October 19, 2011
The Happiness Journal
Recently, outside a coffee house in Colorado, I found this journal sitting on a table. Because I'm curious, friends will say noisy, I opened up the journal and saw handwriting. I quickly closed the journal, feeling I had crossed a personal boundary of a stranger.
It was a cool and cloudy autumn Sunday afternoon in the mountains when I saw this journal, and I wondered why someone would just leave it outside in the elements. It might snow any minute! I went back inside the coffee house and, an hour later when I was leaving, I saw the journal still there. It looked cold all by its lonesome. Soon it would be night and dark and even colder. I opened the journal, sensing it had been abandoned.
Even so, I felt guilty taking it with me. But...I was given permission, by the journal itself, so I stuck it in my bag with my laptop. I still felt sneaky. That night a friend came over where I was staying and opened the journal. At first she, too, thought it was wrong to take a journal as there is something so very private about what we write in our journals. I've known people emotionally scared for life because someone read something they shouldn't have read in their journals. But, no, I explained to my friend, this is suppose to be read and written in and shared. Really. Okay, she said, you aren't a horrible, intrusive person after all.
So now I had this journal and what in the world could I write that might sum up my happiness and gratitude? Where would I leave this journal after I wrote in it? I left the journal for awhile on the coffee table, but I knew I needed to set it free into the world again. It wasn't mine to keep.
Then, I visited a hot springs just before I returned home.
That small creek you see at the bottom left of the photo feeds a big hot spring pool inside the building where people splash around and soothe tired bodies. Also there are caves...one for men and one for women. The men caves have recliner chairs and remotes. Just kidding! I assume they are both the same, but I will just have to wonder as there are no coed caves.
Anyway, you walk down a flight of stairs and go inside a room which leads to a cave where there are four hot, I mean boiling hot, pools of water. It gets very steamy and warm so when you feel as if your skin might just dissolve off your body, you can leave the cave and sit in a darkened room and read magazines and cool off. If you need something to relieve stress, escape from the rat race, this is the place.
I left the journal in the darkened quiet room outside the caves. I wrote I was happy just to be alive. (Being underground with stone walls and ceilings and very hot temperatures, makes one happy to know they aren't going to stay there forever no matter how soothing and relaxing.)
According to journal instructions, I was suppose to log on to facebook and tell about my journey with the journal. The facebook page is titled dharmawaves. Check out the facebook page if you have the time.
Hopefully, someone soaking in the caves last week will write what makes them happy and thankful and take it with them and leave it some place else and on and on and on. Or it might sit there underground for awhile. We shall see. Maybe you might find the journal!
Finally, I just want to post this picture because it sums up what October is like in Colorado. One day you are setting out pumpkins on a golden Fall day and the next day your pumpkin gets christened with white. You never know what will happen next. I guess that's part of what makes life happy, the unexpected beauty we find and share around us.