Remember when you were too young to worry? Perhaps you remember when you worried about things that seem so simple these days. The good news is this. What you think is so concerning now, so important that it should take up all the thoughts in your mind with worry, concern, and prayer, will seem, one day, like something simple.
When I was in high school, way back when VH1 and VHS were actually real, and the video for “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came onto the television through a little black cord, I paid attention. I would check the music channel periodically and wait for the video to be played. The instant it began to play would find me scrambling for the remote to the VCR (I know these are terms only some will remember… it was a recording device) and recording the video just after the last recording of the same song. What resulted was a very long loop of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” that I played every day.
My mother would sit and watch me dance, sometimes joining in the singing of the song, and I would spend thirty to forty minutes a day, dancing, singing, and casting off the troubles of the coming, or the ending, day. All in the living room. All for only the sake of generating joy. And it worked. Now we have YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, ITunes, and a host of other ways to simply play the song over and over. Back then, I had to work for it… and I did.
This morning I woke up in the bed next to my lovely wife for the first time after having traveled a bit. She asked if she woke me up by placing her hand on me and praying good things for me. She did not wake me up, but we found ourselves, at 3:30 in the morning, taking turns singing the lyrics of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. The song is on a loop now on Spotify as I am typing. I am dancing in my chair while I write… Michelle went back to sleep.
I am not suggesting that we can simply be happy on demand. I am not suggesting that there are not some serious things going on in the lives of those I know and around the world. What I do know, is that at 3:30 in the early morning hours, all I can do is be happy. In my weird way, I believe that helps the world. In my strange, often times fruity tootie way of thinking, I believe that when one is happy, the rest of the world has an increased chance of finding happiness.
It is not for me to create happiness for you. It is not for me to say that what you are feeling is not real or imagined. What I recommend is finding a thing for which to be grateful. When you are faced with thinking about what is wrong, or for that for which you are grateful, choose the thing that brings gratitude. If we really want to master joy, we can think of a things that makes us happy.
And if you cannot find a thing to be happy or thankful for, imagine me dancing in my chair listening to Bobby McFerrin advising me not to worry. What is true is that you have made it this far. Whether you think your life is on the uptick or on a downward slide, you have made it this far. What has brought you this far will carry you on through this life and to the next. To quote the man himself… “in your life expect some trouble, when you worry you make it double”. This is simple. This is true.
I am unsure about the law of attraction. The theory that you bring on yourself what you think about. What I am sure about is this. If you are worried, everything that is out of place will seem like trouble. If you are grateful, events that do not go your way will not be the most important events of the day.
I tell people sometimes, when they are compelled to say to me, “I’m sorry”, this simple phrase. “Don’t be sorry, be happy”. You have the power to forgive. You have the power to smile in the face of adversity. You have the vision to see the bigger picture. You have the power to pardon and encourage… if that sounds a lot like what we ask the Divine to do on a daily basis, so be it. In doing these things, you are doing the work of the Creator. You are making the world a better place.
Big deal? Why, yes it is. Exciting? It is to me. Is there real, serious, important, work to do today? Yes, of course. But do this work with a smile. Do this work knowing you have decided to do it and that it was not forced upon you. You can always bow out. You can always decide to do something else. When we take ownership and responsibility for our lives, we can take pride in what we do. We can find what some call “purpose”.
About poverty and hunger in the world… in the midst of our thinking we have the right to be happy. Wayne Dyer quoted Ram Dass once saying something like this. Do not be miserable over the fact that there is hunger in the world, appreciate the fact that you have the desire to help alleviate it.
As for the haters? Steve Maraboli is quoted as saying, “I don’t have time, energy, or interest in hating the haters; I’m too busy loving the lovers.”
And here is a funny… the ad before “Don’t Worry Be Happy” is for a medication with a list of side effects a mile long… good grief. Happy Thursday.