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Friday, December 23, 2011

Recipe for Happiness

I was thinking about happiness. An apt subject at a time of year when retailers are actively selling happiness. Buy the latest (insert material object of choice) and you will be happy!

What is happiness might be the obvious question at this point - but I don't think so. Everyone knows when they are happy. It's like love - hard to define but you certainly know when you are "in" it.

Many years ago I worked on my unique definition of success. Today I worked on another recipe: my recipe for happiness.

I believe happiness is as individual as the person - and for every person's "happiness cake" the ingredients are different. Even when they are almost the same, the proportions vary. If I think of myself a product on the shelf of a grocery store, the product would be called "Happy Goody" and the list of ingredients would be:

Beautiful, sacred nature. Hiking in the majestic mountain landscapes of this planet. A close proximity to the ocean and beaches that stretch and curl away into the distance. Time to absorb this beauty. The constant love and companionship of my dog. Vibrant health, strength and fitness - the endurance to be on the trail all day and the letting go at the end of the day - the contentment of physical tiredness. The excitement of travel - of the open road. New experiences, new landscapes, new vistas to explore. Creativity in all things, particularly in writing and film. Books, not only for the glory of aural art but for their ability to transport me to other worlds and to introduce new ideas. Ideas - to be put in situations where my ideas catch fire and flow. The companionship of good friends. Summer sun and warmth and days seemingly without end. Anticipation and expectation of new days and the surprises they bring. New challenges to overcome. Learning - constant learning about any subject under the sun. Happiness is also dark chocolate, hot bubble baths, a plush bed and satiny sheets - playing games, giving to others, sharing others' happiness and making a difference, no matter how small, in people's lives. Happiness is a job well done and curling up in the warm cocoon of my home at the end of the day.

And so I know that I am responsible for my own happiness. When I am conscious of what makes me happy, I can create happiness consciously. I am not moved to sorrow or happiness by the "whim of fate." As with everything in life, the more conscious we are, the better we are able to live life and to create fulfillment.

I know there are times, possibly when it's cold out or raining or just when I wake up feeling plain lazy that I may not want to go out and hike up Mount Benson or Maple Mountain or the Ridges - but I do it anyway and a few minutes into it I feel my spirit soar (yes, like an eagle) and that's what it takes - a conscious commitment to creating happiness every day.

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