Finding Happiness - What is the Secret?
What Is the Secret?
Finding happiness could be the name of many a man’s journey, a woman’s search for her soul, the hope of the still young child who understands no reason for suffering. I simply want to share some of the ways I have found happiness and what it means to me. Not everyone will find their happiness in the same way, but I do believe the secret is no secret at all. Happiness comes from within.
What Is Happiness?
After all, happiness is only a word that has been given to a state of being. How we define it may be different from one person to another. Mirriam - Webster defines happiness as:
a. a state of well - being or contentment: joy; b. a pleasurable or satisfying experience.
I remember hearing someone say that happiness is what takes place on the outside and joy happens on the inside, but after living life for a while, I believe that happiness and joy come from the same place, within. They both bubble over like a fountain into our lives.
Things don’t make us happy. It’s how we use them in our lives that give cause for that feeling of contentment or happiness. What value does a new stove give towards my happiness if I never use it or if I don’t know how to cook? Or the new car? It might feel really great to climb in and feel the soft leather and drive to the beach, but what does it really matter if the person driving the car just lost her job and can’t make the car payments? (for the record, I have neither, just examples).
Things come and go, people come and go. Happiness can be attained without cost. It’s accessible and there is no need to go anywhere to find it. It is learning self- awareness, realizing we already have it within our beings.
Where Do We Find Happiness?
Where do we find it? I started as a child to discover where happiness lives, how to access it. I lived a very innocent childhood, free from worries of the world. I read a lot of books and explored the world of fiction and make believe, poetry. I loved the feeling that reading gave me and it allowed me to stay connected to my own creativity. I had a big maple tree in my front yard, and I used to climb to a certain branch and sit there and read. Sometimes I would read out loud. I then started writing at a young age.
I find reading and writing give me a place of great contentment and imagination. I find great happiness to curl up with a book wherever I am. I take a book with me in the car. I go to bookstores rather than Lord and Taylor. There are books in every room in my house, journals in my car, bedroom, family room, office. Sometimes just looking at a book or holding it in my hands gives me immense pleasure.
I think it’s truly amazing how language can change our lives. Symbols. Words are nothing but symbols, and yet placed properly together they form words which we read, and we can go anywhere in the world by reading them. That gives me happiness.
Connecting Again With Nature
Also as a young girl, I discovered a great love for nature and being outdoors. I spent a lot of my youth outside climbing trees, hiking through the woods and playing in parks. I was very athletic and played sports and swam like a fish.
My parents taught me how to garden and plants flowers and mow the lawn.I had a little wooden table out on the front porch where I would draw and color and write stories. I wanted to be outside. I wanted to feel the air on my face and see the trees, the flowers and hear the birds.
It made me happy as a child to be connected to nature even though I didn’t really think of it in that manner. But now as an adult, I understand how vital our connection with nature is and it gives me even more pleasure and happiness now than it did in my youth. I enjoy being outdoors, looking up at the blue sky, or the clear night sky with a sprinkle of stars against the inky dark expanse. .
There is a vibrant energy in nature that is beautiful, almost perfect, if there is such a thing as perfect. Have you ever gazed at a tiny flower and marveled at its design? I do over and over again. I take walks and notice the leaves dancing; it almost appears that they are waving, so excited, like, ‘look at us, look how pretty we are.’ And they are.
It is like a whole different world that many become oblivious to, but nature shares herself freely with us each and every day and I delight in the happiness it brings me.
There is even a deeper realm where nature itself communicates to us when we are very still and listen. The soft breeze whispers and the hurried winds may cry. A sunset calms and allows a peace to blanket us with natures splendid beauty
Dreams Come True
When I think about these discoveries of finding my own happiness, I see that it all originated from when I was a child. The seeds were there from the beginning and began to sprout and take root at a young age.
When I was a little girl, I would play teacher with my teddy bears and dolls. I had a place set up in the basement when it was cold outside, and I would gather my ‘students’ and teach. I had a chalkboard, a roll top desk and lots of books. I dreamed of being a teacher when I grew up. When my sister had her first child, I helped take care of her when she was a baby and a preschooler. I remember reading to her and helping her learn her ABC's.
Eventually, my dream came true and I became a teacher. I have taught my entire adult life, first to adults and then as an early childhood educator. I love young children. There is such an innocence and love for learning. They want to know everything.
They think of things adults no longer ask or seem to care about. They are concerned about ants, clouds, where teachers sleep, why thunder is so loud, where food goes in our stomachs, why there is war, the fish in the ocean who swallow plastic soda rings, how the grass turns green, on and on. There is a place of contentment in looking at a child’s face who trusts you and loves you. It gives me a happiness that allows me to connect with a young child almost wherever I go. I think kids know when someone believes in them, not even understanding that’s what it is.
The Language of Music
I couldn’t write this article about finding happiness without including my great love for music. Again, I go back to my childhood. I remember my dad always whistling and he would whistle beautifully. Some of the songs are still in my memory.
I could see it gave him a special peace, his own 'place' of happiness as he worked outside or in the garage, or simply walking through the house. He would play his music downstairs in the basement or out in the garage. Sometimes I would hear the radio playing in my parents bedroom.
I still sing some of those songs, the words just spring up from that file in my mind. Then I remember listening to the music my older sister and brother listened to and eventually I had my own stereo and could play my own favorite music.
Music Makes Me Happy
I Love Music
I bought a lot of albums and played them whenever I was home, sometimes even when I was reading in my room. I went to a lot of concerts, even had a real piano in my room. I took lessons for a while, but I wasn’t very good, but I did learn to read notes and could slowly read music.
My childhood formed the foundation for my love affair with music. I like many different kinds of music ranging from opera all the way to heavy metal. I play a lot of music and exposed both of my sons to different forms of music when they were younger. They are both prolific musicians/composers and I even endured ‘garage band’ years when they practiced in one of their bedrooms.
Chevalier de Sangreal
How many times have we heard music that filled us to our very core with emotion? There is a song by the composer Hans Zimmer, Chevalier de Sangreal which is part of The DaVinci Code soundtrack, that makes me choke up every single time I hear it.
What kind of power is that? Whatever it is, this magical, transporting ability to change our mental state simply by hearing music gives me such happiness that often I will simply sit and listen, and do nothing else.
Happiness Feels Good
I have only shared a few of the ways I have discovered my own happiness. Certainly my greatest happiness lies within and can only be expressed through life itself, by living each day, endeavoring to be aware each moment. The happiness that comes from looking in my sons eyes, or the hugs we share after spending the evening having dinner and watching a movie together.
The contentment of walking my dog and laughing at his sheer joy as he jumps up and down before I put on his leash. The happy feeling when I’m on my way to spend time with a friend, sitting, connecting, being with each other. Happiness, as I close a day, feeling the peace in my bedroom, cuddled under the covers, filled with gratitude and happy to be alive. Happiness feels good.
Thanks for reading. I enjoy writing here at HubPages and I'm happy to share part of my life with you, the readers. Perhaps grab a journal and start writing down some of your childhood memories; what made you happy, what did you love to do? if you love nature, start taking more photos for the sheer joy of capturing one of your favorite trees, or a sunset, a lake.
Happiness is free, enjoy.
Diana Krall; Fly Me to The Moon
The Happiness Project
- The Happiness Project
A blog about the pursuit of happiness.