Mindful Mondays: Bobby McFerrin

Each Monday, I would like to share a reminder about the importance of being mindful.  These will come from literature, popular culture, music--anywhere one might get this sort of everyday life nudge.

"Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrinlyric source: AZLyrics


Here's a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double

Don't worry, be happy

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry, be happy)

Ain't got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don't worry, be happy
The land lord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don't worry, be happy
(Look at me I am happy)

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be Happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Here I give you my phone number
When you worry call me, I make you happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh

Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style
Ain't got no girl to make you smile
But don't worry be happy
'Cause when you worry
Your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down
So don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy now

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry, be happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry be happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry sweetie, be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
(Put a smile on your face, don't bring everybody down)
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(It will soon pass, celebrate it)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry, be happy
I'm not worried, I'm happy


1988, from the album Simple Pleasures
Grammy Awards:

"Song of the Year"
"Record of the Year"
"Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male"


We've all heard this song often enough.  The concept, like so many other crucial life lessons, is remarkably simple.  Instead of dismissing this post as too chiche, however, stop and reflect on it for a minute or two.  The first half of the suggestion, "don't worry," sounds almost too simple to be helpful.  But, when you contemplate it, you can see how profound it is.  What do you worry about?  On what do you dwell?  Does it do anything positive for you?  Can you actually choose not to worry?  How will that change your time?  Your interactions?  Your life?

Like so many wise people have said before him, another Mindful Monday artist, Baz Luhrmann, also said that worry is wasteful.  (From "Wear Sunscreen," Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.)  It is a waste of your precious time.  And though it seems like it will somehow assist in improving your life, it doesn't turn out the way you had worried anyhow.  It doesn't mean you need to never take action or just be a blob, but decide to refuse to spend your time worrying.

The other half of the advice, "be happy," is also remarkably simple in form, but complex in reality.  Like Nike has told us for years, Bobby McFerrin is implying we need to "just do it."  Just BE HAPPY.  Make it happen.  Today.  We have so many choices to make each day: should I do this or that?  Eat this or that?  Go here or there?  If you are taking the May Wellness Challenge, it might be difficult to make the choice each day to drink more water or work out, but if you take it slow and complete your goal one day at a time, it begins to come together.  I am looking at this in the same way.  Happiness, one of the most elusive conditions on the planet, is something I can work towards and make happen in my daily life?  Sign me up!






So, I've got some work to do.  Though I am usually pretty happy and overall contented with my life, not worrying has historically been a struggle for me.  I need to make the decision each day to trust that I'm moving forward and that my anxieties about the future will not improve my situation.  So, starting today, I am going to concentrate on refusing worry and choosing happiness, and then take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time.

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