14 Sep Happiness – and all its ups and downs
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On my tour with Patch Adams through Russia_ã_s orphanages he asked me “What_ã_s your love strategy, Pat?”. I jokingly replied “I have a marketing plan_ã_does that count?” He said no and invited me to write 2,500 words on what I thought my love strategy was.
I sat down a week or so later and began. A period of deep reflection followed, which was interrupted by somebody saying “the best thing that ever happened to you was your mothers inheritance_ã. I had an epiphany in that moment, seeing the significance of many of my life events and realising indeed mum’s money, while a welcome respite was not the most meaningful moment!
I recalled the first man I had ever bed bathed (as a nurse). A construction crane had fallen on him and he was literally crushed, with 35 broken bones and in a coma when brought to Casualty. Initially they just said he is not going to make it. Then some hours later he was still alive and they said, well if he goes to theatre he will probably die on the table. He did go to theatre, and did not die during the first surgery. As they wheeled him back to recovery thoughts were that he would probably not wake up and would be a vegetable. To the surprise of all he woke up, quickly revealing he was indeed, not a vegetable!
At that point, they said well he probably will never walk again.
He was in hospital for 3 years, the entire duration of my general nurse training, going home for the occasional weekend. I saw him every day he was in hospital even if I was not rostered on his ward at the time. He walked on 2 sticks to my graduation ceremony and sat at the back of the room. When the ceremony proper had been conducted he stood up, waving one of his sticks and said _ã–I would actually like to say something._ã
He opened a large scroll and began reading, to my amusement and I have to admit, some embarrassment, all the terrible tricks and pranks I had played on him while hospitalised. My mother was sitting near the front and kept saying _ã–oh for goodness sake Patricia!_ã not knowing whether to laugh or berate me!
He then turned to me and said _ã–You don_ã_t know what you did_ã
35 years later, and after a barrage of personal losses I really get it!
I lost my home and my business( twice); had cancer; lost my first child (a daughter); had ten car accidents (none my fault, honest!); my partner of 20 years left; and my sister has had Aids for 25 years. I now see fully the difference humour makes. And not just the tricks but the whole notion of being good humoured. To me being good humoured is about being appropriately responsive (or not) and reflects a high trust environment.
My most treasured possession is a card from my son that says _ã– Dear Maha_ã_.my Maha _ã_I am so proud of you. I almost can_ã_t believe what you have accomplished in your whole life, but mainly in the last five years. You may not have a truckload of cash but that does not mean you have not succeeded. I love telling people what you do, making others smile in spite of your own situation_ã__ã
When I called myself a Joyologist one of my thoughts was _ã–Joy is all of it. If we could create a barometer identifying every emotion then the capacity to experience and observe it all is joy”. As my life has unfolded I have become more of an observer of myself rather than a judger of myself and in that space I’ve found peace.
_ã–We swing between grief and joy most of our lives as we respond to and deal with the life events that ultimately shape us. The trigger for hope as we move through those times that test us, is laughter._ã
Find out more about Pat at – http://www.joyology.co.nz