"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
– Carlos Castaneda
When I first looked at this quote awhile back the part that struck me is that people work to make themselves miserable... we all know people like that. We've all been those people at points in our lives when sitting in our misery seemed like an easier task than finding a place to sit that had a better view.
But it is still work to be miserable. You have to wake up every morning and look at the burdens instead of the blessings. You have to decide to be annoyed by your child's laughter waking you instead of the joy of hearing a giggle first thing in the morning. You have to decide to be annoyed by the snow on the roads rather than the sparkle of diamonds that are created when the sun hits it just right. You have to decide to grumble about the burden of work rather than get on your knees in gratitude that you have a job that feeds your family.
It takes a lot of work to be miserable. But for whatever reason, it's an easier habit to form than being chronically happy.
I had a reader ask me in the comment section last week if I have physically been feeling worse... I had written the two posts that were a little more "heavy" about free will and the difference between spiritual and physical gifts... and she wondered if I did more of that kind of pondering because I was struggling with not feeling well and was trying to make sense of it.
I had to think on that a bit. Truthfully, I wrote those posts because one of the readers that has become a friend asked me specific questions that I was trying to answer. They were big questions and I wanted to answer as sincerely as I could... so it really had nothing to do with how I was doing physically.
But the truth is, I have been feeling worse. And I wondered if that showed in my writing without it meaning to. And I tried to notice if that's something I do when trying to cope with not feeling all that great. Here's what I came up with: like the quote, it's work either way... trying to write about serious, meaningful things is hard when I don't feel well because it's a little harder to see the positive.
I take that back, it's not harder to see the positive, it's harder to feel the positive. But I find it to be a good exercise to challenge myself to feel it when it's not easy because the next time it comes more naturally. Like a habit.
On the other hand, writing funny, frivolous posts can be difficult because I have to find enough energy in me while sitting at the keyboard to really express the funny, the joy, the silliness of the moments I want to share. But I find myself drawn to telling silly stories and old memories when I'm sicker because they more easily lift my spirits and help me forget for a moment the state my body is actually in. It's still work... still a habit, but an easier one to achieve.
My point is, I don't want you all to think I just plop my feet on the floor every day and see sunshine and rainbows because I've chosen to live a happy life regardless of circumstance. It takes work to be miserable and it takes work to be joyful... I just figure if I'm going to put in the effort either way I might as well have a pleasant outcome in the end.
Since many of you have so kindly asked repeatedly what you can do to help me, I'm going to ask for you to do me a favor in the comment section. When I'm not feeling well, I always have an urge to write (which is why this blog has been great) but it's often hard for me to think of what to write about. Partly because I never leave the house, so nothing new or remarkable really ever happens on a daily basis, and partly because when you're tired and in pain it's hard to think of anything other than being tired and in pain.
That's why I loved being able to answer that reader's questions last week... it gave me something to focus on, to think about, to feel like I was having a conversation with all of you. So today, or every day if you like, leave me a question or a topic of interest that you'd like to hear about. It can be ridiculous, it can be funny, it can be sincere or deep or nosy or flat-out bizarre. I would just love, on days when I'm feeling empty, to be able to pull up your questions and have the challenge of writing for you.
So here's your chance, peeps... ask away. :)