Last month, I wrote an article for Nabalo Magazine. They offered a number of topics that I could write about and I found myself drawn to the concept of empowerment. It is not something that I often consider. As a middle aged person, I feel I have been learning all along my journey how to empower myself and others. By no means am I an expert at this but I wondered as my fingers brushed the keys if empowerment were truly a priority for me.
It brought up a whole series of questions for me. Is finding a silent state and moment of calm my way of finding my inner strength? Does writing about challenges I face through my illness strengthen me from the inside? Does finding positive ways to handle adversity give me the strength I need to face the next hurdle?
I’m pretty darn sure, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, that you know where this one is going….
Is what I do ’empowerment’?
As I wrote, I realized, that my meditation flowers that I reach to for guidance each morning, are my form of empowerment. I gain confidence and resilience through watching them each day as we evolve together. Using flowers is my assurance that even if I am feeling very unwell, that I’ll have a bright spot in my day (this is often enough to at least get me out of my bed). More often than not, though, my garden walk helps me to build my strength to face the day. Another example of gaining energy and motivation from inside myself.
Writing about and sharing my challenges, and connecting with others, helps me to build a fortress of resolve for that day when my thoughts may choose to turn their back on me. Finding purpose during adversity is teaching me that darkness and light really do have to exist at the same time. Gratitude is helping me to understand that I have abundance no matter my areas of lack.
So, today is the day. The August edition is being published ‘for real‘ and I am in it. I feel exhilarated, and excited, and truly grateful. I am both proud of my accomplishment and terrified to send it out into the ether!
When I look up the word ‘Happy’ in the dictionary, this is what I found:
1. feeling or showing pleasure or contentment; 2. having a sense of confidnece in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation); 3. fortunate and convenient.
Happiness in the Age of Lightning-Speed-Everything
It seems every time you turn around, someone is gauging some new trend on whether or not it creates or negates happiness. We are perpetually on the lookout for products, apps, or fads that can increase of decrease our happiness quotient. Is all this talk about happiness making us feel more unhappy? Do we feel a lack because everyone else is talking about something we are not a part of?
I have been reading of late how ‘happiness’ as a life goal is replacing ‘success’. There is an interesting piece titled ‘Happiness In The Now Is The New Success Of The Future’ that addresses the issue. You don’t have to delve very far to find the topic discussed over and over again.
I get it, because we thought that freedom, promotion, opportunity, and early retirement were enough to lead us to believe we were having a quote-unquote “successful” life. We are learning that money, position, prestige, and power were never what our parents or our parents’ parents had hoped for us.
Our parents just wanted us to be healthy and happy
Now it seems like the bandwagon has gone off its wheel hubs and we have to join the next fad or take off to the nearest ashram to find happiness. Many of these articles and so called ‘self-help’ gurus don’t have a whole lot of advice on ‘how’ to build happiness into our daily lives.
The truth is, for me anyway, that finding happiness is right here at my very own fingertips. And just like anything else in this world, there is no shortcut answer. There is no flick of the wand to happiness. We cannot fast-track our way there in order to double-down on the happy factor #28 despite the claims in How To Get Happy Fast and similar articles.
Happiness comes one act at a time
If you are dedicated, willing, and open-hearted enough to keep doing the actions necessary, you may find that your heart feels contentment and satisfaction with how things are going for you.
10 Happy Things To Do Today:
Go for a walk:
Despite all the advertisements for this race or that new fitness fad, walking is all you need to do to stay fit, to build muscles, and to get those endorphins that make you feel so good.
Watching members of our community mull about and interact with the world opens you up to compassion and empathy for your fellow humans. People watching gets you out and about participating as a valuable member of a whole community. Plus let’s admit it, it’s fun watching people and imagining what they are up to and what adventures they’re off to.
Clean out a cupboard:
Clutter in and around our lives can cause stress. Start really small with just one part of a cupboard or closet. even one shelf at a time is ample to start the process of decluttering your life. Believe it or not, clutter does occupy your mind which causes needless stress. Plus it feel so great to have things organized. Give the things you no longer want to those who need and you will up your happy quotient even more.
Creating has the power to take your mind away from everyday worries and it releases feel good hormones. It uses a part of the brain that often is only used for solving every day problems and it thrives on the ‘new’. By creating we give the mind the opportunity to take a break from the low lying stresses we feel from our daily lives.
Connect with someone:
Ideally you want to meet up with someone but that is not always possible. Looking at someone through video messaging makes it possible to connect with others and to build relationships. It allows you to get out of yourself and build that empathy and compassion that are so great a boosting those feelings of happiness.
Laughing is a free dose of endorphins. Do it often, do it loudly, and do it with everyone you meet.
It is important to recognize the things that you think you have accomplished. Not everyone sees the efforts you put into something the same way that you see it. Only you know how many hours you worked on something, or how hard you had to work to have something turn out the way it did. This also means your treat can come from you. I do not mean that you need to give yourself a diamond tiara every single day. What I do mean is: don’t wait for someone else to recognize your efforts…recognize them on your own.
Spend time every day being completely quiet
Turn off technology:
Allot some time every day with no technological distractions. I know it’s hard to believe but we all managed just fine with quiet times when no one could get a hold of us. You can read about how I learned to be device free for parts of my day and how that lead to healing for me both physically and emotionally in Meditation Flowers.
Touch another being:
Many people live alone and are not able to get out but I encourage every one to have physical contact with a living being every day. The one thing they teach you when you are dealing with someone who has cancer is ‘touch the person’. The world tends to avoid touching people when they have illness even when there is NOTHING communicable about the person’s ailment. Hug, touch a hand, hold hands, sit beside the person. Hug, cuddle, and rub a pet if that is the being in question. Giving love has the power to produce a very large number of hormones in all of us.
Check out my handy dandy infographic to keep close at hand if you need to boost your ‘Happiness Quotient’.
The world definitely needs a focus on happiness; there is no doubt about that. I just happen to think it’s an inside job.
10 Happy Things are my SOMETHING WONDERFUL for today.