Happiness Sparkles

I think it’s because its built from light.  That would be my guess.  Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that happiness sparkles.

It sparkles in the eyes of the people that it’s dancing through.  It sparkles in their laughs.

And when you’re living in its spell, you find it glittering all over your day.  Hear those little bird chirps?  Sparkles!  See those snowflakes?  Sparkles!

It’s the salt on the French fry, the click of the latch, the tap of a step in the hallway.  It’s sort of like the ultimate condiment for the mind.  Happiness powder.  Sprinkle some around.

The Happiness of Home

Few ideas hold within them the peace and comfort of happiness epitomized by the idea of home.

Home represents the place where we can be who we really are.  It’s a place where we’re safe and where we’re okay, a refuge that lets us leave our pretentions, roles and struggles at the gate.

Home greets us with familiarity and feels like a hug.  It welcomes us and invites us to take off our shoes, have some supper, relax and let our minds run free.  It says, “You belong here.”  It tells us that we’re loveable and loved.

We think of home as the physical environment where we hang our hats and keep our pajamas.  But in truth, home is where the heart is. Like happiness, it’s a state of mind, always no farther than a thought away, than an opening of the door.

Happiness Everywhere

Oh, the shapes that happiness wears!  Tucked into the swirls of frost that paint my morning windows, falling like diamonds from the afternoon sky, rising like the full wolf moon over the snowy landscape.

It washes across my tongue as chocolate and rings my phone to let me hear the voice of a friend.  It crackles in the fireplace and snuggles against my toes as warm socks.

It rises from the pages of a book, and floats through the air as perfume and music.  It pours from my taps and shines from my light bulbs

It comes singing and in silence, lifting, inspiring, laughing, purring, warming, and whispering always, “I love you; I love you.”  And I whisper, “Happiness, I love you right back.”

The Commitment to Happiness

Just as with any quality you choose to increase in your life, or any skill you want to develop, happiness requires practice.  It’s a choice you make, over and over, a decision, an act of consciousness and of will.

Now let me honest about that choice.  Sometimes when you hear people say “happiness is a choice,” it comes across sounding like everybody has a magic little switch on their left wrist that they can just flick and Bingo! Happiness!  And then you feel bummed out because you weren’t in line when they passed out the switch.

Well, the truth is that nobody’s got the switch.  There’s no magic button.  I don’t know anybody who can instantly slide into happiness even from neutral, let alone from more dismal states.  I know some people who can get there pretty quickly though once they master a few techniques.

But even those people–the people who have learned some reliable ways to manage their moods, to steer their thoughts, and to surrender their resistance to happiness—still have to remember that they want to be happy, that they are committed to experiencing more happiness in their lives.  And once they remember, once they notice that they have drifted or been dragged into a less-than-happy state of mind, they still have to choose to use what they know to return to happiness.

I’m in the process of gathering a collection of happiness techniques that I will be sharing with you in the weeks ahead.  Some of them I have already mentioned here—practicing gratitude, naming three good things you experience every day, remembering to smile, and practicing kindness, for example.  But I want to give you a huge treasure chest of them to rummage through and play with.

In the meantime, the important thing to realize is that you really, truly can experience more happiness in your life, deeper, longer-lasting, more meaningful and satisfying happiness.  And while learning how does require commitment, practice and making the choice, over and over again, the practice itself is uplifting and fun, and the reward is delight and joy.

The Happiness of Self-Care

Some happiness clues from my cats:

Only eat what you need.

Drink plenty of fresh water.

Keep yourself clean.

Take naps when you’re sleepy.

Stretch when you wake up.

Stay warm and dry.

Maintain your curiosity—and your boundaries.

Speak up when you need some attention.

Look at the world from a new vantage point now and then.

Practice balance.

Meditate daily.

Don’t be afraid of climbing to new heights.

Happiness Does the Soft Shoe: A Happiness Tale

“You silly goose!”  Myrtle said.  “What are you doing?”  Fred was paddling across the grass with a peculiar rhythm to his step, a kind of heel-toe-kick-slide.

“It’s called the soft shoe,” Fred said.  “It’s like tap dancing without the taps.  Perfect for goose feet, don’t you think?”  He did another shuffle-kick and spun around.  “I saw it in an old James Cagney movie when we were hanging out near that festival last summer.  Heard part of a song about it, too.  Watch this.”

Fred cleared his throat and started chortling.  To human ears, goose singing all sounds alike.  But when a gander wants to impress his mate (and spring is coming, you know) he can muster up some tunes that set her heart to pattering.

“Give me an old soft shoe,” he sang, doing a little goose dance, “I said the old soft shoe.  Ah-one; ah-two; Ah doodle dee doodle dee doo.”

Martha laughed.  It was one of the silliest things she had ever seen him do, and Fred was practically the poster goose for silly.  That, along with his strength and loyalty and incredible good looks, was why she loved him.  He could always make her laugh.

And Fred loved that she laughed.  It made him want to sing and dance.

Happiness is at its best when it’s shared, after all.

The Enthusiasm of Happiness

It’s the ultimate joy juice, the lever that lifts the world.  It’s the liquid cascading from the fountain of youth, the persuader par excellence.  It pushes the train up the mountain and hurls rockets to the stars.  It’s the irresistible surge of will, the fire of genius and success.  It powers through obstacles and leaps over walls.  Few things can stand in its way.

It’s happiness, raw from the source, surging untainted from the soul.  It awakens and empowers.  It arouses and sustains.  It pushes the strong to the front and pulls the weak in its wake, all for the sake of its passion and joy.

Enthusiasm is the zest in the orange, the gleam in the eye, the handshake of fortune.  It appeals and compels.  It makes masters from the mediocre and pulls possibilities from empty bags.  It’s the magical aspect of happiness, set loose and soaring.  Unleash it and you’ll never be the same.

The Optimism of Happiness

“An optimist,” said Mark Twain, “is a person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness.”   Starting from anywhere you are, with nothing but a hope in your pocket, you can peek over the horizon and guess that you’ll find happiness there.  And guessing, expecting, hoping could be all you need to find it.

So much depends on expectations, on what you’re looking to find.  Expect that you’ll find a way, and it’s likely that you will.  Expect the best of yourself, and you’re likely to rise to the occasion.  Expect opportunity and you’re likely to prepare.  Optimism empowers; pessimism defeats.  Optimism lifts; pessimism casts down.

Happiness chooses hope.  It looks toward spring and morning.  It wraps itself in faith and steps through the doorway.  Starting right from nowhere, it spins itself into the future with confidence, filled with anticipation of new possibilities for expressing itself with joy.  It builds nest.  It keeps its tools sharpened, its windows polished and its shoes shined.

Happiness sees the seeds of hope in every failure and opportunity in every challenge.  It looks for the silver lining and sees blessings regardless of the disguises they wear.  In trust, it puts on its smile and gives itself to the moment with gusto.  It looks for what it can achieve.  And regardless of the turns the road may take, optimism has more fun along the way.

The Honesty of Happiness

So here comes happiness again, rolling up from the heart wearing nothing but a grin.  It tumbles into town naked as a jay bird, unpretentious as can be, and as honest as the day is long.

It’s got nothing to prove, no point to make, no judgment at all, except to call a joke when it sees one.  And to tell the truth, it tends to see one on just about every corner.

Some folks think it’s a simpleton, the way it overlooks the gravity of things and teeters on the edge of laughter all the time.  But the fact is, it was born in joy and just never got over it.   It calls things as it seems them, and mostly happiness sees things as beautiful, unparalleled, glistening and grand.  That’s where the grin comes from, and why it spills so easily into laughter.

It is what it is.  And don’t you just love it!