Reasonably Happy

Some Good News

20190426_130614My friend David Gerbstadt is a local artist who shares messages like “Be Kind” throughout his community with signs, buttons and street art. He’s even been live streaming drawing lessons and what he calls the “art machine” where one can watch him develop new creations.

After David offered free signs for essential workers, he was asked by a nurse to make the sign below. She insisted on paying him but he refused. Minutes later . . . he began receiving payment for these signs from out of the blue! Strangers, neighbors and friends who saw his work on Facebook reached out and sent money to help David make even more art to comfort and inspire. He now has several commissions queued up! You can contact him at davidgerbstadt@gmail.com.

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If you are a fan of John Krasinski (Jim from “The Office”), you probably already know about his amazing web series, “Some Good News,” an idea we definitely need these days. There are several episodes including wonderful cameos from Steve Carrel, the cast of Hamilton and more.

So That I May Be Reasonably Happy

Many of us are familiar with The Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

 

This reflection is full of Buddhist philosophy, highlighting the three poisons that keep us trapped in suffering – grasping, aversion and delusion. It is with acceptance, agency and deep discernment that we find our way to compassion and peace.

But did you know The Serenity Prayer has a second paragraph? Here is one version,
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking this world as it is,
Not as I would have it;
Trusting that the Universe will make all things right,
If I surrender to its will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life.

 

I’ve spent much of my life caught up in duality. Either I was happy or I was sad. Relaxed or stressed. Frustrated or at peace. If I was 60% joyful and 40% insecure, I rounded up to all joyful. Or vice versa. This dualistic view of the world doesn’t leave much room for the concept of “reasonably happy”. It is reinforced by our questions when we greet each other, “How are you?” Usually, the asker is looking for a simple one word or one sentence answer. Our experience is always more complicated than that. And in challenging times, it may be difficult to move our level of happiness above the threshold for expression. Especially if that is the goal. As Ajahn Brahm says in the video below, perhaps the task is “to be happy being sad.”

I hope you’ll take this post as an invitation to be Reasonably Happy today! Try out the meditation below to cultivate and harness the joy that lives inside you,


Join Center For Self-Care online every Monday at 7:15pm EDT and Friday at 3pm EDT for Simply Meditation and Everyday Mindfulness. These drop-in workshops are full of teaching, practice and discussion to support you in your own journey (advance registration required).

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 9.20.19 PMOr check out Conversations on the Porch, a virtual discussion for men beginning at 7:30pm on Thursday, April 30.

Conversations on the Porch invites you into a new way of being and connecting. This is a safe, comfortable atmosphere to join together and experience authentic male friendship. Each gathering begins with a guided mindfulness meditation followed by a short teaching. Participants explore and write about their own experience and then share a story with the group. This invites us to step out of our small, isolated sense of self to rediscover a universal connection that has been there all along.

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