[This was written in June 2017 and published in a magazine,]
I often sing Jingle Bells in July and celebrate holidays whenever I want. I see no need to wait until there is a majority agreement on a date to celebrate something. It’s so much fun to make my own celebration dates. I like living in the present. There is no time like right this moment to choose to be happy, have some fun, spread some joy, and enjoy myself. In fact, now I celebrate every single day.
Michael A. Singer asks, “Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.” In his excellent book, The Untethered Soul he has a whole chapter on the concept of practicing unconditional happiness. He adds, “You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens."
We often have so many rules about how we allow ourselves to be happy, and that sadness, grief, depression, or some other thing gives us permission to disconnect from happiness. We may think that we don't have any control over things and situations that create these feelings, but it isn't any event or situation, but only our choice that rules.
To say, I want to be happy, but. . . or I want to be happy, except. . . is to choose not to be happy. People might say, “Of course I want to be happy, but my wife died, or my husband left me, or I got fired, or I'm deeply in debt, or someone crashed into my car, or I can't pay all my bills," or fill in the blank. There's always some reason we can come up with when we only allow ourselves to have conditional happiness by saying, yes, but, or yes, except.
I love how Abraham, Esther Hicks discusses the subject:
“We are really advocates of just getting as happy as you can be–which takes care of everything. Even if you don't have reason to be happy–make it up. Fantasize it. Make a decision that you're going to be happy one way or another–no matter what. “No matter what, I'm going to be happy! If I have to ignore everybody; if I have to never watch television again; if I have to never pick up a newspaper again, I'm going to be happy. If I never have to see that person's face again, I'm going to be happy. If I have to see that person's face, I'm going to find something to see in that person's face that makes me happy. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be happy."
Some people say, “well, you just can't be happy all the time because there is a lot of ________ all around." OK. That's a choice to be happy when we think it is acceptable or appropriate to be happy. Fine. Have it that way. But the statement that we just can't be happy all the time is purely opinion. We can be happy all the time. We can respond to events without reacting to them. We can decide to be happy no matter what goes on outside, no matter what anyone else thinks, no matter what. All we need do is choose it–and mean it.
Once we choose, our path is clarified. We see life with different eyes, different emotional responses, different perspectives. We can choose and allow ourselves to be happy regardless, and as we practice that, life takes on new meaning. I know this to be true because I made this choice and practice it daily, hourly, constantly. When an old habit of how I should feel comes up, I see it for what it is: an old habit. I then choose to let it pass by as I decide to be happy and at peace anyway.