What is happiness? I believe it is liking where you are right now in this moment. I also think it’s something that you cultivate, how you interact in the world, and figuring out what makes it all click for yourself. I am a big lover of the fact that the Founding Fathers of our great nation decided that the Pursuit of Happiness is one of our rights. They were a bunch of pretty happy guys doing exactly what they wanted to do. They knew that they could have that here, in this new place, and that everyone should be so lucky to go find it. Granted, it took them a while to think that women, children, African Americans and Native Americans were worth of it… but I give them kudos for trying.
This is all a part of a month long project to write a post to kick out 2016.
How Do I Pursue My Own Happiness?
Meditation: I am in a cycle (post 2016 election) where I am doing a lovingkindness mediation every morning. 15 – 20 minutes of a guided meditation. It helps to start my day with the idea that I have the capacity to be happy, healthy, live without fear and be at ease in the world and that you do too. It’s a small thing, but it helps.
Simplicity: Our house, mostly because my husband would prefer to live in a Zen Monastery is getting more and more free of clutter. I recently removed our couch and replaced it with two funky armchairs that are cozy enough that Franklin the Wonder Dog has abandoned the bed I made for him. I am quick to donate just about anything that I don’t use regularly and am keeping clutter to a minimum. It helps my peace of mind to have less stuff around and stuff doesn’t make me happy – it never has. I like quality things, things with personal meaning and empty spaces – that makes me happy.
Focusing: Really pairing down my life and business to what matters makes me happy. I am starting to really drive myself and my message around the idea that our own personal and professional development – what we value and how we act – is the trademark of our brand. Getting to that solid focus helps me feel calmer, more relaxed an ultimately happy. I’ve started, again, sending out a weekly email to drive that home. We are what we focus on and that helps drive my happy.
Saying Yes Even When I Don’t Know What the Hell I’m Doing: This last year I have said yes to doing Facebook Live videos every week without knowing anything about doing them. I put myself out there as an artist twice – once donating a piece to an auction that got purchased (squee!) and another in a collaboration youth/art project. I said yes to an overnight hike even when I didn’t have the right shoes, gear or any experience walking over a mile. I started a book club because a friend wanted one and the group has turned out to be amazing. I started an email list with a direct action to be more civically involved that has grown from 1 – 145 people in three weeks. I just put myself out there and decided, even if I failed in front of everyone, I would have fun trying, and I have. It makes me happy to take risks – even small incremental ones.
Having Goals: I didn’t do everything I set out to do, 7 out of 9 (not bad!), but looking at my goals everyday helped me feel accomplished. And just like everyone else that does something I like getting to the finish line and giving myself a serious high five. I’ll be doing more goal planning the first week in January because, frankly, it works.
Being Mindfully Kind: I practice kindfulness. It’s mindfulness in action. I am not always a happy camper. In fact, I grind pretty judgmental, but I know that when I gather myself into a kinder mode I am happier. I practice this in every post I write, every email, every phone call, every interaction, every damned thing. It isn’t easy and I miss the mark more than I like, but when I hit that spot of true engagement where I listened to the person, was compassionate and had composure and clarity I feel like I won a million bucks. Happy happy camper.
The Key to Your Happiness
The key for all of us is finding out, for ourselves, what actually makes us happy. Not what your mom thinks, your boss, your best friend.. but you. You have to grok your own special sauce of happy to be actually happy. And in my world, it’s whatever works. I’m not here to judge you (and I promise I’m working on that). You do you and find your happy place.