconnected from Jesus and God, did not feel the presence of God in her life, and described her crisis as living in hell. And she felt this way for 50 years, but still continued on with her service.

“Jesus has a very special love for you. But as for me --- The silence and the emptiness is so great --- that I look and do not see, --- Listen and do not hear.” MOTHER THERESA TO THE REV. MICHAEL VAN DER PEET, SEPTEMBER 1979

as long as we continue doing what we love doing, staying in present, living in gratefulness, all will be just fine.

LADY LUXIE said...

Jac: Thank you for your touching comment. It was uplifting to read your compliment on my writing..specially from someone who spills poetry at a drop...

And yes, I do understand your point about "happiness as a choice." There are moments when life gives us a deluge of circumstances that plainly eradicates all notion of happy...rendering us just helplessly accepting whatever it is without the passion of being happy...

And no...I would not choose sadness willingly...but the presence of sadness almost always usher in a fresher perspective and value for happiness.

Thank you for your insight.

Mirror me: I keep thinking of the Sponge Bob cake!...Looks like somebody chose happiness as well!..And now that you're more innocent crimes okay?..he!he!

Bless: Welcome! yes please do :>

Mike: Welcome back...yes..I do remember your post on happiness...and just as you said.."I get it" well..

be well...

TeacherJulie said...

Lady Luxie, why, oh why, I ask myself, I didn't go to your blog when I got your comment (which I just replied to just now). I love reading your post. Your words are just naturally flow and you made me and reflect.

For me, happiness is a choice. Even with things we have to deal with on a regular basis, living with the nitty gritty and all, we can still choose to be happy. We try our best to do so to keep our sanity, otherwise we will get lost. I'm rambling...

Do take care and have a great week. :)

P.S. your doodling is wonderful.

Julie said...

Went back to this post because there is something familiar. The photo. Is it Nusa Dua in Cavite?

vineeta said...

I just read this post- my minds a blur- Some of these are the exact things I think, though I am neither married or a mum. but one lives, one loves & knows & asks these questions. For me I've noticed life somehow moves in these cycles- what goes down comes up & vice versa. And I've noticed choosing happiness when u are down is more of a struggle- But what is sure shot is when u ask u are given- whether it is support in the form of a book, a person, good work might vary. I think we forget to ask & we forget to thank. Both of these work like charms.
Im proud of you that you are able to acknowledge & to say out loud what all of us think, I read all the comments and can't tell you how full & warm I feel inside. Thank you for opening this discussion :)