Tag Archives: happiness

Chasing Bliss

"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option." -Maya Angelou

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
-Maya Angelou

She’d been in the back of the truck outside the bar for hours. He would come out at some point, drunk. It smelled like snow was on the way, and Dahlia was cold. She had always waited in the truck; her job was to guard the truck.

It was not a loving relationship with her master. He loved his truck and beer, not her–she could be any dog.

Dahlia felt uncertain about her future as she stood in the bed of the truck, shivering. She was getting older; the situation was very predictable and never going to get better. She could have felt hopeless and full of despair, but Dahlia’s imagination was her best friend. Suddenly she was gripped by an unexpected urge that excited her so much, she almost couldn’t contain herself. So she didn’t. Dahlia looked around. The path was clear. She jumped out of the truck and ran. Dahlia felt there was a better life waiting for her, somewhere.

When her master had brought her home after picking her from the litter seven years earlier, she felt so special. She got bored when he was at work and began to chew on some things to pass the time. He was angry when he got home and found the dissected TV remote control. Then he saw the barely recognizable cowboy boot in the middle of the living room rug. He yelled at her and kicked her until she yelped in pain, before throwing her outside, forever. He didn’t understand her new teeth hurt and she was bored. Dahlia never saw the inside of the house again. He was always mean to her, even though her chewing days were long gone. He paid no attention to her other than giving her some dry food and water. He considered “play” to be taking her with him to watch the truck while he drank with his buddies. She wasn’t going to wait for him to be happy with her.

Being outside had its benefits. She heard all the dog gossip in the neighborhood. She got to chatting with the other neighborhood dogs while he was at work. Everyone had a story to tell. Walks, road trips, naps on the couch, toys and table scraps—especially the food the kids didn’t like. She discovered she had not lucked out in the lifestyle lottery. She had grown to enjoy the outdoors but would have liked to have a choice to go inside when the weather was bad. She was happy for the others—it gave her hope. She wanted to feel loved and appreciated for who she was too. She had a lot of love to offer in return.

After traveling for hours, she was thirsty, hungry, cold and exhausted. Even a bit afraid. It was getting dark. Dahlia found a nice soft place to sleep under a large bush that barely sheltered her from the chilly wind. Before she closed her eyes, she looked up at the moon. She asked that she be shown the way to a joyful life—one meant just for her.

Dahlia awoke to a light dusting of snow surrounding her. It was beautiful and very cold. Her immediate goals were water and something to eat. She walked until she reached a bay where the calm water had frozen over. She ventured out onto the smooth surface and licked the ice. She surveyed the scene, still full of exhilaration over the adventure that awaited her, but worried about food.

A small black thing bouncing through the ice distracted her. What was that little thing? She watched it bounce up, each time a cracking sound. Then, down it went. It moved rhythmically up and down through the ice again, now several yards away. She wanted to chase it, catch it and perhaps eat it! Chasing it was great fun! She never knew where it would pop up, and she became happily lost in the challenge of it all. She did not remember when she felt so blissful.

At the edge of the bay she was confused as the little black thing sped out to deeper water. She was mesmerized as it rose up, exploding out of the water in a spectacular display of power and grace. A whale! She had been chasing a whale! It crashed down into the choppy water and swam back to where she was pacing excitedly on the frozen bay. A gigantic head poked through the water.
“Hey, that was a lot of fun. I bet you weren’t expecting that! What’s your name?”
“Dahlia. I was having so much fun I lost all track of time chasing you! I even forgot how hungry I was,” she said, a little dismayed he was not food.
The whale blinked his enormous eye at Dahlia.
“Wait here,” he said.

The big head was gone. Ripples of icy water sloshed at her paws as she stood on the edge of the frozen bay. She watched the spot where he’d disappeared, having no idea what she was waiting for. Up he came with a burst, spewing a mountain of wiggling fish onto the ice for her to feast on! And feast she did, until she could hold no more. She burped.

“I’m so sorry; you have been so thoughtful and kind! Thank you for the fish. I don’t even know your name.” Dahlia hung her head in embarrassment.
“Tahi. The pleasure has all been mine. I hope we can play again soon!”

With that, he turned and disappeared under the water. Dahlia smiled as she wandered off with her bulging belly. What a difference a simple act of kindness made, she thought as she felt her spirits buoyed. Now she needed to find better shelter than the bush she’d slept under.
She spotted a grouping of rocks a short distance away and walked with new energy to investigate. As she walked around the huge, grey boulders she saw nothing that could be considered shelter. She spied a small opening near the bottom of one of the rocks. It looked barely big enough to fit her and her full tummy. She squeezed herself under it, burying her claws into the ground to pull herself inside. Dahlia was amazed to see that once inside the rocks, there was a cavern. A perfectly sheltered, hollow area where she could stand up easily and walk around. An ideal new home. She promptly turned three times, laid down and took a long nap.

Tahi and Dahlia grew very close over the months; they were inseparable. Tahi would take Dahlia for exciting rides on his back and bring her bounty from the sea. Dahlia would lick his salty face with loving kisses of gratitude. She’d run in circles on the beach, barking while he frolicked in the waves, putting on a show for her.

One night, nestled in her cavern, she was struck with how easily things started to go right, months ago. It was only when she decided she deserved better that she found better. When she followed her happiness, it grew into something unimaginable. Her happiness was her guide; it pointed where she needed to go next. All of her needs that she had worried over had been fulfilled in the most remarkable ways. She’d put forth effort, but it was enjoyable. She couldn’t explain it. She laid her head down to sleep as Tahi wished her a soulful good night off in the distance.

Respond to every call that excites your spirit.

-Rumi

Arabian Dreams

"I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint- and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the Universe to lead you." -Oprah Winfrey

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint- and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the Universe to lead you.”
-Oprah Winfrey

She felt the ice cream melting through her mane. The little boy incessantly kicked her ribs and shouted, “Giddy-up stupid!” Another child pulled on her tail repeatedly with a sticky, blue candy hand.
Tourists.
The Arabian Dreams Ranch was a tourist trap. A miserable life. Walking in the hot sun, carrying overweight, beer-soaked tourists and their screaming, unruly children. Seven days a week. Piper was far from her dream life, a life of meaning.

One evening, after all the tourists had returned to their hotels, Piper did as she usually did. She watched the ranch hand shut things down. She watched as he swigged his beer covertly from a brown bag, getting a jump on the Friday night festivities. She watched him drop his keys in the dirt as he was going to lock the gate. As he picked up his keys, his cell phone rang and he quickly broke into a smile. He spoke in a very suggestive and lovie-dovie tone with the person calling. Piper looked on as he anxiously headed off to his truck. He tossed the empty beer and bag into the truck bed, got in barely closing the door, and drove off. He’d left the gate unlocked.

It didn’t take Piper long to realize she had an opportunity. She wandered over to the gate, nudged it with her nose until she could fit through. She ran like she had 20 zombie tourist children chasing her. Freedom was sweet. She ran into the woods where she would have some cover from being seen.

Piper spent the night under a big, twisted tree near a stream. In the morning, once the sun was on the stream, she waded into the water. She washed all the sticky mess from her mane and tail, and she felt rejuvenated with excitement for her future. She knew deep down it would have to lead to her dream—a meaningful life. She followed the stream the better part of the day. Until it flowed under a wall of jagged rocks and into the ocean. As she hiked the treacherous rocks, doubt that she could continue crept into her thoughts. She worried as she stared at a huge hole in the rocks where the waves crashed through with enormous power. She admitted to herself she was trapped. Piper wondered if looking for a life of meaning wasn’t possibly the most stupid thing she’d ever done.

She closed her eyes and let the powerful spray cool her down, as she slowly started to panic. “What am I going to do? How will I ever get out of here?” She was exhausted, and talking to herself seemed a logical next step. She closed her eyes. An unusual flapping sound made her open them. She marveled at what must have been a five-foot wingspan, belonging to a most exotic looking bird.

“You look very forlorn. Can I help? By the way, I’m Lourdes.” She circled around Piper and waited.
“I’m afraid I’m lost and worse yet, trapped. I don’t know how to get out of here. The sea and rocks are too rough for me now, and I don’t know where to go.” Piper babbled on in her exhaustion, telling Lourdes all about the Arabian Dreams nightmare. She told her how she was looking for a life of meaning. Lourdes listened patiently, occasionally nodding understandingly. Piper watched Lourdes take a spiral path upwards, then widen her circle back down to where Piper was stuck.

“No worries. Follow me. But it’s going to get harder before it gets easier…”
Piper followed Lourdes, one step at a time over the uneven, slick terrain. She did a slight backtrack over the rocks, taking a sharp turn and going down to the left. Finally, she hovered over a narrow opening, a cave in the rocks. “I’ll wait for you on the other end. Be careful!” The giant wings effortlessly lifted her up, and Lourdes was gone.

Piper struggled to fit herself through the narrow opening. She walked over the smoother but slippery rocks inside the cave. The damp smell filled her nostrils as she could hear the muffled crashing of the relentless sea. She was very focused as she slowly navigated her way through the darkness. It seemed like it would never end, until finally, she could see light. She stayed focused on the light, and as she exited the cave she found herself on a sandy beach. A choppy shoreline lapped at her hooves. There was Lourdes circling around, waiting for her.

“I can’t begin to thank you enough, I don’t know what …” Piper quit talking as she watched Lourdes fly away. She swooped up and went high into the sky and was gone. Piper looked out over the beach at the small structures dotting the shoreline. She spotted a very pale little girl with a scarf on her head. She was walking towards her. She was carrying something. A woman all dressed in green followed behind, carrying their shoes. Piper’s gut told her to stay put. As the little girl approached, Piper could see she had a plastic bag with slices of apples and carrot sticks. As she reached Piper, she attempted to gently pet Piper’s neck. But the woman shouted to her, warning her not to touch the horse. She ignored her and opened the bag, giving Piper a carrot stick. Piper forgot how hungry she was and happily accepted. The little girl seemed to not have much energy. When the woman reached them, she told the girl to rest on a nearby rock. Piper followed the apples and carrots to the rock. The girl smiled at her as she pushed another carrot stick to her muzzle.

“I bet the other kids would like to pet her too. She seems nice. Maybe we can keep her!” said the girl.
“I’m sure she belongs to someone who is missing her. She’s so pretty,” said the woman.
Piper continued to eat from the girls palm as she giggled and kept a steady stream of carrots and apples coming. Piper thought this was the sweetest child in the world. The woman stroked Piper’s neck as she told the girl they needed to get back to the hospital. She agreed to take her back and said they would take care of her while they tried to find the owner.

Piper followed them up the beach to the building. There were several children sitting outside on the patio, also wearing scarves. They all smiled at once, and rushed onto the beach to see the horse.

As the weeks went on Piper gave rides to the sick children and made them laugh. They adored her, and she loved making them happy. The woman was unable to get any response on her efforts to find the owner of Piper. After two months, she finally gave up. Much to Piper’s relief.

One evening as Piper was watching the sun set over the ocean, she thought about the significant events in her life. About how she had gotten her sense of adventure and courage from the herd of wild horses she ran with. That was before getting separated and ending up at Arabian Dreams. She thought about how her life had tracked in a way she never could have imagined. She needed to be captured and have the horrible experiences with the tourists. While both were dreadful experiences, now she was grateful for them. She would not have known how to give rides to the sick kids. As she connected the dots of her life, she realized how everything led to her ultimate happiness, a meaningful life.

And Lourdes…she showed up out of nowhere to help, with eerily perfect timing. Perhaps she was somehow being prepped for this by something larger than herself? She wondered.

Synco-Pal

“All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.”
-Mae West

“Everyone has guides,” the old man told Phoebe. “I see three standing behind you; a man and two women. Can you tell me the man’s name?”

Phoebe was not sure why she always attracted these types. Perhaps she had a face that begged to be talked to, if you were living on the ragged edge of reality. She tried to ignore him as she waited for her pizza. He had to be in his eighties, with dyed black hair and food stains on his shirt.
“The name?” he persisted.
“Bart,” she blurted out, recalling the famous phrase, “I’m Bart Simpson, who the Hell are you?”
Maybe that would satisfy him. She turned slightly away from him. She hoped he could read body language as well as he did the ethers. He shook his inky hair.
“Nope. It’s longer than that.”
Where is my pizza? she thought.
“Bartholomew,” she said in exasperation.
“Yes! That’s it! You must Google him.”

With that, he turned and walked out the door—no pizza, no food, nothing.
Phoebe arrived home with her pizza and set it on the counter. She no longer felt like eating. The fluttering in her stomach had become a regular thing since turning in her last robot, Troy. It was her third. She’d hoped that Troy would be “The One.”

The government, in all their wisdom, had decided there were too many single women. And they were not good for the economy—they didn’t spend enough money. Two years had passed since the deadline for all women over the age of 28 to be paired with a mate. If they were not in a committed relationship they would be required to enroll in the Synco-Pal program, or pay a penalty.

Trillions of tax dollars were used to develop the perfect male companion robot for single women. Over the probationary four months he would learn and synchronize with all her likes and dislikes. Together, as a couple “in love,” they would spend more and help the economy. Since the Synco-Pals had no visible means of support, the women had to support them. One of the Synco-Pal’s key features was that he demanded expensive gifts to promote “happiness.” If gift demands were ignored, a report would be transmitted via the Synco-Pal to the agency overseeing the Synco-Pal program. The woman would be fined in the amount of the gift not purchased.

Phoebe’s Synco-Pals kept malfunctioning. They were fun and complimentary, attentive and sweet…up until they moved in with her. Quickly, they would become critical, intimidating, messy, demanding and argumentative. He would start to devalue her with insults about her physical appearance, intelligence and capabilities. His demand for expensive gifts would go well beyond extravagant. Once the gift was purchased and given, he would quickly become dissatisfied with it, thereby requiring a new gift. After six months all traces of love, compassion and empathy had vanished. They became just plain mean and sullen. All three had been exactly the same; Troy was the last. She had nicknamed him Syco-Pal.

Having lost faith, she opted to take advantage of the grace period of two months after a “Turn In.” Phoebe decided she was going to do some research. Certainly she couldn’t be the only one experiencing devastating software glitches.

Phoebe interviewed other women, including one who actually worked for Synco-Pal. Her findings were disturbing. One in twenty five Synco-Pals had the all-encompassing software glitch she had experienced. It was a factory defect, with no upgrade. One in five had a glitch that made them difficult and annoying to be around, also no upgrade. There were millions of them out there. She was emotionally exhausted, financially devastated, and felt she had tried to be “a patriot.”

She found the odds as bad as the human relationships. They ended in divorce 50% of the time. Was being “in love”—and fitting into what society and the economy marketed to—worth it?
She felt manipulated. Why wasn’t her contribution to the economy and society good enough? Perhaps the government spent too much? They certainly had on Synco-Pal. If they didn’t waste so much, they would not need so much from her.

With two weeks of grace left, Phoebe was surfing the web, continuing her research. She remembered the old man from the pizza place and decided to Google “Bartholomew, guide.” She had no idea what a guide was—some woo-woo thing most certainly. A woman in New Mexico claimed to channel this Bartholomew character. Phoebe was entering the twilight zone. She ordered the book. She read the book only to discover it was full of thoughts and concepts familiar to her on some level. Yet she had never seen or heard them anywhere in her life. There was a shift in her consciousness as the information made complete sense to her. There was love, and there was love.

The “love” that society embraced, encouraged, and marketed to was actually nothing more than attraction. It was conditional—not all abiding. Behave a certain way, and you will be loved. Quit, and you will no longer be loved. Attraction/repulsion. Like magnets. The thoughts are not always loving. Phoebe was quite familiar with that emotional roller coaster. It comes with lessons to learn. About love. What you believe you lack, you find in the other person. You are attracted, fall “in love” with what you believe you lack—and what you believe will make you whole. Then you act certain ways, hoping to prevent a loss of that “love” or that sense of wholeness. It was that whole, “You complete me” thing. Phoebe thought many would deny this is true, protesting theirs is “true love.” But there are always conditions to being with another person.

Hmm…That’s a lot of power and responsibility I give to someone, Phoebe thought. So if I look to them for my happiness, and they are not happy…I will have to wait for them to be happy before I can be happy. Well, that’s messed up.

The other “love” was all-abiding. Unconditional. All your “good” traits and all your “undesirable” traits would be loved equally, as what makes you whole. They complete you. A perfect specimen of humanity. And here’s the kicker: this love is attained by you loving and accepting yourself, exactly as you are. No conditions. Ever. You just agree to love yourself, always, as a part of everything and everyone. As a result, you feel love and compassion for everyone else. Love yourself for wanting to change and grow—all the time, with no restrictions. It never goes stale.

The fluttering in Phoebe’s stomach stirred as she realized she’d been sold a bill of goods about life that was not in her best interest for a long and happy life. She also noticed Syco-Pals were not included in this ticket to nirvana—it was an inside job. They function by sucking stimuli from the outside world; they’re empty inside. If everything and everyone has a purpose, why Synco-Pals? She concluded that who better to force you to love yourself than someone who makes you feel bad and inferior about being you? Someone who fills your life with chaos and stress, lies, fear and manipulation? Yes, that must be their purpose. That said, they’re mean and she was through.

As she sorted her thoughts, her stomach fluttered something fierce. She mentally surveyed her life like a hawk flying over her personal landscape. Life was pretty much the same as it had always been. But she had changed, seeing it all from a different perspective.

Phoebe grabbed her car keys, hoping some fresh air would settle the now unbearable fluttering. After driving for a while, she pulled into a parking garage. She got out to stretch her legs and climbed up on the ledge, breathing in deeply. Little by little, all the seeds of change she had planted was each in itself a metamorphosis. Each growing stronger on its own, watered with her commitment and love. As the cocoons were shed, she burst forth in flight.

Phoebe flew away to a beautiful new life. She decided paying the “single woman penalty” was a better deal.

Hey everyone, go to Dan’s site and play “Add a line.”  Hurry, I have a feeling it’s going to get way out of hand…

I added: As Gina’s anxiety and fear mounted withing her chest, everything in her told her to get as far away as she can, and NOW!  She turned and ran for the stairs, but they were nowhere to be found…

Your turn!

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