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If You’re Happy and You Know It

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I bet you'd be happier if you focused on what matters to you. Try these ideas and see.

There's a kid's song that goes, "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands..." Aren't the words interesting--"...if you KNOW it..." How many of us KNOW whether we're happy or not?

Are we living by childhood's fantasy of "happily ever after"? If so, are we content or disappointed? If I love my partner, my kids, my friends, do I let them know it? What do I feel when I look out at a sunny day and snow-covered mountains— the recognition that all that beauty is mine, or do I take Nature for granted?

I believe that I can only be fully happy when I am conscious of my happiness. I sometimes use a signal when I'm happy and I know it, to increase my awareness. It could be touching my heart, making a circle of my thumb and first finger, making a check mark on my daily planner, or taking a deep breath. The more conscious I become of BEING grateful, FEELING fulfilled, EXPERIENCING contentment, the more likely I will bring even more of those blessings into my life.

It is summed up in "The Universe rearranges itself to accommodate your picture of reality." What I notice, think about, desire, focus on, is what I draw into my life. Want an example from the past? I'd not been in a romantic relationship for 1 1/2 years. I HAD met many wonderful men through the personals, but I'd been very laid back about it. A walk, a coffee date, no chemistry, so then I let my eclectic interests distract me from my intention to be in a committed relationship. (I was going to say from "finding", but I want to BE IN one, not just find it.)

Well, I've been taking it more seriously these days. I have an ad in three places: POF, OKCupid and craigslist. I've met more good men, and two of them seem to have much of what I'm looking for. I got to ride in a 3-wheel, no-doors Polaris--I love adventure! When I'm happy and I know it, I sing in the kitchen more often, moon about like a dreamy teenager at times, and rearrange my priorities to remind the Universe of what I am creating in my life.

It's so easy to bemoan the cost of gas, the rainy winter in Seattle, the lack of money for a vacation, our limited personal time. We may have no control over the first two, but we can certainly make choices:  bus instead of drive, move to Arizona, cook instead of daily cafe bills, say no to more things. When I'm happy, it's probably because I'm doing what gives me satisfaction: I show that in the garnish I add to make the meal more colorful, the enthusiasm in my voice with friends, the surprise I plan for my daughter or nephew. Even Anne Frank said "Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." Ken Keyes, author of Handbook to Higher Consciousness, reminds us "We always have enough to be happy if we are enjoying what we do have--and not worrying about what we don't have."

I think of the difference in my joy level when I stop a moment to see the driftwood on the deck outside my bedroom window and to remember the occasion (or all of them lumped together) when I shared the beach with a friend. When I listen in on the moment, my heart catches at the grace of a dozen birds doing effortless acrobatics. My palate purrs from the olive tapenade and the cream cheese and avocado spread on Orowheat's Winter Wheat bread, my favorite. A glance at the framed photos opposite me brings me back to the September, 1998 early morning hike in the Swiss Alps near Murren and Gimmelwald. The tapestry over my bed recalls the woman in the market in Guatemala who had made it and proudly sold it to me. When I was walking a few months ago with a man from the ads, I reveled in the free-spirited forsythia and the pink buds on fruit trees as well as in the grounded place he had come to from his personal growth work. The more I appreciate beauty and love, the more I experience them.

Are you happy? Do you know it? Do you sip--and sometimes guzzle--life? How do you show you're happy? I bet if you start (or continue) the habit of appreciating the little things as well as the big, your happiness habit will strengthen, and everyone else will know you've been working out in the gym of the heart. You might set your clock on the hour and remember 16 times a day for a few seconds what you value or appreciate. What a satisfying way to multiply and magnify how much contentment and fulfillment there is to enjoy every day. As I finish here, I'm going with pleasure to add to my gratitude notebook. What are YOU looking forward to?

Moreah Vestan is a life coach and workshop leader on personal growth topics--self-discovery, compassionate communication and fulfillment of mind, heart and body. Contact her at 206-300-1657, or email moreahv@gmail.com to arrange a FREE 30-minute coaching session on any area of your life you’d like to be happier than it is now. Get a free pdf of her book when you complete the 30-minute call.  Read her archived essays at www.pleasuresandponderings.com.

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