How does one define happiness, and why is our own definition so illusive?
It’s a weird rhetorical question.
I have no solid answer myself, as I can find my happiness sitting alone in a room, meditating, during a quiet massage session, or sitting in my hammock.
On the same token there are times that I feel like I should be happy when I’m not.
Today is the 4th of July. Former president Trump and 2020 ruined what shred was left of my patriotism. I should be happy to celebrate this holiday, but I have been grumpy all day long. At the same time I am fighting a desired to run away.
I could apply for a management position at what is now my part-time second job, they are hiring for many positions with an impending new building opening. It would be a massive promotion and I’m certain they want me to do so. It could be equivalent to income I make from the clinic, maybe a hair more, and the work would likely be much easier on me physically. However, the stress levels would be high, I’d probably be on-call a lot, and likely end up working as much, if not more, than I do now. It’s not my own business, and it’s not the intentional community I desired.
The skills might help with my dream community, but at this point I have a strong awareness that I can learn anything I need in a very short span of time, so the learning lesson is much less of a draw these days. Beyond that, 2020 again ruined my desire to work with elderly in any fashion, and I am already considering quitting the part-time work because of it. I would have much less headache and Saturday afternoons off, something that seems really appealing with our new mess related to dialysis.
The clinic still has me occupied 5 to 6 days a week and I feel like I work with platonic family. It is a good feeling and I know my work there is genuinely helping many people. Literally the only real drawback is that it is hard on my body and requires many hours of self care. Also because of that, I know my income will always be limited and I have likely already reached my maximum.
If I stay where I am and doing what I am doing then life will be fairly unchanged for years to come. It’s not really a horrible thing, but I am simply just tired of bearing the weight of a family alone. I have done it for almost 16 years and on very few occasions Nathan or I had to grovel to our parents for assistance. Most of them were right after we moved to Kansas city and turned around to deal with his hospital stay. It was a very rough period and the only period that I had to beg for parental assistance more than once. Out of 16 years I’ve asked my mom for money 4 times, and Nathan’s mom about the same (maybe a couple more times). The rest of the 16 years has fallen squarely on our shoulders, and only the last 10 have been my sole responsibility. When I state it that way, it doesn’t seem like that much, but my experience of it is just wearing me out.
I’ve been contemplating grad school, but know I can’t get a loan. So to that end I’m contemplating taking the MCAT and Mensa tests. It’s my hope to get scholarship if I do well enough, but I’ve set no direct commitment yet, only inquiries on tests and chiropractic college.
I’m also contemplating simply looking into a loan to start a massage school of actual merit. THAT I already have enough knowledge and commitment for. God knows KC needs a decent massage school, or I’d be able to find a quality trade partner easier. It would be a ton of legwork and writing on the front end, skimping by financially until a student body could be acquired and actual classes could begin. There would be accreditation processes and board certification processes, course management and all of the regular business and accounting issues to deal with, all out of whatever loan I managed to procure. It would be fast paced and grueling for several months to get set-up and functional, and everything would ride on loans until students began enrollment. Not impossible- my massage school had just done that when I enrolled 14 years ago and they are still functional.
This week the chiropractor encouraged me to shift my business to a full LLC, and I wondered if that was my cue to lean that direction. I simply don’t know.
Part of me is perfectly fine with settling and riding the calm waters of maintaining what I’ve already created. Especially if I quit the part-time job and get my Saturdays back for relaxation and fun.
Part of me knows this is not really my Atira, and is downtrodden over the prospects that I may never see my actual dream manifest. That’s the part of me that wants to run away.
I simply don’t know, and my tired brain just wants the elusive happiness all the time. It’s there when I have the time and space to find it, but I have a hell of a time keeping it in me.
For now I leave you with my rhetorical question and ramblings.
May you find your happiness, know your expectations, and find a way to maintain it regardless. May you instill in your children the ability to maintain their happiness while also lifting our world up. May we all enjoy our lives mostly and find ease in navigating the paths of life. May you be comfortable with your life regardless of where the roads lead you. May you see that everything happens for a reason, sometimes to just give you clarity on what you don’t want. Above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.
Beyond muscles, I thought it was appropriate terminology for linking together multiple elements of which one finds support, stabilization and overall functionality. That is why I chose to start my blog with that name today.
I have found myself pondering many things this week, and their link is me. They are all elements of my life that I string together into one functional cohesive whole, moving together for a greater good. They give me support through learning lessons and being able to see my own skills and progress. Without any one of them my metaphorical spinal column would collapse.
There was the strep throat, which once I got the PA to pull her head out of fraidy-cat and do her job, quickly began subsiding. It’s amazing how an antibiotic and Prednisone script when utilized properly for the appropriate disease works wonders. I went from not being able to eat or drink hardly at all for 2 solid days; to now I have a tiny tickle that makes me cough occasionally, and a couple rough patches in my throat that haven’t fully healed. I was less concerned about the lack of eating as I have already been eating minimally for a while. But the dehydration began to set in fast and by the time I actually saw the PA I’d already gotten chapped lips and my skin on my hands was cracking and peeling. If I’d have gone another day without enough water I’d have been wasting a hospital bed just because of lack of fluids. I’m just glad I got through to her and managed to get a proper solution.
During my short strep journey my mom visited. In fact it really was nearly the same 5 day stretch. She was not really concerned about catching what I had since we’d both had strep before. I love my mom. We had long talks about a lot of things. I really appreciate all the good things I gained from her. I realized that she has had a hard time fighting her own demons and that has left her feeling like she didn’t do right by me. I did my best to explain that there wasn’t anything she could have done differently and that though there are some things I’m still trying to change about myself- mostly from dad, and I truly appreciate all the good qualities I gleaned from her. She’s my mom and I love her.
While she was here she cuddled with kitties which I know made her miss her departed Rusty and Fuzzy. I miss those cats too sometimes. She also made friends with Zen. It was adorable.
She also spent many hours sitting on our porch swing watching birds and butterflies in our yard. I have a few thistles we let blossom to dry for tea, and the goldfinches, hummingbirds and butterflies simply love them.
Kansas City is still not normal functionality for many things and my mom loves gardens. So my solution, for being under par myself and not being able to do normal things, was to do a driving tour of the city with stops at a couple of the gardens. We went to Jacob Loose park for their beautiful rose gardens and then to Kaufman Gardens, both of which are free and open year round, though prettiest in May to early July. Anya climbed trees and tried to encourage Ian to try as well. It was good fun. We all had a good time and everyone benefitted from some calm fun in the sun.
After our day of sunshine and flowers, I drove mom home to Iowa. I was sad to have to let her go, and I sincerely hope it is not the last time I see her. I know she feels like she has lived a full life and she tells me over and over that she is ready to go home. She says her body hurts frequently and she’s just looking forward to seeing her divine family. We have a genetic heinze-57 mix in our family, but heavy on Irish, Scottish and English. However, mom talks about her dreams of her Irish family and her true love she never found in this life, even having dreams of her horse. I told her I can sympathize and told her of my dreams where I was Quan Yin and Shiva (that brought up a whole discussion of beliefs in reincarnation and how sometimes I feel like I get judged unfairly for cultural strip mining.) Regardless, I appreciate our long conversations and hope there will be more of them. There are some things I still don’t tell my mom, because I simply just know she wouldn’t understand. Her relationship history has not been good, and elements of it leave me knowing she would not understand polyamory. I don’t think she would be mad or upset, just that she is in the state of misunderstanding where you can’t believe that someone would willingly want to do something. So I don’t talk about it, but we do find plenty of other things to talk about. It made for the almost 300 miles back to her home in Iowa much less painful.
On the drive though I was sad to see how much damage the derocho did as it passed through Iowa. The entire I-80 corridor had major damage and it stretched for miles and miles both north and south of 80. Mom was saying that originally they estimated a third of the crops were devastated, but as the damaged plants have dried, they are now suspecting half of the crops are lost. Harvest will begin early to glean how badly everything was damaged. I’m finding myself glad over the fact that I have not consumed corn or soy for a long while now, and that even my meat consumption is lower. The 4 states that were devastated by the storms are all in the top 10 of corn and soybean producers. That means that next year the hogs and cows will have less feed and the myriad of products made from corn and soy will all be much more costly and possibly more scarce. Something I simply will not need to worry about. It does concern me for the rest of the country though.
Anyway, some of the devastation was so intense I just had to try and snap picture as we passed. It may be hard for the untrained eye, so I’ll give you a couple internet images of healthy fields and trees first. The first two are just what a healthy corn crop looks like from the side, 3rd is those healthy fields on a tree line, and last is a healthy soy crop.
Next are the images I managed to snap from the car- sorry for the window glare. What you’ll see: Entire lines of trees with their leaves ripped off, entirely or much more sparse than usual. Corn fields flattened directionally, corn fields with few stalks standing and those are ripped bare; soy fields with huge swaths of brown damaged plants; trees fallen by the thousands many still being cut into usable wood for alternate purposes.
What I didn’t catch was all the businesses and homes with major damage. There simply was too much for me to document properly on my short drive. It is a bit sad for me because I know a much different Iowa and it will take years for the trees to fully recover. Businesses and homes will be rebuilt quickly, a matter of weeks to months and insurance will do its job. Crops will be harvested to the best of their abilities, and there will be an impact, but Iowa farmers have always done good to utilize as much as possible, so if they can salvage they will. What they can’t salvage insurance will cover in the short term and long term people will adjust as needed. We will get through this as much as any disaster.
What it all did do was give me something to shift my focus to gratitude and to see what I do have. Ultimately I spent the rest of my drive back to my home focusing on the good things and seeing that my Atira really is here. It’s not as I have dreamed all these years, but it is here and it’s close enough. I had a solid knowing that I am good enough and my dreams did matter.
My big shiney Atira dome home, for a big poly family, well it’s me and Nathan, kids and pets, in a 3 bedroom ranch in Kansas City. But there is hope for more, and always room to grow.
My mom isn’t in a little dome on the back 40, no she’s in a little brick quad-plex in rural Iowa. But she wouldn’t have had upkeep either way, and she has the peace and quiet in nature that I always wanted to give her. She is mostly content, and though I can’t walk to see her, it’s not really that long or painful of a drive.
My grumpy ass dad that wasn’t even supposed to be at Atira still got to visit and see that all his demeaning behaviors made me a better person than he. Plus he’s being cared for by my sister whom, even without any experience, is probably the better candidate to meet his desires and outdated beliefs.
My business park is really just the clinic; and my significant-other business partners, well they’re not-so-significant-others. Despite having thought the one chiropractor had lots of potential with the energetic connection, I’ve come to terms that it probably won’t go anywhere. And the office manager is a kind hearted woman like my mom, that wants to understand and be helpful, but sometimes just needs others to be understanding for her and her concerns. The both have my heart in much different ways than my dreams of Atira had implied. No less significant though.
My temple is my basement and no gatherings have been accomplished because of Covid. This too will pass.
My affordable, very capable, mechanic that can fix anything is a good man in Merriam.
My stores are scattered all over the metro area.
My Atira community is really another companies’ retirement home that has wonderful people working and living in it. I’m glad that my skills are still of service to them.
My festival grounds are our old stomping grounds out at Camp Gaea, and those too have been put on hold due to Covid. You know if it’s clothing optional, that masks won’t be worn either.
My studio space is a corner of our bedroom, and Nathan’s darkroom is the spare small room in the basement. Our gallery is still manifesting.
And Nathan. He is my everything. He wasn’t supposed to be, there were supposed to be others to share the load. But Nathan does his best. He’s my love, my children’s father, my parent on duty, my home educator, my house husband, my resident photographer, my high priest, my magician, and would-be Gardner. He does everything I ask, mostly in appropriate timing and with little to no complaint. He even finally figured out how to help with income and for that I’m so very grateful. I am mostly amazingly grateful for him in my life, especially since the challenges have begun to subside.
My Atira is here. It’s not perfect and doesn’t match my dreams of many years passed, or designs exactly, but most of it has a current usable manifestation. I am grateful for seeing it come together. I am grateful to see that I do have mad skills and I am enough. I have created a world that I am mostly okay with and I am finally beginning to enjoy. One day maybe I’ll have a more accurate version in comparison to my dream scape, but for now I will enjoy the version I do have. I will continue to help others as I am able, but I now have a sense of things having shifted. I no longer owe anything to anyone. I have done my duties and met all requirements imposed upon me. I am free to be me and enjoy my life in whatever way I choose. Now I get to figure out that means. What is fun for me and how do I want that to play out. Can my spread out sprawling Atira Jr become the compact concise community of my dreams over time. That would be really nice. For now I just get to focus on the fun parts. There are so many fun things I want to do that shouldn’t be too hard.
May you see your journey and all of it’s manifestations. May you understand your place in it all. May you know all the elements of your desires are within reach and that sometimes you just need to widen your gaze. May you see those you care for as being important, regardless of how the relationship manifests. May you know that you have done all you need to do, you are whole and complete and more than enough. You are worthy in God’s eyes. May you know that you have cleared your debts and met imposed expectations. May you understand deeper meanings and reasons for everything in your experience. May you feel your way to greater understanding. May you know your own worth, strength, and knowledge. May you see how your actions benefit this world and help it to continue to function. May you find joy mostly and enjoy the ride called life.
I stumbled into an episode of “The Good Doctor” while at work, where that was the sentiment brought up by a young man with a brain tumor.
Everyone that worked on a answer during what I saw of the the show, tried to reach for their answer using things that happened in their lives.
My answer, I’m not sure, and I’m not sure the answer lies in things or events.
I know I’m headed there.
I used to want to take myself out, death would have been welcome relief to the constant emotional misery I was in. After Ian was born I hit maximum density and it was find a solution or find death without satisfaction, worse yet possibly harm my family in the process.
I have worked diligently to improve my emotional state and these days I’m doing much better. Discovering that my emotional state has a biological component, my brain was literally hurting, has helped immensely. I still haven’t found stable consistency though, so I have a ways to go yet.
But is that my answer? Is my answer- no, because I haven’t mastered my emotions yet? I don’t think so, there is more to an overall feeling of satisfaction with life.
I think things and events do play a part, because they are representative of things that help us to feel happiness. So again, I’m on my way there, as I have more things and events to find that happiness in these days, but definitely look forward to more and better.
Yet there is a sliver of unsatisfied in me. Why?
Maybe it’s the yearning for improvement yet to come.
Yet, I think more about leaving behind my husband and kids. I see how hard that might be for them. Something that a depression ridden brain constantly told me was hogwash- they were better off without me, I was a monster. I still have those moments, but they are much fewer and further in between, and usually now I see the truth in my presence being needed.
I also now feel a responsibility to help others find the solutions that I’ve found for myself. Maybe that’s my fate, maybe that’s my purpose in life and if so, I’m not even close to being satisfied. I feel I need to master my process before I can help anyone else do so. Feeling that it’s such an important part of me does make me feel a responsibility to help others, and knowing I’ve not even started makes me feel unsatisfied for sure.
Then there’s my bucket list which hasn’t even been touched beyond listing the things I want to do before I die.
So no, all in all if I died tomorrow I would not feel satisfaction.
But now I question whether that is a bad thing or not. If you are not satisfied, then you have a drive to keep going, keep reaching, keep being. It is a reason to be alive. What if that is the glue that keeps us here. What if being completely satisfied is a universal signal for your own physical demise, what if feeling completely satisfied is the cue for your croaking experience. I’m not saying it is, in fact I’ve got no real clue. I’m just finding that I now have the question- if you’re completely satisfied, what keeps you going? What then becomes your reason for living?
I have no answers for you, only sharing my thoughts, that it may be your food for thought.
I hope really that everyone finds their satisfactory level of unsatisfied. That balance where you are generally in a good acceptable place in life, but eager for more, reaching for more. I think maybe that is the ideal human experience for keeping us living.