100 Happy Days: Day 66

zentangle mandala- happiness lurks in soft places

Happy Day 66: The subject for this drawing is a companion to the subject for the drawing for Day 59.

Day 59 was the day that my father ended up in the ER with cold sweats and left arm pain. I reflected on the lessons that we learn from difficult people in our lives.

On this day, one week later, long story short, my dad ended up in the ER again, this time in an ambulance. Despite acknowledging he didn’t feel well, and on some level knowing how scared he was, he just wanted to go home and he didn’t want to go to the follow up appointment the next day with his regular doctor, even though in the ER basically all they determined is you aren’t dying this minute, but they also didn’t actually figure out what was really going on. And just as last week, both mom and dad were quite determined there was no need for anyone to stay with them at the ER.

It was also a busy day at the ER. Even more so than usual, lots of waiting. Dad had to wait for his head CT because two med flights had just arrived and those patients needed to be tended to first.

Lots of opportunities for stress and worry to rear up. Being aware of this, I checked in with myself regularly – breathe, drop those shoulders, let go of that jaw, shake out that arm… As I returned continuously to a calmer, more centered place I was aware of feeling lighter, softer, happier and more expansive – confirming that it is possible to find happiness even in the midst of an ER visit.

As an update, as I write, they still haven’t been able to explain my dad’s symptoms. Doctors are still doing more testing. The current theory is potentially severe stress and anxiety – not too surprising for a workaholic for whom relaxation and stress management are not part of the vocabulary. He is used to thinking not paying attention to his body, so he had a hard time  describing his symptoms to the doctor. He would look at me completely cross-eyed if I were to tell him my story about finding happiness in the soft places. I know he is far from alone. We are all at varying places along the path of awareness of sensations in our bodies and how these connect to our emotions.

I am fascinated by these connections and learn more about them every day. We all have the capacity to learn, and with learning comes power and an increased ability to find the soft places where happiness hangs out.


Want to learn more about my happiness project? 100 Happy Days

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