Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Two days before Christmas and I was checking my email to find out if I had been naughty or nice. And what to my wondering eyes appeared but epistles of encouragement from far and near!

If I am sick of my old job, I can ‘be a cop,’ I can find my soul mate ‘instantly,’ time is running out for my 10,000.00 scholarship, if I act now I can get “60,000,00 worth of land in Costa Rica for only 25,000.00,” I can get a ‘condom sampler pack’ so I can “be safe not sorry,” I can become a mystery shopper or a preacher simply by filling out an application on line, I won a “free drill set,” and thank goodness, I received a congratulatory letter telling me “I did it,” and best of all some caring soul asking “are you happy!”

I know that there was money in it for them and I know they didn’t really care whether or not I was happy, but it sure got me to thinking. Am I really happy?

The thesaurus says “content, glad, joyful, blissful, exultant, ecstatic, delighted, cheery, jovial, and on cloud nine.” It also tells me I can search for ‘happy’ in ‘all reference books or all research sites.’ All this does is make the question more difficult. Hum! Search for happy!

As I face this question head on, I know I find intense happiness in my friends. One of whom just two days ago brought me to tears when she looked deeply into my soul and asked, “Patsy, you do so much for so many other people, writing another four books, running three bed and breakfasts, speaking engagements, and the list goes on. You have very little, if any, time for yourself, are you okay? Are you okay?”

I looked at her, through tears welling up in my eyes, in disbelief. I told her, “I can’t remember the last time anyone ever asked me if I was okay.” I had never thought about it. Again am I okay…am I happy?

My daughter makes me happy, because she is happy. Music makes me happy, pensive, melancholy, joyful, and sometimes it can make me want to dance. Ice cream makes me happy, a lick on my hand from one of my dogs is consoling and comforting, the smell of the earth after a rain makes me happy, and dark chocolate sure makes me happy, as does putting on jammies and climbing into clean sheets. But is my question answered? Is my soul happy? Is anyone truly happy?

Thinking more about it, I never ever once imagined I would be who or where I am today. My friends are full of retirement plans, tender moments with rosy cheeked grandbabies, travel plans “just the two of them” after surviving the empty nest thing, and composing the last dance and the last part of their lives.

Often I see them look at me with wonder and amazement. I speak of traveling alone, book tours, phone interviews, national radio shows, television interviews, newspaper articles all on my passion. I have been invited to speak to serial killers, rapists, and child abusers in the New Mexico State Prison. I tell my friends and they nervously laugh, not knowing what to say. What did I expect them to do?

Everyday I ask myself if I am more compassionate and wiser than the day before. Every day, well almost everyday, I wake and am excited about what will come from that day. I know without a doubt that something wonderful will happen. I know that I am blessed, and I know that I have been chosen. I know that this passion was given to me to share. I’m not where I thought I would be…with a husband in a home somewhere in the country surrounded by trees, flowers, streams, grandbabies and love.

But I am where I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be. I fought my way here and at last feel I have arrived. A very dear friend wrote me the other day and told me, “I’ve very amazed at your vitality and inner resolve – what a gift to the world.” Funny I never thought of it that way. I want to believe his words. I am honored he said them.

So yes I guess the answer has to be I am happy and content for the most part. There are things I am sad about and would change. In the midst of promoting my passion, sometimes an enormous bout of loneliness jumps in and reminds me that I am alone.

Then there are times when life gives us what we pray for, and then we find we can’t quite reach the gold ring after all. It is there, it is beautiful, and you fall in love with it. But it isn’t really yours after all. A reminder that, no matter what, we aren’t really ever in control, are we? So we grab the joy, the love, the chocolate, the passion, the dance, and the moments when we can. We embrace them for just being there for the time they are. And we try to not be sad when they are gone.

Rabbi Irwin Kula in Yearnings, Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, tells us that the messiness of life is the sacred stuff that keeps us growing. Our ever present yearning for meaning and purpose, for love and happiness, to make sense of it all, defines our spiritual path and ultimately leads us to wonderful opportunities and discoveries. Kula says, “If you’ve never had dirty dishes in the sink, you’ve probably never had a home cooked meal.”

Life can be messy and imperfect! We are all looking for answers. This constant craving can become a path to blessings and grace if we open our hearts.

Sometimes the depth of our desires can never be realized, but maybe sometimes they can. If we embrace our lives, the ones we have been given, with the paths we know we have been selected to take, and we accept the messiness of life then maybe, just maybe, we can fully understand this magnificient project called life.

May you be blessed with peace. Merry Christmas!

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