Happiness Is... The Simple Things In Life
I recently started a job last month, working at a home supporting adults with special needs. I also volunteered for a week at an arts summer camp for kids with various disabilities. Sure, these two positions are good and relative experience for my career as a music therapist, but they helped me grow emotionally as well, in the sense that one single topic started resonating in my mind throughout the time I spent at these two jobs: happiness.
Their concept of happiness, as well as self-efficacy and sense of independence, are so simple; their minds are so beautifully simple. Someone's goal could be going out with a friend once a week for a nice conversation over coffee, and that would grant them a sense of life satisfaction. Or perhaps being able to do the laundry all by themselves would make them feel like they actually have some control over their life; something so seemingly mundane. And seeing a child's joy blossom from the small act of me 'singing' ('woof-ing' would be more accurate in this case) "Happy Birthday" to them... all these just made me want to re-evaluate the small things that make me happy; the simplest of things. Happiness in experiences rather than material goods.
There is this page on Facebook - Happiness Is. - that captures exactly what I was thinking of, in cute little drawings, with everyday happy situations. And then there's Charlie Brown (or, The Peanuts, to be more accurate), also with the "Happiness is..." movement in pictures, books, and in song. Along with my experience, they inspired me to create my own list of what happiness means to me, in the simplest, most 'everyday' way I can think of. This is my little list from the last few weeks, which I intend to grow more eventually, via Twitter.
A small child sitting in your lap
When you find that perfect song
Catching the bus right on time
Losing yourself in nature
Waking up early, naturally
When your favourite song comes up
A fresh new coat of nail polish
Snuggling under warm covers
Making music with friends
(To Be Continued... )
And then, I decided to ask my friends, family, and the blogging community the same question. These are some of the responses I received. I'd like to thank those who contributed, and took their time to think intuitively about this life question.
What is happiness to you?
Waking up and looking forward to the day ahead. - Anonymous
Sitting back and watching [my children] enjoy life while I have a minute to marvel at the mountains, nature, new life, and all my hard work. - Anne (lovegrowdiscover)
When I'm able to take in and appreciate everything that is going on around me in the moment. - Anonymous
Being with the people I love and knowing that they are there for me when I need them to be, and vice versa. - Sophia (thesophiadiaries)
Being satisfied in all I do and putting my best energy into life. - Luna
Being energized and content with my current state of being. - Pat
A drive along a rural Ontario highway. - Anonymous
A good cry when feeling overwhelmed. - Anonymous
A mindset, although it is so many things! Family... friends... love. I have a routine of saying positive affirmations aloud every morning to start my day out the best way possible. - Edie (buckinghamave)
A promise kept. - Anonymous
Having found inner peace (or contentment) with yourself - your past mistakes, qualms, fears, what you have achieved, what you hope to achieve, your current state of being, etc. - such that you can take on any internal/external situation or circumstance without falter. This kind of reminds me of Matthew 7:25 - "...Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock..". - Anonymous
Having a conversation about life experience with Grandma. - Anonymous
Seeing my dog after a long day! - Alix (apintsizedlifeblog)
Working to achieve life goals with the one I love by my side. - Alana (frugalfiesta)
Belonging. - Anonymous
Paying it forward in life. Recently, I was stopped by a homeless man asking for dry socks. I bought him two packages and the tears in his eyes really made me think. From that day forward I promised to pay it forward a couple times a week. It warms my heart to see something so simple change someone's life. - Cindy
Making up after a conflict. - Anonymous
It's everything inside myself and nothing outside myself. It's where my heart and soul sit inside me. I look out onto the world's activities from this seated place. It's what I bring to every situation. It's nurtured through meditation, stillness, healthy living, alone time, and being true to myself. - Julia
Something I believe we all have in us and are capable of accessing every day. It's just a matter of not letting all the external "junk" get in the way. - Renee
Knowing that I'm fully known and fully loved, for who I am. - Yoora (chasethewisdom)
Knowing that goodbye is not forever. - Anonymous