Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Happiness to you all who are reading this brand new blog.

What is HAPPINESS really?  How do you define it?

I remember a distant cousin who I had left in India.  She was much older, suffered acute arthritis and as far as I can remember I had always seen her bound in a wheel chair, much before she reached her fiftieth birthday.  But as soon as she entered the room, her face shone.  With a big smile on her face and radiance of joy she filled up the environment with an aura of love and happiness.

Her fingers were misshapen, looked like gnarls on an old tree branch. She could hardly stand up erect. Yet she stretched to embrace, kept on knitting to keep the people she loved with warm scarves and hats. She sat on that wheel chair to cook something home made every time I went to visit her.

She was abandoned by her husband, ignored by family, yet she embraced life with much anticipation.

When I asked her how she was doing the answer was always, " Very well".  And I knew that smile was not fake.

She wanted to know how each one of us were doing and our achievement and successes were as if her own- her joy was genuine.

Her love of life transcended me every time I visited this sick cousin sister of mine and I wondered where did she derive this joyous happy feeling?

Is it a gift that she was born with?  Like some of us are born with good looks or a smart brain, is this positive attitude an inherent blessing?

Indeed it is.  It is bliss that we all are given assures Sister Joan Chittister in her book HAPPINESS.

"...but it is up to us to discover what bliss is for us so that we can bend our souls to becoming what we are meant to be. ... we are meant to be happy. We are not meant to go through life waiting for someone else to make us happy...we should be making for ourselves. " - pg 55.

Good health, money, power all  these are important factors for happiness, yet not guaranteed.  History shows the most powerful person died in a bunker, the most famous star committed suicide.

Happiness is a subjective thing indeed.  It varies from person to person. Our dreams, values, hopes are as unique as we are and so is the definition of happiness.  We better understand that fact,  cautions the writer.  When we succumb to a general ( one size fit all) definition of it and believe that happiness could be bought ( only if I had what the Jones have),  we are in trouble. We must not confuse happiness with instant gratification or quick superficial pleasure.

It is clear that it requires a great deal of self knowledge.  In order to be happy you must know thyself,   guides the author.

Take a few minutes and visualize the moment or event when you felt very very happy. What made you so  happy? Why was that?  Did you  do something good to someone? Did you create something that made you feel extra special? Did you overcome an obstacle with some quality, some strength that you never knew existed within you? What was it?

Once you find that out try to see various decades of your life when you were very happy and very unhappy.  It will give you some clues about yourself to you.  Now try to incorporate those factors of happiness in your everyday life. You may see light, the radiance of joy that will fill you and the people around you.

"Happiness is not narcissism; it is a moral responsibility. Life is not meant to be about victimization and sacrificial lambs. ...We are, we must remember, "made for bliss". pg 69

What do you think?  Leave a note.  I'd be very happy to know that in your comment.

With that note I wish for you - the very BEST.

Let 2016 rock.  May it be the best year ever.