October 2015 newsletter – happiness

bird of paradise-181984_640


The birds are nesting. The spring bulbs are poking their heads out to peek at the sun. The season’s first butterflies are fluttering around newly budded roses. The sun is shining in a clear blue sky.  It all feels pretty awesome after the seemingly never-ending cold winter we had here this year.

The flurry of new life, growth, renewed energy and a seeping warmth into my weary, aging bones, leads me to consider what makes me happy.

And just what is happiness anyway? vocabulary.com offers this by way of explanation –

Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It’s the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness. The “pursuit of happiness” is something this country is based on, and different people feel happiness for different reasons. Whenever doing something causes happiness, people usually want to do more of it. No one ever complained about feeling too much happiness.

Diving further in to this fascinating field has yielded some interesting information. Did you know that there is now a whole science dedicated to the study of happiness? That people attend workshops to study and learn how to be happy? That according to some the word happy itself carries too much ‘stuff’ so it is best to use other words like wellbeing, flourish, even mindfulness? That having an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has a very positive impact on happiness? That the neuroplasticity of the brain responds by actually developing new neural pathways for happiness? That Jordi Quoidbach and June Grüber studied Emodiversity which is “ the variety and abundance of emotions humans experience” ?

Through Dr Google I stumbled onto this, and a lot more, in Barbara Graham’s article  “What is happiness anyway?” Seemingly it is named after my question, although I can’t claim any credit for it J  It’s an interesting and thought provoking read. Here’s the link – what-is-happiness-anyway?

So, an innocent, or perhaps a naïve and simple question, has all of a sudden become a lot more complex and deep. Now I was really curious. I delved deeper into  Google. My goodness   ! There is so much to choose from floating around in the clouds of the net. It can actually be a little overwhelming. It got me to thinking some more. Perhaps a dangerous pursuit given the detours, highways and byways that have opened up.

Are we overcomplicating life is the question that keeps popping into my head? Why do we have to be taught something that comes so naturally to children? And some very fortunate adults. Have we as a high tech society over-complicated life? Do we have to have scientific evidence and proof on everything, even happiness? And in the process have we dumbed ourselves down so much that we have actually forgotten how to be happy? Having said all of that, I do not for one moment doubt that there are many who genuinely need and benefit from what is on offer. But whatever happened to the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid)?

Following this train of thought, I am going to offer a few more morsels for you to consider. James Radcliffe has also written  about happiness in a blog post called “The 5 reasons I get happier as I get older”.  His reasons:

  •  Meditation
  •  The Physical
  •  Reading and Studying
  •  A Good Work
  •  Good Relationships

It’s a beautiful read.


My list (includes all of the above, by the way):

  • Pets – so much joy and unconditional love
  • Laughter – infectious, healing, good for the soul
  • Music–ditto (well maybe not infectious… unless it’s one of ‘those’ tunes)
  • Yummy food – to feed Mind, Body and Soul
  • Nature – so tranquil, serene, awesome

Here’s what some others have had to say about happiness:

Happiness depends upon ourselves.”  ― Aristotle

Happiness is a warm puppy.” ― Charles M. Schulz

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

I think happiness is what makes you pretty. Period. Happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and they reflect that happiness.” ― Drew Barrymore

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


It IS a serious subject. With that in mind I offer this link to a whole lot more  stuff about happiness:


And last, but not least, I hope you enjoy this happy song 


 PS – what’s on your happiness list?

 Have you checked my blog yet? Subscriptions, likes, follows, shares, comments all gratefully received. They really do help me a lot.      Here’s the link www.soulgifts.com.au




A QUICK TIP: Journalling after a meditation is a powerful way of consolidating the experience into your life. If you intend to do this, have pen and paper with you so you can begin to journal as soon as you have finished the meditation. It can be as a drawing, a poem, a song, a description of  your experience.  There is no right or wrong way to journal. Whatever feels right and good is OK. Be guided by your intuition.

 Create some quiet time and a space for yourself during which you will not be disturbed. Outside might be a nice place for this one given it is spring.

Sit with your back straight. Arms by your side or on your lap. Feet flat on the ground. Take three deep, long, slow breaths – in through the nose, hold, out through the mouth. Feel yourself relaxing and softening as you breathe. Connect from your heart to whatever for you is the Source of Unconditional Love. Again from your heart, through the soles of your feet imagine there are sturdy, solid roots that go all the way down to the diamond matrix core of the earth, grounding you.

Imagine that you are a seed that has been lying dormant in the cold winter ground hibernating. Spring has warmed the earth and you feel yourself beginning to awaken. Shoots of new growth form within your core, sending the tender new tendrils coiling upward through the soil. As the shoot breaks the surface, caressed by the soft spring breeze, the warmth of the sun activates the process of photosynthesis and new growth. In no time at all, the tendril has grown. A new plant has formed. The soft hair roots mature and thicken underground drawing up moisture and nutrients to feed the plant above.  Above ground the plant too matures and grows into a magnificent specimen. Take as long as  you like to become intimately familiar with it. What kind of plant is it? How big is it? Does it have flowers? What colour, size, texture and shape are they? What is its scent like? What size, shape, texture and colour are the leaves?  Where in the garden is it growing? What is its message to you?

Give thanks for the experience. When you are ready, slowly bring your attention back to your body. To the place in which you are seated. To the sights and sounds that surround you. Wriggle your fingers and toes. Have a refreshing drink of cool water.

© Raili Tanska

Images Pixabay

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