I am having a blissful week. My parents are staying with me; my parents are also friends, good friends. We are spending simple, beautiful time together, doing wonderful gentle things and enjoying each other’s company. There is quiet and conversation. I am feeling very happy.
But, it turns out, here’s the thing about happiness: over ten years, I have learned that it’s not allowed. That happiness brings punishment. Happiness makes me feel anxious and guilty (although the anxiety may also be related to the quantity of sugar I have consumed over the last several days). Each morning I have woken up feeling tense – only to face another gentle, peaceful, relaxed golden day with people whom I love, and who love me, and to be reminded anew of how blessed I am, and what happiness I am learning to reach for.
So here’s what I’ve decided. The only way I’m going to learn that happiness no longer brings pain is if I practise. If I constantly remind my brain until it gets sick of reminders and finally relaxes into contentment. So screw you, anxiety and guilt: I am going to practise being happy. Eventually I’ll get the hang of it. And it’s a damn sight more pleasant to practise happiness than it is to practise scales, or spelling, or touch typing.
Also, I have found out that stingrays like being stroked (firmly, just between and behind their eyes). My parents also bought me an egg chair. I think it’s the most snug, safe and comfortable chair I have ever owned.