On Happiness

happiness.jpg

*This is an old post that I re-posted.*

I took a luxuriously long hot shower today. I hadn't even thought about what I was going to wear when I realized I was already getting dressed and that I liked my outfit. (Wow, that was easy, for once.) My hair seemed to comb itself into a perfect up do that made me want to leave the house. (See, I don't always look frazzled!) I wondered how I could have more days like this, where I feel so good in my own skin. So alive. So happy.

On happiness, here is a quote from First Lady Martha Washington: "I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition."

When I first read that quote I thought, Oh, that's good, and I wrote it down and posted it on my fridge. I read it almost daily, agreeing as the corners of the paper started to curl, but not really noticing when it wasn't on the fridge anymore.

I completely forgot about it for quite some time until I saw it on another fridge, in another house. I was hit with a sort of force, like getting the wind knocked out of you but it was all internal. (At least you hope it's internal because you're not ready to talk about what's going through your mind.)

You're not even sure you know. But, now you 'get it'. You totally completely get Mrs. Washington.

Have you ever said to someone, 'Yeah I know you understand, but do you get it?' I got it. It was such a phenomenal moment for me because I had that quote on my fridge for so long I thought I understood it years ago.

I don't even know who took it down. Was it me because the edges were crinkled and there was some mysterious stain smeared on it?

Maybe one of the kids needed another magnet to hang up their artwork. It could be that it’s under the fridge now, trying to yell out to me to understand. No, not understand, GET.

Somewhere along my way I made a happiness shift within myself. I know what it is to be happy. I know what it takes. I know the secret; which isn't a secret because Martha Washington knew this decades ago and something tells me that she wasn't the one to discover happiness.

Well, if you don't really get it, listen to my story and maybe you’ll get it too.

my story

I got it because I had been so happy for so long. I didn't get here alone, and I will share that with you. When it comes to writing about this I was decidedly more literal. What were my so called circumstances that I allowed to keep my happiness at bay? (Honestly, there were several but I'm only going to talk about one so you don't get bored.)

I kept thinking I'll be happier when we move, when we live by family, and all that comes with living by family (free babysitting?). And then I came across this link: http://www.mindvalleyinsights.com/how-to-avoid-the-gap/ from a company called MindValley. It's a four minute video that shows you how to change your thinking.

I became aware that moving wasn't going to guarantee my happiness. I had to let go of my goal and make myself happy.

You can still have goals, just don't attach your happiness to them. Instead, be thankful. Grab a notebook and start jotting down a few things everyday. Thank you God for this house, for our cars, for heat and food. Thank you for that afternoon bath uninterrupted. Thank you for sunshine. Thank you for no tantrums before lunch. Thank you for that starburst found in the bottom of my purse, it saved the day. Thank you for sleeping kids and giggles and chubby hands. Thank you for money and employment. Thanks for the sale so I could buy that new hutch. Thanks for good health.

You see the point. We have much to be thankful for.

I came to understand that I couldn't wait for my circumstances to change; I had to change.

I had to have a happy disposition. If I were a homeless beggar sitting outside on the cold sidewalk I could still find joy in the crescent moon sparkling in a velvet sky reflecting on iced-over puddles like scattered diamonds.

I choose happiness. I can be happy without all the things that I think make me happy. I think happiness is an energy and I want it to move me. I want it to lift me up and carry me through those bad days. Yes, you will still have bad days. They will come less often, but they will come. We need them to remind us to appreciate the good ones.

It's worth mentioning a couple other key factors that help me stay in the flow state of happiness. One is that I understand my true nature and how vital (literally) it is for me to have some alone time.

This does not mean me in a bedroom with the door shut. This means me home ALONE for a few hours every week. I usually clean the whole house, write, maybe bake something, maybe sew. If it's been too long I might just sit and do nothing.

It doesn't really matter what I do; when I'm alone I come into balance and that is so important for me. Not everyone is like this, we all have different natures. The point is to live true to yourself. If you don't know what your nature is you can start here: http://dressingyourtruth.com

The other thing I wanted to mention is rose-colored glasses. Seeing the good in everything will make you appreciate more things. I have another video link for this one. I think it's 17 minutes long, but Arielle Ford is a speaker on stage and you can just put your headphones on and listen; you don't necessarily have to watch it. http://blog.mindvalleyacademy.com/happiness-and-positive-living/wabi-sabi-love-love-imperfect-partner-perfectly 

You put on your rose colored glasses when you clean up those sticky hand prints all over the wall and the window because if those hand prints weren't there, you wouldn't be a mother. I want to keep these glasses on.

Whatever you might be feeling about your circumstances, let it go. You can be happy right now. In fact you are; open yourself to it. Choose it. Receive happiness and spread it around like sunshine sparkling on water.