Monday, December 12, 2011

The secret of happiness..

I have this very animated student who announced that, "I know what the secret of happiness is, but I'm not going to tell you because it's a secret.."  while he was pacing up and down the room telling us stories.

I just laughed.  I was  so happy to have him so happy, that I did not even need to ask what he thought the secret was--as long as he's got it.  Could you have it tomorrow also?  And Mondays aren't often happy for people.  So, what is happiness anyway?

 And I know you've heard this: happiness is about happenings, and joy is..  something else.

Because our God is so unique and individual, there's got to be a specialized form of happiness and joy for each one of us, don't you think?

And for years, I would shun the idea of happy because it might interfere with "joy"--however elusive that may be.  But the problem is that happiness can often lead to joy and joy to happiness.  Joy and happiness can co-exist.  But happiness and sadness can not.  Sadness and joy can co-exist, and often do.  In fact, the contrast of these two mingling is often what makes the joy during sadness so memorable.

So, let me further tangle up this ball.  If joy is most apparent during sadness, is it least apparent during happiness? And all of this before I've even defined terms.  And I'm only going to define happy in this post.  Joy will have to be for a follow-on.

Happy is often thought of as---happenings.  When things or circumstances happen in such a way that are favorable to me, then I am happy.  As shallow as that may be, it is a real part of our existence.  Let's face it.  It's very difficult to constantly be living in a surreal world where all that there is is not what it should be so I need to constantly reach higher to have any sort of aesthetic experience.  So, right now, today, let's just be shallow for a moment and think about: happy.

After all, it is Christmas.  The spirit of Christmas is all that surrounds happy.  For better or worse, it is supposed to be happy.

Now, am I going to say that "Christmas" is the secret of happiness?  hA! of course not.  But, it helps define our terms.

People we like-- with food we like--giving and getting gifts from people we like--in a home that is well pleasing to look at with decorations, warmth, love, festivities--  and if you are an adult--beverages that "make us" happy...

So, indulge me for a moment and think shallow thoughts.  What makes you happy? (It's O.K. you won't explode or die from this experiment)

Try to get as simple as you can--not as elaborate as you can..

O.K. here's my list of happy and not necessarily in any great order of importance..

1)  hot, black tea after dinner.  Yes, this is one of life's greatest pleasures, thank you very much.

2) chocolate with peppermint.  I like it when these two flavors are combined.

3) knitting with good quality yarn.  Acrylic yarn is bad.  I like an expensive wool or silky cotton.

4) colors on the tertiary color scheme, slightly dulled and subdued--specifically the dark greens and dark reds..

5) plaid: I love the red plaids, especially if they are combined with blacks and greens..

6) birch trees--specifically in the winter.  I love that white contrast with black hardwoods.  If it is fall, and there are leaves on the trees, that is lovely also.

7) a fresh walk outside: especially if it is sunny out.  It doesn't matter if it is cold out, as long as it is sunny.

8) dancing lights on the ceiling-- when the sun shines in and you look up and the light is reflecting from something and it is dancing on the ceiling.

9) a tree tunnel: in the summer when all of the trees are full with leaves and their branches are curving in toward the (dirt) road, and you walk under it.  It makes a happy, shaded tunnel.

10) the smell of lemon grass..  hmmmmmmmmm...


I just listed 10 of life's simplest pleasures.

In order to have happiness, they have to be something you can share with others.  So, I am sharing these happy ideas with you.   I could have listed things like family and my house and all that, but what if you are reading this and that just makes you envious? and makes you think about what you (don't) have?

Instead, almost all of these things are things that even a person in a wheelchair  or a hospital could enjoy.  And most of you are not in a wheelchair. Some of you are getting around well this season, but some may be confined.  If you are confined, have a plaid blanket with a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate peppermint.  Look at pictures of birch trees in winter and watch the lights dance on the ceiling.

List some of your happy things in the comments! 


Mrs. Parunak said...

Love it! Here are some of mine.
1. The way snow reflects the weak light of winter and turns the days brighter at the darkest time of year.

2. When babies smile at you.

3. Coke slushies (Beverage of the gods, 'nuff said)

4. Coke slushies (did I mention those yet?)

5. Singing in the car.

6. The starry sparkle of Christmas lights.

7. Homemade cookies (with butter!)

8. Chocolate, especially homemade chocolates, like truffles or peppermint or orange balls dipped in chocolate

9. Bike rides on deserted roads.

10. A walk in early summer when the air is just turning warm

Mrs. Parunak said...
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Mrs. Parunak said...
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Organizing Mommy said...

Yeah!! Great list, Mrs. P! Those are all happy things in my book too!