Feeling happy made me sad.

Gryphon and the Mock Turtle

Once, I was a real turtle, and--where are you going? Come back!

Day 26. So the other day, Monday, I’d had two intense days of yoga, and both times at the end of practice I was feeling intensely happy. Full of contentment, peace, well-being, like I didn’t want to be anywhere else on Earth. Feeling like I could be a student of a yoga teacher–I was that happy to be there. And in the second class, in savasana (pronounced “sho-VA-Sa-nah”, this is corpse pose, the last pose of most asana series, where you’re lying on the floor like you’re dead), I was feeling really happy, but having a hard time keeping my mind still. I finally tried to settle on the sounds of the buses going by. But a thought settled itself in my mind, displayed its magnificent plumage and would not go away.

I’m happy right now. I just want to be happy all the time. Or at least, most of the time. More of the time than not.

And I started to cry.

When we sat up, I wiped the tears and the thoughts away with the sweat and left them all in my towel until, oh, now, I guess.

See, I think I’m a little too sensitive, and I think I like to feel happy a little too much. If you’re too sensitive, and you like to feel happy too much, and can’t stand anything besides numbness and euphoria, you might have problems in life. Take it from me. You may end up not being able to eat poppy-seed bagels for a long, long time and  pissing in a plastic cup for a year. I totally can do it without getting any on my hand. I have a fucking method now. I guess not everyone ends up there. But a lot of us do, or in similar circumstances. That’s why I have so many dead and missing friends now. A lot of them couldn’t take the heat of unhappiness and decided to step out of the kitchen permanently, as it were. Or made some choices and then the decision was made for them. Things get hairy fast, when you like to feel happy too much. When you try to control how you feel. You can’t control how you feel, you know. You can’t control most things. Control is an illusion. You can’t control your thoughts. You can control your actions.

Which is where I’m at today. I get to put some space between the feelings and thoughts and my actions. I don’t get to feel happy all the time. I never did. It’s lies that tell me I did. All lies. It was an abusive relationship. It calls sometimes and says, “Hey baby, remember like it was when we were young and in love?” And it promises it’ll never hit me again. But I know, it’ll take all my money, keep me from going to work, take me away from my friends, my family, make me a shell of a person, and I’ll get locked up again. If I make it. I don’t want to find out. It’s not worth it. No one who’s gone back and lived to tell the tale has said it was worth it.

I just want to feel happy more often than not. I’m not sure how to do that right now. Maybe I need to sit tight. Maybe this is just an unhappy time. It has been a sucky year, so maybe this is just an appropriate response to my life right now. I’m not a good judge of appropriateness (I think my blog is evidence of this).

I had a teacher recently warn me, Be very suspicious of pleasure. Pleasure ends. Life is suffering. I want a joyful life. I want to be happy. My experience tells me he’s right. I have been shown again and again that worldliness will not quench my appetites. That’s the only reason, really, I’ve turned to the spiritual. It’s the only thing that seems to give me any relief.

But there has to, has to be a balance between worldly suffering and spiritual austerity. And I mean a path for me, not anyone else’s path. What counts as spiritual austerity for me may not be the same as it is for someone else. (My friend Namaste is on a path to take a three-year retreat soon. I can’t ever see myself doing that.)

I just want to be happy more often that not.


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