Happiness Happens is a gratitude project. I’ll add a note to this page of something that happens each day this year–the thing that stands out at the end of the day as remarkable, fun, special or amazing. It’s all about taking time to appreciate that there’s something–and most often many things–each day that are worth savoring and smiling about.
4-10-14: So is this gap of 2 months another great example of New Year’s Resolutions that fall aside after a month? Perhaps…Or maybe I just remembered the most important thing about appreciating and savoring life’s beauty. For me, that important thing is to live it. To be in it. I spent much of my life watching, analyzing, putting things in order, documenting. I was withdrawn and became fearful. I was unhappy.
I decided I had enough of my worry and isolation, and I began stepping out. I pushed myself little by little to do more and more. And as I began doing more, I began writing less. Don’t get me wrong. Writing is a wonderful thing. I am a writer! But first you have to live and experience things that maybe you will write about…or maybe you won’t.
In my first month of documenting what made me happy each day this year, I quickly noticed it was the little things. The everyday moments of natural beauty and connection with friends and my husband. Those are the things I want to stay with as long as I can and not pull myself away for the sake of fitting in writing about it before the end of a wonderful day.
So while I was gone, believe me, I way living many, many moments of happiness and appreciating every second!
2-2-14: Today’s happiest moment was community wide…our Seattle Seahawks won Superbowl XLVIII, 2014!!!! The first time our team has reached top level in the country! Go Hawks!!!
2-1-14: I was so happy to see old friends and dear ‘family of the heart’ (those chosen to be family as opposed to family by blood) and my brother today and to have good energy for my four hours of driving in my day trip to Bellingham. I saw flocks of swans by the highway, gorgeous mists, and some fun Seahawks tributes on hillsides, the painted rock near Lake Samish and on the T-Mobile buildings in anticipation of the superbowl tomorrow. It felt amazing to have a normal and full day after being so sick and to know I am back to myself again.
1-19-14 through 1-31-14: On the 19th I came down with a flu that carried a wicked chest congestion, and the rest of January was full of staying in and staying still for the most part. My energy was low, so I didn’t record my happy moments, but there was at least one for each and every day. 19- I had my breath taken away by the mist in the trees on a drive to take my husband on an errand. 20-While feeling bad when I awoke in the morning, I heard a small bird singing its heart out outside my window and it reminded me that good life goes on. 21-My boss, full of understanding told me to go home whenever I needed to which took the stress out of my short day. 22-The clouds played on Mt Si outside my office window all day, and the grey was a gentle comfort. 23-The weather cleared, and when I dragged myself out to work I felt immediately better when greeted by a beautiful moonset in the morning-blue sky. 24-I was thankful it was Friday and a short a quiet day at work was perfect, then home to rest with no expectations. 25-I began to feel better, and the gorgeous sunny weather brought some warmth. I was able to walk out to the shore of the river in the yard, and I could feel the wellness lurking and it gave me hope. 26-I enjoyed a short walk on the river path, and it felt glorious to use my lungs and feel my heart rate rise above a resting rate for at least a little while. 27-I took happiness in what an improvement I felt to my energy from the Monday before. 28-I was happy to take an invitation for a simple dinner with a friend and to have enough health to host our FreeValley Publishing roundtable workshop on self-publishing. A small group came, and it was a fun and worthwhile session. I was so happy not to have to let them down by being too ill to lead it. 29-It was fun to be back in the company of my writing friends at Wednesday Writer’s Cafe’ which I had to miss the week before. I was tired when it was over, but it was exciting to be back to some favorite routines. 30-I took the risk to try getting back to my Zumba workout, and I did just fine…a little coughing, but it was energizing rather than draining and I was happy to be almost well! 31-My energy was good, and in the evening I made chocolate chip cookies with anticipation to give them to my friends for Chinese New Year and a Birthday the next day. At last, I could do extra’s to give to others again. Despite a little more coughing to do, I am well!
1-18-14: Today’s happiness moment was playing Donkey Kong Country on Wii with my husband. Lol! I got a used Wii for Christmas, and just like I’d hoped when I wished for it, it brings out the kid in us. We were laughing together and groaning when our little gorilla died, kibitzing and having great fun!
1-17-14: Today I attended a meeting with people from all around the Snoqualmie Valley-upper and lower. It was a round table forum about the intersecting of Community, Business and Environment sponsored by the chamber of commerce. I got downright excited about many of the ideas people had about how to create opportunity, balance and prosperity here while preserving our natural and historical surroundings. And the key to almost every problem solving was coming together–helping each other–making others welcome. It was refreshing and inspiring to hear and see the caring of the people here and to co-operate to spark practical ideas for moving forward as a unit. Farmers, environmentalists, city planners, businesses of all sorts, citizens born and raised or new to the Valley and of all ages–together!
I also had the pleasure of attending a great play today…actually two one act plays. I especially enjoyed Zelda! performed by Denise Paulette. It was moving and funny and a joy to absorb the great writing (by William Luce) and acting from the front row of our small but excellent community theatre. Happiness Happens here!
1-16-14: I felt the joy of living in my artistic mind today. I guess it must be sparked by working on the sketchbook project or something. I’m seeing with artistic eyes and putting everything aside that I can realistically rearrange in order to capture the vision in the way I want to. I was really happy to see it wasn’t quite dark when I got off work, for the first time this year. But it was crazy foggy! I was inspired to try and capture the eerie feel of town, and I was intrigued by the theatre. My fingers and face were really chilled by the time I got the shot I wanted. They hurt, but I wasn’t willing to stop. I was obsessed with my art. A feeling I love to feel! Here’s the shot I got:
1-15-14: I had a moment of true awe this evening. I could see the glow of the moon below the shoulder of Mt. Si, and I braved the cold to see if I could capture a shot of the moonrise. Even though I knew it would be pretty, when the glow revealed the first tiny edge of white, I gasped with pleasure and delight. There’s just something about a full moon! Nature’s beauty made me happy tonight.
1-14-14: I finished my sketchbook last night, and I was really pleased that several of my friends met me at lunch or stopped by my job to see it before I send it away tomorrow. When I moved to this community I joined a writer’s group that’s instructive, inspiring and supportive, and all of these friends are part of that group. I’m really happy to have friends like these and to offer the same support and inspiration to them. It’s gone far beyond writing and we truly encourage each other in life. What could be more happy than that?
1-13-14: I was really happy that the high winds finally quit blowing. I was downright relieved. Funny and fickle we humans are. My happiest moment on the 9th was appreciating the wind, and today was the opposite–appreciating its absence. While change and drama are appealing, too much is too much, and I guess the return to calm is part of happiness too.
1-12-14: I enjoyed an outing with my husband today. We went to a couple neighborhoods in Seattle and stopped in at Issaquah to pick up the final supplies I need to finish the sketchbook project to mail on Wednesday’s deadline. I wanted some small plastic envelopes to put samples of lichen in, and even at the largest craft store, they didn’t carry such a thing…or did they. My happiness moment was rising to the challenge of solving my creative dilemma creatively! I realized the envelopes I wanted could be made from the bottom of the packages that stickers for scrapbooks come in. So I bought the cheapest stickers and got my art supplies. (Anyone want way too many ladybug stickers?) Here’s the result on one of the pages:
1-11-14: I had two happiness moments today that I can’t choose between. The first is working on my Sketchbook Project with my friends Vicky and Takako and the mutual encouragement and push of creativity that results. I used to think that artwork was a solitary process–same with my writing–but I can’t believe the dimensions that are added when others give feedback, work on their own ideas with give and take with you and just provide that camaraderie and inspiration of being there moving toward similar goals. The second was when I interrupted my sketchbook session to drive home and pick up some other tools to work with. The weather was terrible, and it was daunting to go out into it to get what I decided I wanted. But when I got home, my husband was just finishing working out on our spin bike, and he was exhilarated and gave me his million dollar smile. You must understand–he has an awesome smile on a regular basis, but on rare occasions, when he smiles from the bottom of his soul, he lights up like no one else I’ve ever seen. This was one of those stellar moments and was well worth the trip back and forth through the storm. 🙂
1-10-14: I enjoyed hanging out with a fairly new friend and meeting someone new tonight. Although I don’t consider myself highly social, it’s fun to have good conversation and bump into the serendipity of other people’s minds and the fun ideas and emotions that they offer. I’m glad I took the initiative to add others into my evening instead of just having a date with my book and sketchbook as I’d originally planned.
1-9-14: The wind was blowing and I was exhilarated by the intensity and wild power of the gusts. I love how nature goes far beyond what man can imagine or control, and it was exciting to hear the wind tonight.
1-8-14: It was great to be back in routine. I enjoyed getting back to writing and seeing my friends at Writer’s Cafe’. It’s amazing how being away from something can make you appreciate it all over again when you return.
1-7-14: Zumba felt great tonight! I was happy to feel my fitness coming back after a spotty attendance in December. The sweat was energizing instead of tiring and it was fun again! I love to dance and to feel my strength and joy.
1-6-14: I managed to map out my sketchbook project today and was really happy to get it figured out and see the parts coming together. It has to be in the mail by the 15th, and it looks like I’ll be able to complete it fully in the way I hoped. It’s fun to create it and see the concept play out well.
1-5-14: I was happy that plan A was scrapped today and plan B was to follow what my husband, Marion, wanted to do and spend the day with him. My house is not as clean as I prefer, and there’s still some Christmas stuff out around that I’d rather have put away, but I had a good and happy day and so did he, and that was more important and worth choosing. I’m glad I’ve reached a point in my life where I can make that choice and leave my expectations and ‘what others might think’ behind in preference for someone else’s needs and feelings.
1-4-14: This may sound silly since it’s so simple, but my happiest moment today was while my husband and I made dinner together. We each pulled together things from the fridge and added nice finishing touches to what the other started to cook. It felt good to co-operate in such an easy way and come up with delicious things from basic ingredients and enjoy them together.
1-3-14: As I was driving home from work tonight the car in front of me pulled over suddenly far to the right in the middle of town. My mind had a second to wonder why when it was answered by a huge rooster tail of water as the jeep sped through a deep puddle and back into the lane of traffic. I giggled and was warmed when in the midst of so many complaining and live-a-day people a happy human expressed the playfulness of their spirit on the road!
1-2-14: Today I got my haircut. It was a little overdue, and it felt sooo good! I was happy that I could pay for this professional pampering with money earned by writing. It’s a luxury I don’t take for granted.
1-1-14: I have already found that it may be hard to choose only one Happiness moment each day. Today I was especially happy my husband joined me on my visit to the base of Snoqualmie Falls, as he rarely hikes with me. The trip was refreshing! And it was all the better because it was shared.
And also, I had an extremely blissful moment while dancing at our two hour Zumba Dance Party at Ignite tonight. There was a song that included some African riffs that reminded me of Kanda Bongo Man and it took me back to the years I used to dance all the time to African and Reggae music and how my spirit would soar when I did. I was surrounded tonight by women filled with energy and joy. Dancing together! Happiness!