I study the crossing lines on my palm, which some would call a map of my life. I’ve never believed in palm reading, but I think I may have found the map that leads to unfettered happiness. Unfortunately, the terrain of my peace and centeredness is fraught with land mines. And like the etching of my palm, their placement is unique. One is labeled–they aren’t listening to me. Another is called–how can someone believe that? Then there’s always–if I want it done right I have to do it myself. Or–nobody else pays attention to things that are important to me.
Each of these insidious bombs lay just beneath the surface ever-primed and ready to blow up my cheerfulness. It only takes one wrong move, one wrong step. Worst of all, I can do nothing to stop that step from being taken because I’m not in control. It’s someone else making the wrong move on my terrain, shifting my peace to disruption.
It happens when I come home from a fun dinner with friends. I’m lighthearted, maybe even singing to myself. I walk up the garage steps and into the kitchen. Then, BOOM! Detonation! The kitchen is a disaster with dishes piled in the sink and dirty pots and pans on the stove. Happiness destroyed. I didn’t even eat this meal, but if I want a clean kitchen in a timely manner and done the way I want it, I have to do it myself. Why couldn’t they have cleaned it up so my joy would’ve stayed intact?
Conditional happiness can always be whisked away by anyone who triggers one of my buried mines, requiring everyone to tiptoe around carefully so they don’t set one off. It’s a complicated business and not that much fun. Luckily, I’ve learned there’s another way to be happy. I’ve found my life’s greatest joy when my secret bombs can’t blow up my happiness. In this scenario there is nothing anyone else can do, or not do, for me to abandon my peace.
We’ve heard the phrase “let nothing steal your peace,” which sounds like it might be talking about the same thing. But, I don’t think it is because that implies that my peace is something that can be stolen. It can’t, only I can give it away. I own those land mines. I’m the one who planted them. Only I know where they are and only I can deactivate them.
First, I need to remember where I put them. Then disconnect the cords, which tether my joy. With the larger bombs, it can be a slower procedure. I find it helpful to assist the process by talking to myself. Before I open the dishwasher I say, “Whether someone else put away dishes or not, I’m going to be happy. I’m not going to let a dishwasher full of clean dishes be my excuse to be in a bad mood. I don’t want to be in a bad mood. I want to be in a good mood. So, I’m going to be in a good mood no matter what I find behind that door. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love for them to be put away. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t request that they be put away. It doesn’t mean I may not gently remind them later. All it means is that here and now I want to remain in peace and joy simply because it feels good.”
Yes, I really do say all of those things–the bigger the mine, the longer my self-chat. I just don’t want my happiness to be conditional. Not anymore. That relies too heavily on everyone else’s proper behavior. It counts too much on things going perfectly something, which will never happen.
I’ve been imagining myself walking across the landscape of life’s experiences with blissful freedom, no longer worrying about all the triggers I set. I don’t want there to be triggers. I desire to live with the untaught joy of a child who runs freely in any direction with great delight. I choose to make my happiness gloriously unleashed from the constrictions of conditions.