What makes me happy

I have noticed that a lot of people lately are moving around deflated with a lot of fear. There is plenty to be anxious about: people are gloomy about the economy, not having a secure job, and thus worried about their financial security, whether in the form of our emaciated retirement accounts or in the rising cost of milk and eggs; people are aflux with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the terrorism and violence that is present here in our own backyards; we think about the timing of life developments such as when to get married, buy a house, have children, (and not necessarily in that order!) and we scurry about talking about the rise of obesity in children and are constantly worried about the connection between our size and whether we’ll be accepted or not. Thank God the election is over or we’d worry about that!

There are a few things that are making me really happy right now that I wanted to share with you….
1) I have had several great cups of coffee lately. Coffee so good it rivals a glass of zin for me. The bitter liquid at once reviving and consuming. Yum. There is a reason why Starbucks gave free coffee on election day.

2) Many friends have babies, and spending time talking to them about their children or getting to watch before my very eyes their development is inspiring. Way not ready to have children of my own, I sit in awe and declare that motherhood is the most difficult job in the world.

3) Talking with strangers. I’ve struck up many conversations this month with people I don’t know at all. At a random bookclub I attended, in the airports, at the cooking class I took. There is something about risking rejection or judgment by opening up a conversation with people you don’t know and may never interact with again. In many ways, you release your own little ego and have the opportunity to make it up as you go along. It isn’t all about you. There is a natural dance that occurs that hopefully will lead to your improvement. New perspectives should be shaping, and talking with a stranger, well, it is the conversation that you are meant to have right there and then. Listen to the content of that talk, and I believe the lesson that your soul is most in need of will emerge
4) Taking pictures. I find that stopping and noticing something beautiful is extremely gratifying. I see and smell and interact as much as possible. In many ways, pausing, the act of stopping and seeing something, truly visioning it and taking it in, is my form of meditation. Choiceless awareness. I snap it, and feel honored to participate in the bigger rhythm of life. Here is a picture of a bush in a conservatory I stumbled upon this past weekend.

5) Little unexpected blessing. This past weekend, it was carebears gummy chews (thanks Katie!). Paying less than 30 on a tank of gas. I “whoa-hooed” in the parking lot and had a few weird looks. A phone call from a friend right when I needed it. I found a pair of socks that I haven’t worn in months and was delighted at their softness. WOW! This is where I see the hand of God in my life.

I think it is very important to name out loud the unique way our lives reveal moments where happiness is just waiting to be claimed.
If you read this blog, please comment: what has brought you joy in the past 24 hours?

4 thoughts on “What makes me happy

  1. Just wanted to say I really enjoy the optimism in your blogs.

    Your post reminded me of something called ‘Happiness Project’ that I had come across online. Someone was composing for a book. According to her- To think about your happiness, you must think about FEELING GOOD, FEELING BAD, and FEELING RIGHT (or, in fancier language, positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction).

    To boost your happiness, you have to think about all three elements and figure out how to increase your good feelings, decrease your bad feelings, and make sure you’re feeling right.

    I actually categorized elements in life once and found they do fall into these categories, in the right proportions as well. It explained my ability to find happiness after a really scary breakup and a rejected application to grad school, both of which came within weeks of each other.

    To answer your question.
    In the last 24 hours the thing that made me extremely happy is getting validation from my professor. I had been working on translating a very difficult poem by a Nobel Laurette into English, all for a class presentation. At the end of my presentation last night, my professor called it an ‘admirable effort’ and said I should look into getting it published! I’m not entirely sure but it really made my weeks of work worthwhile.

    All the best

  2. What an uplifting blog! I totally agree with you about the kiddies…they always know how to brighten a day with their cute, innocent faces and actions. Sometimes the subtle, little things mean 10x more than the obvious. 🙂

  3. nature brings me joy which i enjoy daily. last 24 hours; watching the deer on my hill, birds in the bird bath, feral cats sleeping in a warm bed, raccoons eating the cats food, the sunrise lighting the valley, the fog swirling in the distance, the autumn colors dotting the valley in the low autumn golden light, fresh baked gingerbread cookies, umm eating the cookies, talking to my sister, watched rr show where she gave a group wedding to those that lost their money to ike, made me cry for all of their happiness, petting my animals, knowing daily how lucky i am to have this life, and never forgetting that…

  4. Hi Krystal,

    Thinking of you on Thanksgiving and just wanted to let you know I’m thankful that you are where you are, so that I can see you relatively often. I’ll be in Seattle twice in December…will send itinerary by email. Looking forward to seeing you. I’m always amazed to see the things that you get out and do to meet people and put yourself out there for the relationships. It’s impressive.

    The risks, I think, of sharing yourself are completely worth it. You write of talking to total strangers and this is something that I really enjoy. Traveling alone I do it more than when I travel with Ted, but often those airport and airplane conversations are inspiring, insightful, and generally stimulating. Sometimes I just put on the earphone and IPod all the way, but not always.

    Here’s what made me real happy in the last week (just one of many things). I was able to get out to the middle of Saudi Arabia to see the Tuwaiq escarpment which is a dramatic cliff system where the land has gradually risen, and then drops into a valley. I built anchors onto the frame of the truck with a friend and we helped a group of local boy scouts rappel down 200 ft. cliffs. It was spectacular! The stars from my sleeping bag made my soul feel very satisfied.


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