Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another Piece of Pleasure

If you read my post on happiness, you learned about my insight into consumer happiness.  Today I would like to write to you about universal happiness.  I realize it is a condition that everyone is seeking including myself.
Diane's pleasure is her harvest of new potatoes, a sweet hungarian pepper, bush beans and pink tomatoes.
Lately I have been contemplating joyfulness.  I am aware bliss doesn't occur when we want it to but it can happen in short bursts throughout the day.  I can be cheerful watching a butterfly flit by the kitchen window even though my children are dragging their feet while cleaning up the table.  Happiness always partners with some unpleasantness.

I believe that is why I am fond of bittersweet (sweet with a bitter aftertaste).  It is one of my most favorite words to use and I love the flavor.  I can't resist eating dark chocolate,  drinking a caffe latte, or sipping a Belgian beer.  Delight in all things bittersweet has taught me to accept exceptional experiences with imperfect times.

Likewise, I can accept the bittersweet parts of life.  Monday was taxing because it was my first day back to college after having a only month off from studying.  Initially, I was stoked about starting school since I passed my grueling Praxis exam.  However, I learned in my first class that I could expect about 15 hours of observation at a local high school (how I could fulfill this with three small children to take care of, I did not know).  This requirement was on top of my regular homework assignments.  I hadn't even attended my other two classes and I felt a wave of crushing defeat hit me.

The former Diane would have tried to find a way to avoid the feelings of frustration, anger and sadness generated by this considerable school assignment.  Instead, the alternative Diane decided to bear these
emotions without dodging them.  Why, you might ask.

Carlin Flora in her article, The Pursuit of Happiness writes that "happiness is not your reward for escaping pain."  Many of us run into problems when we avoid suffering.  We may fall into harmful habits that unwittingly help us avoid distressing occurrences.  Instead, we need to face discomfort in order to fully experience contentment.

I have to agree with this.  By encountering the disagreeable thoughts of new homework assignments,  I could feel the unpleasantness and move on to more positive feelings.  Another consideration to this dilemma would be to have a more zen-like approach.  By not judging the feelings we are experiencing at a certain moment as good or bad, rather seeing the emotions as a necessary part of life, we can accept the obstacles and try to decipher what they mean to us.

Yes, life is demanding (as I found out this week at school), but it also is gratifying.  I just pulled an assortment of vegetables from my garden and they look delicious.  I am going to sit out on my patio and have a sun ripened tomato, my piece of pleasure.

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