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Today, I took myself out for a morning coffee.
In the shop, a smiley, older man watched me walk two laps and pause at a few tables, until I finally found my seat.
After I sat down, he turned to me, smiling, and said, “Did you find your happy place?” to which I responded, “I’m like that dog teasing his perfect spot on the sofa, right?”
We both laughed.
On the way out, I heard him recounting our exchange to his wife who had joined him. I looked back and caught them both watching me leave.
They were sweetly smiling.
I told them to enjoy their day, and they both waved at me and said the same.
The man’s kind action toward me caused an equally kind reaction in me, and we both started our day with a smile and feeling of joy.
For me, kindness and happiness are truly the best of friends. This lovely exchange made me wonder.
Is being happy an intentional choice we can make?
What exactly does happiness look and feel like?
For highly emotional people, can happiness and sadness coexist? Or do they just mingle throughout the day and cause you to feel anxious?
What about our anger?
How quickly can we disengage our anger and turn to happiness with the intention of quickly restoring and giving peace to our messy heads, achy hearts, and uneasy bellies?
Could it be as simple as shutting down our sadness or worry, and literally “activating” our happy state?
Happiness to me is something that makes you feel good and healthy—a positive action for you, a kind gesture for another, a pleasant transaction with a stranger, or something you see with your eyes, feel with your touch, and smell with your nose.
I believe creating a feeling of happiness can be an intentional act—an activatable choice.
What are some intentional choices we can make that may activate our happiness?
Perhaps, it’s a day to disengage from the anguish and sadness you feel from seeing the atrocities of war and on the people of Ukraine and find a small way to help.
Perhaps, it’s a day to let your financial worries go and take yourself out to a nice dinner.
Maybe it’s a day for forgiving a loved one, offering a supportive text to a friend in need, or sitting next to a stream and listening to the sounds of nature.
Or, maybe it’s a small gesture of love for another, or better yet, yourself—or simply a random act of kindness toward someone you’ve never met (much like the man in the coffee shop).
However you choose to activate your happiness, I hope you consider this:
Happiness can be practiced.
Happiness is an intentional act.
Happiness is an active choice.
Last evening, I left a voice note for someone whom I care for deeply and expressed myself honestly and openly—this made me happy.
I also wrote a little, yesterday, sent my sister a birthday wish, and turned in early—all of these made me happy.
I spent dusk reflecting on many things, using my love for literature and poetry, and my constant discovery that they often give me clarity.
While I was in this reflective state, I spent some time visiting some of my favorite sources of words and two of my favorite poets: Emily Dickinson and William Wordsworth.
I visited some old and familiar and some new.
Last night I needed specificity as my thoughts were quite important to me, and I was in a rather pensive mood.
Two of my favorite poems appeared again, and they happened to fit both last night’s need and this morning’s beautiful exchange in the coffee shop.
The words of Emily and those of William point out to us the simplicity of life—the solitude, the breeze, and yes, the daffodils, and the little stone.
When I read these poems, I’m reminded that we can choose to breathe easy and just be happy as often as we like.
‘How Happy Is the Little Stone’
How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn’t care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears—
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity—
~ Emily Dickinson
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
~ William Wordsworth
I think I’ll go for a walk, find a stone, hold it in my fingers, and feel its smoothness.
While I walk, I will breathe and focus on opening my heart and grounding into what I truly and authentically feel.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stumble on a daffodil.
If I do, I’ll quietly hold on to it for the month of April.
This month is quite important to me, and I know that May will come soon enough.
During April, I’ll activate my happiness in all the simple ways I know how.
Writing this today was exactly what I believed could make me happy.
And it did.
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