Over New Year’s, we traveled to see my father. In the airport bookstore was a book lying on top of a stack of different books as if (oooh!) someone had left it there for me. It was called the Happiness Project. I impulse-bought it immediately and read it as fast as I could in my off-moments during the vacation
At first, I thought the author, Gretchen Rubin, was going to worry happiness to death during her year-long experiment exploring the issue. She had many good things in her life, but felt a nagging discontent that ruined the goodness in each day. Thinking ahead, knowing that some real misfortune would someday come her way, Rubin did a whole year of examination to get at this discontent, try out new behaviors, and enjoy the good times while she had them.
She’s the analytical type and deconstructs the elements of happiness down to minute particles. Basically, she almost takes all the fun out of it. While I wiggled with fussiness as she deconstructed the habits and attitudes that make or break happiness, it eventually occurred to me that it is a worthwhile approach. Rubin really is just going deep, looking at the ways we work against ourselves to ruin that precious “feeling”. It’s a body, mind, spirit approach that makes sense. A grand sweeping gesture feels inspiring, but is susceptible to a poor night’s sleep, an aching back or that chronic complaining voice in the back corner of the brain.
I’m inspired that taking a such a methodical approach might yield results. It’s an interesting way of staying with oneself, being present in a way that’s more thorough than meditation, therapy or journaling. By the end of this series, I certainly will have worried the topic of trust to death, kind of like our puppy last week with L’s teddy bear. But I’m willing, given how easy it is to end up find myself circling in a little mental cul-de-sac of irritation. Ready for newer, clearer paths.
This post is part of a series of posts on trust, based on the 21-Day Salutes originated by blogger Colleen Wainwright. The intention is to write daily to help shift a habit. Originally, she had been told that it takes 21 days of new behavior to change a habit. She has since found out that it is apparently takes much longer. Oh well….