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