Chapter 13. Being well vs. feeling good.

Being well is different from feeling good. You can be well and not feel good. For example, imagine waking up in a mansion and having your coffee made for you, served in your favorite china, your kids are already at school (someone took them), you know that they had their breakfast and that they will spend their day surrounded by loving teachers and classmates. Normally it is you who takes the kids to school, but today you had the luxury of sleeping in. It is 10.25 am. Sleeping in in the middle of the week is a perk that most people can only dream of. There are many people whose life seems apparently as easy as this, even easier. You could come into someones’ life and think “Wow, that person has it all, fame, money, tons of friends, a great family” but as I happened to have a few famous and wealthy friends that talk to me and open up to me a lot I know that this is false. You can have a setting similar or better to the one I just described and still feel somewhat unhappy. You can’t explain why, you are well but you don’t feel good.

How do you explain otherwise the unstoppable proliferation of personal coaches, yoga groups, self awareness classes? People want to feel good, look good, be liked and accepted by others and they will do and try anything available to get to that point.I have been so far sceptical to the whole yoga madness, the mindfulness and coaching hysteria. I used to go to Tulum where some of the nicest yoga retreats exists and people get up at 7 am to practice yoga on the beach and have heavenly detox breakfast during a detox retreat week while I was there, on the eco-resort next door, to accomplish the complete opposite goal: to load up on guacamole and chips, Coronas and marlboro lights. For me it was very detox also because after that week I would hate guac, chips, beer and cigarettes. The most  exercise that I would do was riding my bike and running on the beach whenever I was late for my massage appointment at the yoga retreat. On those occasions I would observe the beautiful sand designs that these people had made during their meditation which had probably happened at 7 am and think to myself “people really pay to come here and find peace”.

I respect and value the work that those professionals do because they are helping other people feel good in life and that is perhaps the most arduous tasks to accomplish. There are so many things that get in the way of happiness. But since I have gone through so much myself (parents divorcing, mom not getting over it and becoming destructive, me moving with dad, dad marrying a woman that was looking for a dad, me moving out, me living abroad for 12 years, coming back to Spain to find disappointment and crocodile) I think that life is a series of challenges for everyone.

So what can we do to overcome those challenges and feel good?

Well, first of all let me tell you that contrary to popular belief, material things do not do the trick. I guarantee. The satisfaction of wearing and having expensive stuff is extremely limited. Not that I’ve been on that situation myself, not at all. I have only been lucky to get into luxury stores a couple of times and buy a couple of things while being  totally aware of my visitor condition. At those stores you are surrounded by the really wealthy, those that are there doing their usual seasonal shopping and are known by their last names or first names in the case of Beyonce who I met at the Chanel store in Houston. But I happen to know people that have the financial means to buy everything that you see on the VOGUE magazine, that hang out at five star hotels, that can go skiing to the most exclusive resorts, have the house in Ibiza, the house in Miami, the flat in Madrid, the house in Brazil, the yacht to go from place to place and the apartment in Lisbon. They post everything on Instagram and Facebook for mortals to see, they take pictures of themselves wearing all of those luxury items, they have blogs that many people follow because they like to believe that people like them exist and that they are closer to the unattainable (this makes them feel good) when in fact, they are not. I will not get into the reasons why the people that post those images of themselves do what they do because I believe in the intelligence of my readers.

“Men are not programmed to be happy so be ready to feel unhappy, when that happens, occupy your mind doing something, whatever it is” these were the words of my friends’ dad at her wedding. Shocking but true.

When you have a very famous dad like my friend does, he is entitled to stand up and say something meaningful that will shock guests at your wedding. It is almost expected. If that dad is an artist like in this case, then his words will probably be remembered or quoted in the future. It would not be his first famous sentence. This man, a true artist, a creator, a visionary, is the man that stood up and said “wrinkles are beautiful” at a time when stepping out of your house with a wrinkled shirt was the worst thing someone respectable could do, similar to wearing dirty shoes. Time and fashion proved that he is, indeed, the ultimate trend setter. We are almost certain that he was taking about fabric when he made that statement but it is no surprise that aging women adopted that sentence and placed it very close to their hearts as well. A genius has genius ideas. Artists with genius are hard to find and when they do exist they struggle through their own existence because we are not ready for them so they will often feel isolated and undervalued.

“Be ready to feel unhappy my dear girl” he kept going. You can imagine how most of the wedding guests felt when they listened to those words. How does he dare to say such a thing at his daughters’ wedding? But I completely understood. “The secret to feeling good is to do things, whatever it is, don’t stay put, ever, move, do things, anything, jump, paint, write, walk, exercise your mind, you body, create, clean up the house, rearrange, but do”.

The good news is that since we can all do things, we can all be happy.

There you have it.