Thursday, May 04, 2017

A list of what makes me happy

Recognizing that happiness is ephemeral, a fleeting phase that no one can grasp and hold, these are some things that makes me happy, temporarily, so I can possibly get clues as to what makes my life balanced:

-Understanding new ideas
-Teaching these ideas to others
-Good movies/stories

-Being attacked for doing good
-Beautiful nature
-Taking pictures of beautiful nature
-A really good sleep

-A multi-day spiritual retreat
-Helping others
-Feeling needed
-Being "in the zone" for writing

5/4/17-- Thoughts

So I'm in a regular schedule now.  Monday through Thursday I have work from 5pm to 11pm.  Fridays I take the day to pick up, organize and distribute food to camps.  Saturdays I hang out with my wife.  Sundays I have a Bible Study I lead and I guess I will be working for a couple hours after that.   That's it.  A lot of time to write, if I want it, since Diane is working Mondays through Fridays now. Looks like we have a solid plan to catch up on our bills with two of my kids pitching in money to help as well as a couple of the folks who live with us. The outline of survival seems pretty good.

And my mind can't focus.  I can write for my Bible studies, because I have a time limit and I have to come up with something every Sunday.  I am in a place to read and listen to smart people talking, but I have no energy to write.  I have no anger to fight injustice with.  I have no drive to seek out the needy.  I don't even care about movies.  I can just get on social media, post paragraphs of poetry or theology or puns and that's it.  I respond to people in need, and usually other people help.  Which is good.

But I feel that I'm without purpose.  I feel that my time is passed, that I succeeded for a time, but now everything I started has run out of time.  I have no new ideas, no fight, no wrestling match that I feel I need to jump in.  I know what I know and most people don't and that's enough.  I've done what I've done.  I feel that my life had great purpose, great strives and now... I'm unnecessary.

Okay, so I suppose I'm dealing with depression... still.  And I'm abusing whatever two or three readers here.  Sorry about that.  

A friend of mine asked me, "What are you happy doing?"  My response to her was, "Being alone?"  I have been overwhelmed by people for a long time, but being alone doesn't seem to help.  Instead of constantly trying to control myself, or forcing myself to respond, when I'm alone I just feel empty.

I've never felt empty before.  I always had things to do and before I had things to do, I had ambitions or goals, often lofty ones.  

Since she asked me the "happy" question...

BTW, I've always hated "happiness" as a goal.  That seems so self-centered, so ridiculous.  Can we improve the world through our own happiness?  

I've always considered that there were two moral systems at work in each human brain: karma (you reap what you sow) and mercy (love everyone without exception).  But there is a third: self-thriving. The one that comes out when we are in survival mode.

It is this third (which is really primary) moral code that comes up in self-help books, it is what doctors mostly draw on when they tell you to quit our bad habits.  But this third moral system is what has always been weakest in me.  It's what has been so weird and new about this travel I've been on-- focusing on my own health and well-being?  That's just foreign to me, something I have to learn from the beginning.

"Happiness" is the core idea of that self-thriving moral code.  We must have what we need to survive and then we should be "happy."  Happiness has never been my goal.  In fact, my ambitions have always been about me changing my world for the better, and then I am content.  Not "happy", that is ephemeral, passing, impossible to grasp.  There is no permanent state of "happiness" so why should we strive for it?  Rather, we should have a way of life in which we can be content.  Satisfaction has always been my goal.  And I am satisfied if I accomplish something worth accomplishing.

I am in a place where I am not sure that I can accomplish anything. My new ideas are too new, and my old ideas are too old.  I don't want to join someone else's work because I don't think it will accomplish much.

I am kind of excited about working toward a homeless speaker's bureau, give folks on the street an opportunity to represent themselves and to create conversations with neighbors.  I love that.  Another thing is to contact churches to find out what work they are doing for the poor.  I used to do that, and accomplished a lot in that area.  But I am so frustrated at churches, and the fact that they all do the same thing, while accomplishing very little.

I am frustrated at the city for refusing to step up for the poor, but I think no one can make them listen.
I am frustrated at advocates (including myself) for dropping the ball and allowing what little we accomplished to fail.
I am frustrated at people for being so concerned about certain causes that we have forgotten about the people who are in need right now.

I am furious at the continuing sweeps, a legal body which makes things harder for the most vulnerable in the county, and people are being paid tens of thousands of dollars a week to harm the homeless.

And I feel that all I can do is watch it happen.

You know what's most frustrating?  I am at sea about prayer.  I feel no desire to pursue it, as if God himself had his hands tied and he and I have nothing to talk about.   That's bad theology, but it's where I'm at for now.

For now, I guess I will pay off my taxes, catch up on my bills, and try to write, even if only a little bit.  I will help in the little bit I can.  And I will wait, because I think an explosion will come.