“Mom can we go to Italy?” my daughter called out to me when she was little. Wondering why she would ask such a thing, I enquired further, “Why do you want to go to Italy honey?”
“Because it would make me happy,” she replied.
“Yes happy!” she explained, staring at me like I was missing the obvious.
“But why Italy?” I prodded. “Because mom, that’s where they make Nutella, the Nutella Factory is in Italy, and Nutella makes me happy so we should go there.”
The basic wisdom of her logic touched me. So simple. Going to the people and places that make us happy. I’m not talking about quick gratification… the quick sugar high that comes from eating half a cheesecake in one sitting, or a buzz after too many beers. I’m talking about the pleasure of an evening spent with someone we care about, or doing something that fills us with joy. Mindfully constructing our day so that each contains an element of beauty.
PTSD, anxiety, and depression are all about avoidance. The only problem is, the withdrawal that is associated with protecting ourselves also eliminates new possibilities… like visiting the Nutella Factory.