“I just want to be happy …”

chaos in your soul Most of us are perpetually ‘on the hunt’ for those moments when all is right with the world and we feel blissfully content.  We’d probably have to look far and wide to find someone who, at one time or another, hasn’t plaintively uttered: “I  just want to be happy.”  In our pursuit of happiness we tend to seek out pleasure and avoid pain.  It seems like the logical thing to do, but what if Nietzsche is right?  Maybe, just maybe, our  brightest points of light are inconspicuously tucked into the turmoil – disguised as discontent – twinkling tirelessly in hopes of catching our diverted gaze.

I have come to recognize discontent as a  divinely guided wake-up call of the soul trying to alert us when we are ‘off course’.  I see it is a benevolent niggling that something needs to change.  If we are open enough to be with it,  embrace it and learn from it … I trust that our discontent can steer us to our deepest longings and highest callings.

That said, and in my line of work, I can’t help but get just a wee bit excited when a client dares to say “I know I should be happy but …” It’s not that I am happy they are unhappy … but … heeding the discord between head and heart (before  it morphs into misery) can open up untold possibilities.  When we are brave enough to honor our discontent rather than resisting it, we are poised in position to begin savoring our lives rather than merely enduring them!

You might be astonished by how often people step over their discontent – they ignore it, avoid it, numb it, repress it, call it something else and/or blame someone else for it. Some people will even try make it more tolerable by focusing on the silver-lining in it rather than seeking to transform it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for finding the wisdom in our wounds but there is a very subtle but significant distinction between identifying the blessings in our challenges and “putting ice cream on poop” (as the incomparable Debbie Ford describes it).  Looking on the bright side of something that actually dulls the spirit, depletes vital energy and keeps folks from claiming their dreams, desires and delights can be a sneaky form of denial … a betrayal of Self that can keep people stuck in a chronic state of “meh“.

Perhaps, if we really want to be happy, we would be wiser to make friends with our discontent … hold its hand … let it speak to us … and then … LISTEN to the message.  Just notice if what we hear stirs something inside us …  maybe a little fear, maybe a little enthusiasm, maybe  a little of both.  Sadly, it’s often in the presence of these ‘feelings’ that we shut down the wisdom in our discontent and distract ourselves with something more pleasant.  We just don’t want to feel it. I know … I did it for years myself.

Sometimes staying stuck feels safer than shaking things up .. but it can also rob us.  I can remember a few years back when I had a phenomenal job working as a parenting coach.  I thoroughly loved my job and had been there for about 8 years when I began to get restless. I tried to silence what I was feeling.  I berated myself for not being grateful enough. I argued with myself about where I would ever find a  better job in our small rural town. Despite my cognitive protest … my discontent persisted.

Then … with a loving nudge during one of my trainings I allowed myself to listen to my discontent. When I dared to hear the message it had for me … I felt a some very juicy but highly prickly energy.  Eeeeek. Instead of shutting it down (as I typically did), I allowed myself to dwell in the discomfort of it.  I stayed with it until I was brave enough to risk the security of who I knew myself to be for the uncertainty of who I could become.  Despite the expressed chagrin of many,  I dared to go back to school at the age of 46.  When people skeptically questioned my decision, I defended it by declaring “the years are going to go by anyway.”  I just couldn’t bring myself to share that I caught sight of a dancing star and was honoring the chaos in my soul.  Some things seem better left unsaid. 🙂

It turns out that my professional  ‘discontent’ was actually a  blessing in disguise inviting me to reclaim my childhood dream of becoming a therapist.  And here we are … 10 years later … I left my phenomenal job and have been blissfully employed as a counsellor for the last 7 years instead.  I can honestly say … I could not be happier.

I decided to share my experience here because I truly believe it is not just an isolated incident. I’ve seen it so often that I have come to believe that we can all find that dancing star if we are willing to begin by sitting within the discomfort of the chaos until we hear what it has to teach us.  So … if you haven’t already made plans for this evening, why not make a date with your discontent!  Who knows what spending some time in that enchanted space might reveal …

With enthusiastic curiosity for where your own nigglings might lead you, Karen

“Find what you have lost …”

With deepest gratitude to Kelly Rae Roberts for this enchanting graphic!

With deepest gratitude to Kelly Rae Roberts for this enchanting graphic!

I am a counsellor and a life coach and, in both jobs, it is ethically essential that I protect my client files in order to maintain their confidentiality.  I had a crazy dream the other night that I had misplaced a client file.  In my dream, as I scrambled to relocate the lost file and retain my professional integrity, I was ruthlessly berating myself for being so careless.  How could I have so recklessly compromised my client’s privacy?  As a recovering perfectionist, it simply is not like me to lose things … precious things … important things!  I am usually too darned anal to lose stuff!

However, in this nightmare, I looked in all the predictable places for it, but was feeling increasingly more exasperated when I still could not find it.  As with most dreams, there were a lot of things going on simultaneously.  For example, my client was STILL waiting to be seen and in my hunt for the lost file, I realized that someone else had used my office and left it in complete shambles.  It was a mess of equipment and electrical cords and there was a small child (I’m not sure who) sleeping in a bed in my office.  Not that my office has ever had a bed in it (but you know how dreams are) and, as a result, I not only had to find my client’s file, but I would now need to find another office to see him in!

At the same time, my cell phone was ringing with important concerns from two family members and I remembered I had failed to return several other calls. I was trying to eat my lunch… and … I couldn’t find the light switch!  I was overwhelmed by all the confusion and chaos but, in the midst of all these competing calls for my attention, I knew that my priority in that moment was to find my client’s file!

I was beyond relieved to finally awaken and realize it was just one of those crazy dreams that we often find ourselves curiously analyzing.  I was trying to find the message in it when I heard the still, small voice inside of me whisper “Find what you’ve lost”.

It was such an ‘aha’ moment!  Although I have never lost a client file in real life, I recognized that my life is much like my dream in that I have a countless cacophony of distractions, diversions and dilemmas clamouring for my attention as I make my way through each day.  I realized that if I am not vigilant, I might unwittingly get lost in the chaos and lose sight of the really important things in my life.

As I continued to unravel the wisdom woven into my nightmare, I found myself reflecting upon what I might have already lost … and … I noticed a number of possibilities.  Whatever happened to my ability to relax? When did I lose my courage to ask for what I need? How come I no longer record my 5 daily gratitudes during my morning solitude?  Will I ever ‘run’ again?

This crazy but wise dream alerted me to the fact that the most important task for me right now is to ‘find what I lost’.  I sense that, in an effort to do so, my life will have less breadth, but certainly more depth.  I sense that my spirit will be enriched and my heart will be more nourished. I trust that I will have more space to enjoy the miracles tucked into each of life’s ordinary moments.

So, it is with a humble heart that I invite you to join me in considering what you may have lost that needs to be found.  Could it be:

  •  your sense of purpose in life?
  • a connection with an old friend?
  • a feeling of well-being?
  • your ability to trust yourself or others?
  • your childhood dreams?
  • your energy and enthusiasm?
  • your sense of humor?

Take heed of whatever you notice … and … commit to making some time to ‘find what you lost’!  I intend to do the same.  In that sacred space of allowing ourselves to see what we often step over, let’s listen to our hearts, and allow that wisdom to awaken our spirits in the most remarkable ways.

Who knows, we might find something precious that we didn’t even realize we had lost …

Sweet dreams,  Karen

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

My Tributes: Better Because of You ...

Better Because I Can Forgive Myself …

I acknowledge that for much of the first 40+ years of my life, I hid behind a really beautiful mask. I might have looked like I had it all together but, as I shared in another blog, I was suffering in silence and was a pretty conflicted soul. I deeply and desperately wanted to create […]

All our Lives are Better Because of our Laudable Leah!

I started this blogsite with the intention of honoring the people in my circle for the ways in which my world was a better place because of them.  And, for the most part, I have acknowledged friends, family and colleagues.  The person I have chosen to honor today was an acquaintance of mine for many […]

Better Because You Spark So Much Light!

Can any of you guess who this bright-eyed beauty might be?? I’d sure love to know what she was thinking when this picture was taken. I adore the gentle glow that ever so delicately glimmers through her upward glance. I can also sense such a sweet and sensitive soul reflected through that precious smile! I’ll […]

An Advent of Love … Better Because I’m bringing You Home For Christmas Momma!

Those of you who read my “Better Because you Spared Me …” blog will already be aware that Christmas 2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of my Mom’s passing. You will also know that I didn’t even realize the loss of my Mom had remained so unprocessed … until the words, tears and unspoken grief spilled […]

Better Because You Spared Me …

Do you suppose this is true?? I am purposely pondering this possibility because … I don’t even know the man.  I do know who he is, though. And because we have lived in the same small, rural community for the past quarter of a century, I have seen him out and about every now and […]

%d bloggers like this: