A friend asked me recently are you happy? Why or why not? The answer to that question is actually harder than it has ever been before.

As a child I used to ride my emotions on a moment to moment basis. Many of my family’s favorite stories about me revolve around my immediate visible reaction either to success or failure. There is the time I went to Funcoland  (The predecessor to Game Spot) to trade in my sega games and found out that my 15+ games were valued at about $5. While my family remembers me coming home inconsolable and not being able to smile for hours, I choose to remember another lesson I learned, value is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Sadly the stories of my emotional reactions rarely feature shutdowns or elation for happiness, my loss of control happens primarily for negative environmental events. Even small things like rainy days used to cause me serious psycho-emotional trauma.

Luckily as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to accept reality for what it is, a canvas onto which my actions can paint love. Instead of being overly discouraged by negative events, or getting overly excited by positive external events, I choose to remain slightly detached so that in the best of moments I do not lose my head but instead record the events as fully as possible, and even when all is seemingly lost, I endeavor to find that silver lining that can effect positive change for myself and those around me.

Where and how did I learn to live this way? In the smile of a young girl, during my work with Project Istwa. If you knew her story it would be easy for you to feel sorry for her, but this picture in a way captures her soul, it speaks not of destitution but ultimate hope in faith not just in the people around her, in those that help her, but in herself as well. 😀

11~1.11.2013 Phara

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