Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Live Love and Other "Secrets" of Happiness

This widowhood road has been an extremely bumpy one for me and I continue to struggle to keep from driving into the ditch. I search for strength and motivation everywhere. Blogging has been a lifesaver for me - because of the feedback and support received as well as the cyber friendships started but also for the opportunity to vent, process and articulate my feelings.

I just ame across a book review I saved from the Chicago Tribune Section 13 "Q" from January 27, 2008. It is written by Anne E. Stein about the book "The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die" by John Izzo, PhD. The author interviewed 235 "wise elders" and incorporated their advice into the book.

"Secret 1: Be true to yourself. You must constantly evaluate yourself and make adjustments to move closer to the life you desire to live.

Secret 2: Leave no regrets. "To leave with no regrets we must live with courage, moving toward what we want rather than away from what we fear."

Secret 3: Become love. The happiest lives are lived by those who focused on building deep personal relationships.

Secret 4: Live the moment. To savor life, we must experience each moment with gratitude and purpose.

Secret 5: Give more than you take. The happiest people knew that they had left things better than they found them in some small way."

I know for those of us out there struggling with real issues, intricate problems and major life changes, it is hard to focus on much more than getting through each day with some semblance of sanity. But reading over this list really struck a chord with me. I think those of us facing grief/loss are a step ahead of the "untouched" in understanding many of the points set out above.

1. Even as we battle to endure the dark days facing us, we can do so by remaining true to ourselves and doing things our way, as well as doing what is important to us, no matter what others think. I know that experiencing great loss has changed the way I see and live my life. I have reevaluated what is most important to me and try to live those values more fully.

2. No matter what we are dealing with, we must do so with courage moving forward to embrace life instead of trying to hide from what we fear.

3. "Become Love" or as I would say, Live Love. That says it all. I feel so strongly about the role of love in all our lives that I describe my views in the sidebar of this blog. I only got this after the death of my husband. And I'm sure I'm not the only one getting this after the death of a loved one.

4. It is so hard to live the moment and be grateful for all in our lives, even during those dark times. But I make an effort with my gratitude list. Accepting what is and facing it is what living in the moment means to me - it does not mean that I have to like it or be happy about my circumstances. But I do have to see my life for what it is - no fairy tale fantasies.

5. I believe that all of us grieving bloggers do hope to reach others and help in some small way. So even in the depths of our despair we are trying to better the world.

Today I am grateful:

1. For the pumpkins one of the local churches is selling to benefit the homeless.
2. For the Halloween artwork painted on the shop windows of a local town.
3. For Hamburger Helper. I truly hope whomever invented this concept gets a bigger throne in heaven because they have really left the world a better place for all those harried people needing to make quick and easy dinners when they can't think of anything else since the mid-1970s. That is a lot of saved dinners over the years.
4. For a roof over our heads (from son #1).
5. For not having crummy weather today (again from son #1).


  1. you sound like you've turned a corner. previously you've been so stressed and exhausted. i was getting worried. i'm glad you've found your handhold to get into and through the days now.

    but as for number 4, just hang on. "once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love has us a fairy tale." that love came to me in the form of a dragon. our lives weren't perfect, but we were blessed with each other. and now my fairy tale comes in the form of my children who have shown such strength and integrity.

    don't tune it out completely. it may come to you again as a man who can be another husband. maybe it will be that when your sons grow up, they can ease your burdens as you took care of them. you can't search for it. it comes. there is only that epiphany that suddenly there is this person in your life who steps in just when you need them the most, or someone you've known (and raised) is transformed into the one who holds out their hand for you to grasp rather than the other way around.

    hold on and keep dreaming. i keep you in my thoughts.

  2. What terrific "secrets." I can never get over how much you read! And such wonderful material.

    I am cheered by pumpkins, too, and I love to see them glowing on a rainy grey day. Did you know the Buddhists use that shade of bright orange in a lot of temples? I'm so sure it wakes a divine element, somewhere.



  3. wNs - I try to be strong and find encouraging inspirations. Sometimes, I hit a bad bump and go back into the pain but I still have the positive ideas I've encountered to fall back on when I am ready again.

    Supa - I think we all need more orange in our lives all year round!