Monday, April 18, 2011


If you haven't read the book Eat, Pray, Love - you should.  It is nothing like the movie and it completely changed my life in many ways, gave me a different outlook on almost everything.  Some books will do that to you and this is definitely one of them, a total life-changer.  

Anyway, in this book Liz Gilbert talks about happiness.  You know that moment where you are driving along and everything just seems to click?  That feeling of extreme contentment, where your life seems to be where it is supposed to be at that exact moment?  That elated feeling that you strive for but instead comes at the strangest times?  She writes about this:

"I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness.  She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough.  But that's not how happiness works.  Happiness is the consequence of personal effort.  You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.  You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.  And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it . . . It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress, but continuing to pray even when your crises has passed is like a sealing processs, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."

The medicine man in the book, Ketut, also speaks about happiness.  I think he says something like it's that feeling that you get, that perfect feeling of contentment - and that you should have it all the time.  If you walk around feeling like that all through your life, you have reached enlightenment, your true path.  I had no idea this was possible.

It really stuck with me, the part about working towards it and being able to feel like that all the time.  I want that in my life and for awhile there, I lost it.  So, I thought I'd make a list of all the small moments of happiness I've found over the past couple of weeks, the times where it was just me feeling that feeling and realizing just how lucky I am to be alive.  I will hold on to these and put them in my "bank" and remember them and work towards feeling this way again.

  • Watching a hummingbird first fly in and out of my tree, then fly in and out of a neighbor's orange tree.  I must have watched him for about 10 minutes and even saw him sitting still on one of our branches - they never sit still!
  • Sitting in my classroom, at my desk, and hearing a small chirp.  Looking up at my high windows (barely windows at all) and seeing a little bird (not a pigeon like sometimes) but a small bird just chirping away at something.  I tried to record it but he flew off, he just came for a visit.
  • Riding in the back of a truck (when is the last time you did this?!).  My husband caught me on his way home while I was taking the trash out so I hoped in the back of his truck and rode down the street.  Wind in my hair, bumping along.
  • Dancing to a french pop band in a crowded club with two of my best friends.  Not caring about anything else, just feeling the music, being part of the crowd and letting the beat move you.  Nothing like it.
  • Coming home at 1am the other night and hearing the loudest bird in a neighbor's tree just singing away.  What was it doing up so late (or so early)?  Who was it talking to?  I even heard it as I was going to bed that night.
  • Sleeping in and waking up to a clean room.  My room is painted baby blue and I have white furniture and light wood floors.  I designed it to look really beachy, so that when I wake up (in my cloud bed) and open my eyes, it looks like I'm in a beach house by the ocean.  So amazing.
  • A student coming up to my desk today and telling me, "Mrs. W, you're so beautiful."  After asking her what she wanted, she said nothing and that was it, she just wanted to tell me that.  It's moments like that that make teaching worthwhile.  As teachers, we always store these up, because we get so few of them, and draw on them when we are frustrated or feeling down.
  • Dancing at a wedding with my sisters-in-law, we were the only ones on the dance floor.  Not caring what anyone thought, just dancing to our husbands' (and brothers') music.  I never thought that I would have sisters, but now I have 4.  I love it.
  • Finishing a series of amazing books, laughing out loud and crying while reading them.  Getting totally immersed in the book, forgetting about everything else.  Feeling like a character in a really great novel.
  • Feeling the spring sun on my face when I go outside.  Not having to wear a sweater in the mornings.  I love it when summer is on its way.  Especially this year, we had a long, dark winter and am looking forward to brighter, sunnier days ahead!
  • Reaching my hand out in bed and having my husband's hand find mine.  Holding hands laying in the dark, knowing that no matter what we can do anything together.

So, take a moment to reflect on those moments of happiness you have had in the past few days.  Hold on to them and work towards feeling that feeling all the time.  It is possible, I know it.

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