Happiness: a Gift and a Skill

Yesterday I realized just how many happy moments are available to me in the course of one day. I had a really good night’s sleep. Carlie and I had a wonderful 15 minute walk today – she is post-surgery so it brought tremendous happiness to both of us to be able to get out and sniff ‘new’ things. We celebrated my mother’s birthday and we connected with family and friends over dinner. We enjoyed hearing my nephew sing via computer. Moments of joy. And that is what the birds sang to me: happiness is moments of joy, the good fortune of loving myself.

These little moments of joy are gifts when they come to us in our day. They lift our mood, celebrate our relationships and bring joy to our real existence. At the same time, we need to cultivate awareness so we recognize when these little moments present themselves to us, face to face, heart to heart. That may sound simple enough and easily done, yet it can be difficult to sustain when we face challenges and disappointments.

Last week, Lucy shared her insight of how we can spread happiness; cultivate more of it in our environment by responding and encouraging more of what makes others happy. We are not asked here to disregard loving ourselves or to neglect the boundaries and self care that invites happiness in us. Rather, I believe, the expansiveness that Lucy was talking about comes out of having a deeper sense of meaning in life.

As is expressed in my mission, ‘wisdom’s way to peace’, I experience profound meaning in my life by helping others make peace with themselves, their families, their environment, their Higher Power and Presence, with their lives and so forth by connecting them with their own inner wisdom. We all have conflicts of some sort, hidden and conscious. Developing skills to cultivate an attitude of happiness and expanding our awareness to embrace the moments of joy as they arise are powerful antidotes to the conflicts that so often take up space in our mind and wind tight in the connective tissue in our bodies.

As we build skills to be happy in our attitude, we need to practise these skills to sustain this attitude over the long haul. As these moments get stronger and more frequent, we evolve into deeper states of satisfaction. Deeper states of satisfaction open the door to experience deeper levels of fulfilment. Feeling fulfilled is reserved for those moments and times and continuum of experience that connects us to our purpose in life, to that which gives us a meaningful sense of existence.

So how do we move from moments of joy to living a fulfilled life where happiness is not just about an emotional feeling, but rather an existential sense of meaning and purpose that contributes to the larger good?

I will share two key ‘skills’ to sustain inner happiness leading to fulfilment for you to contemplate and test. Please bring your own insights to this conversation.

(Remember, the birds asked me to go and ponder their wisdom: So to my surprise, the robin’s message tells me that being happy means that there is good fortune in loving myself. Good fortune comes when I appreciate what I have; it comes when I open to the moments of joy as I share my gifts for the greater good. I will be ‘lucky’ when I find joy in my place in the world. The Welsh understood this kind of attitude as being wise.)

  1. What is it you are seeking to accomplish that is bigger than you? If you don’t have anything, then you must find something or happiness will be fleeting and inner fulfilment will always remain elusive.
  2. What still hurts? Unresolved hurt can turn into resentment, depression, anger, despair and a gripping sense of alienation from being loved and belonging. It trips us up at the most inopportune times when a path to happiness opens up.

When you are honest with yourself and listen with heart to the answers that arise from deep within your core to these questions, what path to happiness becomes revealed? Is it what you imagined? What is one first step you need to take to bring momentum and new life to this path of something bigger than you and/or beginning to heal that inner hurt blocking the way? Let’s get started.