Acceptance vs. Expectation – It’s Our Choice

“Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” – George Orwell

I have struggled for the last six days with this post. Maybe because I believe it is one of the most important lessons for us to learn, but probably one of the hardest. Or maybe it had something to do with those limiting beliefs we all live with, fear of failure or fear of success. And so I, of course, considered not even writing it at all, and give up my blog and figure out something else. I guess I was being human. I began to doubt myself, and  my ability to do, have, or be anything I wish.

But, thankfully, I changed my mind about that and decided that this post would need a story instead. I don’t know that I am the best storyteller in the world, probably not even close, but sometimes a story can illustrate an author’s point better than an essay. So I am going to give it my best shot.

Getting into arguments with family or friends is never very enjoyable, especially when it comes to religion or politics. They really are two subjects that, until we are willing to accept other people’s opinions, whether we like them or not, so without judgment, it really should be avoided at all costs. I know this. I try and practice it daily. I do not go around telling everyone my religious or political beliefs because I know that not everyone is going to agree with them, and I am okay with that, but not everyone is okay with me not believing like they do.

Point in case, it has been five weeks and two days since my mother has said more than a couple of words to me, and the words she did say were to let me know that she did love me but she would never respect my beliefs. I am not angry with my mom for her behavior. My mother is what you would call a “bible thumper.” I really don’t like using that word to describe her, but it fits. She takes her Christianity, and the beliefs that go along with it, very seriously. She is not speaking to me because we got into a discussion about religion. And I know better. Unless you can say something in agreement with my mother on her religion and her politics, it’s better off left unsaid. My mother and I have existed for 53 years together and so know her well.

I went over to her house to visit on a Sunday a couple of weeks before Christmas. I hadn’t been over for a bit, so told her I would stop by and chat so we could catch up on things. My parents are getting up there in age so I like to touch base frequently. I don’t remember what we were discussing, but I do remember the conversation turning to religion. And like I said, I know better than to get into this discussion with my mother. She is one of the people I spoke about in a previous paragraph, the ones who aren’t okay with you not believing what they do.

But I do remember we were talking about how the world was going to hell, at least that is how I would say it. Profanity is not something you hear come out of my mom’s mouth very often, but me…I believe that every once in awhile it totally fits the situation. So anyway, the world is going to hell, and she makes a reference to how technology is the reason the world is in a mess.

I began to disagree with her. I told her that there is both good and bad to technology, and that you can’t blame the problems in the world solely on technology. I don’t remember much after that except that she started asking me questions about what I believe in. She did not like my answers…at all. You see, my mother is probably not the most open-minded person when it comes to the whole religion and God and Jesus thing. I just didn’t realize how much so. I do now.

Now I know she doesn’t like the things I said, but I did not think that my beliefs were that far off her base, like she did. I am beginning to believe it is maybe because she expected me to say one thing, and I said something totally different. And since I did not say what she expected, and she can not see herself accepting what I did say (this I know for a fact because she told me she will never respect my beliefs) she is very disappointed. I believe she is disappointed because these are not the things she raised my sister or I to believe.

My sister and I were raised Catholic, for as long as I can remember anyway. We weren’t always Catholic but when my mom married my step-dad she made the decision to convert, and so we, her daughters, followed suit. We spent hours listening to my step-dad tell us stories about being raised in a very strict Catholic family. We would laugh when he talked about being whacked on the knuckles with a yard stick by the nuns. Evidently you were not allowed to rest your backside against the church pews when you attended a Parochial school. I am not sure if my mother wanted my sister and I to experience this because she felt we needed a good whacking; but nonetheless, we all converted. And I didn’t have a problem with converting to Catholicism; I actually liked it to tell you the truth.

I never had my knuckles hit with a ruler but got to experience all the other rituals that came with being called a Catholic. Not only did we attend Mass every Sunday (hungover or not, yes, hungover; I spent my teenage years in a small town in northeastern Montana, so yeah, hungover), and confession on Saturday (hence the hangover on Sunday; the wilder Catholic kids, we were forgiven for our sins on Saturday, the priest told us so, so might as well go out and start all over again), and CCD on Wednesday nights. So having been raised the way I was, I’m sure my mom is having a hard time wrapping her brain around, and accepting that I am no longer conforming to the same beliefs she does.

I’m not sure, as I look back, what it was I enjoyed so much, if it was the repetitive nature of Mass with all the prayers you recite (that you have spent years memorizing, which I was good at), or it was the fact that when you are raised as a military brat you really never have a place you can call home. But if you belong to the Catholic church all you need to do is find the closest one, start going to Mass, and you just kind of fit right in because you always recite the same prayers, and sing the same hymns, the same way, all…the…time. So regardless of why, I enjoyed being raised as a Catholic.

Now as I got older and had children I fell away from the church, as sometimes happens when we leave home. And I definitely had a falling out with the Catholic church. But my mom was always okay with that because by that time she and my father had converted to Christianity, so staying Catholic wasn’t that big of a deal anymore. I have gone to Mass a few times since then but the last time I was there, it didn’t feel “right” anymore, and so haven’t attended since. But like I said, everyone is okay with that because my beliefs hadn’t changed at all, only the church I might attend.

And I have attended church throughout the years of my children growing up. I never attended the way my mother would have liked, but she was able to get me and my kids there on Christmas and Easter, and seemed content with that, which I was also. There have been times in my life where I felt like I was missing something and would seek solace in going to church, which thrilled my mother to no ends. And so that is how we had been living for a number of years.

About five years ago my youngest natural-born son, who was a 9th grader at the time, advised me that he would like to attend the private Catholic high school (that just happened to be his current high school’s arch rival) the following fall. I laughed because I thought he was joking and said, “yeah, right…” And he informed me, as seriously as he could, that “No, I really do, mom. I want to go to Central.”

And so in the fall of his Sophomore year, my son began to attend Billings Central Catholic High School, (whose tuition was not paid with our yearly property taxes, if you get my drift.) I still, to this day, do not know how my husband and I could afford to send both of our boys to a private high school for three years. I don’t really care how we did, just know that I am very grateful they were able to receive the education they did by going to a private school.

What is ironic is that my questions about my faith and the beliefs, that I had been raised with, came about because of an incident that happened at the new school. It was an incident that changed my son, and I will say forever, because there hasn’t been a day go by that he hasn’t thought about it in four years. For him, it was the end of a childhood dream. For me, I had to sit back and figure out how to help my son mend his broken heart. And so my search began.

I don’t remember a lot of specifics about the incident. But I do remember me saying to my son, “well, maybe God is testing you?” And as adamantly as he had informed me that he wanted to attend this high school six months previous, he told me, “My God does not test me, mother. A test implies passing or failing, and I do not think I can fail in my God’s eyes.” It was the most grown up thing I had heard any 16-year-old say. Those are the only words I really remember from a six-hour conversation I had with my son that day.

And I then spent the next four years asking questions and soaking up as much knowledge as I could about living, and God, and beliefs, and what is our purpose, and about dreams, and wisdom, and how to live with true happiness. And actually, my son and I started asking these questions about the same time. At that time my mother said to me and my son, “it is good to have questions about your faith.” I don’t think she agrees with that statement anymore. I think she wished she would have told me that it is okay to have questions, as long as you get the same answers that you have always gotten in regards to God and the like.

Now, just so you all know, I do believe in God. I just prefer to not attach a pronoun when talking about God. I don’t see God as a he, she, or it, only love, compassion, and forgiveness. I feel that when you attach a pronoun, you are limiting God to our human capabilities, which are imperfect and flawed. I also believe that Jesus walked this earth, and that he had great things to teach us about living, with both his life and his death. Maybe, possibly more than what we have been led to believe for centuries.

I prefer to believe that it is how we treat human beings, including ourselves, and other living things that helps us find our happiness, not what God or what belief system we choose to follow. There are reportedly at least 150,000 religions out there, how can any one of them be right, or wrong for that matter? And why do people use their religious or political beliefs to justify their mistreatment of other human beings?

“I’m not afraid of werewolves or vampires or haunted hotels,
I’m afraid of what real human beings to do other real human beings.”
– Walter Jon Williams

I am trying to understand why my mother does not want to speak to me right now. Thank goodness for my new perspective, the one she doesn’t like, because if I had my old perspective it would probably be eating me alive, the fact that she has kind of disowned me for  now.

But whether I understand it or not, I will continue to live my life, trying to be a better person today than I was yesterday, and believing that love, kindness, and forgiveness is a way to a better world, so can only accept her feelings about me right now.

And so, this is a story in acceptance vs. expectation. I accept that my mother is not pleased with me, and I do not like that she and my father have chosen not to talk to me because of my beliefs and the fact that they don’t fall in alignment with theirs, but I am okay. I am happy because I can do nothing to control other people’s behavior; I can only control my reaction to it. And I choose happiness.

But I know that as long as they continue to expect me to have their same beliefs, and the continue to be disappointed because I don’t, they will continue to create suffering for themselves. Their being angry at me, and not talking to me, will probably (because we never know what is around the next corner) not make me change my mind, and so their anger is serving no purpose, except probably making them miserable. And so I only hope for their own inner peace, that they accept me for who I am, beliefs and all, knowing that I am the same person I have always been. I just choose to see life through a different set of lenses. But we humans are stubborn when it comes to us bring right, and someone else being wrong, so we will see..

-The Happy Human








We Can Be Happy – in spite of the losses we experience

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” – Dalai Lama XIV

There is no denying that when we lose something it hurts, and depending on the size of the loss, it can hurt like hell. But we can still be happy in spite of the losses we experience during our lives. This would be because your happiness never came from the things you have lost, but because it came from within you. Situations or people do not have the ability to bring you true happiness, that can only come from within. Yet we, as humans, depend on other people to make us happy, or situations to turn out the way we want them to to be happy.

Even though loss is something that we experience almost daily, as the poem says, it is one of the hardest challenges for humans to process through. I would imagine that is why it is necessary for us to go through what is called a grief cycle when we experience a loss. Usually when we think of the grief cycle we think of someone dying. But we also go through mini-grief cycles anytime we suffer a loss.

The grief cycle consists of denial, anger, bargaining, depression (sadness), and acceptance. These are the emotions that we can go through when we experience a loss. We will not always experience all of them. The ones I listed pertain more to a death of a close friend or family. But with the mini-grief cycles we still experience these emotions, just not as intensely.

These mini-grief cycles are experienced usually in a matter of seconds,  others take longer depending on what the loss involved. When we lose our favorite pen, it is mere seconds that we grieve, but we do grieve. If we happen to lose a job, the cycle will evidently last longer. And when it comes to the death of a loved one, or someone close, it is hard to say how long the grief will last…years I think. But no matter how long the grief cycle lasts, it is necessary for us to process through each grief cycle.

If we don’t process through a cycle the way we need to, and we then experience another intense loss, we begin to hold onto those emotions we experience during the grief cycle, and allow them to impact us in all different sorts of ways, both mentally and physically. When we have a loss, it is our job to not only experience these emotions of sadness and anger, and the like, but to sometimes embrace them. But we have got to learn to let go of them also, otherwise they will cripple us.

We human have an innate ability to get stuck in our grief cycles because we have never learned to let go of things. It is not one of the things we are taught growing up, like reading and writing. Our parents don’t teach it because even they have a hard time coping with loss or death, and letting go, so are not well equipped to teach their children how to do it. And so the cycle continues…

Maybe one of the reasons we get stuck is because we want control of something when we experience a loss that is out of our control. So if you can hold back your feelings, and not let yourself cry when you are sad, then you are able to control something at that time, even if it is your own feelings. But it is very very important that we allow ourselves to be sad during our losses, it is okay to cry when you lose something. It does not make you weak. It hurts and causes intense pain sometimes when we lose something or someone we love. Our sadness and our anger, our tears, it is a way for us to get through the good-bye. We just need to remember not to get stuck there.

We need to learn that loss, it is and always has been a part of living, and true happiness only comes with acceptance of those losses. Nothing in the physical world lasts forever, things break down or become broken, homes need repairs, we change jobs or get laid off, and the list goes on…

Yes, we fight or resist loss whenever it occurs, by getting stuck in our grief cycles. Why are you fighting it? It is a part of living. It is as it is. Processing through our losses is how we learn to let go, and our fighting and resisting is only creating unhealthy environments for us, both inside and out (this would be a case of a hoarder.)

So accept that loss is a part of living, and be willing to let go when you need to. Do not hold onto things, thoughts, emotions that no longer serve a purpose, and can create ill will for ourselves and others. Embrace your sadness, your anger when you lose a loved one. It is a great pain that we go through, and we owe it to our loved one to experience that pain fully so that we can move on and show our love by being happy again.

Our purpose is to be happy, in spite of what happens to us. Loss will always be a part of living, yet it does not have to take away our happiness, because it was never what was creating the happiness in the first place. You were creating that happiness yourself, from within.

Never let your losses define you –





There is More to Us than Being Human…

“The essential lesson I’ve learned in life is to just be yourself. Treasure the magnificent being that you are and recognize first and foremost you’re not here as a human being only. You’re a spiritual being having a human experience.” – Wayne Dyer

I remember the first time I was introduced to that idea, that we are spiritual beings just having a human experience. I was reading Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. I was like, “Wait a minute, you mean I am not a human being just trying to have a few spiritual moments during my time on earth?” Whoa, this kind of changes things up a little bit, in the whole how you see reality and whatnot kind of thing. It really resonated with me, and was one of the reasons my perspective began to change. The possibilities opened up immensely when I saw myself as a spiritual being, not just a human being, with limited perceptions.

As Wayne Dyer says in the quote above, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. It may have worked a little better if we had been called “Being Humans” as opposed to “Human Beings.” I believe it would have helped us remember that we are spiritual beings by nature, and have chosen to have this particular human experience while on this earth.

But before I get too deep into the spiritual, I want to dissect that phrase, human being. What does it mean to be a human being besides how it is defined at, which is in part “…distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.” Please note that they have taken two totally separate words and combined them into one to come up with a definition of what we are supposed to be.

The definition most assuredly describes the “human” part, the physical part of us. But it most assuredly does not in any way give a meaning to “being” in that definition. According to, again, “being” is defined in part as “…the nature or essence of a person.” The essence of a person is not something we can see, or hear, or touch. The essence of a person comes from that part which can’t be seen, from the spiritual side.

I believe this has been the cause of a great amount of confusion for us humans. because we, in our acclimation to being human, to growing and being exposed to our world, forget about the “being” which is where our true selves lie, where our true essence exists, where our true joy lives. It is reported that 90% of our happiness comes from within, and only 10% from external factors. I do not see a lot of people going to where there happiness really is.

Because when they talk of the 90% of your happiness coming from within, that is the within they are talking about, the “being”. So why, oh why, do we silly humans spend 110% of our time and energy for something that will only bring us 10% of our overall happiness? We are always looking outside of ourselves, thinking that when something happens out there, or we get that out there, then we will be happy. But you won’t, you just won’t.

You might be happy for a short period of time. But as soon as your new boss pisses you off, or the new car breaks down, or your new boyfriend breaks your heart, the things you thought made you happy are now gone, or they are different than they were before and you don’t like it, but you have forgotten where your real happiness lies, within, and so you create misery for yourself and others.

If we can remember the being part of us more, then when life’s circumstances happen, and they most assuredly will, you can still love life, be grateful for all that you have, and continue to enjoy the journey. This is just a human experience we are having. Don’t take things so seriously.

May your dreams be filled with the impossible…

Lori P – A Happy Human