With so much strife and discord in the news lately, my manservant, Clive, and I have taken to turning off the television early in the evening and devoting ourselves to gentlemanly pursuits. We read, keep up with our journals, chat with friends near and far, and take in an episode or two of whatever we find interesting on the porn hubs. By evening’s end we find ourselves spent and ready for a good night’s sleep before tackling the day ahead.
Our day’s are not much more different. We tend to avoid difficult people and situations. Here in South Florida people are testy when it comes to wearing masks. While most are mindful of their health and that of those around them, there’s always one or two “Karens” walking around a grocery store adamant that her “rights” are being violated by having to wear a mask. One “Karen” insisted she had a medical respiratory condition that prevented her from wearing a face covering. Clive, tactful as he is, ventured he did not know of any respiratory health condition where wearing a mask was not encouraged, let alone necessary, before he was verbally assaulted by the woman in ways I have not seen since Humiliation Thursdays at the local leather bar.
All this leads me to think people are very unhappy. One only has to look at the headlines to feel discouraged about getting out bed each morning to face goodness only knows what! Even I have felt like pulling the covers over my head in the mornings, not wanting to leave the comforts of my bed chamber. But running an estate and maintaining a social presence in the community is part of my daily routine, so I have to make sure I am always ready to handle difficult situations and problematic folk.
My day begins just as the sun rises. Clive, always by my bedside so early in the morning, is ready to assist by pulling the covers away from me with the skill of a Spanish matador facing a raging bull; he encourages my waking by pulling the curtains open allowing the bright sunlight into the room as he ignores my pleads for a ten minute snooze. Already clad in his tight exercise outfit, I can’t resist the allure of his bulging thighs and crotch bursting in all the right places. As I stumble out of bed, I insist on doing my morning rituals nude, the way my spiritual mentor, Maha Singar, taught me in the all nude male ashram located deep in the Florida Everglades.
“Happiness comes from within,” Maha Singar taught. Each and every morning he had us practice breathing exercises and stretches I later learned were nothing more than Qi Gong practiced by people all over the world. Why he had us practice them in the nude I never discovered; I did find, however, the freedom from clothes less constraining and liberating. After our physical exertions, Maha Singar had us practice meditation for an hour before breakfast. The combination of movement and stillness, followed by a silent morning breakfast, taught me the virtues of practicing silence by most people. To date, I’d rather not hear a word from anyone until after 10:30, when I’m fully awake after three cups of coffee.
Beginning the day with mindful practices helps me feel centered and collected. I am better able to face the day ahead after an invigorating Qi-energy bath followed by contemplative breathing. Allowing my mind to rest on the sound of my secret mantra helps me collect my thoughts and allows me the space to realize happiness lies deep within my heart. I need not look for calm, peace, and happiness outside myself. All I need I already have. Joy does not depend on any situation going my way – though it’s nice when things do turn out the way I hoped. And I don’t rely on anyone to be or make me happy – though it makes me endlessly happy when Clive brings me coffee to bed on Sundays, the one day of the week when he does allow me to slumber past 10:30.
Happiness is something you do, I said to Maha Singar on my last day at his nude ashram. I’ve come to realize I’m happiest when I practice and do simple things that mean something to me. Writing, meditating, sharing a meal with a friend…I’m happy when I do these things, not when I’m waiting or hoping for them.
Maha Singar looked into my eyes and held me in a tight embrace that lasted what felt ages. “Then do happy,” he said. And ever since then, I have been doing. Boy, have I been doing.