The Struggle with Happiness

Hello, Deliriously Delightful Dancers.

I found a little snippet at the beginning of a book (MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE by Lori Gottlieb) and I’d like to share it with you:

“It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains---that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.” --- Richard Bentall, Journal of Medical Ethics, 1992

Falls of chair laughing hysterically. Ahhhh, happiness. I admit, I seek happiness. . . . .like a dog seeks a bone. And yet there are so many other emotions to be experienced because they add to the richness of life and because they are true and real and necessary. I have often pushed away the difficult emotions because what I thought I really wanted to feel was happiness. I was wrong. Turns out, what I just really want to feel. . . whatever is real. To feel all the feels, that's the simple goal. I learned how to feel on the dance floor. I’m tempted to write, “I’m happiest on the dance floor”, but that’s not entirely true. Conscious movement gets me to a place of authenticity, where I can simply be with my feelings, the full range of emotions. There’s space in my being on the dance floor; a sense of acceptance & allowance (mostly, sometimes I still resist). I’m learning how to be at ease with what’s true. . . .and I can most readily do that on the dance floor. (with you) So very much looking forward to seeing you on the dance floor tomorrow.

I’m so pleased to tell you that our beloved Stacey will be spinning the tunes and holding the space for us with care and attentiveness.

Yes, I do understand the irony of including this poem with the snippet above. Heh heh. It makes me happy. 😊

So Much Happiness

By Naomi Shihab Nye

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness. With sadness there is something to rub against, a wound to tend with lotion and cloth. When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up, something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats. It doesn't need you to hold it down. It doesn't need anything. Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing, and disappears when it wants to. You are happy either way. Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house and now live over a quarry of noise and dust cannot make you unhappy. Everything has a life of its own, it too could wake up filled with possibilities of coffee cake and ripe peaches, and love even the floor which needs to be swept, the soiled linens and scratched records…..

Since there is no place large enough to contain so much happiness, you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you into everything you touch. You are not responsible. You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it, and in that way, be known.

I wish you much happiness.



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