June 20, 2012

A huge bird and a tiny bird


Ah, the joys of the open road: who will I try me out on today?

The Manic TailGaters, Parking Space Hogs, Not-too-SmartPhoners, Pro Roadblockers, Comatose TollTakers, Passing Lane Kut-off Krazies, Jaywalking Suicides, hearing-impaired LeftLane SlowPokes — a vast assortment of psychos, clones, morons and drones…


Maybe today, everyone I encounter is a visitor.

Maybe each visitor comes with a story.

And if we don’t have time to chat — maybe I’ll invent one.

Ta-Dah! List

December 30, 2010

My Ta-Dah! List

My Ta-Dah! List

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of Happy Destiny”…

Like a lot of us, I agonize over “To-Do” lists. Didn’t finish this, procrastinated that, interrupted on this, couldn’t afford to that, chickened out on this, overwhelmedoverworked… blah-blah-blah-de blah.

A friend pointed out that children don’t spend much time on To-Do lists. Instead, when they do something great, they stand up, stretch out their arms, and with a big grin shout: “Ta-Daaaaahhh!!”

And so, as we near the end of December, the end of 2010, even the end of the decade (one referred to as the “oughts,”) I offer a different list: My “Ta-Dah” list!

I hope in writing down what we DID do in 2010, we’ll each be pleasantly surprised by what we find. First thing I put on my list: that I made this list: “Ta-Daaaaahhh!!”

Happy New Year, and Happy Trails!

PS  The Happy Trudger wishes to express deep thanks for the hundreds of acknowledgments received this year. It’s a delight to be of service and connected to you in spirit.

Labor Day

September 6, 2010

Labor Day

Labor Day

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

I don’t know about you, but part of me doesn’t like Labor Day* Monday—not one bit. It feels like the “End-0f-Fun-Day.” Labor Day means:

Summer’s over.
No more beach swims.
No more warm nights.
No more fresh-picked fruit.
I’ve got to get a kid off to school.
(Or, worse still: “I’ve got to teach school.”)
Work is going to be a bear tomorrow.
I’ve got to pay a gazillion bills.
I have to get back on a diet.
I better make more money or else.
No more veggies right off the vine.
I’ll be living on canned chili soon.
I have to put away air conditioners.
My back hurts already.
The trees are dying!
My sinuses are acting up.
I’ve got to sort through clothes.
I have to start blowing dead leaves.
I’ve got to get heating oil.
The furnace needs a clean-out, too.
So does the fridge.
Do I need medication for this?
It’s already dark at 8—soon it’ll be 4.

And on, and on… the inside of my head starts to sound like a wood chipper.

When I get like that, it feels like the fun ends promptly tonight at 11:59. Nevermind actual labor—I’m tired just thinking about it.

What if, whenever I get myself worked up into a snit, what if a miracle were to happen? What if I were to see—for instance—a beautiful sunset? It could happen. It could be tonight. Tonight’s sunset might be more perfect than any painting I’ve seen. It could be the kind of sunset that stops everything, reminding me that beneath the surface of this list of overwhelming things I’m powerless to control, perhaps there is beauty, perfection, rhythm, grace and order to all of it.

It might be at that point that I remember: “Oh, that’s right—I’m in a process of change.” I might be reminded that I’m moving from a life of keeping a close eye on what’s wrong, to one of appreciating every moment of what’s right. It could be that this particular sunset might remind me that it’s not my job to stack up every obstacle I can possibly foresee and then conclude it’s all too much.

This perfect sunset might remind me that my job is to turn and face the perfect sunset. My “assigned labor” for this Labor Day might be to let the setting sun wash over and through me. Perhaps, one day at a time, I’ll be shown a way to experience joy and happiness inside, no matter what my external circumstances. After all—tomorrow is just another day.

Maybe I’ll remember my manners and just say, “Thank you, and good night.”

Happy trails!

* PS A little Labor Day history: the holiday was originally created in the 1890’s to mollify enraged labor unions after some 12,000 soldiers and lawmen descended on Illinois (at the bidding of railway owners) to break up a railroad strike. The strike, which turned violent, was deemed by then President Grover Cleveland to be “interfering with the delivery of the U.S. Mail.” They made sure the mail got through, all right, opening fire on the crowd and killing 13 workers and wounding dozens more. Maybe they should have called it “The Mail Must Go Through” Day. Something to bear in mind when I receive Tuesday’s mail—whatever it may bring.

Rose-colored Glasses

October 14, 2009

Rose-colored Glasses

Rose-colored Glasses

Greetings, fellow trudgers “on the road of happy destiny”…

I had a blessed day yesterday: a great meditation, a lovely meeting, some healthy reading, I got together with pals, had genuine heartfelt communications, enjoyed a warm fire and shared some music and laughter. I enjoyed the company of a dear friend who loves life, and tries to live it as if “looking through rose-colored glasses.”

Today I woke up feeling scared, overwhelmed and tired, and found myself wondering why. The “tired” part may be easily solved—strapping on a feedbag of M&Ms at nine o’clock at night isn’t an act of pure genius—unless you consider alphabetizing your underwear at 12am time well spent. But I digress…

Why, when I get a taste of the miraculous joy, freedom and connection that comes from shedding old patterns and building new relationships, developing healthy habits, feeling useful, needed, respected, and getting excited about things to come… why would I screw with that? Why stop doing “the next right thing”? Why do I so often find myself lost—again—in compulsive cleaning, silly distractions (YouTube, that includes you), brain-dead fiction, eating when I’m not hungry, mind-numbing television, even the wrong work project or tackling the bottom item on my To-Do list?

Why would I stop trusting in my routine, in my program, in you—in my Higher Power?

Is it just that it’s unfamiliar? I’ve always said that some of us in recovery would prefer a hell we know to a heaven we’d have to get used to.
Is it that more will be expected of me? Do I have doubts about my ability to meet those expectations?
Is it that the ground beneath my feet feels as if it’s moving? Does that trigger childhood feelings of disquiet, being ill-at-ease, being “the new kid”?
Does it feel like a masquerade, when I have to tackle untried skills in my new life?

It occurs to me as I write this that having days where faith and trust are accompanied by doubt and misgivings isn’t unusual for any of us. One day at a time, I might have a miraculous day, a good day, a mediocre day, a bad day, or even a tragic day—but it’s moving forward with the right course of action—in spite of the fact that I have doubts about it—that’s what’s needed to get better. We undertake, as I’ve heard it said, “a series of actions that don’t look they will work… until we try them.”

Maybe my rose-colored glasses don’t feel like a perfect fit. Maybe I’m worried that as my vision changes, I’ll miss something. Maybe I’m worried I won’t look good. Maybe if everything is in the Pink, I’ll miss the chance to see Red. Maybe I’ll miss being Green with envy, or have everything seem Black. Or maybe I’ll miss resenting with a Purple passion, or wallowing in the Blues. Orange you relieved I couldn’t think of a colorful expression for Orange?

So, just for today, I’m going to remember what Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Happy trails!