Monday, January 25, 2010

How Do You Find Happiness?








Here are some photos for today. It was snowing this morning, and the flakes were huge. They were like snowballs or snow-blankets--more precisely, as my husband described: wet snow, stuck together in clumps.

Totally off the subject of snow, (Or not), I've really been contemplating the idea of happiness lately because of a book I'm expecting in the mail called, The Happiness Project, which I saw on Joanne's blog, Whole Latte Life.

Here's a description from the website--The Happiness Project:

Gretchen Rubin is a best-selling writer whose new book, The Happiness Project, is an account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier.

The reason it sounded good to me is because, after reading her interview, I was struck by her theory that you have to pursue happiness--it doesn't just come to you. Like everyone, I could be happier--so I'm interested in what she found out. I also want to teach it to my kids.

I'm a melancholy personality--which, according to Wikipedia is defined as such: A person who is a thoughtful ponderer has a melancholic disposition. Often very kind and considerate, melancholics can be highly creative – as in poetry and art - and can become occupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world. A melancholic is also often a perfectionist. They are often self-reliant and independent." I think that basically describes me, but I'm not a perfectionist, and I'm not always as considerate as I should be either.

As I wait for the book, which may be in the mailbox now, but I haven't checked yet--I'm trying to pick my own brain for what I know of happiness already. Have no doubt, I LOVE the kind of happiness that just happens to me without my having to do anything. However, if I'm really honest with myself, I think true happiness can only come from serving a cause greater than yourself.

So, I'm wondering--what causes do you all find near and dear to your hearts? Where do you find the most happiness? Are there any areas of need that you'd like to bring to our attention in the comments? If you have a moment, please share your thoughts!

12 comments:

  1. Great post. That book sounds really interesting. I never really thought about happiness this way, but you are right. It just doesn't come to you. I think I have a melancholy personality, too! I am also a Pisces, lol! I don't think I'm a perfectionist, either.
    I truly find the most happiness with my family, horses, and creative pursuits (writing, blogging, crafts.) It's what I live for!

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  2. Pony Girl--we sound a lot alike--I'm happiest with the horses, family and creative pursuits as well--especially trying new things--challenging myself--which it sounds like you're doing with your new pursuit!! Good luck, I'm sure it will be rewarding and take you some new directions in life.

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  3. Oh what an interesting topic. I can see how Gretchen wrote a book on it, b/c there's so much school of thought on the subject. I think there are always little moments of happiness, or contentment, to be found. Those beautiful snowy days, the perfect coffee, a good laugh with a loved one. And I like your idea about serving a cause greater than yourself as a source of true happiness. But from what I've seen, somehow having a true knowledge of our hearts first, of knowing who we really are individually, and respecting and embracing what we find, are necessary before we are able to satisfactorily find that greater cause, reason. What you are doing with Beautiful seems to fulfill that, knowing your own deep rooted love of horses, then in turn working with and saving a wild horse, and growing and learning about your self and life as you do. Maybe happiness is more a journey, than moments. Oy, see what I mean? Books can be written!

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  4. That's good wisdom, Joanne, "somehow having a true knowledge of our hearts first, of knowing who we really are individually, and respecting and embracing what we find"--I like the way you put it.

    How do we help teens get to that point? It seems like there's so much angst in the 17-22 crowd. Didn't seem like I got to that point until my 30's.

    Your blog is all about this topic--at its core--that's why I enjoy going there--and so many others do as well. I agree with you that it's more about moments along the individual/unique journey. Maybe I just need to fully embrace my inner melancholy and not worry about being too happy!!

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  5. Making other people happy with my artwork or actions makes me happy. I too was a melancholy pisces but once I started to pursue what I wanted and not work for someone else - the true happiness came. I'm the happiest person I know:)

    (BTW, reading in the fall that you planted 250+ bulbs made me happy and so I was prompted to plant over 150+. We'll have to swap spring photos)

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  6. I get the feeling you're not talking about the "Who's taking me to prom" or "Where am I going to college" angst for those teens. I talked to my daughters, and they see it stemming from way too many options, and fierce competitiveness, as well as financial angst - the price of homes, cars, even cell phone plans, cable tv. It's all out of sight. Then there's technology, facebook angst. The tech generation is actually less connected to eachother. Well, I think there's another book in this subject Linda. It seems the less simple society gets, the more the angst. A great topic to hash out at Chaps!

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  7. Jennifer--I love the quote on your blog where you posted the pictures of the Aconite--"O, Wind, if winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" Shelley must have been a melancholy. And that quote goes along with this whole theme. Poetry always makes me happy.

    That's interesting that quitting your job and going full force into your art made such a difference for you. I can see your joy in the pictures you take and the art you produce--you see the world through a special lens.

    About the bulbs--I am so, so, so looking forward to them coming up this year. Let's DEFINITELY trade pictures. We'll have a little "coming up" party on our blogs!!

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  8. I think you're right, Joanne--I always forget what the effects of technology on our kids might be. Take pictures, for instance, they all have cameras on their cell phones and ipods and they have their digital cameras. They take a million pictures of themselves and delete the "bad" ones. My daughter even has one that has the viewer on front--the latest gizmo gadget. Well, that's not fair, for one, because we used to have to take pictures on old-fashioned cameras and then get the film developed. If any turned out at all (they were always getting exposed because it didn't rewind the film all the way) then they'd usually look funny funky and you just had to laugh it off and stick on the page of the photo album so it could start turning yellow. Today kids have such a high standard because everyone takes a million pictures of themselves until they get the one that looks like they want to look like. I was just looking at some 8th pictures of myself and they weren't that cute, but we used to all live with our imperfections anyway and develop other sides of ourselves--like a good sense of humor ;). It seems now kids are developing moments of themselves--snapshots for the world to see on Facebook or elsewhere. It remind me of recorded music versus live. Are we becoming recorded versions of ourselves?!? I need to get myself to Chaps.

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  9. BTW, the book still hasn't arrived, and if it doesn't hurry and get here, I'll have it all figured already!

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  10. Guess what? Those things I thought were Aconite bloomed today and they are snowdrops! I can't believe it - the temps are so cold and flowers are blooming:) Happy:)

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  11. No way! Now my jealousy is super-sized! I looked and looked for snowdrop bulbs, but never found any. I did plant my snowflake plant and after I read your comment I ran right outside to see if it was coming up, but I can't remember where I planted it!! I want so badly to plant the bulbs this year. They're notorious for coming in the snow!! enjoy!

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  12. Snowflake plant? That's a new one for me. I'll have to google it:)

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.