There's a lot of happiness going on Chez English these days. Huxley is a large part of it, naturally. We're also excited about the new books' publication last week, the impending spring, our upcoming trip to Florida to see both sets of grandparents, and a visit this weekend from some dear friends and their almost one-year old daughter (we're having a big 'ole brunch out here Saturday morning, with loads of friends, kiddos, dogs, and, finally, homemade donuts-I've been looking for an excuse to host a whole mess of folks here simply to justify making them!).
We're also happy about nothing. Generally happy. Content. Satisfied. I feel full lately in a way I've never before felt. Like I'm no longer chasing comets or second-guessing myself or restless. It's a great feeling. I think it stems, in part, from becoming a mother.
It's not always easy to remain happy, though. Huxley screams, not having yet learnt the art of delayed gratification. Our geriatric set of 5 cats leaves all manner of "bodily deposits" in all manner of locations at any given time. The dogs tramp around the forest and run back into the house with muddied feet, all over my freshly mopped floor. And, on a much more global scale, there are climate concerns, injustice everywhere, unrest in the Middle East, flooding, earthquakes, poverty, and so much more....Despite that, I'm choosing to remain happy. Not always slap-happy, smile-on-my-face happy, but happy, nonetheless.
Pearls of wisdom often show up in the most unexpected places. Fortune cookies. Tea bags. Or Whole Living magazine, the natural health-focused publication from the good folks at Martha Stewart. I picked up a subscription after finding another Design Sponge editor's article in there this past August (yay Amy!). The March issue is dedicated to happiness. One article really hit home with me. Thomas Bien, Ph.D (a psychologist based in Albuquerque, NM), author of The Buddha's Way of Happiness, offers three lessons to always keep in mind on the path to happiness:
*Know that happiness is always available to you. "The moment you see the truth of this, you can be happy right away. There's nothing that needs to happen first for you to be happy. You don't need to do anything else, go anywhere else, reform yourself, or become a different person. Happiness is very simple. It's only our tendency to complicate things that makes it difficult."
*Accept Imperfection. "There always seems to be something naggingly imperfect in life. We have the idea that if we could only get it all together, attain some imagined state of complete wholeness and authenticity, everything would be great. Being happy is about being able to relax into the imperfect nature of our experience, not about finally having everything just the way we want it."
*Don't try so hard. "The Declaration of Independence asserts our right to pursue happiness, but the pursuit of happiness makes us crazy. The idea that happiness is something to chase after deadens us to the wonders of life that are here now. Happiness is about being receptive, about opening to what's good in the present moment-here, now, and this."
Words to live by. May the happiness in the world make itself known to you. Huxley, Hubs and I will be on the sidelines, cheering you on.