July 4th - Pursuit of Happiness

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

"We hold these truths to be self-evident,

that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator 
with certain unalienable Rights,

that among these are 
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

We've talked about happiness before,
and that it is a personal priority.

Today Sarah shares a little bit more about 
how we need to change the way we think 
in order to be happy.

Today Sarah shares about the creator of the 
"American self-help movement", William James

It started in 1890 with his book called

He said "be willing to have it so [because]
acceptance of what has happened 
is the first step 
in overcoming the consequences 
of any misfortune."

Start Quote
William James was also an eloquent and persuasive champion 
of a philosophical school of thought known as Pragmatism

Being a pragmatist, Dr. James believed that 
personal happiness hinges on a practicality: 

if your reality lives up to your expectations, you're happy. 
If it doesn't, you're depressed. 

This is as real, personal, and simple 
as philosophy and psychology get, 
and it makes perfect sense.

Of course, this means we have a creative choice to make
 if we want to be happy.

Do we consciously and continually strive for more 
accomplishments and accumulations?
[I'm definitely not saying you should stop trying to accomplish things.] 

Or do we lower our expectations, 
live with what we have, and learn to be content?

Many of us mistakenly think that 
lowering our expectations means we must surrender our dreams. 

As one friend put it, "Sorry, Sarah, 
but this sounds like giving up to me."


Dreams and expectations are two very different things. 

Dreams call for a leap of faith...

Expectations are the emotional investment 
the ego makes in a particular outcome...

[If your dreams don't] manifest EXACTLY as the ego imagines 
[it] isn't going to be very happy...

Since none of us can predict the future 
or the best outcome for our authentic path, 
this kind of thinking is self-destructive.

Because if we don't live up to the ego's expectations, 
we've failed again. 
And at some point we really do give up. 

The passionate pursuit of dreams sets your soul soaring;

expectations that measure the dream's success
tie stones around your soul. 

I don't think we should just lower our expectations; 
I believe if we truly want to live a joyous and adventurous life,
we should relinquish them. 

Living your life as a dreamer and not as an "expector"
is a personal declaration of independence...

I approach my work with a passionate intensity, 
acting as if its success depends entirely on me. 

But once I've done my best, 
I try to let go as much as possible 
and have no expectations about 
how my work will be received by the world. 
End Quote

Can you see how this is self-destructive thinking? 

Can you see how you can choose to be happy?

Now, I'm not saying you should up stop expecting things, 
but at the same time I kind of am,
at least to a certain degree.

I don't think it's wrong to expect things of people, of things, 
but a lot of times you're not going to get what you expect.
People and things will let you down.

And if you live your life being mad about things that go "wrong"
(which they aren't really wrong, 
they just didn't go the way you expected them to) 
you're going to be miserable basically your entire life.

Because nothing ever goes according to plan.

The pursuit of happiness is partly trying to make your dreams come true, 
but it's also about changing your perspective on life.

Live your life as a dreamer, not as an expector. 
You are not entitled to happiness.
You have to go out and find it. Make it. Be it.

Gratitude Journal

1) Spending a few days with my parents. It's amazing what mountain air and sunshine and a pool and two extra adults helping out with the little kiddos can do.

2) Grandma's dog. I've always loved animals and pets, but there is a special place in my heart for the pets in my family. Nana's were Skippy, Chiquito and Lilita, Grandma's were Greta and Mr Cat, my family pets growing up were Socks and Patches (cats), and somehow we always have to say good-bye. It always feels too soon. Last Wednesday I was up with my friend spending the day, and we went to Grandma's house so we could walk down to the lake. Ginger was excited to see us, and came along with Indy and the rest of us. She hobbled along, she was really looking decrepit. But she swam in the lake, shook herself right next to us, came up for loves, played with Indy...I guess that was the last fun she had. She was no longer getting up after that, and on Saturday they put her down. It's funny...you never seem to have enough time, and you take for granted what time you do have until it's gone. I'm grateful for pets, and I believe that I'll see them again. They're family, after all.

3) Good food, good family, good evening.

4) Words of wisdom. Grandma said "I just don't worry about things like that." We were talking about the fire that almost reached our homes last year, and how they were evacuating and my parents were soaking their roof with water just in case as they watched the flames come over the hill. "I just don't worry about things like that."

5) Fourth of July. It's easy for me to become pessimistic about the state of our country, and how perverted and corrupt I believe the government has become. But as Robbie continually reminds me, we are a lot better off here than anywhere else in the world. I'm grateful for everyone who fights for our freedoms and our nation. I'm grateful for every man who helped keep that flag raised high as the British bombed the heck out of it trying to knock it down. I'm grateful for the founding father's vision, and fortitude to see their dream through. Happy Independence Day.
Boom Boom!

First they were guns, now they're lightsabers...

And it's all fun and games until someone gets whacked in the face.

It could have been worse. 
It could have been on fire.
Or a real lightsaber.