Is happiness possible for me?
I've wondered often the past few years if I will ever be happy for more than a month or two... it makes the other 10 months torturous and minimally bearable. It almost always has to do with current employment, which eats up so much of our time as we plod away on the modern humanity gerbil wheel of existence. Once again I am in turmoil and distress due to a job. Or is it my thinking about the job? Is it my expectation that things should be different or better that causes this suffering. The existential thoughts don't help either, because they lead me to conclude that I am simply flawed in so many ways that I am unable to exist as a happy person. And the deeper I move into the whirlpool of self-analysis, awareness of my thoughts, attachments... the deeper I fall into the abyss of life pain and I begin to feel so depressed that existence itself becomes too much to bear and I wish mine would end.
It seems I repeatedly become dissatisfied with my jobs, and yet I am at a loss for what to do to provide an income for myself so that I don't have to kowtow to the unthinking, creativity-stifling, opinion-crushing, bureaucratic machines which employ me to be their unmindful, disembodied drone. Why must The Machine inhibit opinion and creativity? Why am I continually discouraged from voicing my opinion? Why must I be incurably positive and speak not unless it is saccharine platitudes of "everything is great". As life moves forward, I am repeatedly bombarded with the message that my uneven, asymmetrical circle does not fit their monochrome square holes -- I don't fit and I don't belong. Anywhere. Then how do I live? What is the point in existing?
I have to walk into a workplace that claims to celebrate diversity and international-mindedness, but this is all a lie. They want the blonde cheerleader look; an English speaker holding the American pedigree, but they want me to act and think (or rather, NOT think) like all the other black-haired, obsequious drones with whom I work-- those whom lack critical thinking skills, or even the ability to think for oneself. The ability to be creative is squashed at every turn. And they squash all these skills in their children as well. It makes me physically sick.
But then, I must return to my responsibility and question my thoughts and actions. Is it their actions that make me suffer or my thinking about their actions that causes my suffering? Sometimes I wish I had remained ignorant to to self-knowledge and evolution, so I could go through life blaming everyone else. I can't seem to figure it out how to maintain the habit of looking inward for answers and finding contentment that lasts.
I can't seem to find happiness. I cant' find it in myself or "out there". Others can face the drudgery of a job they hate, one that conflicts with their opinions or morals, or remain to be treated like trash, and simply accept that this is "how it is"... but I can't! Thus, another flaw. Why can't I accept circumstances I dislike or don't believe in? Why can't I just "go with the flow" and stop expecting to get some portion of life satisfaction through my work? What is inherently wrong with me that has made it so difficult for me be satisfied? Am I too brilliant a light, too creative a soul, too sensitive a human being? Possibly all of that, but those characteristics simply serve to alienate me again from the majority of humanity and enhance the impossibility of "getting along well with others". Or am I just simply a flawed misanthrope who is genetically incapable of being happy because I had a shitty childhood and have been in too many dysfunctional relationships and have moved too much, all of which have nurtured the fucked-upness that resides in me that all the years of reading self-help books, going to therapy, inculcating my mind with positive thinking mandates, and living in yoga ashrams just cannot cure?
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Home sweet home. My living area in my home in Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC. I've managed to make my new apartment hygge and full of plants and personality.
I finally found a place of comfort, stability, and security, after years of experiencing terror, fear, poverty, and depression. Although not ideal, and definitely not a long term choice, the job I have is offering me a sense of these. With the increase in salary, I have been able to travel and spend freely (too freely), and to create a home/nest to which I enjoy the return each day. In fact, after so many years of struggle and subsistence living, I feel rich! I feel prosperous! I am living in luxury! And I am truly grateful for this! I get to live in a country where everything is so inexpensive for me --as a foreign resident-- that I have many, many perks that I haven't had in the past: cleaning service, car service, food delivery... it's almost ridiculous. I relish all of this, and yet feel conflicted that I spend money on these items when I could/should be saving more. Then that thought conflicts with those that follow: I deserve it, I've worked hard, I need the stability and security, and some of this spending is self-care. My mind just never, ever, ever stops its incessant arguments with every thought it has and every action I take.
And to come full circle: will I ever be happy? It seems the moments of happiness-- even a "middle way" sense of contentment-- shrink into shorter fragments that appear with less and less frequency.
Nearing my eleventh month in China, I had a feeling that life was finally going to improve because I had started feeling better physically and emotionally due to a regimen of Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs and treatments, giving me the ability and strength to physically make some changes that will lead toward improved health. With improved health, I have an increasingly positive outlook and think I am regaining my physical capacity to exercise; which in itself leads to so many other life altering results. Re-activating my habits of running and regular yoga and cycling will help me manage the bullshit at work and empower me towards all sorts of positive change that I need in my life, such as better health, more social connection, physical strength, mental power, and emotional resilience.
As I traveled to Xi'an and Beijing for the winter holiday, I recounted the events of 2018, and created my yearly list of intentions for 2019. I thought about what had happened and what I did not want to experience as a repeat of the past. I revisited my Wheel of Contentment. From all this, I know-- I am convinced down to my core-- that I have got to start exercising again. I've known this forever, but my motivation and discipline has steadily decreased the past few years. I fully acknowledge that my ability to face and survive the next 7 months of my contract, and what changes may or may not come depends on my body getting back into its healthy, fit state of athleticism and strength. This is the only way my mind and heart will follow suit and recover and return or rebuild their state of strength, resilience, and power. In order for me to reclaim my power and resilience, I must-- MUST!-- MUST!-- prioritize, commit to, and follow through on my cardiovascular and strength-building plan! And I will, for my determination has struggled to the surface and survived the turmoil and will help me rebuild and reform, even in its own gasp for breath.
We have an upcoming three-week vacation from school for Lunar New Year (Spring Festival). I had decided to travel to India and spend those three weeks healing, rejuvenating, and recommitting to my yoga practice with pancha karma treatments and sadhana practice at Maa Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh. However, I spent much, much more than I planned when my dear friend Andy visited me during the holiday break (I don't regret it; it was a fun and needed break, but I overspent). Additionally, I now face the possibility that I will not renew my contract next year. Everything in my life is once more in an uproar. I must decide whether to go on the retreat, at a cost of several thousand, or stay home and re-up my resume and start job hunting, and save that money for a possible relocation or jobless period. I really lean toward the retreat, as it will help me on all levels, and ultimately, give me the strength and clarity I need to either accept the job for another year, or move on. But fear also drives me toward not spending that money, especially considering I have saved so little in the past 11 months! Aargh! I must buy air tickets this weekend, because they have already increased in price by a few hundred dollars... and so, I must decide what to do. The international school job hunting season opened in December, so I need to begin the search soon, if I plan to leave this school. I know that I would rather stay in Chengdu one more year, and definitely stay in my home. So I take the risk and spend the money and go to Rishikesh and rebuild myself and my Self. Or I stay in CdU and apply myself fully to the job hunt. The other aspect is that this job is pretty easy and has cush benefits and hours; I really don't want to kill myself at a job right now or in the near future, working nights and weekends and constantly stressed about all the work to do. I also can admit that I need to apply myself a bit more in my current post, although most of the time when I do, I feel like it is wasted effort. This current post has benefits as well as lots of downsides. Hmmm.
To be continued...
1/6/2019 07:51:21 am
You answer your own questions: You need to find a school that is in alignment with your values and your approach or start one of your own or do something else. You also are clear that the yoga is the most loving thing you can do for yourself at the moment. Money comes and goes and looks like you could stay for another year in your luxury apt. and save like crazy if you wanted to. The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Happy New Year Gina my love
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...Small actions in a dynamic system will trigger vast and unexpected changes