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abbs benchFinding the inner spirit of joy can often be difficult for many when you are stressed and exhausted.  Who we are when we are not that person, can be remarkable!

My youngest daughter is a real little menace in the best sense of the word and in the sweetest of ways. She will gaze up at me with her gorgeous big brown eyes and ask (at THE MOST INOPPORTUNE of moments)…….…”are you happy mama?”  And in that moment, she already knows that as the sink is overflowing, the beds unmade and toys scattered around the floor as I try to get them out the door clean- dressed-fed….perhaps NOT….in the Armageddon that is getting to school and work on time.  And I have to catch myself and laugh. I am happy actually! I can instantly withdraw to my lovely little bench by the sea.  I can answer her honestly, I can say YES I AM, please would you go and get your coat…. There may be fleeting moments of NOT happy, but that is all they are, fleeting moments.  In the grand scheme of things, her sweet question pulls me back into the moment, and into the present; a place which I always will choose happy.

People on the school run are always asking in general, HOW ARE YOU?  They are often surprised to receive a real response that does not include FINE.  I may be knackered from a hard night with one of the girls, excited by things happening at work, wound up at the incessant traffic at high speed by the school gates, or yah good!….. a real answer is always a given.  I refuse to conform to FINE.  I choose to engage and seek the moment that a door opens and lives are shared. It says, hey we are all going through it, I am not perfect and things are not always FINE! But shared experience begins with vulnerability, by allowing yourself to share the truth of your own experience, and find it is shared by so many.

Being a major career type before kids, I had always thought that the whole school run thing would be a nightmare. And at times, logistically as a single parent, it can be! But I have also found great joy at being able to really be there for my kids when I take them in and kiss them and wish them a happy day, and when I collect them after to bring them home safely and find out what their day has been about. It has actually amazed me! I treasure that time.

I have found, that the smallest things make me happy.

It usually begins with choosing to stay in the moment, because the moment I drift away, it becomes all about everything else.

I remember sitting with a very close relative, one who suffers from depression. She views her entire life as a struggle.  I have to be honest. I don’t get it. I know this person incredibly well. What I see, is that she has never actually spent time in the moment……she has always been beyond it waiting, or stewing in the what has been.

I have a thing called the bench.  I have this imaginary bench that I sit on inside my head, it has awe-inspiring views of the sea, and I can hear the sea rolling in and away as I find myself in that space. Its my checking in spot. Am I happy? Is this choice the right one for me, my family? Will this decision bring joy? Does it fill me bones with joy? Given another chance, would I make a different choice? Does it serve my life’s passion and purpose?  All of these things and more cross my heart and mind in an instant. Some days I spend more time there than others.  But that benchmark of happy (not content, happy) is a very big thing.  Moments pass, but the underlying attitude of joy and gratefulness is what that happiness is built upon, and it’s an inside job.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no little-miss-ray-o-sunshine-happy, I am just real. I have also come to the conclusion that sitting on the bench in “happyness”, is a choice. It’s taken a few hard long years and some pretty damned hard knocks to learn that lesson, and really get it.

And I think the title of that CD is….”BE HERE NOW”…..

Make the choice that supports you from the inside out.

Just a thought : )

M