Hmmm…I thought I knew what this word meant but recently life has taught me that maybe I don’t. Our holiday theme at lululemon is #fuelhappiness. I am catching on to myself that sometimes I say I am happy even if I don’t feel it…fake it till you make it, right?!
While I think I live in the moment, I don’t think I am truly living in it...to the fullest. We can all do a little bit less complaining and more unplugging.
Yesterday, Tyler gave me a ukulele. Wow. I don't think I have allowed myself or given myself space to have full on smiles like that in awhile. Without knowing it, Tyler fueled my happiness on my day off to truly unplug and feel like a kid again after spending 4 plus hours watching youtube ukulele lessons online. I played along. It sounded horrible and out of tune but it felt so good.
I discovered a state of ukulele happiness.
Honestly, I have been kind of dreading the holidays the past few weeks. It bring up memories and feelings of both happy and sad. Sentimental moments. It brings up the fact that I am not at home in Wisconsin. While I absolutely love my tribe in KC and I have an amazing fiancé and his loving and welcoming family to be with, there is a gap. My family kicks ass and I miss them. a lot. I miss anticipating Christmas Eve mass together, a morning of cross country skiing through Wisconsin country side, and afternoon of playing euchre in pjs while eating popcorn and sipping on old fashions or baileys. No gifts, just time.
Most recently, cancer feels heavy. Five people this past year in my community around me have passed away, been diagnosed, or in the fight with cancer and that sucks. I am feeling it all with you. Each of you. Even the families I don’t know who are battling, I am living it with you. In fact, cancer has been around me my entire life. I have no better understanding and it still feels confusing. How can you be bold when you feel vulnerable, weak, and in the unknown? Why them? Why us?
My mom dedicated her profession to caring for women with breast cancer. I grew up driving home from school with my mom on phone talking to patients about realistic facts about chemo and what to expect, I would spend early Wednesday and Saturday mornings at the hospital for her rounds, and there were several holidays and late nights my mom would be at the hospital with patients and their families.
In 2007, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I can still remember the moment he told me and our family went out for sushi and wine to celebrate that moment of life together. Lots of tears over candlelight dinner and closing down a restaurant together. I still regret not being home for moments when he was in the hospital to just be in the room with him. This was a heavy crack (well more like deep hole in my heart on top of a recent relationship breakup at the time); however on the other side I met my now fiancé. Tyler was a totally light and took my mind off things. He restored all kinds of happiness, when I was trying to fake it. While my dad is cancer free now, I still fear a call from home that something has come back and I have missed moments together. I always remind myself, I can’t live that way. But I do, it is reality.
I know I am not alone on this. You are going through it too. Not matter what "it" is, you have it. We all have it. Each of us are fighting our own battles. Not only the things life throws at us but also the pressure we put on ourselves. To get it right, look good, and be enough.
Why do I write this?
I just got off the phone with my mom. She always says things so I hear them in a new way.
The mom kind of way.
I heard happiness in a new way. I heard how happiness is possible in the presence of stress, heartbreak, death, cancer, disease, illness, missing someone, and the scariness of the unknown. I heard happiness in sharing that it sucks we weren't going to be together for the holiday. We connected on how much we missed each other.
I heard what was fueling her happiness. It was in the moment and it was the simple words, "I love you and I miss you. Now go give your puppy a squeeze and man a hug that are inside waiting for you." She was happy purely in visioning me happy and inside our warm and quaint home. She was happy in showing gratitude and nourishing our connection.
I wish you the possibility of happiness in all forms.
Here is what I know for sure in this moment:
#1 I understand more than ever the whys behind why my mom dedicated the time she did and was gone from home. I admire her dedication to be with families and get them through it all. I am grateful for how she has taught and showed me how to connect with people no matter their situation. I am grateful for her being unconditional love.
#2 No matter your "it". You are strong and we are in it together. Ukulele happiness is possible if we let it in. "There is a crack in everything – that's how the light gets in." We have to experience the cracks, so that the light can get in.
#3 Happiness is...
Happiness is the people we surround ourselves with
Happiness is the extra hug you give your grandma on christmas
Happiness in the hand written letter you drop in the mail to an old friend you haven’t talked to in 3 years
Happiness is the moment of silence you give to yourself during a day
Happiness is saying thank you and really looking them in the eyes
Happiness is in the music and on the dance floor. aka Tuesday night Hip hop is my new love.
Happiness is the guilt free homemade cookie made with real butter, sugar and gluten. (and not harping on yourself to get an extra workout in because of it
Happiness is learning an instrument
Happiness is observing the final exhale and release before savasana of a room of yoga students
Happiness is pushing yourself past what is perceived possible during a cycle class or the the higher lift of your heels at a bar class
Happiness is the realness of this letter. Every day matters
Happiness is dancing our living room to this song and this one too
Happiness is hearing the words I love you and not just saying it back to a person like a tape recorder. Stop. Say it like you mean it
Happiness is believing. Believing in yourself so you can believe others.
What fills up your cracks and brings happiness? Write it down. Maybe even get vulnerable and share it. If you have read this far, thank you for reading. I write to remove a layer and get clear on what I am feeling. I wish the possibility for you to feel and experience the same.
Feel your cracks, remove layers, and fill them up with a new light.
Happiness is you.
It is all around you. Light is all around you.
A state of ukulele.
This is the practice off the mat.
BElieve in YOUrself.