Thursday, February 28, 2013

Purple Thursday For Peace - Acceptance for Happiness

Hi there!

Welcome to the third Purple Thursday for Peace.  I now feature Purple Thursday for Peace on the fourth Thursday of every month. In each Purple Thursday post I wear purple for peace and discuss ways to turn from conflict, including bullying and online hate, and find greater personal peace, and by extension, happiness.  I was inspired by the purple theme of the NOH8 movement and you can be the first to join me!

In my search for happiness, I took a hard turn in the right direction one day when I was shopping in a London street market. We were living in Huntingdon, UK, and one day I went with my husband when he had to go into London for work.  We took the train and then the tube, the best way to get into and around London, then I waited for him and wandered and shopped while he had his work meeting.

I had no idea my life was about to change forever for the better. I was in a place mentally where I was not happy and I knew I needed something to change. In a happy turn of events I happened upon a typically delightful collection of street market stalls in a parking lot of a church.

I met a man from Tibet selling a book by the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard Cutler, The Art of Happiness, A Handbook for Living. We spoke and I learned about the free Tibet movement and I bought the book and a small bracelet to help the cause. I had never read a book by the Dalai Lama before, and the title really caught my interest.

This book completely changed my attitude toward life and living.  I am so happy to share my thoughts on this book with you, in the small hope that you may also benefit from it, and from the concepts I learned therein.

When I was young, I was blessed to have a typical American suburban upbringing, with every thing I ever needed and many things I wanted. As happens to many people, as I matured and became an adult, I found myself becoming unhappy and somewhat bitter when life didn't turn out like I expected it to.  I began to understand why people get mean and angry in their old age. People let me down, I suffered bodily illnesses, physical limitations, my life circumstances were not exactly my first choice, and my family relationships were not always beneficial nor successful.  (Reading this back I am thinking WHAAAA ! Right? LOL)

I felt that I was treated unfairly by life because of the hardships I had suffered, and I  thought other people's lives were turning out better than mine.

The most helpful thing in coping with this, for me, and a central idea to the teachings presented in this book, was the idea that we must accept that if we are alive then we will suffer. I guess I was not accepting this in my mind and I was fighting the idea, and losing!

We are born crying. We may become ill.  We will grow old if we are lucky, and perhaps our bodies will weaken and become frail.

If we are lucky enough we will live to be old enough to get gray hair and our skin will wrinkle and sag. No cream, lotion, nor facial scrub can stop this, despite what the beauty companies tell us.   Surgery can not stop this process from re-occurring either. I think people imagine it will somehow, despite knowing it won't.

Any changes to our outer appearance do not stop the fact that we are aging.

Our friends, parents, and pets will die as will every living thing.

We will die.

I know all this can be a real bring down, and seems a paradoxical topic to consider when trying to get happier. However, ignoring and denying these basic essential realities to ourselves doesn't help us to find happiness. The good news is that once we get to grips with these things, our lives are shifted into a clearer perspective, and we can begin to focus on things we can control. And when bad things do sadly happen to us, as they may, we are better able to understand, accept and cope with them.  

So, despite not wanting to acknowledge and accept it, I have learned accept that the mental and physical pain, abuse and suffering I had gone through was only normal and to be expected in the life of a human man or woman!  This is not to say I thought I should have a "perfect world", but I am saying that I was focusing too much on frustration with my life's disappointments.

Once I began to accept that my suffering was not something personal, and a statement about my worth, I could get to a point of acceptance about my unhappiness.  Everyone suffers losses, and sadness to a certain extent.  For some reason this really resonated with me, I think I saw others as suffering less than me.  I perceived other people in my life as being really much happier and better off than me.  I realize  now that people do not share always the ways in which they suffer, and even try to hide it from the world, but they suffer in similar ways to myself, I am pretty sure.

Thanks to my enlightenment about suffering, I have mostly forgiven myself for thinking that I was the cause of all of my own suffering, and I accept and take responsibility for my suffering that I do have control over. Life is rough enough without beating myself up about things over which I have no control.  

I really enjoyed the deep thoughts about life's meaning and our purpose for living presented in this book. The basic idea is that life is best lived when we are happy, and this book presents examples and ideas of how to get that way every day. This is the type of book that causes me to read a passage and stop to think deeply on the words and how they relate to my own experience, and recognize the truth of them in a very meaningful way. It showed me examples of how to reframe my thinking so that I can be as happy as humanly possible. I can not recommend this book to you any more enthusiastically!

I was listening to a recording of the comedian Patrice O'Neal, who passed far too soon a while back. Part of the point of his routine was just to, "Be happy." I am sure if he could talk with us now he would agree that we should strive to be as happy as you can every day, life is WAY to short to be otherwise : )

Oh yeah, now for some pretty purple for PEACE!  

China Glaze Let's Groove and Salon Perfect Glitzy Glam for some pink diamonds!

China Glaze Stella. This is not even close to the gorgeousness of this shade. I really didn't do the above two CG polishes justice, but I wanted to share these anyway, I owe each one a better swatch!

'Tis as lovely a lavender as a lavender lovely can be! Pure, lavender love.

Wet n Wild On a Trip- One day I asked my lovely twitter followers for their favorite purple polishes, and I believe it was my awesome reader Inky Whiskers who mentioned this one. I LOVE THIS COLOR FOREVER.  The formula is incredible, this is soooo gorgeous, thank you for this suggestion! GAaaah! This is an easy to find polish you will very likely love. This is coming from a glitter/shimmer girl.

Please feel free to link up to a picture of you wearing anything purple, a blog post on how you find peace, or leave us a comment below to tell us your thoughts about adding to the greater peace of the universe!


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