For my Pittsburgh followers–do you remember the gentleman, who for years, ran the merry-go-round at Kennywood? He would hop off and on and in and out of the horses with such grace and ease. He always made you think he had the best job ever!

Sadly, he has long since passed and the merry-go-round seems to have lost its allure.  The distinct sounds of the calliope combined with the giggles and shrieks of delight have been replaced with an endless blur of motion, steadily picking up speed, allowing no one on or off. There is an endless drone that sounds more like a dirge. The people waiting, the ones who previously had a childlike glimmer in their eyes, are now sullen and glassy eyed; the excitement replaced by apprehensions and fear.

How many of us can easily picture this?  We all experience real or perceived dysfunction at some point in our lives. The key is not to let it suck us in and consume our lives and minds. I know, “easier said than done”, you may say, but in all actuality, that statement is primarily an excuse.  If we are so unhappy at home, at work or with friends or even society, why aren’t we stepping up and out to make the change?  I know, I know:  now you are thinking “but change is really scary!”  Is it any more frightening than the life or situation you are living now? My guess is–probably not.

Why are we so content to live unhappily? I saw a post today that asked which is worse, making a big mistake or living your life saying “if only…”. My response is that they are equally painful. With a mistake at least, it’s typically correctable and we can learn, grow and hopefully not repeat again.  Living our whole life stating “if only I had done this, didn’t do that, said this, took the trip, bought the shoes, drank the wine, wore the red lipstick”, and so on, can lead to a very unhappy existence. My vote is to live the life you imagine, and if mistakes occur, own them, learn, change course, begin again.

To my friends who say but what if I don’t want to take risks, or have an adventure or like mediocrity, I say do what makes you happy. This does not mean you must accept and tolerate dysfunction. It’s not easy to separate ourselves from this negative chaos (yes, there is good and bad chaos as you know from reading these entries). It’s scary stepping in to unknown, uncharted waters, but what’s more frightening, is continuing to live within the dysfunction of your surroundings or in that caused by your own mind.

Find a strong support system (it’s okay to remove the negativity) grab their hand and get ready to leap outside that circle of dysfunction. If you can’t leap just yet, take a baby step. You might bruise your knees or even break a bone, but you will find you CAN step off of the out-of-control whirling dervish and see it with new, childlike wonder. The calliope music, the flashing lights and up and down soothing motion of horses will once again call you to a place of calm and delight.  It’s in this space that we can find our happiness and the path to the life we truly desire!