The Man Who Was Looking For Happiness — Part 2
This is the second part of a short story about a man who was looking for happiness.
You can read how his journey began in the first part of the story here.
And now I know that some of you are looking forward to the second part, so without any further delay, I am giving you the second part.
The following week Chris entered Judy’s office with a few questions. He had thought about the exercises and there was something bothering him.
“What is happiness, Judy? I have been feeling great lately and I am wondering, is this it? Is happiness just feeling good and doing the things that make you feel accomplished and appreciated consciously and subconsciously?”
“You got it quite well, Chris, but that’s not all. Happiness is very individual to everyone — you might be happy married and I might be happy single, you know what I mean? But the questions we need to answer are the same. Should I be single or married? Then everyone has their own answer that makes them happy. When reality and answer do not match, we are unhappy. We can either change the reality or the answer.” explained Judy.
“I see,” said Chris quietly while scratching his chin, “so I have been finding my own answers, and that’s why I feel better…”
“It’s up to you to decide this, I can only ask you the questions.” said Judy while looking at a folder.”Now, I thought you are impatient to do the next activity. I am ready with it.”
“Yes, please! Tell me what I am doing this week.” answered Chris coming back from his thoughts.
“Well, this week on Monday, I want you to go to work and find 5 problems or issues that need to be solved and do not look very hopeful. I want you to write them down and then come up with the imaginary ideal situation that would resolve this issue.”
“Can those be personal issues as well? I have some of those….” asked Chris smiling.
“Sure! I just want you to focus on thinking positive about these problems. Even if it seems that they won’t be or can’t be solved I want you to write your perfect scenarios. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. I want you to keep this note with you. Every time you come across the problem and see no exit, read the solution. Okay?”
“Sounds like fun!” replied Chris thinking how will he limit it to 5.
Next Monday he did exactly as instructed. It was really entertaining to come up with imaginary perfect scenarios. As the week passed 4 out of the 6 problems went kaboom and didn’t resolve quite positively. But the other two turned out quite okay (not as he wished but still not catastrophic).
The thing is that Chris knew the problems would escalate and prepared for that but he could only think about the positive imaginary solutions and didn’t even feel a drop of worry throughout the week.
“Thank you!” was the first thing he said to Judy at next week’s session.”This was a good anti-anxiety and stress-relief exercise.”
“You only need to thank yourself and the universal power. And the more you do it, the better it will get.” said Judy smiling and looking at him above her reading glasses. “So, Chris, I know you are protestant born but do you believe in God?”
“Well, yes, I go to church now and then and try to be a good person. I believe in God but I am not really a good practitioner….Why are you asking?”
“I see. I am asking you this because next week’s exercise has to do with spiritual work and I was wondering if you would prefer prayer or meditation.”
“I haven’t prayed in years, or, yeah I did, at the last football game, for a score, but that doesn’t really count, right?” replied Chris laughing.
“Would you mind trying? Just for a week. And it is a very simple prayer. It is just three sentences:
Thank you for…..
Forgive me for….
And you need to fill in the blanks with your own words. Make them different every day, just go with the flow.” said Judy passing him a note.
Wow, that was the weirdest therapy that he had heard of! Chris took the note and thought that he had no idea what to write on the dotted line.
“You don’t need to make it big — write things from your life, from your day. Thank for the good weather or the parking spot. Be forgiven for forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning. Such stuff.”
“Okay, I promise to try,” said Chris “but I am not sure if I can keep this even for 3 days!”
“That’s fine, little progress is better than no progress at all. I am looking forward to see you next week, Chris.” said Judy.
Chris left Judy’s office thinking that this was a very strange therapy and put a reminder on his phone to ask his colleague where she got the info on that therapist.
While driving back to work he couldn’t stop the voice in his head…
Thank you for the job I am looking forward to go to every day.
Forgive me for doubting my therapist.
Please make that traffic move faster!
Next week he brought his prayer notes to Judy but she didn’t show any interest in reading them. Instead she asked:
“How are you today Chris?”
“I feel powerless and powerful after this week of prayer. It’s the weirdest thing.”
“That’s interesting, right? Feeling two opposites at the same time is usually the affect that meditation has on us. It is like finding the balance. Not feeling the opposites but feeling them both at the same time as well.”
“So I meditated through prayer?” asked Chris with curiosity.
“In a way you connected to your spiritual side, doesn’t matter what you call it.” replied Judy while taking notes.”By the way I hear that your lessons with my niece Claire are going quite well. She is delighted to have you as tutor and she says you are way better than most of her professors. How about that, ah?”
“You know, I have enjoyed it as lot! I had never done anything like that and I realize that I am a good teacher and I like it at the same time. Maybe I am in the wrong profession…” joked Chris.
“That’s not so funny actually. I think teaching and helping others is one of your biggest strengths that you hadn’t discovered or applied up until now. How would you feel doing more of it?”
“I would love to but I really don’t have the time — between my job, my social commitments and relationship, it’s almost impossible” shook his head Chris.”Although there is a new trainee program at work. They are hiring 4 new interns for the summer and we were looking for someone to train them but no volunteers so far…”
“Do you think you will feel good and fulfilled if you helped them out to learn about your company and architecture as a whole?” asked Judy.
“I would love to but I am not sure how this would fit among my other responsibilities. It’s hard to move things around, I have so many projects…”
“And so many excuses!” interrupted him Judy smiling.
“I suppose I could try, I am really the right person to train these young souls, you know!”
“It would be great if you explore this new strength of yours Chris, I think it is exactly what you need career-wise. But today I wanted to talk about your relationship actually, before giving you your next exercise. How is it going?” asked Judy.
“It’s going great with the dogs!” laughed Chris “We hang out all the time. But with Maggie, it’s a bit…boring, I would say. We used to do so many things together, but now it’s only TV and we never have time or energy for anything else.”
“That’s not a big deal, if you still love each other deeply.” commented Judy.
“Yes, we do most definitely! It’s just we are not excited and happy anymore.” replied Chris with a deep sigh.
“Okay, I think you last exercise will help. First tell me what is the most fun you two have had together?”
“The many trips we took. We used to go for a destination and then change plans along the way. It was impulsive, fun and…well, we were very much in love.”
“Then here you go with your task — I want you to get up on Saturday morning and tell Maggie you have a surprise. I want you to grab a jacket, wallet and car keys and both get out of your apartment and keep driving without a direction. Just go somewhere. You can’s stope before you have passed 100 miles. Can you do that?”
“She will love it but I have to work on Saturday so I can’t really do it.” started Chris.
“Yes, Chris, you have to work on Saturday — on your relationship. You and Maggie need to do the things that you both love. This is how you create a happy relationship.”
“Can you text me to remind me that on Saturday morning?”asked Chris ironically when leaving Judy’s office.
He really had to work. But he also knew that he and Maggie needed this. He was determined to do it no matter what.
As he entered his office building he went directly to the HR manager and told her that he would be taking on the training of the new interns this summer. She was quite surprised but happy to hear they had finally found someone to take responsibility and it was him exactly.
Chris went to his office and started daydreaming about an exciting, joyful and happy Saturday with Maggie.
On the way home he bought her favorite ice-cream and he felt like it’s their first date again.
He felt differently today. He didn’t know if he had found happiness. He just knew that he was feeling good and he didn’t want this to ever stop.
In the end Chris was not sure what has changed in his life but he liked the change. This is how happiness feels. It is an overwhelming feeling of content, love and satisfaction that you want to surrender to.
Happiness is this state of life that you don’t want anything to change. Just a moment of perfection. The moment might not last, but the feeling of constantly feeling good does.
And what else is happiness than just feeling good….
I hope this story has inspired you to not look for the big change that will transform your life into a happy one. It is the small things that we do on a daily basis that crate our feeling of happiness. And when we create small actionable happiness habits, all we have is joy, every day, all day.
Keep doing what you do best!
Minty aka Antoniya
Did you like the story? I would love to read your comments on the characters — how does Judy know what Chris needs?
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Originally published at mintyhideout.com on March 25, 2015.