My high school sweetheart once exclaimed, ¨Jo wakes up at war with the world¨ It was true then. It is still true now. While some people wake up into their to-do list, some into wanting more sleep, others into hopefulness, my first waking thought has most often been, ¨NOW what??¨
Over the years, I have gotten some insight into this characteristic of mine. I’ve also tried to acquire some tools to handle this fire hose of aggression right as I wake up.
One insight I had along the way was this.
I get to choose again.
¨It doesn’t have to be this painful. I can lay down my sword and get on with it. ¨
Another thought that has helped is, ¨what am I so mad about…? ¨
I’ve gotten so good at this; I can use it in my coach practice now.
And why did I get good at it…?
Like I said, it was simply painful to wake up this way every morning.
The other insight was that joy needs cultivating.
There is so much crap coming at us in life, the default is to go grouchy. Really.
Two quotes come to mind here.
One is, ¨life is suffering¨ by The Buddha.
If you think about it, life is somewhat of a cruel joke. You’re born, you stumble through life, you learn to love. Then when you are just starting to figure things out, you lose those loved ones
– and then you die. Who came up with that sadistic prank??
Another quote, ¨history is just one damn thing after another¨- Churchill.
No matter what the cruelties we witness in the world, we repeat them. Again, and again (see – now.)
But what is the alternative, folks…? To cultivating joy that is…. suffer more? Give up…? What does life look like the morning after you’ve given up? Don’t you still have to get up, feed yourself, brush your teeth…?
I say, let’s go for joy. Not just gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day, but joy. It takes discipline, I know. I don’t want to do it either. What is there to be joyful about anyway. But might as well. What’s the alternative.