Happiness is a choice. I believe in that. I believe we can will ourselves into a positive space. I believe that our mood does not rule us or dictate our path at any moment in time. We are not a product of our emotions, our emotions are a product of us. I believe that we determine how we feel and that begins with a choice.
I also believe we can use an assist sometimes.
There’s a thousand ways to help yourself into a good space, to rule how you feel, when you are feeling stuck. You may exercise. You may write. You may meditate or do yoga or pray. You may run naked through a mall in a fireman’s helmet and argyle socks. Like I said, there’s a thousand ways to do it.
I go with smoothies and Barry Gibb.
(Bear with me)
I am not always a peach in the morning, I will be the first to admit. My parents, wife, kids, old roommates and anyone peddling religion before 10 would be a close second to admit. Nearing the completion of my fourth decade of being generally pissed when I wake up, I think I have finally found the remedy for my sourness. Though, I’m not ruling out a future trip to the mall in extreme circumstances.
I kind of stumbled onto this solution, then again stumbling is about all I do right when I wake up. Well, that, furrow my brow and swear a lot. The general routine goes something like this in the morning: My wife, being the lighter sleeper, wakes as soon as the kids do. She then dedicates a good chunk of time to getting me to join the party. Once I stir to vertical, I head to the kitchen to begin the daily preparation portion of our show, which will often include firing up the old Pandora for some background music. In an effort to please the masses, I don’t opt for the Tool station I might otherwise choose and find something a little more bipartisan.
I’m a uniter, I know.
So, one morning, with my first cup of coffee still steaming and my brow rigidly furrowed, it happened. With a quick but gentle drum intro and an almost Caribbean disco organ riff (did I just invent a genre?), a breathy woman’s voice oozes into the morning air.
“It’s over and done, but the heartache lives on inside”
Damn, that’s smooth. I remember this song. Who is this?
I make my way back into the kitchen to continue the routine and realize there’s a glide in my step. ‘ello?
“And where are you now, now that I need you”
Now I’m standing at the fridge gathering ingredients for a new breakfast choice in our house that plays along with our perpetual attempts to make better food choices.
“Tears on my pillow wherever you go-oh”
Apples, spinach, ginger, coconut water….is my ass moving?
“I’ll cry me a river that leads to your ocean”
With a couple deft whacks of the knife that strangely is hitting the cutting board in rhythm, everything goes into the blender.
“You’ll never see me fall apart”
I hesitate to hit ‘liquefy’. Still can’t place the song, but notice that my brow is peaceful and I am unabashedly swaying.
“In the words of a broken heart, it’s just emotion taking me over”
Barry Gibb, you sonofabitch!
My morning duties were then officially delayed for the next two minutes and thirty eight seconds. The admittedly natural feather in my morning hair bounced right along with me.
I was owning it in the kitchen.
As Samantha Sang, Barry and the boys faded out the blender fired up, bestowing a beautifully speckled green beverage. I took a sip to test my concoction and knew that mornings were to be forever transformed. Like the haunting Seventies cheese that filled our house and moved me to groove only moments before, the smoothie was velvet. Earthy, but sweet. With just the right understated kick.
I drank about half of my breakfast and relived the chorus at the top of my lungs walking back to see if I could iron something for my wife. I checked the clock. 7:15. I felt great.
7:15 and I was dancing.
Happiness is a choice. But sometimes we need help making that choice. Sometimes we can make little choices that can start us down the right path, like what we choose to eat or bathe our senses in. I hadn’t, to that point, figured out how to choose to be happy as I approached a new day, even when that day is destined to be filled with joy and laughter. I needed help and managed to find it, strangely enough, in a green smoothie and Barry Gibb. Don’t judge.