The Basics of Happiness

IMG-1745
Jars (Watercolor)

 

“Happiness is a living thing. You need to feed your happiness in order to have happiness last. It’s like love. If you don’t feed your love, it will die. Understanding and compassion are the foundation to happiness.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Connect to Something Big*

 

IMG-1609
Daily painting challenge: August Wren Creativebug.com class

 

*From Ryan Holiday’s Thought Catalog:  Find a Way To Connect To Something BigMarcus Aurelius would look up at the stars and imagine himself running alongside them, he’d see them for their timelessness and infiniteness. Try that tonight or early in the morning and try to make it a daily practice. A glance at the beautiful expanse of the sky is an antidote to the nagging pettiness of earthly concerns, of our dreams of immortality or fame. But you can find this connection from many sources: A poem. A view from the top floor. A barefoot walk across the grass. A few minutes in a church pew. Just find something bigger than yourself and get in touch with it every single day.

The Laughing Experiment

IMG-1359
Lettering doodle

I’ve studied spiritual masters for years now. One (of many) common threads of assertions is that it is our thoughts that make us miserable (in fact, this might be the most basic tenet). Life is life. “Problems” – as we see them – are never ending.

But because most of us see the same things as problems, we don’t see an alternative way to interpret these events.

Your child didn’t get into the college of her choice;

your son accidentally demolishes your garage door with your car;

your husband loses his job;

you get a cancer diagnosis;

and on and on…

It does look impossible to see these as anything but problems. But are they? It’s just life.

Crying, moaning and complaining about them do no good.

Just handle it and, if you can, laugh at the same time.

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was fortunate: early stage I. But while I recovered from the first of six surgeries, my husband lost his job. His boss cried as he let him go, knowing what we were “going through.” Our two daughters were six and eight years old. We worried about money and their emotional states.

It did seem like the beginning of the end.

But it wasn’t.

I’m here, stronger than ever. Wiser. Fearless.

My husband eventually got his current job – the best one he’s ever had.

Everything happens for a reason. The fact that it is happening is proof.

Handle it. Address the situation without anger, without sadness and without stress, if you can.

The distress and depression come from fighting it.