This morning a friend of mine who has a chronically sick baby, who will only sleep if she holds him while sitting up in a recliner, posted this message on Facebook:
We create the reality in which we live.
She is one of the most positive people I know, even in the face of adversity, but this stopped me cold. I’m sure if she could create the reality in which she lives, she wouldn’t choose to have a sick baby. What the hell could this really mean? How could she think such thoughts in the midst of such troubles? I read a lot of Buddhist philosophy, so I’m familiar with the concept of illusion and the importance of how you react to situations in your life, but I’ve always had trouble with the idea that our attitude could change reality. There are some things you can’t change, no matter how sunny your disposition. And that was true for Jill’s friend Kelly. She couldn’t change the reality of her cancer and the fact that it was killing her, but as Jill puts it in this post, she never gave up. Not in the sense of fighting a “battle” or “war” with cancer, but in that she kept living her life in any way she could. And this makes sense to me. This is what my friend with the sick baby is doing. She is choosing not to give up on life, on happiness, on the fact that she, we all, have happiness as a birthright.
I’m pretty lucky really. I have healthy kids and Richard and I are doing pretty good in the health department too. We have enough money to pay the bills. We have friends and family who love us. So on days like today when I feel depressed and overwhelmed, I need reminders like the one in Jill’s blog post. Not a reminder that “hey, you don’t have it as bad as that person over there, so stop whining,” but a reminder that happiness is a practice—something we must work at every day. Sometimes those days will include sunshine and rainbows. Others might include a broken water heater or a flat tire. And one day, someday, might include a seriously ill child or cancer, but if we practice happiness every day we will be ready.
So I’m in.
And come along for the ride. Are you in?