Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

It’s funny how sometimes those one hit wonders from your past come back and speak to you spiritually. For some reason I have found myself hearing the tune to Don’t Worry, Be Happy playing in my head.  It is hard to be fully living when we are spending our time worrying.  If I were to write the song today, I would call it Don’t Worry, Live Fully!

I found the lyrics to the song and realized they are just as relevant now as they were then.

Here is a little song I wrote

You might want to sing it note for note

Don't worry be happy

In every life we have some trouble

When you worry you make it double

Don't worry, be happy......

This is the point that is shared in the Native American story about the two wolves. In this case, the wolves would be happiness and worry. The grandson is told that the wolf who will survive is the one who is fed.  The more one worries, the more powerful that sense of worry becomes and the harder it becomes to be happy, to live fully. Michael Beckwith compared this to paying interest on money you have not borrowed.  There is no benefit, no dividends, no happiness, and no joy.

My grandmother used to remind me that we were to give thanks in all situations and that when I could see the good in any situation, and then I would be ok. So I learned to feed the wolf of gratitude, the wolf of thanksgiving, and the wolf of life. There are so many things I have learned to do to help maintain a positive attitude in my life. One of them is to stay present and be grateful for all that I have in life. It is not physically possible to be grateful for all you have and be worried at the same time.

I have learned I have nothing to worry about.  What is going to happen is going to happen and my worrying about it is not going to do anything but bring me and those around me down.  When I stay positive and give thanks then my positive energy gives me what I need to make it through whatever life brings my way. that is not to say one will have a trouble free existence, rather that be mindful of what one is learning in the process will bring one through and this too will pass.  

Thich Nhat Hanh, in his book Peace Is Every Breath talks about how those moments of suffering remind one of how blessed one is. He told the story of not having any running water and how all the monks suffered during this time. When the water was restored, they had much to be grateful for and they were mindful of what a blessing it was just to wash one’s face and hands in the morning. After I lost the ability to go up and down the stairs I missed being able to do laundry. A few months ago we made the decision to have a washer and dryer put upstairs so I could do laundry while Zoe was battling cancer. The first time I washed clothes I cried. It was a moment of gratitude I cannot even begin to express. Each time I do laundry I am mindful of what a blessing it is.

This weekend, an acquaintance of ours talked about not having a washer or dryer and it reminded me how blessed I am. Then I began thinking about all those who gave of their time, talent, and resources to create and bring these pieces of equipment to me.  When we take the time to be mindful of all we have and all who have made it possible for us to have the clothes on our back, the indoor toilet, the running water, the bed to sleep on, it can be such a humbling experience.

There is this little song I wrote

I hope you learn it note for note

Like good little children

Don't worry, be happy

Listen to what I say

In your life expect some trouble

But when you worry

You make it double

Don't worry, be happy......

Don't worry don't do it, be happy

Put a smile on your face

Don't bring everybody down like this

Don't worry, it will soon past

Whatever it is

Don't worry, be happy

So often we place our attention on creations and not on the gifts of the Spirit. We allow things to hold our attention prisoner. We grieve things we do not have, rather then give thanks for all we have. We grieve not having money for a vacation, or the newest piece of technology, or a new car. While all these things can be nice, they are just things. They are not love, peace, light, or life.

Recently, someone asked me what I wanted for my birthday and my response was “Nothing!” the reality is that I already have everything I need. I have love. I have life. I have joy. I have peace. I have tranquility. I have today. Are there things I would like – sure? However, I do not need any of them and they are just things.

There is nothing in the world that can make one feel better about one’s self.  The only one who can make you feel better about yourself is you. So don’t worry about the stuff that is self negating, love yourself and be happy. Don’t worry about the stuff that focuses on lack; be happy and give thanks for what you have. Don’t look for gratification in all the wrong places; look at your life and give thanks for just being you. Don’t worry, be happy! Don’t worry, live fully!