Happiness. What is it? That’s easy; it’s …ehm…hmm, how to articulate that that grin that won’t quit without sounding like a pretentious unicorn farting rainbows? And right now all I can think of is to clap along with Pharrell Williams. I suppose it makes a wee change from not worrying and whistling along with Bobby McFerrin . What was the question again? Oh yeh, What is happiness or what is that happy feeling? Unless that’s it? A feeling; a feel good state of well being, characterised by an endorphin-fuelled high? A positive experience of joy, euphoria and contentment ?
Exactly what it is to be happy or experience happiness will differ from person to person, just as the secret to happiness will vary depending upon which link you click on in a Google search or which Self Help book you pick from Amazon or Waterstones. I don’t think there is any specific recipe to finding ever lasting happiness (surely that in itself is exhausting?! Home educating an energetic 6 year old and being perma-happy would lead me to bankruptcy via Majestic). Plus, in order to appreciate and fully experience happy, we have to embrace its Yin; those darker, negative times. So with that in mind, and with the UK and possibly the EU starting to implode, now is as good a time as any to figure out how to, and get, your happy on! Because you’re gonna need it!
I’ve been giving this a lot of thought over the past few months, happiness, and how it is intertwined with peace and connection (with self as well as others) and ultimately, acceptance; of who I am, what I believe in and value. To my mind, Happiness is not a goal to be achieved or a destination to reach; it is ever present, perhaps not always in arms reach but can be gotten by choosing to be happy.
Image from here
So what makes me happy? Well, once I started thinking about it and making a list (instant happiness right there!) I found that I couldn’t stop. My personal Happy looks like the following, in no particular order, apart from the first one:
- Family – my Husband and (A) – both are unbelievably hilarious and make me laugh every day, the rare date nights with my Husband, the silly everyday stuff that makes our home tick along, bed time stories with (A), spontaneous declarations of “I love you” and cuddles, deep conversations about life, politics and making plans.
- The rain – lying in bed listening to it, the smell of the concrete after a down pour, watching the storm at the window with a hot cuppa, being out in it when it is falling straight without any wind, splashing in the puddles, padding barefoot on the wet grass, how lush it makes the flora
- Laughing – proper laugh out loud clenching those kegels for all I’m worth, private in-jokes and sarcastic comments with Hubby, silly giggles with (A), camaraderie chortles with the girls.
- Wine – doesn’t really require further explanation
- Nature – feeling the changing seasons (especially Autumn), bluebells/daisies/sunflowers in flower, the beach, the woods,
- Dancing – around the house, with (A), in the car (also see “singing”), on nights out and dancing all night (also see nostalgia),
- The Moon – following the phases of the moon: new, waxing, full and waning, being able to sit and look up at the moon
- Wine – did I mention this already? Did I mention it has to be red?
- Jewellery – my wedding ring and silver thumb ring – engraved with (A)’s full name
- Writing – starting a new journal just before the pen touches the paper, when I know exactly what I want to write about and am on a roll, making calligraphy art for friends, using my dipping pens and ink, making lists and re-doing & updating those lists
- Nostalgia – memories are instant Happy = nights out, music, stories, friends, holidays, stupid shit that will be taken to the grave, making plans for the future, my wedding photos, the first slow dance Hubby and I had.
- Home – especially my desk/dining table in the bay window, pottering around in the garden, a clean bathroom & kitchen ( the 2 never happen at the same time), my peace lily – 3 years and going (lets not talk abut the 2 or 3 spider plants that are no longer with us, R.I.P)
- Scents – nag champa agarbatti incense, scented candles especially cinnamon-y ones, the smell of bedding after being dried outside, Autumn, the rain, fresh coffee,
- “Singing” – badly…always badly! When (A) was only 2 he told me to stop singing because it hurt his ears!!! loudly in the car, whilst doing the dishes, on karaoke only after a couple of glasses or 3
- Rituals – being awake before anyone else and having initial peace and calm all to myself, the first cup of coffee in the morning, mid morning cup of tea in the garden, making & baking for Yule, candles and divination – tarot being my divining choice
- Slowing down – day dreaming, meditation, soak in a bubble bath & a good book, playing
- Random happiness-inducing stuff – receiving mail,not bills but handwritten envelopes – is it a letter, a card, a surprise? Reading a good book and not being able to put it down, listening to the dawn chorus and again at dusk, the drawing in of the dark nights, hygge, good nights sleep, my hair once I decide it needs a cut – it sits perfectly, eyeliner wings matching on both sides, my hair 2 weeks post cut, roasted cheese with HP sauce, pyjama days, live music, yoga despite having not taken a class in over 3 years..I really need to do something about that!
- And lastly – the prospect of second independence referendum for Scotland: Indyref2
I could go on, turns out this list is endless and the vast majority is priceless,
for everything else there’s Mastercard and at times happily surprised me. This was a fun exercise and helped refocus my mood, particularly over the past few days. We are in a new week, with new times ahead of us. If like me you have been feeling angry and bitter, choose to balance it; choose to be happy .
Give it a go, see what makes you happy.
Quote from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata