More good stuff on The Daily Love today.
One of the things that struck me about today's post was the idea of "Cultivated Happiness."
"Cultivated happiness comes from having learned how to build your own happiness, regardless of what is going on around you. It comes from knowing yourself and taking on the challenges that you are passionate about and being proud of the path you are on, no matter what bumps it may have. Cultivated happiness is lasting happiness and is a skill you can bring to any situation. For me, cultivated happiness came when I realized that I, and I alone, was in charge of making sure I had a good time each day and that I really did have the power to enjoy my life no matter what."
And it reminds me of what Gretchen Rubin is always coming back to in her Happiness Project book and blog: "Be Gretchen." It's her first Personal Commandment - being herself, being true to herself.
Being Kath isn't all that complicated. I've learned to let go of a lot of things that aren't important to me, aren't worth a fight, aren't worth getting worked up about, or aren't within my sphere of influence anyway. Party politics, global warming, war and poverty, the personalities and actions and judgements of other people... I remind myself to put them in a bubble and blow them away.
That alone is a huge step toward a happier life.
Getting rid of all the noise leaves the things that I do care about, that I do have influence over. Starting with my own body. Eating well, taking time for exercise and making sure I get good quality sleep are all important to me. So are my relationships with others. Putting in the time and effort needed to nurture and sustain friendships and family relationships, and (hopefully) showing my appreciation for them.
And of course, I am passionate about how I raise and educate and feed my family; which aspects of Mainstream Culture we choose to embrace and which aspects we choose to question or reject. And there's a lot that I question or reject, at least in the areas that fall within my sphere: essentially whatever occurs in our home or requires our funds.
Many of the healthier choices we make are also the most countercultural ones. Homeschooling, our lack of Cable TV, video game systems and processed / chemical-laden foods comes to mind. It's not easy raising a family counter to the pervasive messages of a largely unhealthy culture. So yes, Being Kath has its bumps now and then. But feeling secure in my convictions, knowing that my choices are backed by good research and experience, and remembering that it's my own vision and values on which I need to focus, not anyone else's - helps to soften the impact of those bumps. If I know I'm doing the right thing for my family, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. (Likewise, my opinion of anyone else's way of doing things shouldn't - and doesn't - matter.) People are best served by being true to their own convictions, and if those were the same for all of us, the world would be a boring place.
It would be so much easier for me if the entire culture shared and supported those same values.
But Easy is for wimps.