Friday, December 14, 2007

FEATURE - Living Loud With Joy Rose - "Sacred Struggle and Keys to Joy"

Louise Hay writes, “In the infinity of life - where I am, all is perfect, whole and complete.” The challenge it seems, is to confront whatever self you have negotiated thus far in your life; to find that “perfect, whole and complete” you. This is easier said than done. This means working through, and past, the defenses - and opening to the flow of what’s around us. This means acceptance. Once acceptance enters the picture, miracles abound even though sometimes they hardly seem like ‘miracles’ at the time.

I spent my twenties in the heart of Soho, New York City playing the part of actress, musician and artist. We had punk haircuts and homemade clothes. The Mud Club was popular and all we cared about was being famous. Probably the most miraculous thing that could happen to me in those days was getting paid for a gig. Fast-forward thirty years, four kids and a house in the suburbs. My hair is still pink, and I still play guitar, but miracles have taken on a very different meaning.

Mixed into all the years of happy holidays, and wonderful family vacations were bouts of severe depression and existential angst. “Am I on the right path? Am I making a difference in the world? Am I happy?” At the time, my questions seemed to invite one struggle after the next. Because the answers always seemed “somewhere out there” and I struggled to find a way to “get there.” The thing is, there was nothing “out there” – it was right there next to me. Each answer to my question was waiting for me. And once I let go of the struggle to find it, and instead accepted where I was, the answer revealed itself.

The Dalai Lama insists that happiness is possible for all of us. His book ‘The Art Of Happiness’, reads like a how-to for the easygoing mindset. In fact, he asserts the very purpose of our lives is to seek happiness. Wanting this happiness is natural and intuitive for us. The reality is that it takes more than a book or a walk on the beach to find the answers to actually getting that happiness. Often it’s an unexpected trip to the hospital, job loss, divorce or death of a parent, or other tragedy that propels us on that intensified journey of self-discovery. Those moments cause us to either count our blessings or take a step back and reevaluate our lives. In my case, it was a dramatic bout with SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), after the last of my children were born. This was a near-death encounter that spread out over a period of ten years.

What it taught me was an invaluable lesson in attitude. I don’t always like where I am, but the attitude I choose regarding my circumstances is everything. Being ‘complete’ and accepting the journey I’m on at any given moment, means more than just being sick, or not sick. It can mean rediscovering a life passion (a purpose) -- In my case, music. It can mean time with the children becomes a peak experience. It can mean learning how to cultivate acceptance in body, mind, and spirit for no matter what circumstances surround you, now or in the future. If the Dali Lama was right, and seeking happiness is the purpose of life, than acceptance might be the guide-posts on the map of that life.

My struggles have also been my blessings; they have been my teachers and my mirrors. But to discover that, I first had to accept the struggles, release the battles, and be at peace with the state of my life. It was only then that I could discover the joy that was waiting for me, right there, in that moment – beyond the struggle-was that “infinity” that Louise Hay talked about.

We need to let go of the “battles” of what we are faced with, and to accept what we have - so that we can move on to the real purpose of our life, living joyfully and creating the life we want. We need to do that in every minute that we find awareness of our selves, and in that we discover the key to transforming the greatest difficulties in life, into the greatest miracles.

1 comment:

Evan said...

I think Louise Hay may have valuable insights but they are put very badly.

What is now includes appalling injustice and great undeserved suffering. These are not complete or perfect. They cry out for opposition and ending.

The Dalai Lama and other buddhists with their emphasis on compassion recognise this.

And discovering our passion is also valuable.

But finding a perfect world - in the here and now - involves much more than shifting our attitude, though this is of course indispensable.