Privilege Blog

Little Furry Happy, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:31am

Yesterday Patricia van Essche, who goes by pve on her blog, suggested that this weekend we all focus on happy. I liked the idea, even sans temporary spiral tattoo.

Been a little glum these past few days, autumn, son gone, this and that. So I woke up this morning to focus on happy. Prone to analysis, I started to think about ‘how-to’s. Then I realized I didn’t have milk for my tea. Can’t possibly be happy, or think, without milk for tea.

I walked to the store, still considering happy. I ran through what I know, that people feel safest when they look out over a vista, that the truly random movement of nature calms us more than anything human-made. I considered endorphins from exercise and dark chocolate. I might have thought about meditation, but didn’t.

At the corner store, which also serves hot food, I got my milk from the glass-fronted cold cabinet, and brought it to the counter to pay. As a favor to someone else, I asked the guy, “Do you serve hot and sour soup?” He cocked his head, and looked at me funny. But in a nice way. “No,” he said, crinkling his eyebrows a bit, not wanting to offend. I laughed. “No problem,” I said, “Just asking.”

I remembered that acts of service are also a pretty good route to happiness. Then I walked home. Made my tea. Sat on the sofa, started to make a mental list of what else to do today, for happiness.

Then I noticed a warm sensation in the vicinity of my left breastbone. Almost like a little creature stirring from furred sleep. “I’m happy,” I thought. Apparently the simple act of carrying the concept around was enough.

Who knew?

Had I written that list of ‘how to’s, and begun to check them off, walk – check, scenic view – check, om – check, I probably would have worried all day that I hadn’t done enough. Or done the right things. And might not have had the perspective to find my own worries ironic.

So hello, little furry thing. Funny how you’re located plainly in my body, not out there. But, just in case someone does need a horizon, here it is.

I wish for all the happiest possible weekend. To anyone who lost loved ones in the events of 9/11, I can only imagine how difficult this time is, and that you too have found happiness somehow, perhaps right nearby.

23 Responses

  1. I remember September 10, 2001, with vivid detail. It was a lovely day, happy and flowing. An exceptional day. While sending my prayers to all who have suffered and are still suffering from what happened the next day, I have turned the TV off, and am choosing happiness and gratitude for the beauty of today, the only day we really have.

  2. “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”
    A quote by Abraham Lincoln that was one of my mother’s favorites, that used to irritate me to no end. However, as I’ve gotten older, it’s something (except when faced with a tragedy) I do believe, more and more. And although it’s an old-fashioned, somewhat Puritan quote, it does overlap with the Buddhist concept of focusing on the present and practicing gratitude. So although I do have had a few “funky” feeling days, I woke up this morning, decided to put aside the minor troubles, and focus on happiness and gratitude. What a timely post, Lisa. Thank you.

  3. Seems to me there is much overlap in our posts today, Lisa, although I did have that natural vista to contemplate while you went walkabout to find your happiness nestled up inside. In terms of tradeoffs, may I point out that although I contemplate the run rising over the water, behind the mountains, I can’t walk to a store for milk (there are no stores on our little island; getting groceries requires a boat ride to town). So the everyday happiness right under our noses. Or around the corner. Or nestled “in the vicinity of [our] left breastbone.”
    Lovely to be synchronizing happiness with you.

  4. momentary UNhappiness: noticing silly typo after posting comment! I contemplated the sun, of course, rising over the water. I may have contemplated a run, rising over the water, but that would have been a step too far, happiness-wise, vaulting me to deity status, probably conferring too much responsibility.

  5. It is so true! When we think too intently about “happy” it tends to elude us. I’ll never forget a moment at our dining room table, sipping coffee by myself, with sunshine streaming in our dining room window. This same feeling bubbled up and it was so strong, I called DH at work to tell him how happy I was. It caught him off guard, but he recalls the phone call.

  6. lovely post…i always told my children not to seek ‘happines’ but peace or contentment. my son died 5 years ago and i can say from his death i have learned how to find ‘happy’. odd, but true. i have learned that life is a gift and temporary. so many changes took place within me that i am now a different person. a better person. every morning i start the journey, seeking my peace. A good way to live….

  7. Thank you — personally, I think you gestured already toward the more important horizon, but thanks for your generosity in nodding toward the one in my post.

  8. I completely agree that happiness is a choice. You choose the focus of your thoughts.

    Tomorrow, we honor those lost in the tragedy of 9/11.

    We spend the day in a different way each year as we celebrate the birthdays of four loved ones.

  9. Thanks to dear Patricia and to you as well Lisa. We all have much to be happy and thankful about , no matter what may be going on in our lives.


    Art by Karena

  10. What a lovely contemplation. Thank you.

    A mentor of mine once said, “I don’t have to be happy about my circumstances, but I do have to be happy about my behavior within those circumstances.” That’s what I aim for.

    As for gratitude, I can’t overstate how important it’s been in my life.

    In a five year period (1985-1990), eleven people in my family died, several of them within days or weeks of each other. Among the dead were my father, brother (my only sibling), grandmothers and aunts. As a result of all these losses, and particularly the circumstances surrounding my brother’s illness and death), I ended up with PTSD, which is with me to this day.

    One way I began to recover from this was to begin making gratitude lists. At first there were only two or three items on them, “I can see,” “I can read,” “my cat Willy loves me.” Very gradually they grew to include such things as, “I’m glad [my friend] Daria got the promotion she was up for,” and “I’m grateful for Amanda’s freckles,” (Amanda being my brother’s granddaughter). I was becoming able to look beyond myself once more.

    Today I’m deeply grateful for knowing about gratitude lists, and for writing them regularly. That practice has transformed my perspective and attitude in ways nothing else could.

    I’ll be spending the weekend away from the TV, but holding those who suffered such unimaginable losses and unspeakable damage in my heart and in my prayers. Because of my own experiences, I understand some of what they may be feeling, and thanks to my gratitude, there’s room for them in my heart.

  11. Not long ago, I started QiGong. When in pose, I tune out all thoughts. The instruction my practitioner gave to me was to simply “smile with my heart”. It feels just like your warm fuzzy, happy.
    Isn’t it wonderful?

  12. I think happy is a small, furry thing. Sometimes, maybe, we confuse happiness with joy, which is more like a Newfoundland or fat Golden Retriever.

    I’m glad you found your happy.

  13. Mary Jane – Very true.

    Kathy – Yes, our mothers used it to nefarious ends. And exactly it is about mindfulness in the Buddhist mode.

    Mater – It was so serendipitous, that overlap. xox.

    Terri – So it became a shared moment. How wonderful.

    Quintessence – Thank you! Aren’t we lucky, as a species!

    Barbara – Oh I am so sorry. Your comment here was a great gift to me, that you would share those feelings. Thank you very much.

  14. Stephanie – Thank you so much.

    Hostess – I was so glad to share.

    Karena – Yes we do. Thank you too.

    Lynda – I am so sorry for your losses. And so grateful to you for sharing your experience here. I am honored.

    Valentine – Yes, I think you are right.

    Mags – A more complex, but very happy, you’re welcome:).

  15. Mona – My pleasure. Roses are the best.

    Caron – Smile with your heart is perfect, and so much better than Tyra Banks’ smizing:).

    Englishvers – I agree, being able to fully inhabit both states makes for the richest of experiences.

    Patsy – Ha. Yes. And my dad’s new dog arrives tomorrow, which is both happy and joyful:).

    TB – Welcome! Very nice to meet you.

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