[success]The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.–Henry Ward Beecher[/success]
If you’ve read my ‘about’ page, you’ll know I’ve lived in many exotic places throughout the world. It was pretty cool, but even as a kid I recognized poverty when I saw it. Children with no shoes and bellies large from malnutrition can’t be hidden even from children with shoes and socks and chocolate mouse for dessert.
I wasn’t aware at the time of the true hardship and poverty that was endured by many, for whom the things I took for granted like clean running water and electricity were a luxury. Hey, be kind…I was a kid too.
But one thing I was aware of was that these children, with so little, still had bright smiles, still laughed, and played just like me.
They were happy.
And I knew, young as I was, that I had an amazingly abundantly life and that if these kids were happy, then I somehow had an obligation to be happy. I was going to be happy even if my big brother took the fanciest cake on the plate, even if my sister pinched my stuff, even if I was sent packing to my room for being cheeky. I’ll be the first to admit…that was a tough one…my inclination was to pout.
Many of you wonderful readers already know, I was pretty much born with a smile on my face…according to my Mum. But this was a defining moment. I knew I needed to do more than smile at the world, I needed to cultivate happiness and joy, regardless of the situation because it was the better option. Plus it looked a lot more fun than focusing on lack and limitation.
I was aware that these kids weren’t happy all the time. Who is? Not even smiling me.
But in this moment of play, they were happy. They were in the now. Not focused on not having enough to eat later, not focused on having sores on their body that were surrounded by flies, not focused on anything but this now moment.
They weren’t pursuing happiness, they were choosing it. Well okay…I didn’t get that exact concept as a kid…let’s count it as an add on.
The challenge of pursuing happiness is that so many things have to line up before we’re happy. Things have to work out exactly as we want them to or we won’t be happy. And even then, it’s fleeting and before we know it we’re on to the next thing that’ll make us happy.
Choosing happiness is more of a moment to moment experience. Something right now, feels good, looks good, or maybe it just tastes blooming good. Any mood, be it good or bad, if practiced on a consistent basis creates a momentum that’s hard to break. And then, guess what, if the mood is one of happiness, it’s easier to find more things to feel happy about. Don’t you just love the way consciousness works?
I knew even if I’d lost my job, even when my late husband was seriously ill, even if my love life was shot to pieces, even if my finances had gone to hell in a handbasket I could find a pleasurable moment in my day.
It’s a decision we make, to cultivate the habit of looking and feeling grateful for small things on a daily basis. Its a practice we commit to. Not every moment of our day will be happy, nor will every moment be unhappy. If we pay attention we’ll find happiness in our quiet time, the sounds and sights of nature, children’s laughter, blue sky, cloudy skies and rain, or a shared experience with a loved one. For some of us we’ll find happiness when we put our gluten challenges aside and eat a wonderful gluten filled meal. Woohoo. 🙂
What a cloudy, rainy day in Sydney can look like.
Why not stop pursuing a totally happy life, after all most of us, unless we’re totally super-conscious beings, will experience loss and sorrow or heartache, sickness, bewilderment or uncertainty…I know I have.
Instead we could simply chose to find happy moments in our day focusing on how blessed we truly are to live on this amazing planet.
Seek it and you will see it. How many happy experiences can you find in a day? How happy are you, right now? Yes, there are reasons for us all to be unhappy, but why focus on that when there are countless blessings throughout our day that we can truly be grateful for. However tiny.
Choosing happiness is a skill, an art we learn…it empowers and supports us, it draws health, love and success into our world, and everyone around benefits from the energy we’re focused on. The more we can see happiness in our moments, we more we add to the happiness consciousness of the world. And that’s a good thing for us all, including children like those I played with ‘lo those many years ago.
Take a moment and check in…got any complaints? Or can you choose to live a happy moment, right here and now?
What happy moments have you noticed today?
Encourage one another.
Images – thanks to:
21 thoughts on “The Art Of Happiness.”
Come here, Elle. <>
I’ve pretty much had to choose happiness most of the time. Early on, thankfully, I realized that Happiness is a D.I.Y. Project (that’s my tag line by the way :D)
I believe it is usually the little things that add up, creating a firm foundation as they go. And that makes everything look sunshiny. The secret is to appreciate every little thing. Would you believe if I told you I ate noodles for the first time when I was 20? :-)and used shampoo for the first time when I was 18? I enjoy thinking about my “firsts” and the later they were, the more precious they seemed.
Yes, I am fascinated and humbled by the way street kids always look happy. Simply because they choose to be.
Beautiful post as always. Go ahead. My heart loves it.
Love that Vidya ~ happiness is a D.I.Y project. So, so true. It’s funny to hear you say you didn’t eat noodles till you were 20. My Husband didn’t eat noodles or curry until he went away to school. And now…the spicier and hotter his food the better! There are so many moments in any given day that we can look at through the eyes of happiness. We just have to be aware. 🙂
good morning Elle
what a lovely and wonderful way to start my day !
you inspire me and encourage me
i do choose happiness
thank you from my whole heart
I’m so happy to hear that LSM. I need to thank you for your always beautiful words from your heart. Thank you. 🙂
You’re right, happiness is a choice. It’s not whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, just choose be happy that you HAVE a glass!
Happiness is a conscious choice until it becomes a habit . . .
Thank you for another wonderful article.
Write on , Elle !
Joseph, you always come up with some great concept, be happy that you have a glass. Love it. 🙂
Amazing. You have just written the intro section to my book! If I hadn’t already written it, you would think I copied it from you. (Really, it’s already written!) You are preaching to the choir, sister! I hope everyone reads this and takes your wisdom to heart!
Consciousness is everywhere Galen. I know how this works…I’ll read something on line and I’ve just written about exactly the same topic. But we can’t have too much of a happiness thing, now can we. Can’t wait to read your book. 🙂
I love the idea of happiness as a practice. Now that you’ve said it that way I realize that’s how I’ve made some significant changes in my life.
I used to be pretty negative and blamed others for so much. My practice started with writing down ten things I was grateful for each day. It didn’t take long before I couldn’t stop at ten. Now I would be writing all day if I had to write all the wonderful things that constantly surround me.
With my moods, I started with simply noticing my mood. Then I practiced changing the unwanted moods for happier ones. Yes, it took practice at first. Now I notice the negativity in others that used to be a part of me. I’m so glad that I was able to extract that part of the old me.
Yes, we can’t be bouncing around happy all the time, but I know the bad times will be short and things will be better very soon.
It’s all about making choices in the present moment, one after another.
Love this one Elle!
Thanks for this Elle….the pursuit itself can actually move us further away from what we are chasing. I love the idea of not needing to be happy alll the time, somehow letting it find us.
There are so many happy moments in a day Jonathan, if we are looking for them. Welcome and thanks for joining in the conversation. 🙂
Choice is all powerful Elle and choosing Happiness is a pretty good choice to make…thanks for the Opera House photo…brings back memories of my home town.
be good to yourself
It looks so beautiful David, the Opera House. Love to visit your homeland…that’s a happy thought. 🙂
You’re absolutely right — happiness is a choice, and when we consider the blessings we have, it’s easier to choose happiness. With a sense of perspective that focuses on appreciation of what we are blessed to have and be, the choice of happiness seems to come more readily. Thanks for the great article! 🙂
I think we all are guilty of forgetting we can find happy moments everywhere Victor. I think you make a good point, perspective makes a big difference.
Elle….These are thoughts that everyone could benefit from. In one post, you have laid out the groundwork on how to find moments of beauty and happiness in each day.
I think about the pebbles that I used to skip on the late at camp. And that’s how I see happiness. Pebbles, seeds being sown, snowflakes gently drifting to the ground. Happy moments can be quiet, still, sometimes even excruciatingly beautiful (I know that sounds like a paradox), or eyes filled with tears. They’re there for the picking….we just have to open our eyes, pluck and experience them.
Thanks so much for your wise words Elle…and your beautifully crafted writing. xxoo-Fran
What an evocative image Fran, pebbles, seeds, snowflakes. Love it. And I know what you mean by excruciatingly beautiful…I sometimes get those huge heart wooshes that are almost painful in their joy!
Thank you for your wonderfully kind words about my post. I’m honoured by them. 🙂
you are right
being happy can sometimes be a choice
once a person puts in mind that he can be in control his life can improve and become better
Hi Elle, wonderfully inspiring post. Sounds like you are one of those who lives by the glass being always half full, which is such a positive place to be. Our lives can change so much when we start from a place of happiness. Thank you for the great post.
I’m truly blessed Cathy, I arrived with a glass half full mentality, not that haven’t spilled some along the way, but amazingly it fills up again! Thank you for your kind words. 🙂
Hi, I log on to your blogs on a regular basis.
Your story-telling style is witty, keep it up!