Happiness

Enough

My life is really full right now.  There are lots of things going on.  Good things.  But things nonetheless.  I'm working hard to keep everything in perspective; to stay in the moment; to breathe.

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And, really, that is enough.

"Just the fact that you get to live and breathe and interact with the world - that's pretty marvelous."
                                                                                    ---  Junot Diaz

 


Stumbling Onto . . . A Little Surprise

Two weekends ago, I headed to the campus of Michigan State University for a day-long garden design conference sponsored by the MSU Horitculture Gardens.  The conference was wonderful - inspiring and informative.  During our lunch break, I took advantage of the first nice spring day we'd had this season, and took a walk in the gardens.

And stumbled onto this. . .

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Surprise!

I discovered that the MSU Hort Gardens had been bombed . . .by knitting!

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It was so delightful! 

There were even little knit bees in the trees.

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It was such fun to watch the reactions of other garden visitors when they stumbled onto the trees-sporting-knitting!  They were surprised.  And delighted.  And really, really curious!

Yarn bombing . . .

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just makes people smile!

(Click here for a cool slide show of other yarn bombings in the world.)

 


(Funny, Little) Things

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When I got my email from Carole yesterday, with the Ten on Tuesday topic for this week . . Ten Things That Make You Happy. . .

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I thought . . . Easy Peasy.  I thought about my family, and my dog, and my health.  I thought about feeling balanced, about meaningful work, and the importance of fun, challenging hobbies.  I thought about maintaining a comfortable home, and reaching for something new; about having enough . . . and sharing some, too.

And all those things that make me happy.

I even had my post all ready to go.

But then. . .

I started thinking about the funny, little things in life that bring me delight.  And THAT's the list you get today.  Here are Ten (Funny, Little) Things That Make Me Happy:

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  1. Birds in my birdbath, frogs in my pond, and squirrels in my trees.
  2. Sitting on my shady patio, enjoying a cool breeze and a popsicle on a hot afternoon.
  3. A great song coming up on my iPod.
  4. Knitting that works out . . . after you've discovered disaster and ripped back to Deal With It.
  5. Half-price wine night at the Oakwood Bistro.
  6. Coming out into the hot, steamy air after being thoroughly chilled by the air conditioning.
  7. Holding hands . . . even though we're old. . . and have been married for (almost) 31 years.
  8. Eating outside.
  9. Fireflies. Butterflies. Dragonflies.
  10. The hum of cicadas in the heat of the summer.

How about YOU?  What (funny, little) things make YOU happy?

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Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.

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We're headed Up North for the rest of the week.  But, never fear!  The Scandinavian/Russian Travelogue continues!  Stay tuned tomorrow for the first installment of Adventures in St. Petersburg -- and continue to check out the blog this week in my absence.  As long as the technology holds, there will be travel posts!

 


Strive to be Happy

Remember the Desiderata?

Go placidly among the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. . .

When I was a teenager, I used to have a poster of the Desiderata hanging on the wall of my bedroom.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others. . .

During those confusing, growing-up days, those words used to soothe me.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. . .

Those words used to whisper across my room . . . giving me hope for a life beyond the agony of adolescence.

Enjoy. . .

Keep interested. . .

Strive for high ideals. . .

Be yourself. . .

Over the years, though, as I really did grow up, I sort of forgot about the Desirderata.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. . .

Until a few years ago, when I stumbled upon it again, in book form, on the clearance table in my local Barnes & Noble.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. . .

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Now, that book sits out on my coffee table all the time.  It's a beautiful book, and I pick it up and read through the poem often.

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Be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. . .

The words still whisper to me from across the room

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. . .

Reminding me.

Strive to be happy.

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Secrets of the Universe

When the new year kicked in, I made some New Year's Resolutions . . . and shared them through a Ten on Tuesday blog post.  The resolutions I wrote are not so much about doing things; they are much more about living my life.

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My challenge, now, is . . . how to keep those resolutions!

This year, I want to be intentional and thoughtful about how I live my life.  I understand that life really is limited; that I'm getting older; that time waits for no one.  I know how easy it is to get caught up in the "sturm und drang" of everyday life.  And I know that my life is really, really good . . . just as it is.

I know I have enough.

But, still.  I feel this need to tweak my life.  Not to change it, mind you.  But to heighten my awareness of - and appreciation for - what's already there.

I picked up The Happiness Project, a book by writer Gretchen Rubin that chronicles her year-long adventure of inviting more happiness into her life.  As I began reading in January, Gretchen's voice reached out and grabbed me. . .

"I didn't want to reject my life.  I wanted to change my life withough changing my life, by finding more happiness in my own kitchen.  I knew I wouldn't discover happiness in a faraway place or in unusual circumstances; it was right here, right now." (page 12; hardback edition)

I decided to launch my own Happiness Project during 2012.  It fits nicely with my One Little Word project, actually, and it's a great way for me to keep connected to my earlier resolutions.  I like the challenge of thinking about happiness in the context of my everyday life, and creating the space to invite more happiness into that same everyday life.

When Gretchen Rubin began her own Happiness Project, she first developed her own "overarching principles" (she called them her "Twelve Commandments") and "life lessons learned" (her "Secrets of Adulthood") to provide a framework for her year's work. 

I already do this for myself in my journaling -- slightly different thought process, but very similar concept.  So I enjoyed spending a couple of weeks in January developing my own lists; my own framework for my project ahead. 

As I launch my own Happiness Project, allow me to share my own "overarching principles" and "life lessons learned":

My "Everyday Mantras" (words to live by, everyday):

  • Love is all you need.
  • I have enough.
  • Pack lightly.
  • Celebrate the ordinary.
  • Just start.
  • Let it be.
  • Dance through life.
  • Take delight.
  • Practice kindness.
  • Stretch.
  • Make it work.
  • Color outside the lines.

My "Secrets of the Universe" (things I've learned to be true):

  • There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.
  • If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
  • Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
  • Take time to smell the roses.
  • Eat an elephant one bite at a time.
  • Tomorrow is another day.
  • Apologize when you need to - and sometimes, even when you don't need to.
  • Take responsibility for your actions; own your words.
  • Not everyone thinks like you, and that's fine.
  • Some people ARE jerks.
  • You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
  • Generally, it's not rocket science.
  • Garbage in, garbage out.
  • If you didn't wear it this year, you'll likely not wear it next year.
  • Always verify your sources.
  • Keep your head up.
  • You'll never know what worse luck your bad luck saved you from.
  • Good manners count.
  • Flossing really does make a difference.
  • There are many paths to the top of the mountain.
  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can't do fuck-all if he wants to piss in it.

It was really interesting to spend some time thinking about these two lists -- a very grounding exercise that will serve me well as I strive to keep my resolutions. 

What about you?   I challenge you to think about your own "personal framework."  What are your "overarching principles" for life?  What life lessons have you learned over the years?