How Can I Be Happy When Others Are In Misery?

Written by Rebecca Seed

Innocent kids’ souls are in movement right now. I know this to be true. Their souls were there before their bodies existed, and will live forever.

Could their offering help my friend, who was in elementary school many years ago? Because she is still here.

There is so much unbelievable pain in this world.

My very best friend, Jennifer, the person who introduced me to yoga as I know it, ruptured her Achilles tendon at a wedding in September. She didn’t even want to go to the wedding, and some drunk dude stepped on her. (How’s that for learning to listen to your instinct?)

She was supposed to be healed and back in the studio practicing next to me, like old times. She just learned she has to have her surgery redone, all over again, because she is not healing properly. Back in a cast for eight weeks. Can’t drive to work. Painkillers. Total misery.


I am by no means saying Jen’s pain is anything near what was experienced last week in Connecticut. I felt overwhelming pain for Jen when she told me she is starting this process all over. But nothing can describe the pain I feel for Newtown.

It’s strange how pain is relative, isn’t it? How much pain do you really think you’re in at any given moment?

Because I work in television, I don’t have cable. I’m exposed to enough of it during my workday. Friday I was glad I don’t have TV. What a painful, disgusting day it was. Kids were killed at their school. And Jen can’t practice yoga for a long, long time.

I hiked Friday instead of going to yoga. Later, I found myself awake at 3am, writing, because I could not sleep.

Who the fuck cares?

I don’t know how to navigate this. Jen has helped me in my deepest, darkest days. And right now, because I recently finished yoga teacher training, I am in the best place I’ve ever been in my life. Why can’t she be there with me, in her own way? Why does God make us fucking work so hard to make this life on Earth worthwhile?

I need my friend to know she will be okay. An injury is a setback. It’s NOT a deal breaker with God.

Patanjali’s yoga sutra 2:8 is the one I chose for our closing circle of teacher training last weekend and it reads:

Aversion is that which follows identification with painful experiences. 

In other words: “Happiness is already in us. Wherever we go, we reflect our happiness onto people and things…No one can ever give us happiness or unhappiness but can only reflect or distort our own inner happiness.”

Pain can be thrown at you from every which direction. But we all deserve happiness. And we all have access to it.

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