Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Be Happy: Its Adar!

According to the Jewish calendar, the month of Adar starts February 4th and 5th.  The Jewish calendar is very complex, because it is based on lunar (moon) cycles, but with corrections based on solar (sun) cycles. That is why Jewish holidays always happen at the same time of year, but on different dates on the Gregorian calendar.  This year is a leap year, with a whole month added, so there are 2 months of Adar this year (this happens 7 times in a 19 year cycle).
According to tradition, we are supposed to be happy during the month of Adar. This is because of the holiday of Purim, which commemorates the overturning of a plot to kill all the Jews in Persia (the story is read each year from the Book of Esther.
Whether you are Jewish or not, this is a good time to think about what makes you happy.  The pursuit of happiness is a lifelong quest for many people.  They are constantly striving for one more possession, or ten less pounds, or a thousand more dollars.  Often they find, when they get whatever it was they were chasing, that they are no happier than they were before.  It isn't having what you want that makes one happy, it is wanting what you have. The people who are happiest are the ones who are satisfied with what they have, not constantly fighting for something different. 
So how does this apply to those of us with chronic illness or chronic pain?  I doubt that very many of us are really satisfied with our health situation, especially if it infringes on our ability to function.  It is important to remember that we are not our pain, and we are not our illness.  These are just aspects of us.  We are human beings, complex packages of cells with feelings and thoughts, sensations and motivations, wants and needs.  We can choose what we focus on, and what we focus on influences what we do and how we feel.
I choose to focus on creating: writing my blog, doing my art, preparing for my support group presentations, cooking.  I am a homebody, I would usually rather hang out at home with my husband and cat than go out.  My ideal afternoon is snuggling in front of the wood stove with a good book, my fleece blanket, and my cat.  (During the summer, I would exchange the wood stove and fleece blanket for a hammock, but keep the book and the cat.)  This is what makes me happy. 
What makes you happy?  Not next week, or next year, or when the kids are grown or you get that promotion you hope for. What makes you happy right now? 


  1. My kids, my grandkids, my pets, the wildlife down here on the "farm", taking pictures of all of the above and writing stories for my grandkids are the things that truely make me happy.
    It is sad that it took a life changing event (not of my own doing) for me to see it.

  2. Thanks for sharing what makes you happy. It is a sad fact that for many of us, we don't see what is most important in our lives until something happens that forces us to slow down and refocus our priorities.