“Choose The Bigger Life”
That sentence jumped off the (ipad) page at me like a thunderbolt. Choose the Bigger Life. When I was young I would have thought that mean being an actress, living in LA and being successful. Then I moved to LA and was an actress…moderately successful commercial actress and yet…people, myself included, weren’t really living a BIG life. It’s the mindset of a struggling actor, holding off on life. Any moment in Los Angeles as an actor your entire life can change and so we all seemed to be waiting for that big change before we really lived. The big break that will change it all, the series regular, the ad campaign, whatever it is that will instantaneously alter your situation and so we wait, we stay in apartments, with mismatched furniture and roommates longer than others and I am NOT knocking this experience at all, it was great…but it was always on hold. Holding on because things would surely change any moment.
For now at least, I am not working as an actress, I am a mother, a writer, a photographer. And yet I still hold on. I still wait. My life seems small because my viewpoint is small.
Today I realized exactly how big my life actually is. It’s huge. Sure, it’s the repetitive cleaning up of huge messes caused by three small people, but it’s also full of imagination, love, laughter and joy. It’s the possibility of the greatest pain ever and also the greatest happiness ever.
In The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin quotes Herman Hesse “Happiness is a how, not a what. A talent, not an object.”
Happiness is a how. Currently, I’m working on the happiness of how I look at things. I tend to get bogged down in the mire a lot, I am unable to see the forest for the trees and all that. I frequently focus on what I do not have and am unable to see the blessings I do have. Perhaps that’s why this book smacks me in the face so often with those “ah ha!” moments. As soon as I was two chapters in I texted my sister and insisted she read it immediately. Recently she texted me back “I’m loving the Happiness Project, it’s a good balance for all my woo woo spiritual books lol” it truly did make me laugh out loud. Like many kids raised together she and I frequently have opposite compensatory skills. Being raised in Boulder raised the woo woo quotient considerably and she is able to be more open to it than I am. (For instance, the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up had me at hello, and lost me at thanking my socks for their service before putting them in the drawer to rest. Cause no. They’re freaking socks. Add the INDIGNITY of spare change being tossed into jars! And I was a hard pass. But the getting rid of clutter was A+) But that’s okay, because Gretchen’s number one rule of Happiness is to be Gretchen and thus mine is not to be Gretchen (Or Heather…which is hard cause I’ve been trying to be Heather since I was three) but to be STEPHANIE. Stephanie knows she tunes out of things get to woo woo but knows she will go to the ends of the earth to get Heather whatever woo woo thing she needs. Heather knows she resonates to the woo woo, she is more open to that, so that makes Heather happy. Heather must be Heather. (I’ve totally checked out a woo woo book or two on Heather’s suggestion and ended up finding a lot of value in some of them. BTW. )
So, my latest Happiness Goal is to focus on the HOW of happiness. This morning Pip woke before the sun and then took at a nap at 7:30 am. The boys were still sleeping so I took my coffee out to the back deck, under the umbrellas, the light sprinkling rain and the birds at the feeder the only sounds and I read. It was heavenly. I was so relaxed, I was afraid to move for fear of popping that tranquility bubble. But after an hour or so here came little Huckleberry, the Hucknado. I chose the Bigger Life and welcomed him with open arms and when he asked to swing on the swing with me pushing him (a task I do not particularly enjoy) I wholeheartedly said yes. HOW I viewed this activity might make a difference. It did,. We laughed and talked and had a great time. Just the two of us, in the cool morning with the rain gently sprinkling on us.
It is a big life indeed.