Barbara Fredrickson, David Burns, Flow Psychology, Gorilla Run, Happiness, Happiness economics, Happy, Japan unhappy, Karoshi, Laughing Meditation, Martin Seligman, Melissa Moody, Netflix, Parental Alienation, Parents murdering children, Positive psychology
I want to ask YOU, are you choosing anger and sadness over happiness? Are you making a conscious decision to feel bad or feel better? Are you aware that you can be happy again? I’ve been think about this for the past year and I’ve come to a conclusion that happiness is, indeed, a choice and a very important SKILL to learn. Yes, happiness is a skill!
I’ve come in contact with many alienated parents and families over the past few years, and the majority of them are dealing with extremely sad and confusing situations that include abuse, divorce, loss, and lots of pain. There is no denying this. To add to this already fast spinning, or maybe a nauseatingly slow spinning, emotional roller coaster, the plight of these parents become even more clouded during the “fighting” process in court, with the zombie like trance of paying out money to lawyers and other professionals, etc. The list goes on and on. Some parents have become so embroiled in the process that they actually lose focus what is really important.
By the way, what is REALLY important? I suppose each parent will have to seek that answer for themselves. However, let me take a shot in the dark here and say that “getting my children back in my life” will top the list. Okay, so how to go about doing that? Again, there are a million paths to take that all lead to the same destination (of course, I’m referring to our final destination). So, what do we want our emotional state to be while we travel along our path to our final destination? Do we want to be miserable, sad, angry, lonely, bitter? Although we may see it as outside circumstances causing these feelings within us, we can do things that are solely in our control to become happier, more joyful, and healthier individuals thereby separating our outside experiences from our own feelings of happiness and self-worth.
I’m no expert on happiness, however I do believe it is not only obtainable but imperative for us to do all we can can to remain happy. For our children’s sake. For our own sake. For the world’s sake. Without happiness, what is life worth?
I recently watched the documentary “Happy”, which “takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.” After I finished watching it, I watched it again. In fact, I encourage all who read this blog to watch it. (You can currently find it on Netflix.)
I won’t go into the specifics about how happiness can be achieved, or the benefits that happiness can do for our body simply because I am still emerging myself in learning about it. However, I encourage you to look it up for yourselves. After you watch this movie, maybe check out the book “Feeling Good; The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns, M.D.. You may also want to check out Barbara Fredrickson‘s website http://www.positivityratio.com/ and take the positivity ratio test. If you are really interested in learning about the psychology of happiness, here is a great video that can be found on TED- you’ll see Martin Seligman, Ph.D. talk about Positive Psychology.
Even from the most tragic and horrific events people can and do learn to heal. In fact, for some it may be only through times of adversity that we can achieve the growth that we would not have been able to otherwise. For instance, Melissa Moody’s story that she tell us about in the documentary “Happy” is the epitome of experiencing and overcoming trauma. Here’s the catch: according to scientist in this film “Happy” say “those who endure hardships recover more quickly than we expect and may even be happier because of a traumatic event — especially if they tended to be happy before it occurred.” In addition, “One of the main ingredients for happiness, the sociologists and psychologists say, is having meaningful relationships.”
So, what do we do when those meaningful relationships, i.e., OUR CHILDREN, are the relationships that we rely on for the main ingredient of our happiness? Well, I suggest we go out and make new relationships. NOT to replace your children, but to build new connections that will in turn build us up and give us the strength we need to find our happiness (again for our children’s sake, for our own sake, and for the world’s sake). One possibility is to join a support group for parents affected by Parental Alienation, or even start a support group of your own, and find the most positive people in the group to befriend. 😉 Another possibility is to volunteer your time helping others. Yet another possibility is find something unique and active to do such as joining a Gorilla Run, (watch “Happy” to appreciate such an event’s benefits) or maybe join a Laughing Club (really, it is great fun and healing!)
In Japan, one of the world’s most wealthiest countries, there is a phenomenon called Karoshi. Basically, employees are overworking themselves to DEATH. However, despite their wealth, Japan only ranks #42 out of 156 countries in terms of happiness! (Denmark ranks #1 on the happiness scale.) In fact, we may very well have to name some equivalent to the phenomenon here at home of the parent/child murder/suicide, especially if we continue on the path of overworking ourselves through the maze of the family court system as we continue by way of splitting up families, inviting the family court systems to intervene in our personal lives, alienating ourselves from society, and isolating ourselves to the point to where humanity as we know will become something completely unrecognizable. After all, we are social creatures, so why are we becoming less and less social?
However, I do believe the pendulum is swinging back and this will not come to fruition. I do believe we all see the importance of remaining happy, social humans. Yes, the world has changed, and probably we need to all change our long-held beliefs about what is “right and wrong” in the world.
Go ahead, find your Flow as you venture out to change yourself, your family, and our world. One person at a time.
As I was driving my kids to school this morning we were listening to the radio (it’s a big thing in our family) and The Tide is High by Blondie played and it instantly reminded me of my dad. It’s such a strange song that brings memories flooding back because my dad was a traditional Polish man who enjoyed the Polka through and through. I think he only played The Tide is High once in his Saab. It was very shortly after we reunified and while riding in his car he popped in a tape deck of Muriel’s Wedding and he told me that he really enjoyed The Tide is High. I thought is was strange back then, and I think it’s strange now. However, after some thought I wonder if he was trying to be “cool” and play what he thought might interest me instead of his old school Polka (personally, I prefer the Polka). Anyway, it put a smile on my face this morning.
Nevertheless, my dad’s love of Polka runs through my veins and one song especially stands out, although by no means “politically correct” it does remind me of my dad. “Hiya, hey, hi how are ya doing?” That was one of his common greetings.
On that note… Enjoy some Polka and be happy 😉
2001, 9/11, Cantor Fitzgerald, Enrique Iglesias, I can be your hero, Manhattan, New Jersey, New York City, PATH train, Port Authority Trans-Hudson, September 11, Twin Towers, United States, West Side Highway, World Trade Center
September 9, 2001 started off just like any other warm and sunny day. It was, indeed, a beautiful day. I was living just across the river from Manhattan and I would take the PATH train in to the city each morning while I worked at a small architectural design and build business. This morning was like no other as I disembarked from the 23rd Street PATH station and grabbed the cross town bus to my workplace in the artsy Chelsea district. At 8:45, when the first plane hit, I would have been riding on the bus- nothing seemed out of the ordinary-no one seemed to be aware of what had taken place (of course I was always rocking my first generation iPod and immersed myself in my music). By the time I entered our 6th floor shop I immediately noticed my good friend and co-worker standing next to the circular saw table listening intently to a radio. His face was as white as a ghost. He told me that a plane crashed into one of the twin towers and his wife who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald was just getting off of the PATH train as the plane hit and she was already heading back to Brooklyn. I almost let out a giggle as I thought of the boneheaded pilot who hit a friggin skyscraper; not realizing that the plane was jetliner, and surely not realization that lives were lost. Moments later, before I even had a chance to put my bags down, the news came of the second plane hitting the south tower at 9:03am.
That day rolled by as I was simultaneously disconnected and acutely aware of my surroundings. Calls poured in asking if we were all okay; my boss on one line, my co-workers on another, and I on another; my mom, my sisters, my now husband were all so concerned about what was happening, what I was going to do, how would I get home, was it even safe to go home? Did I have enough money? Did I want their credit card numbers in the event that the worst happened? Could they wire me cash because credit cards wouldn’t work? These mundane things we don’t think about unless an emergency hits.
Immediately after the news of the second plane hit the steady wail of sirens flowed into our large windows and I perched from the six floor window and watched the racing parade of firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars travel down 10th Avenue towards the World Trade Center. Going in the opposite direction were business men and women flooding the sidewalks, holding on to their suitcases and bags, walking quickly and quietly uptown in a zombie-like state of trance. Then came barreling down 10th Avenue were the large UPS 18-wheeler refrigerated trucks, presumably to help with the search and recover efforts downtown (to store the bodies found at ground zero!). In the background, NPR played a live moment to moment broadcast of the scene. All the while we just sat there and listened to the radio, the sirens, the sounds of feet, the eerily still, loud noise that filled the air.
At around 9:45 I decided to walk to the West Side Highway to see what I could see. There I took in the sight of the towers standing tall and vulnerable, black smoke billowing out into a cloud above. I stood there wondering how many people died? Were people still in the building? Wondering how the heck to get home?
I must have started walking back to the office just moments before the tower fell. When I got back into the office I heard the news. My good friend, fellow Capricorn, and best boss I ever had also took a walk down to the West Side Highway with some of his artist friends from the area. He returned with the color drained from his face as he relayed to me his emotions about witnessing the second tower collapse. The Twin Towers collapsed. They collapsed?!
Shortly after that I got news that the ferries were operating again and taking people across the river to New Jersey. I gathered my belongings, hugged my co-workers, and set off for a six-hour journey back to my home in Jersey. At the ferry, after waiting for about an hour and a half in a line so quiet it was peaceful, we were crammed onto the boat like cattle. Some looking down, others crying and hugging, others just stating off into the cloud of smoke that now covered downtown. We were shipped to Weehawken, and then loaded up onto a bus and transported to Hoboken, from where we could continue on the PATH train to our Jersey destination. Shell shocked. I think that word suits just fine.
In the coming days and months I watched video of the planes over and over again, I went to ground zero and stood silently as I took in each photo that was posted up on the walls of missing people, of people who died on 9/11. I latched onto the song Hero by Enrique Iglesias and cried every time as I thought about the immense loss, and feeling of community surrounding the victims and the ones they left behind. New York City was changed. The United States of America was a changed nation.
I considered quitting as PTSD developed. A fear of the PATH trains developed. The sight of the national guard stationed at every block made me shake as I couldn’t believe the USA was so vulnerable. When the ban for jetliners to fly over Manhattan was lifted I ran to my office window each time I heard the approaching roar of the engine overhead just to make sure it wasn’t aimed at a building. The sound of fire truck sirens in NYC constantly brought be back to that day, they still do…
I will never forget. I CAN never forget. There is still a place in my heart for those that lost loved ones on 9/11. You are my heroes. God bless you all.
So, I attempt to keep this blog as anonymous as possible. I’m sure links can be made, but I make no mention of names with the purposeful intention of keeping it anonymous. In addition, this blog is about me and my views about what transpires in my life, whether it’s in the past or the present. It is immensely healing for me and beneficial to many people who read who can relate with their own experiences. Needless to say, who and what enters my life does intersect with who and what enters other people’s lives. The point being, if the alienating parent is trolling my site and then proceeds to present my posts to their child, then who is really affecting the child? Is it my anonymous posts? Or the fact that the alienating parent is presenting the child with my anonymous posts?
Interestingly, this same person has gone around and went on and on to my friends and my peers about what a terrible person I am, and gave them their version of the truth. I can’t help what is said behind my back, but these people were kind enough to come to me and let me know what what being said, and reassured me that they caught on to the nonsense quite quickly.
What you see is what you get. I say who, I say when, I say how much. (Okay, so it’s my favorite line taken from Pretty Woman.) In short, it’s my destiny, my life, my heart, and my story. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. It’s about me.