On performing with Bono, happiness, and improbability

In about 3 weeks I will be facilitating a workshop about songwriting for peace and justice. I canNOT tell you how happy this makes me! Even pondering it just lights me up. Seriously, It is 85 degrees and I am sitting here in the heart of the Palouse with thousands and thousands of acres surrounding me – thinking about the workshop and I seriously think I am glowing. Just turn off the sun. I can single-handedly ripen those crops right now.

Come to find out, there are many things I do not need in order to be happy! First, and most importantly, I don’t need everything all tidied up or organized in my life to be happy.

I also don’t need to answer ~or have answers to~ life’s most persistent questions (go for it Guy Noir.) I don’t need to be asked to play backup for Bruce Cockburn, even if our voices would sound AMAZING together. I don’t need everything to be just right with my family members near and far. I don’t need another Taylor guitar, not even this one! (Feel free to start a fund if you want to be supportive.)

Additionally, I don’t need everyone to think I’m clever, humorous, beautiful, and deep. (I am all of those things, if you didn’t know.) I don’t need people of faith to be perfect and agreeable with Desmond Tutu (and yes, it would be good for them, but that’s OK if they don’t agree with him and me). I don’t need the blinds clean. I don’t need my dog to pee only in the indestructible ground cover so as not to burn up the grass. I don’t need everyone to agree with me. I really need very little to be happy.

There is a tremendous resource of happiness that comes from thinking, wondering, and working with the things that matter to you most. That alone can tip your happiness scale. If you let it.

Give it a try. It won’t last forever, but if you want to be happier, spend a little time thinking about the things that “light you up.” You don’t need them to be attainable at all. Really. Just enjoy the things that make you happy. It seems sort of obvious, but it isn’t. At least for some of us.

This is what I suggest: think about 3 wildly happy, crazily unlikely things you can imagine for your life, say in 5 years. You know the kind of thing that you probably wouldn’t tell anyone because they’d think you were delusional? Write them down. Don’t be embarrassed. Just do it. I did. Guess what happens when you read it every day? Instant happy! Seriously giddy-crazy happy.

No, it won’t last forever. And, it may never come true. It’s not hurting anyone. It may be just the thing you need to rock your inner cynic to sleep.

Do you need an example?

So, let’s say one of your completely insanely crazy, wildly improbable happy thoughts is that you are at a U2 concert when he, Bono, invites you up to sing with him. He invites you by name. (pause to imagine this) And, then  he tells tens of thousands of people about the fabulous peace and justice work you are doing. (pause again…) And then, Bono himself invites you to sing with him one of YOUR songs.

O.K. Maybe that isn’t your personal improbable thing – but guess what? The one you come up with will make you smile. If all you spend your precious time and energy on is the trouble and challenges that life brings, even if they are ultimately good – and you never stop to enjoy the ideas that light you up… you are missing something great.

Now, go do this right now. It can give you an important shift in consciousness. Maybe some day you will awaken after some steps toward that crazy goal and find yourself either happier, or on stage at a  U2 concert. It wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

In the meantime, if you like folk music, folk dancing, sea chanties, talented and diverse performers with lots of life in them, come! http://www.tumbleweedfest.org/ I’ll also be performing 3:30 on Saturday. My workshop will be on Saturday at 11:45.

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