I have always been fascinated by how we become happy. Happiness can seem so automatic at times and at other times it deserts us. One thing for sure, we are not in a constant stage of happiness. We definitely have to work at it. When we are children we don’t really think about working to be happy. We laugh easily, we cry easily. We are at the mercy to some extent of the adults and experiences that come into our lives. Luckily for me, I had some great mentors. Of course, my parents, my grandparents, teachers and even my two cats. But would you have expect that Lucille Ball was one of my great mentors, who perhaps taught me more about happiness than almost anyone else?
She actually helped me walk through the Seven Gates of Happiness, before I had even named them or probably recognized them. Here is how she did it:
FIRST GATEWAY, Self-Esteem: If Lucy could be embarrassed and yet triumph, so could I!
SECOND GATEWAY, Learning to Meet My Needs: If Lucy could get on TV, travel, meet famous people, etc. so could I!
THIRD GATEWAY, Bringing in Pleasure to One’s Life: Lucy gave me pleasure and showed me how to get more! She had fun and good times even though she made mistakes and was even ridiculous at times. Therefore so could I!
FOURTH GATEWAY, Becoming the Heroine of One’s Life Story: If Lucy could be a heroine, receive recognition, and save the day so many times, with all her mistakes and foibles, so could I!
FIFTH GATEWAY, Finding Tribes to Belong To: Lucy let me belong to her world without hesitation. Not only did this gift give me an extra family, but also it gave me confidence that I could find others.
SIXTH GATEWAY, Finding Mentors: Lucy was a great mentor for me. She taught me humor and how to recover from shame and embarrassment and how to keep trying even with disappointments and delays. Again, if she could keep on trying, so could I!
SEVENTH GATEWAY, Living a Life of Positive Action: Every week Lucy gave me hope that even with mistakes I could live a life of meaning, feel loved, and have a good time! What a great combination!
Lucy’s amazing gift to me was that by allowing me to identify with her very failings and embarrassments, I was also able to uplift myself at the same time! Like the ancient Moses, who had a severe speech impediment — which everyone was aware of, and trembled every time God asked him to lead his people — Lucy had modern-day shortcomings. She was foolish. She wanted to show off. She wanted to be in pictures! Yet, like Moses, she led a generation or two in positive paths anyway.
Thank you Lucy Ricardo, and of course, Lucille Ball for giving me so much enchantment! How delightful to hold your inspiration again in my mind’s eye! And I sure am ready for a really, good belly laugh!