Where do you go, mentally and emotionally, when your entire life feels like it is falling apart?
Some people just emote: cry, yell, and vent.
Some people close up and shut everyone else out.
Some people go spend a lot of money. Retail therapy, you know.
Some people scrub, rearrange and purge clutter.
Some people pray real hard.
Some people dream big dreams about what could be.
Some people just read their Bibles quietly.
Some people literally pack up and leave town.
Some people post all about it on Facebook (and we all wish that they hadn't).
Do you have a happy place? Have you created an internal place of refuge that brings you back to center?
Of course, what we are really talking about are coping mechanisms. Everyone has a bad day here and there. Everyone. Sometimes, though, people have a bad year, or bad YEARS. Sometimes there is so much loss that the soul resembles Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese that has been left out overnight and is now limp and greasy. Some people never really recover from their losses.
I was speaking with someone the other day and they admitted that they do not have a happy place at all. There is no internal place of comfort and peace. That it seems to be black everywhere. One day I just blurted out, "Rainbows and unicorns!" I then explained that when I felt the mood had gone too far into the blackness I would say, "Rainbows and unicorns!" to change the mood. I don't think it helped.
That got me thinking about whether I had my own happy place.
When I was younger I learned the art of escapism. I had a wonderful imagination, regularly climbed trees, even hid out on our roof. I knew how to get away from the pain. But I never dealt with it.
When I got a little older I didn't escape as much. It didn't seem to work. Of course, I was a poor single mom, and escaping for an adult usually costs money. There were no free Kindle books then and I have never been a crier which is a real shame.
Then I "got religion*" and was taught that escapism was wrong, bad, cowardly.
A few years more down the road and I had a couple more children, a disconnected husband, and an idealistic point of view -- I have always been idealistic. I began to finally reach a point where I had to face my demons instead of hiding or escaping from them. Oh, I still had my escapes. Were they really escapes, or were they my "happy places"?
After the loss of an early pregnancy, I planted an herb garden in my backyard. Was that an escape or a therapeutic exercise? I created something beautiful and useful as a way to work through my pain and disappointment. I realized that my happy place is not an internal place where only I am allowed. My happy place is something external, something beautiful that I can enjoy but can also share with those around me. The internal part is the planning, which is extremely pleasurable to me. This is the truly creative part of any project, and might have something to do with the oh so many unfinished projects in my possession.
So my happy place is creating something. That is what truly settles me down, brings me back to a place of civility and calm.
What or where is your "happy place"?
*In 1984 I joined a church that was a borderline cult. It didn't quite qualify as a Reverend Jones kind of cult, but it had controlling leadership, isolation, and no heart. It was legalistic and therefore "religion," not a healthy spirituality.