Slogging Through the Muck

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Slogging through the muck is not a very uplifting phrase. In fact, it reminds me of trekking across a sea of thick, oozing mud that sucks at my feet with every step I take in an effort to keep me in place preventing me from moving forward, each step draining energy from my being. Sounds delightful. Sign me up for the trek. I’m really looking forward to a life of slogging. Not.

So, why are so many of us slogging instead of skipping and leaping? Surely, when we were born, we didn’t sign up for terminal yuck – at least if finding our joy and happiness is what were are born to do as so many of the gurus out there tell us. So why do we do it?

Let’s start with a little clarification so we are on the same page. Slogging is walking through something with difficulty — putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. The implication is negative, although it need not be. And muck is the non-mud mud. It is the heavy energy surrounding us that we mistakenly feel is real, when in reality it is an illusion. It is the fog of our minds created by us in an effort to protect us from our joy. But why do we need protection, and especially why do we need to be protected from joy, when this is what we are ultimately looking for?

The fear of being happy when others are not limits the joy we allow ourselves to feel. By reading about and watching the tragedies around us, we keep our energy from feeling the true happiness within. We build the muck within us then put one foot in front of the other and slog through life depriving us of our true selves. After all, how can we be happy if others aren’t?

“How can I be happy when xyz is happening?” Just because others aren’t happy doesn’t mean you can’t be. The fear of being happy when others are not limits the joy we allow ourselves to feel. When tragedies happen, it is very easy to get sucked into the drama. It doesn’t matter if the drama is about a fight between two friends or two nations. If we add more negative energy to the already negative goings on, how can it possibly become positive? The only way is to add lots of positive energy, enough to overcome the negative, so that a solution can be found. And amazingly enough, an easy way to add positive energy is for each of us to be happy. We can make this choice, or we can choose to slog through the muck and join everybody else who feels yucky

This sounds ridiculous, yet it happens. To this I ask: if we are unhappy, will it make a difference to the starving people around the world? No. Will our unhappiness matter to the millions affected by floods, famine, earthquakes, or other natural disasters? No. But our happiness will matter. For when we are happy, we move forward and can change the world for the better. Happiness gives us strength and fortitude to live each day and by doing so we help ourselves, others, and the world.

By feeling happiness, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have compassion for others. But it does mean that we have compassion for ourselves and from this our compassion, love, happiness, etc. can grow until it flows out of our bodies in feelings and deeds ultimately helping those around us.

This whole idea of being happy seems obvious, yet many of us forget that we can be happy anyway. Dr. Ron Jahner, a friend of mine, constantly asks me “And could you be happy anyway?” At first, I said “sure.” But there wasn’t a lot of feeling behind it. Then I noticed that he was always happy, even when things didn’t go his way. So, I started paying attention a little bit more. Could this be reproduced or is it just the way he is? What I found out was that he makes a decision to feel happy anyway. When I first started learning about “making the decision” I couldn’t fathom how it would be done, because I wasn’t happy by nature and I didn’t know how to be.

But last night, a very interesting thing happened. I was talking with my dad about a leak somewhere around my house that none of the experts can find that is starting to affect the structure of the house. I made the comment that “every time there is a new crack, my friend and I laugh about it.” It is sort of like what else can go wrong? If I wasn’t laughing, I’d be crying. My dad was appalled that I wasn’t taking it seriously. When in reality, I was working to find the source of the leak and fix the problem. But I said, “Even though this is difficult, I’m working on it, but I choose to be happy anyway.” Then it hit me. By repeating the phrase, “and could I be happy anyway?” whenever something was a challenge, I had trained my mind to be happy. I had done it. Wow!! Even as I write this, I’m in total amazement.

So, I started looking back for other examples of how this has worked in my life. And they were there. I just hadn’t put it together before. But what is truly amazing is a comment that Adam made while we were on vacation. He had eaten something that didn’t agree with him and was spending time in the washroom. But he wasn’t upset (being happy is his natural state). He said, “Even though I’m in here, it is easier to go to the bathroom.” We laughed, then he followed up with the best praise he could have given me: “Mom, you have taught us to look for the good in every situation.” Wow, not only have I changed my life, I have helped someone else. And all this was by asking, “And could I be happy anyway?”

So, if you really want to help the world, stop slogging through the muck and be happy.

One comment
  1. carolyn January 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Slogging Through the Muck:

    I really loved this article and it truly resonated with me. And the visual of slogging through the muck is spot on to that feeling. I am generally happy and an optimist. But I must admit, boy are there times when you can get into a very dark deep negative space. Also kind of like the visual of Hayao Miyazaki’s in “Spirited Away” the animated movie and there is this water spirit that slimes into the bath house for a cleansing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6az9wGfeSgM
    Upon reading your article it truly shifted my energy, it let me feel my feelings, knowing it is o.k. to be there but that we have choice and can slowly shift out of our fear it was like a beam of light and conscious awareness. Thank you.

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