Happy Places

The day job has been a bad lately. Like, ready to choke a bitch kind of bad. It centers around this ill-informed newcomer who has taken up with the absolute epitome of the terrible worker and believed all his stories. Since physical violence is frowned upon in the workplace, as is cursing someone out, and voodoo dolls have bad karma associated with them, I am getting her in the ways that I can — setting her straight, stopping her when she oversteps her boundaries, telling her to calm down — but it’s constrained by work etiquette and propriety.

Add to that the issues with me putting a little distance from the overwhelming bitchiness of my friends, the beginning of the year approaching with the work madness that always ensues thereafter, and the sudden reluctance and passive-aggressive hints of my carpool buddy, and I’m pretty fed up. Not only that, but it doesn’t promise to get much better for a few months. Therefore, I need to find my happy place and start working from it rather than from a platform of anger and increasing bitterness.

It reminds me of a Buddhist meditation I listen to from time to time by Sharon Salzberg, titled Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Even if you’re not Buddhist (I’m not), there is so much wisdom here that it’s worth a read or listen. She talks about your mind being water and your problems being a heaping tablespoon of salt. The trick is to expand your mind to make it so vast as to render that tablespoon of salt harmless. If your mind is a teacup, that tablespoon of salt will be very impactful. But if your mind is as vast as a pond or a lake, one tablespoon of salt won’t do a thing. It’s about your focus. If your life and focus are centered only on that one thing, in my case the harsh work environment, then your whole life seems to crumble around you when something goes wrong with it.

If you draw back, breathe, and realize all the other things going on for you — home life, movies you like, books you can read, places you can go, friends you can talk to, TV you can watch, hell, even dinners you can make or restaurants you can go to — it helps put those negative issues in perspective as a very small part of your life. You don’t have to let the bad stuff overwhelm you and own you.

I realized this, and am assembling my happy place. I have had a friend staying with me and he has been a good distraction, but he has to go home sometime, and that’s today, unfortunately. Also, I can’t pin my happiness on another person. So, I assembled other stuff. I plan to reread the Harry Potter books and spend some time at Hogwarts, maybe spend some time with the Golden Girls, maybe save the planet as any number of super heroes, or any number of things. Who can say? For me, limited escapism helps me look at the real world for what it is — temporary, fleeting, and a place in which I control my own actions. I’m looking forward to making these new spinach and artichoke ravioli I bought. I’m looking forward to making Pad See Ew again and learning how to make carnitas and Thai Drunken Noodle. I’m looking forward to seasonal movies and hanging with a visiting friend and continuing with all the fun writing I’m doing and all sorts of other things.

Just that act of drawing back, of looking at things from a fresh perspective, makes all the difference. Find your Happy Place. Make a nest. Settle in. Things will get better, and you need to help that happen, but for the meantime make your Happy Place remote and huge, and the petty parts of life will disappear, or minimize themselves into bite-sized chunks.

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~ by Darren Endymion on November 16, 2015.

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