In Continuation… Happiness: A Work in Progress…

31 Dec

Happiness: A Work in Progress… 2

In continuation…

December 31st, 2011

To understand happiness we have to explore our relationship with unhappiness. Like everybody else DG’s relationship with unhappiness began very early in childhood. Out of the womb into the world of new faces what does a baby know? Poo, pee and scream for feed poor mum runs crazy to quite this little bundle of joy that it no longer is. So begins the regime to regulate feeding hours thus will follow the changing times and so on. Did the baby like it? How could baby tell? Baby could not talk so began the campaign to teach her how to talk. Once parents succeed in this they want to display their feat to the world. My baby can say “mommy,” “daddy,” “chocolate and what not. It became baby’s job to make them proud and happy in the world of parents to complete the sentence “my dog is better than…” or else baby was being difficult and a bad baby.

Baby picked it early on the smile mommy gives depends on obeying the commands. The smart baby goes ahead and not only follows the commands but learns new tricks for treats (approval). Some tricks/behaviors especially those the baby used her brain to learn were detrimental to parental reputation and baby’s survival outside the home. First they taught her how to talk now she speaks the truth so they have to teach her how to shut up. Auntie is fat, uncle is not good, mommy said… Thus began the second campaign to teach the baby what is desirable and does not challenges the parental wisdom and authority. The “saam, daam, dand, bhed” (use all means- tricks, treats, spanking, grounding) were used to train and make the toddler an obedient doggie. Oh, this wicked baby came programmed with her creator’s secret code fixed deep within her soul and parents had a difficult task of decoding it or shutting the code off. This is child’s earliest encounter with happiness and unhappiness.

Lesson she learned was  happiness of significant people in her life is in her hands and key to her happiness is with the significant people in her life and any other person she considers worth. So our happiness is actually mortgaged to others and each is carrying the burden of keeping the other happy. But the fact is nobody can make anyone happy if they decide to be unhappy. Do you recall the story of “sad princess,” a spoilt brat of a princess one time became silent and sad  for years and she would not laugh. Her father, the king pledged half of his kingdom to anyone who could make her laugh. Thousands tried but she did not laugh and one day she laughed at a lousy freak show. Did it mean other shows weren’t good enough? It was a choice she made. May be she laughed when she understood the joke or she became tired of remaining silent and sad.

Truth is happiness because truth sets you free but all social energies are focused on declaring the truth a malady, an ailment in need of a cure or elimination. From early on children are taught how not to honor their inner voice, a voice kept there by their creator to keep them safe. Even a very young child knows who not to trust or get closer to but parents and caregivers negate child’s apprehension and make them vulnerable to abuse. It is true children need to be taught venturing out from the safety of homes and caregivers but they also need to trust their instincts. DG felt early in the courtship it wasn’t feeling right but her friends, family and media convinced her it is just a figment of her mind and she ought to take this risk. How is a person supposed to trust their instincts when there is no validation from those around them? But why did she need a validation? Because validation and approval was what she grew up for, when and where ever she used her instincts as a guide she got in trouble as it did not match the social conventions rather challenged the folk wisdom and authority.

That inner voice never dies the clutter we pile on it just makes it feeble. Reclaiming happiness is to de-clutter and start listening to that voice. The more you honor our body and its messages the more we get closer to happiness. This body we have was given to us at birth and will remain with us until our last breath but we chose to trust everyone else who’ll leave us at anytime unannounced. Why are they more important than our body that it has to yell, scream and fall sick for our attention? In previous post DG mentioned how her hormones went haywire. Connect with your body and its messages you’ll discover “YOU” and it will lead you to the path of happiness. If your spouse is being an idiot your body will tell you don’t fight it or try to justify his/her bad behavior just accept the truth. If in-laws are monster-in-law then accept it don’t try to win in a game they invented. If your parents and siblings are energy drain and drama junkies don’t deny it accept it and protect yourself from energy suckers. If your DIL or SonIL are difficult just give yourself a timeline how much time you want to spend in their company.

Happiness is a choice. Gone are the days when marriages were means of survival for women and they had to take all the nonsense or else they had to kill themselves (this sentence is directed towards GGTS readers- middle class, highly educated and gainfully employed women; DG is very much aware of hardships of abused married women who have no recourse as she was one of them). No matter what the circumstances there is always a way out if we become still and listen to our body and our inner voice. When we acknowledge worldly chaos and accept it as truth that is when we get lost in unhappiness. DG has lived in homeless shelters, faced hunger, bore social stigmatization, isolation, self doubt and what not but she always had one thing clear in her head no matter what she was created out of kindness for happiness and she’ll achieve it.

Just consider what is important for you happiness or winning medals of social approval? The day DG decided “if you don’t pay my rent and bills then what you think about me don’t matter” half her troubles were gone and the other half is constant work on SELF.

This is a short post and yes, it did cut corners because DG wanted to honor her word that she’ll post before the year end. She is moving on New Year’s Day so she’ll be little busy in coming week or so. But she promises she’ll share her journey in coming weeks and months. Please follow the links carefully because each link documents her journey on this path.

                         Experience is not what happened to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                           -Aldous Huxley.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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16 Responses to “In Continuation… Happiness: A Work in Progress…”

  1. KMKH February 10, 2012 at p02 #

    Hi, delurking to let you know I enjoy reading your blog and think you’re a versatile blogger. Drop by my blog to collect the tag.

    Like this

  2. desibahu January 20, 2012 at p01 #

    poor baby
    now you can imagine a desi mother to her adult son
    why did you bring this girl into the house
    tell me why
    i choose________ for you and you betrayed me and didn`t listen
    tell me, why did you choose this girl
    emotional drama and more emotional blackmailing proceeds and this son does everything to explain till he feels guilty

    Like this

  3. iniyaal January 8, 2012 at p01 #

    I love this post DG! Very sensible and practical. I have of late realized that the best way for a child to grow up is to leave it to grow up in its own natural way, without grown-ups “Teaching” anything.. It has taken me almost 30 years of unlearning everything that was taught to me… before I realized what happiness really meant.row up

    Teaching life skills is important or else children will grow up feral. :) But the question is what to teach as the teachers (parents) themselves are confused. Recently DG heard the priest say a birthday prayer for a young lad, O God please make him obedient to his parents so that he makes them proud and the nation proud. And DG was like… poor child is doomed now they are instilling help of God to make him a moron as his parents.

    Like this

    • iniyaal January 8, 2012 at p01 #

      True… teaching life skills is very much needed for any kid. It applies to not just the human race, but to every other species in the animal kingdom. I have seen how beautifully hens teach life and survival skills to their young ones.
      But as you said.. Fear, Obedience, Impression etc… are not at all needed. Yet, unfortunately, we humans have so many successful ways to teach our children about these.

      Like this

  4. Mandooka January 6, 2012 at p01 #

    A happy new year to you DG!

    I guess, the onerous task of “baby’s job to make them proud and happy in the world of parents” can begin from something as innocent as eating ones vegetables, a live example of which can be seen in this you tube video: 0.18sec, then again 1.06 secs.

    Like this

    • girlsguidetosurvival January 7, 2012 at p01 #

      Oh my, that was something. Poor kid tried to explain in so many ways and so many word why she didn’t eat the food but mighty tighty parents kept pushing her for an answer coz’ her answer did not match with what they wanted to hear.
      Did you notice at 1:44 child becomes defensive and folds her arms when she is not able to get them off her back she starts dancing to divert their attention.
      Do not know what to say about this kind of parenting because to them it is cute and frustrating at the same time. Glad DG is not a parent.
      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like this

    • Glacier January 7, 2012 at p01 #

      I have seen this before on youtube. Desi parents do the same when the kid is 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and any increment of 5 years. I will never have kids.

      Like this

      • Mandooka January 8, 2012 at p01 #

        True! Only the question changes form with each incremental year, and those parts of the story one cannot find on youtube. From “why you did not eat food?” it progressively becomes, “why you did not come first in class?” to “why you not marry this girl/boy we chose for you” and etc!
        I get really angry at the part in the clip from 1:06-1.14 where the mum hugs the brother and pushes the baby away when she comes to her for a hug. What then can poor baby do but get into defensive mode and dance to distract the parents! And all this for a plate of food.
        Pathetic Desi parenting at its best !

        Like this

  5. Glacier January 2, 2012 at p01 #

    The most difficult part of extricating one-self from a dysfunctional situation is clarity and self doubt. All the drama is made for one reason : to make you doubt yourself, once you do that the cycle will start again.

    Emotional Manipulation -> Guilt -> Self Doubt -> Defeat -> Emotional Manipulation

    Emotional Manipulation -> Anger / Clarity -> No Self Doubt -> Freedom (Eventually).

    The 2nd cycle is hard, the last step is horrendously difficult and can take many years. In most cases it never happens. The hardest part is putting aside the damn guilt, replace it by anger and a fuc* off attitude. On a more practical side money and a SOLID plan to escape always works.

    Like this

  6. Mary January 1, 2012 at p01 #

    P.S. You are moving house today. I just moved a few weeks ago, whew! It’s a process! Wishing you a cosy resettling time, hot baths, and a beautiful re-grounding. Happy New Everything!!!

    Like this

  7. Mary January 1, 2012 at p01 #

    The energy draining, drama-junkie kind of family-of-origin is such an ironic entity because through surviving it, we can also have a natural propensity to learn how to really thrive, to be in a corner and learn to find our spiritual purpose more directly or deeply… The Tibetan buddhists believe that we choose our parents – ouch – and ah!

    DG wrote “Connect with your body and its messages you’ll discover “YOU” and it will lead you to the path of happiness.” So true. The drug-free, healthy body has an amazing intuition in the glandular system and drug-free women’s intuition capacity is indeed stronger, due to a more active pituitary via the amazing monthly cycle. But it may be hard to find a drug-free woman (who is not on hormone drugs, or on monthly pain meds for her period or antidepressants or sleeping pills).

    A woman’s place is IN HER BODY. Yet in a society which has a pill for everything under the sun, one would think a woman’s place is at the pharmacy, lol.

    I must say, the most beneficial thing I have found is the fierce practice of vipassana sitting – insight meditation. It addresses the deepest layer of the mind, where the sleeping volcanos live underneath all our attempts to better ourselves, the ones that get triggered only when we are very stressed, and perpetuate misery within (self hatred, fear, anger, generalized insecurity, etc.). Vipassana is the very simple meditation technique that was taught by the Buddha – where you just sit with yourself and the natural breath.

    “Just sit,” but it’s very hard for many people to do. Even many yoga asana teachers and athletes can’t sit still longer than 20 minutes because of the severe emotional uneasiness and/or physical discomforts that start to erupt. But the thing is, at a subatomic level, things are constantly changing, and through vipassana practice, we learn how to observe that deep level of change through a specific technique of systematic internal scanning and “being with” all the sensations that arise within the framework of the body. It’s taught via a NON-sectarian, 10 day immersion silent retreat training, at NO COST (www.dhamma.org ) and has been very wonderful for me.

    The body knows. Happiness is in our own brain chemistry, no one can give it to us. And, for women, good self-care is at least half of it. :)

    Like this

  8. The Wild Child January 1, 2012 at p01 #

    A very happy new year to you, DG! I’m going to write what you said (about happiness in accepting the truth) on a post-it and stick it on my bathroom mirror! And have my mom do it too :)

    Like this

  9. Sex And The Indian Cities January 1, 2012 at p01 #

    Wish you a very Happy , Holy and Healthy New year DG …

    our life is a constant struggle to do things, things that we want to do , others want us to do or we have to do to prove certain things and on the process we lose focus on our self . We assume we will be happy once we achieve this and that , we are taught happiness is in visiting temples , in sacrificing your self for others and love , its in the smile of kids , its in the appreciation you get for your work.. we start evaluating our self worth through all these things .We don’t understand that happiness means different things to different people , there cannot be one yardstick for all. but truth and acceptance is the path of happiness , even when the destination is difference .. when we accept our limitations and truths and listen to our instincts ( i have heard instincts and intuitions are strong in women ) , we are guided by some external force towards happiness .

    May this New year bring with it happiness for all of us ..
    lots of love
    preeti

    Like this

    • Bad Indian Woman January 5, 2012 at p01 #

      Hey I’m a preeti too, in real life! :)

      Happy New Year everybody!

      Thank you,
      DG

      Like this

  10. Pranesh Nagri January 1, 2012 at p01 #

    I like the philosophy of Aldous Huxley, He was known a Hgibrow in his life time.He beleived that happiness is a by product. Something that you get while working for something else. Now if we beleive that his comment is right what are we working for while seeking happiness. Or if it is a by product then the intention is different and happiness is just coming your way. It seems to be the truth. When you are working on anything may be straigtening a relationship, or freeing yourself of what ever you feel you are bound to, you are actuaaly not working for happiness. Happiness is a resultant factor.
    I am learning while going through your posts. Thanx.

    Appreciated.
    Truth will set you free… Accepting the truth was the hard thing- failed relationship, a strong loud mouth always talking about women’s rights but abused (what a shame), what will people say etc. Once DG accepted yes, she failed, she is abused, she is homeless pariah happiness walked in from the back door as she nolonger had to be on guard to cover the truth be someone she was not.
    DG

    Like this

  11. vishvanaathjee January 1, 2012 at p01 #

    Am reading your blogs regularly now.
    Gradually understanding you better.
    May you find peace and happiness.
    Happy New Year
    Regards
    GV

    Thank you. Wish you a HAPPY, HEALTHY AND HOLY NEW YEAR.
    DG

    Like this

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