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Andrea's Anecdotes

Let the sunshine in

June 19, 2013 - It's said God never lays burdens on shoulders that can't carry them. Sometimes life feels unjust, and leaves you wondering "why me." Life can leave you feeling bitter and sad if you let it.

Being happy is one of the most difficult challenges. Some people feel chained to sorrow, constantly weighed down with burdens, and unable to escape feeling troubled. They live life unable to find happiness.

While attending Specs Howard School of Media Arts for video and radio, I was sure the school should teach a class about happiness. I approached the leaders. I went to Specs himself declaring how great Happiness 101 would be. He told me to create the class.

Seems like an easy task right? I read books and researched happiness. I delved into the subject, into myself and I thought about it endlessly. I learned scientists call this Positive Psychology.

I discovered forgiveness, creativity, generosity, acceptance, compassion, kindness, gratitude, healthy relationships, positive affirmations, healthy living, going with the flow and believing in yourself-all contribute to happiness. I concluded I was not yet ready to tackle this enormous task. I could not, for I was not truly happy myself, and if I tried I felt I would just be a fraud.

Fast forward quite some time after developing a better understanding of pessimism and unhappiness, I was watching a movie when I had a moment of clarity. I thought about how life, like a movie, is composed of a series of scenes with experiences, conversations and moments you allow to happen.

In the movie, a dad asked his grown daughter to play catch. Mad at her father, at first she said no, but later changed her mind. It turned into a beautiful encounter, and fostered a breakthrough in their relationship. The daughter allowed the moment and was rewarded with a fond memory forever etched in her mind. Her dad died that night.

What if she had refused that moment? Surely it would remain a great regret. It's up to each of us to allow such moments. It's up to each of us to embrace our challenges, embrace our lessons and embrace life.

Stuart Hamblen's lyrics say it well, "When you are unhappy, the devil wears a grin but oh, he starts a-running when the light comes pouring in."

So, let the sunshine in.

Staff writer
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