On Happiness (and mudpies)


Like a dog chasing its’ tail, we will eventually drive ourselves crazy trying to find happiness. My grandma used to tell us that to search for happiness was to find unhappiness. Why? What is this magical hold that ‘happiness’ seems to have over us? The answer is fairly simple yet very often misunderstood. It means looking inside of ourselves for the answer and, for the most part, people don’t really like to do that all that much. Think back about when you were the happiest. When was it? Probably when you were younger, right? Remember what it was like to live a lifetime in a single day? Do you remember how you looked at everything as if seeing it for the first time? We knew how nothing worked but as kids we saw everything as a miracle. Now, where are we? We think we have all the answers, we know how everything works and, yet, most of us are miserable all the time. Walk down any given street anywhere in this country and look at the eyes of the people walking by—for the most part, all the life has left their eyes. But, you look at the children, look at their eyes and what do you see? Yah! That’s the way we used to look and THAT’S THE LOOK WE’RE LOOKING FOR.

How do we go about getting that look back? Simple. And not so simple. Start thinking like a child again. Kids have a way of cutting through all the bunk. First, they don’t judge. Second, they really don’t care what others think. That’s about as simple as it can get. By the same token, how often do we judge? How often do we care what others will think of us? It’s time to turn back the clock. If people start looking at you like you’re a little daffy then those are the people that you don’t want in your life.

Next, you have to realize that we live in a very special world and at a very special time.

This might be a good time to learn the ‘Serenity Prayer’ all over again. It’s not up to you to try to change the world no more than you have to change yourself. We are all very special just the way that we are, warts and all. As a kid, I used to like going out in the backyard after a rainstorm and making mud-pies. Mud-pies? I never ate one. I never baked one. But I made ‘em and I made lots of them too. Maybe this is why I’m such a wiz in the kitchen now.

Thinking back on all of your own memories and remembering life’s simple treasures are usually where you will find most of your own happiness. If you can find someone to share them with, that’s fine. If you can’t, then that’s fine, too. Keep your memories right next to where you keep your dreams, safe in your heart, and you will always be able to access your own fountain of happiness for all of your living days.

Like the dog chasing his own tail, as he gets older he figures out that if he just keeps walking, his tail is going to follow him anyway. And your happiness will follow you, too.

Don’t look for it. It’s already there, it’s everywhere. There is beauty and there are miracles happening all the time but you will only see them with the eyes of a child.

Lastly, some of the elders (like my grandparents) used to say that some people cause happiness wherever they go and some people cause happiness whenever they go. Try to be like the former rather than the latter, OK? And, listen up, if you’re in my neighborhood, stop by and we’ll slice up some mud-pie. I’ll even put on a pot of expresso for you. So, start laughing it up and stop being so serious. Unless you know something that I don’t, not one of us is going to get out of here alive anyway.

At least, that’s the way I see this. MLProko ©2010     www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on November 10, 2010 at 8:32 am  Comments (1)  
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On Strength


Strength. Real strength. Not exercise strength. Not weight-lifting strength. Honest to goodness down to the core strength. Not Pilates core strength, either. It’s good old-fashioned feet grounded to the earth inner-strength. Where does it come from? How do you get it? Can it be gained? Can it be lost? Its roots run deep like that of an oak tree, down deep into the ground. The weather and the seasons wreak havoc on the physical part of the tree, what is seen, but what is not seen is the root system and that is where the oak will get its’ real strength from. The leaves may be blown away, the bark may be stripped, the branches might be broken but if the root system is firmly in place, the tree will be able to withstand a lifetime of storms. How are we different than Mother Nature? This cannot be answered, at least, not simply answered because this root system is not something to be passed from generation to generation. In a nutshell, you either have it or you don’t.

Why do the winds blow some people around like a leaf and others don’t seem to be phased by it? The answer probably lies way back in childhood, somewhere around 8-10 years or even younger. A crisis pops up out of the blue, like they do in all households; now, look at the family members: someone is usually running around wringing their hands, crying; another is running around slamming things and breaking them while another is just sitting on the couch or a chair telling everyone else that what they’re doing is all wrong and back in the corner there may be one who isn’t saying anything, just doing what needs to be done without drawing attention to themselves. His/her root system has already started its formation. Think back to when you were a child between 8 and10. It’s just a hunch, but I’d bet that the way you handle a crisis now and back then would be remarkably similar.

Our inner strength is like our spirit, it has no physical shape or appearance, it will not show up on an MRI or a CT scan, it can’t be x-rayed, but it as alive as anything else that dwells in your body. This is what makes you you. It will live in you but it cannot be passed from you. You might have inherited bits and pieces from those related to you but this is not always the case. Children, first and foremost, are very good at observation. They’re like sponges, taking something from this situation, something from that one. Pretty soon, they’ve developed their own persona. They weren’t born this way, but it was developed albeit at a very young age. You either have it or you don’t, it’s that simple. The sad ones are the people who try to develop this in school. These are usually the ones who either get involved in politics or running multi-national companies, but when the wind starts to blow they fly down the street like our misbegotten leaf.

The Stoic monks were an order that spent their days in silence, contemplation and prayer, a very serious bunch of guys but when a wrong needed righting, they would show up and do what needed to be done, all the time not saying a word. And the ancients taught us that inner strength leads to a calmness of the mind, this itself being the last lesson of culture; it is the flowering of life and the fruitage of the soul. This is as precious as wisdom and more desired than gold. If you are in possession of these attributes, multitudes will flock to you in your lifetime. That’s real strength. Use it wisely.

At least, that’s the way I see this. Take care. MLProko ©2010   www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on November 10, 2010 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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