I receive a weekly horoscope via email and it’s actually a very well-done horoscope. It’s not a bunch of predictions, it’s actually a well-researched chunk of advice based on what the particular astrological signs are tending to point toward for the coming week, weeks or months.
A couple weeks ago the advice given was to say Abracadabra! in order to make good things happen. While the advice is always metaphorical and never to be taken literally, that one still seemed like a pretty dumb bit. Yeah, a magic word, that’ll work. Thanks for nothing. I hope you send a better horoscope next week buddy.
A few afternoons later on that week, I was lying on the couch wanting to sleep but not able to. The kittens I am fostering were sleeping but might have awoken at any time to be fed. I didn’t really want to start on anything since it would just have to be put aside once the kittens started crying. I felt deflated.
Then a thought popped into my head. “What would I do right now if I were happy?”
I’ve been puzzling over the concept of happiness for many years ever since I experienced it by accident in 2001-02. There have been many times in my life that were good or exciting or satisfying. But that year I was actually completely and joyfully happy. Unfortunately, that happiness left me the same way it came to me. It seeped in and seeped out quietly and steadily like sand in an hour glass.
Now I know that what I actually experienced was euphoria due to meeting a person who accidentally tapped into my sense of not mattering and made me feel like I mattered. When that person left, the euphoria left.
Euphoria is kind of like a drug. It did feel incredible. I felt like I could do anything I wanted. And I wanted to do anything that came along. Nothing seemed too difficult. Everything was satisfying. Even looking in the mirror and seeing myself looking back at me was good. I felt light, confident, worthy and beautiful.
When the euphoria came to an end, and I could feel every bit of it seeping out of me like sand, I knew I couldn’t hang onto it. But I hoped that since I now knew what it felt like, if it came along again, I would recognize it and be able to make it happen again on my own. I did not know how to do that. But I clung to the idea that it was possible.
So much time has passed since then that I have pretty much gotten used to how I now feel. I am used to feeling heavy, tired, dissatisfied and kind of plain when there are no other distractions in my life. I do still remember how the other way felt even if I do not feel it anymore. My memory of how I once felt is what led me to ask myself, “What would I do right now if I were happy?”.
That day the answer was, I would get off the couch and work on the bills and budget. It needed to be done anyway and if I were happy it would be an easy and satisfying task. It would not diminish me to get off the couch and act on it. Since that answer felt very manageable, I did get up and do the bills and the budget.
I always get annoyed when I hear people who don’t have depression say things like, just get going, just make yourself do it, think positive, blah, blah, blah. It makes me want to smack them!
I’ve spent my life making myself do things I don’t want to do, didn’t think of on my own, that only benefit others instead of myself and almost always trap me into a situation that puts others in control of my life. And I am so done with all of that.
But how to motivate myself has been a huge challenge. I’m starting so late on behaviors that should have been learned and ingrained in me as a child. Talk about heavy!
They say when the student is ready the lesson will come. And it did. That abracadabra horoscope sounded kind of lame and annoying. My new mantra is kind of the same thing except that it came from me and it spoke to me in my language.
“What would I do right now if I were happy?” That’s a really good question. I expect to keep asking myself that question until someday real happiness starts to flow on its own.