Happiness on This Side of the Rainbow


I’ve played the piano since I was six and still enjoy playing for pleasure. My favorite book for the past couple years has been a collection of Eva Cassidy arrangements, and the most turned-to page of this book is the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (words by E Y Harburg):

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, in a land that I heard of once in a lullaby… Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dared to dream really do come true….

Eva ends her arrangement with a longing-filled ending… If happy little blue birds fly above the rainbow why, oh why, can’t I?

Today I spent about 5 hours doing a long-anticipated bedroom cleanup. I still had some gifts to find a place for, garbages to empty, recycling to cart up and down the stairs, laundry to do, clothes to sort. I began with grand illusions of deep cleaning absolutely every corner of my room, sorting through EVERYTHING, recycling or bagging stuff up for the Sally Anne, dusting the baseboards, arranging my cd collection, loading up my new ipod, figuring out my new alarm clock, re-organizing my bathroom cabinet, oh, and sorting through ALL my desk stuff, bills, receipts, notes etc. At the end, every little detail would be in spic and span shape, and I would recline and feel excellent.

About halfway through I felt overwhelmed. The clock seemed to be moving faster than normal. I cleaned out 2 drawers of a dresser that I don’t think I had sorted through since I moved in a year and a half ago! I started to hear those old voices, the guilty ones. “Man you collect a lot of stuff… if you would just keep on top of your organization, you wouldn’t have such a mess to deal with… you should be giving some of this stuff to poor people who really need it… you need to let go… and look at all the books on your shelf that you haven’t read yet!”

And at the same time I was thinking of the other things I still wanted to do today- write, get cleaned up myself, visit my brother at his new place for dinner. I started downsizing my organization. Pile everything on the desk to sort through another day… same with the cds… and the laundry. By the end, even though I had worked hard for 5 hours,  this song was going through my head… Somewhere over the rainbow…

A rainbow is a beautiful thing, a sign of hope, of renewal, of new rain. But a somewhere over the rainbow has been one of the biggest hurtles for me. Grand illusions, standards of perfection that are never attainable, a wistful romantic picture of circumstances in which I will finally find unending, supreme happiness…

It’s not life, and it’s not truth. And I’m tired of getting wonked in the forehead by rainbows…

I stop and take the time to look at myself. 5 hours of cleaning is a pretty great accomplishment. And in the bigger picture, what I’m doing with my life right now is great as well. I am flying. I am flying NOW. Wistfully sitting on the ground, envying “happy little bluebirds” or anguishing over not being able to fly over some insurmountable rainbow robs me of my true accomplishments and value, and only serves to keep me on the ground.  Accepting and affirming my own wings in action today will fuel a long and fulfilling journey in the best possible way.

I think it’s time for a new favorite song. 🙂

4 response to "Happiness on This Side of the Rainbow"

  1. By: Ellen Brown Posted: 13th January

    Hi Carla,
    Great post! I think it’s great that you were able to see, in the moment, that you were setting yourself up … That your perfectionism was getting in your way. I know that I have a bit of a perfectionistic streak in me, and when I shoot for “perfect,” I always feel disappointed in the end. But when I aim for excellence, I feel peaceful and fulfilled. Can’t wait to hear what your new song is : )


    • By: Carla Dippel Posted: 13th January

      Thanks so much for visiting and leaving your thoughts Ellen! I really like your distinction between perfection and excellence; thought-provoking and motivating.


  2. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 11th January

    That is so true… I’m finding it to be very powerful to stop and listen to my “inner world”, to whatever fears or misconceptions are taking up space and distracting me. The more I listen to them and bring the light to them, the more they become powerless. And the NOW becomes more alive.

    Thanks Darlene~ I hope Mexico stays wonderfully sunny. 🙂

  3. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th January

    Hi Carla!

    I spent so much time preoccupied with what I wasn’t doing, what I couldn’t do, what others SEEMED to be doing, and wishing for something different that I postponed life! I wasn’t living. Today is that day somewhere over the rainbow!

    Relaxing ~ in Sunny Mexico,

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