October 1, 2020

Psychotherapy and Happily Ever After

“I just want to live happily ever after every now and then.” Jimmy Buffett

I think Buffett shows great wisdom in this quote. At one level we would like to live happily ever after but our experience is reality intervenes. So Buffet makes it doable with the “every now and then” addition to the fairytale ending. I try to notice when this happens in my life. Recently, as Katie and I sat at Bub’s, an outdoor café next to the Monon bike trail in Carmel, I noticed. We had ridden a few miles and the bikes sat against the rail while a mother chased her 18 month old daughter between the chairs. We munched on our sandwiches and were drinking lemonade; I asked “are we having one of those ‘happily ever after times now’?” I like noticing…though sometimes it is later, and I can look back and see it from the present but often have been so involved as to miss it as it happened.

Do we get moments of this every day or every week and not notice? I often ask clients “how are you doing now?” My intent is to bring them into the present which is often much better than all those past and future places our mind perpetually tries to take us. Usually as a client sits with me, in the now, it is at least “ok”.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced cheeks sent me high!), author of the best seller “Flow” speaks of the concept of flow. It is in this state of flow that we function in the moment; perhaps, if we asked ourselves then are we “happily ever after” the answer would be “yes”. In the state of flow we are not going over and over either what has happened historically or “what ifs” of the future. In flow we are just occupied in what we are doing…now. While flow can be related to pleasure it is more likely to be connected to being productive and being involved. Often flow will happen as we do work that we are good at and that we feel good about. Time just passes and we are present in the now.

I like it when I notice”Happily Ever after” in the moment or later. It happens for me with family, exercising, or during a therapy session that is connected. By the way, Katie agreed that time was one of those for her too, and apparently noticing did not stop the episode!

Make effort to appreciate those “happily ever after every now and then” times. They may happen more often than you would guess. Maybe you had one today? Maybe now?

When, typically, does “happily ever after” happen for you?

Bill

Do you have favorite Rock and Roll quotes that you believe are with wisdom? If so please share them with me.

Comments

  1. “I’d rather regret doing something than not doing something.”

  2. So on the money. One of my favorite lyrics from Bob Dylan’s “Up To Me” is:

    “It frightens me,
    the awful truth,
    of how sweet life can be.”