The ’50’s housewife’, the Stepford wife and that perfectly happy person you always see in town.  Do these characters know a little secret we don’t?  The liberation of my generation has allowed us to speak our mind, stand up for ourselves and feel entitled to do what it is we want to do.  But has that contributed to any disappointment?  Do we really expect that the world is ours?

I recently picked up an old book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.  This is one of those ‘self-help’ books I used to gravitate towards in my self-exploratory days when I was sifting through broken pieces after the death of my brother (May 2000), actively searching for something to hold on to.  In this particular book, the four agreements are pillars of happiness that support a beautiful and healthy life.  These are to be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and to always do your best.

While visiting this book again, that vision of that 50s household came to mind, the Brady Bunch, living in the perfectly happy.  To each his own, no gossiping about the neighbor, that was certainly the Brady way, thus being impeccable with those words.  Never take anything personally:  “I don’t know what’s wrong with that guy”, Mr. Brady would say after being kicked and cursed at, “he must be going through something pretty bad to act this way!”.  Don’t make assumptions, especially of gloom and doom, the Brady’s always had faith in a positive outcome.  And lastly, ‘always do your best’, well…that’s a certainly a Brady given and I think was probably repeated every episode.

So, is that the secret, really practicing acceptance?  Accepting the cards we’ve been dealt and not trying to change them or complain because we don’t have a better hand.  Getting rid of that entitled attitude we were told we could have.  Truly seeing the bright side, knowing that everything will work out for the best.  Having compassion for assholes, rather than contempt.  And lastly, doing one’s best…at least the best for that day.  It’s hard not to criticize and it’s easy to expect the worst.  Maybe that was the Brady motto, ‘fake it until you make it’.  One thing I know for sure is that everyone wants to be happy, to be on the ‘up’.

I suppose there is a part of me still searching.  Thank goodness I don’t have the lows I did during that period of my life and luckily I have the memory and gratitude for them.  I take it day by day and remind myself to look at the sky, see the sun, know it’s shining down on me and try to share the warmth.

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The Four Agreements (click)