Happiness is…

Are you happy? Really deep, down happy? What is happiness?  Have you ever asked those questions?

I hadn’t until I recently read a selection from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  She suggests that happiness is a living emotion and a state of mind.  I sat for a while thinking about happiness, asking myself if I’m really happy deep down inside.  I tried to define happiness without a dictionary.  Is it peace, joy, serenity, a calmness of the soul, contentment?  What is it?

My next thought was to try to list some things that make me genuinely happy. Truthfully, the page was blank for a while.  There are many things I enjoy, like writing, walking with a dog, eating a good meal with friends or family.  There are many things that give me a burst of joy, like finding one of those dear little WPA markers. Those are outer things that are a part of my life, but I was looking for things that truly bring me a satisfied happiness – there is a difference.  Finally, things began to come to me.  Here’s what I have so far:

  • Rain.  It is such a precious commodity, but even with the over abundance we’ve had this year I still find watching rain fall to the earth giving me such a deep feeling of contentment beyond just a surface joy.  Rain, watering the earth and giving life to plants and animals.
  • Sunflowers.  I realized this one morning while driving to work and saw clumps along the road.  They are not my favorite flower, but as I watched clump after clump go by I felt that compelling happiness.  Maybe that’s why a sun flower has been my favicon all these years.
  • On my recent to Comfort I choose to take a winding two-lane road I had never travelled before. There were very few vehicles on the road with me, so I was alone with the countryside. Looking across the rolling Hill Country and crossing the flowing creeks gave me a feeling of deep contentment.  Same thing happened driving home from Blanco when I went to the Lavender Festival a few Saturdays ago.  I felt a true peace within my inner self, knowing I was in the right place at the right time.  I know that was happiness.

I’m sure my list will continue to grow as I look for things that truly make me happy.  Sarah Ban Breathnach summed it up well with her statement,

“genuine happiness can only be realized once we commit to making it a personal priority in our lives”

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