Guilt Over Happiness


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Yesterday, I read a Facebook post by a friend, who was expressing how she doesn’t feel she has a right to feel happiness in the face of all this darkness that our country (and the world) is currently facing…from the hurricanes, to the forest fires, to the racist idiot in the White House, the violence, and now, this horrible DACA thing.

I try to think of something to say that is upbeat or positive….like how much I have to be grateful for….because I do….or “Ooo! Doesn’t this food look good!”…but I think about those people in Houston.  I think about the 800,000 innocents who will be adversely effected by what just went down with DACA.  I think about my friend in Canada, who has been evacuated from her home, and another one who is fighting for custody of her children in a terrible divorce, and someone else, who is under a barrage of criticism, violence and unhappiness…and on and on….and it is so hard to smile.

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The stress from all of this, leaves me longing for a break from it all…but hey. I can’t even go out for a walk, because the air is filled with smoke, and it’s not safe. (Yeah, I know. Poor me. Right?  Wrong. ) However, I am fundamentally happy, and have so much to be grateful for….yet, I feel guilty during these times, whenever I feel this happiness.  It’s like, there are so many people out there who have it worse off than I do. What gives me the right to smile?

Then, I have to ask myself, what good that guilt does.  How does it help, in any way?  The answer is:  It doesn’t.   In order to feed positive energy into the world, when we have the opportunity, we should dance and sing and revel in order to bring that positive energy home to be shared with others.

My friend pointed out that perhaps all this is happening because the universe is jolting us awake to learn love and compassion for mother earth and all her sentient beings.  With regard to the heaviness of empathy and grief, Ram Dass recommends the luggage method…..Just pick it up, then put it down, pick it up, then set it down….so that we can stay present without any denial or clinging.  In other words, one must discover how to be happy AND sad at the same time, in order to stay sane and well balanced.

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Each day, I try to do what I can to affect good.  I can’t move mountains, but I can do little things….important things….whether it is to comfort my best friend in his time of need, or to listen to my little grandchild tell me about her day, or to cook something healthful for my ailing husband to eat.    I give what I can, and try to be the best person that I can be….and in the end….it does matter.  My being in a good place does not diminish those who are not in a good place.  My heart goes out to them all.

Please tell me what you think! Go on! Leave a comment! It's ok! :-)

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