How to be Happy.

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colorado columbine

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Fellow author and blogger, C.M. Mayo, asked me to write a guest post for her blog, Madam Mayo.  I skimmed over her requested requirements, thought to myself, I could never come up with something like that.  What do I know?  And then the answer came to me, and I couldn’t stop writing!

I am no expert at anything. But I am learning a lot, and I’m always game for trying.  What I can’t share are some guaranteed fool proof tried and true methods that I know for certainty and feel the need to teach you, the reader, because I have it all figured out and maybe you don’t.  I don’t either.  So all I can do is share with you what I’m learning.  And maybe we can learn it together. And maybe, just maybe, that’s the point.  That’s what it’s all about.

Well, after finishing writing this piece, I took a closer look at the requirements and sample posts, and realized I got it all wrong. I mean, totally.  And I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything else to write about since I was so excited by this. Besides, I don’t think she wants to get political or stir waters, and since my second book addresses climate change from a personal perspective, and climate change is still by some considered a political issue, not a reality, I don’t think she’d want my list of Five Ways to Save the Trees or anything like that.  So, I’m sharing this.

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steph and gin

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The five essential habits of positive people (or how to be happy in five easy steps)

Imagine if there were a few secret ingredients to a happy life.  You know, inside information, words of wisdom shared by the happiest people. The tricks of the trade for the happy. What works for those people who smile a lot, seem comfortable with who they are, love their work, like the people around them, are nice to be around and nice to those around them.  And imagine if we could learn from these people. Because who among us does not wish to be happier?

Say there are a few specific “rules” we can follow to find ourselves happier, what would they be?  They would have to be inspirational, happy, humorous, fun, not preachy, not perfect, things to try for with room to grow and plenty of forgiveness, because we’re human and we always have to try.

It would be about choice.  We can choose happier habits.  Ultimately, we can choose our thoughts, rather than have our thoughts (and emotions) choose our direction.   Not to negate these things – It’s just that most of us need to learn to live with them, keep them in line. Not let our emotions rule us and run our lives.

We can start by following the example of people we admire. People who are trying, against odds, to make the world a better place and find a better place within themselves.  I’m not talking about the happy go lucky folks for whom life’s been just fine and they get through just fine – but never do anything great.  I want to be all I can, try it all, experience life to the fullest.  That means ups and downs. Good times and bad times.  Make mistakes.

If we don’t fall on our face, we haven’t tried to run.  Life’s too short to walk through.  So, every once in a while, run!  Flat out. And maybe you’ll fall. Get back up, dust yourself off, and when your wounds have healed (if you really must wait that long) try again.  “Only those who have had, can lose.”  You can go through life playing it safe.  Make it through to the finish line. Slow, steady.  Nothing fancy, no fan fare, no bells and whistles or even a lot of cheers along the way.  Or you can dance your way through life and sometimes stumble.  If you don’t try to dance, you don’t have to worry about making the wrong moves.  Oh come on. Give it a try. Dance!

Sure, you can’t be happy all the time. That would be ridiculous.  But you can be happier more often.  It’s up to you.

 

  1. Start your day on a positive note.  Here’s one we learned from Zig Ziglar.  Before you even get out of bed, clap your hands and say something wonderful about yourself, your world, and the day you’ve got ahead of you.  Then this one from Louise Hay. Tell yourself you love yourself.  Look in a mirror if you have one and say it to yourself that way.  I don’t, and I live in a small one-room cabin.  If I woke up clapping my hands and talking in the mirror, I think my boys would really worry.  At the very least, I’d wake them up, and those who know me know this:  don’t disturb my mornings. So, I keep it quiet, let them sleep, and try to say these things in my head.
  2. Patience.  Learn to slow down. Let go. Boy this is a hard one for me.  For so many in society where we’re often judged on how busy we pretend to be, but how jam packed we fill our days, placing self value on number of hours worked (though do we stop and think how much we actually accomplish?).  The more we can justify being busy, the better people we think we are.  Or so we are told. Things are changing.  That worked great to develop the modern world, create fast food and Wal-marts, capitalism and consumerism. But it didn’t bring us closer to happiness.  Try meditation, walking, yoga, breathing.  Watch a snowflake fall on your hand and melt.  Sit and wait in the early dark to see the moon clear the horizon (or nearest building).  Listen to the wind or the water or the waves.  Find a tree and hear the leaves rustle.  “Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.”  –  Jack Kornfield, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book.
  3. Life’s short – eat dessert first.  All these excuse for why not.  Think of all the reason why instead.  Just do it.  Learn to do something new every day.  Never say never.  Don’t let yourself (or someone you love) say “I can’t.”  Go ahead, give it a try.  Now. What are you waiting for?  Don’t bother telling me.  I don’t want to hear.  I want to hear what you want to do, and what you’re doing to get there.  Rather, I want to show me.  Do it.  Come on, dream!
  4. Give. Practice – and expand on – compassion.  Do random acts of kindness. Do something for someone without strings attached every single day.  It doesn’t have to cost money.  It doesn’t have to take much time.  Just share the gifts you already have. You have a lot.  As a writer, I like to share my words.  A cook shares food, a photographer images, a mother comfort – these are the gifts we share, not just to make a living or get the job done or for self importance, acceptance, acknowledgement or reward.  Simply to give what we can. Share your gifts. What gifts can you share?  We all have something special. Creativity, prayer, song.  Think beyond the box.  Or look deep inside. There’s lots there.  Open it up and share it.  I bet there’s plenty to go around.
  5. Have fun, smile, dance.  I don’t have TV.  Last month I finally saw the Ellen Show for the first time while staying at my sister’s house.  Apparently she dances every day.   Right on.  Then there is Ginny, the woman who’s life my next book is based upon.  Dancing in the Wind… There she is, even in her wheelchair.  Dancing.  If she can, I can too.  Do it.  Dance.  It feels really good.  And if you dance like no one’s looking, you can’t help but find yourself be smiling like you mean it.  And yes, chances are, you’ll feel happy.

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trin and dogs

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logan

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steph and homer

 

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trin and rikki

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8 thoughts on “How to be Happy.

  1. I love this… one more on my list as well – forgive yourself. You don’t have to be perfect, you can make mistakes (even Super Huge ones) and still choose happy!

  2. I love the line, “How busy we pretend to be.” Society gives gold medals for those who engage in this frantic pace of life…..but individuals lose. They lose themselves. Great post.

  3. HEY MY DEAR GIN, U HAVE CERTAINLY LIGHTENED UP SINCE U WERE HERE IN PATAGONIA! YES….EVERYDAY , IF SOMEONE WILL TAKE ME, I GO FOR A ROLL AND MAKE IT A POINT TO GREET EVERYONE WITH A SMILE AND BUEN DIA, ETC. SURROUND THEM WITH LOVE…..IT HELPS THEM AND ME…AND IT COSTS NOTHING AND THE MORE U GIVE, THE MORE U GET….

    THAT’S TRUE WEALTH AND HAPPINESS…..AT LEAST FOR ME.

    LOVE U , DEAR SISTER, GINNY

    • Thank you, Catherine, for the opportunity to write and share the guest post. I had fun and hope your readers enjoy!

      I appreciate too your PS… very well said!

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