The heart is very much like a miraculous balloon. Its lightness comes from

“The heart is very much like a miraculous balloon. Its lightness comes from staying full. Meeting the days with our heart prevents collapse.”

—Mark Nepo, Author of The Book of Awakening

Image from Unsplash by Ali Goldstein

Last year around this time my daughter and grandson — who was then 2½ — came to spend part of the holidays with Wendy and me in Michigan. Since little Weston had a far more limited selection of toys at grand-mom’s and pop-pop’s house, we did our best to entertain him.

Among his favorite diversions that week was a small happy birthday balloon we had kept on our window sill, still fully inflated from the previous year’s celebration.

It was a miracle that a two-dollar balloon could fill this little boy’s heart with such joy for the entire time. His engagement with this shiny orb and lots of heartfelt attention filled us all with lightness and the joy of being together.

EXERCISE:

What balloons do you intend to fill this holiday season? What heartfelt activities will you bring to the days with those you love to keep things light?

Friday Review: Happiness

Friday Review: HAPPINESS

Who are the people, what are the things, where are the places that define your level of happiness? Here are a few related posts you may have missed

 

“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.

 

 

 

 

“You carry the passport to your own happiness.”

 

 

 

 

“Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Set a daily quota of fun. Positive activities act as a happiness supplement.”

“Set a daily quota of fun. Positive activities act as a happiness supplement.”

—Mo Gawdat, Author of Solve for Happy

Image from Unsplash by Mindspace Studio

Where do you use metrics, milestones, scoreboards and quotas to measure your achievements and level of success?

Examine both your professional and personal life. What activities produce these results, and how many of them do you consider fun and a source of happiness?

What are some of the fun activities that come to mind that seem to be reserved for weekends, vacations, or other special occasions? Examining how you feel on Friday and Sunday evenings can be one way to see if your work has the positive elements of fun you look forward to.

EXERCISE:

What activities can and will you add to your days or begin doing to score more fun in your life?

What activities can you do less of or stop entirely to make room for these happiness supplements?

 

“Life is like dessert. Keep your fork; the best is yet to come.”

“Life is like dessert. Keep your fork; the best is yet to come.”

—Andy Andrews, The Noticer

Image from Unsplash by Max Panamá

Today’s quote makes me think of my wonderful wife, Wendy. We have been together for over forty-five years. During our time together, I have gained a far deeper appreciation and love for her and all that she brings to our lives.

Following dinner, she frequently asks for something sweet to alter the flavors from our often savory or spicy meals. She sometimes takes only a modest portion of the meal in order to assure there is room for dessert. Perhaps this is the reason she has become a skilled baker during the pandemic — to remind us that the best is yet to come.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can and will you save a bit more room for the sweeter things in life?

What would be the value of having dessert at the start instead of it being an afterthought once you are too full to enjoy it?

“There is a gap between stimulus and response, and the key to both our growth and happiness is how we use that space.”

“There is a gap between stimulus and response, and the key to both our growth and happiness is how we use that space.”

—Stephen Covey, 20th century American author & educator

Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan

This past year has been disturbing and remarkable at the same time. My initial experience of the pandemic and other challenges confronting us was to become angry, frustrated, and down. My world seemed smaller and I felt increasingly confined and limited.

Eventually I stopped looking exclusively outside myself and began a far more intentional and rigorous journey within.

Through numerous practices such as meditation, daily walks, and extensive reading, I found the gaps. I took longer pauses in my thinking and feelings, which provided significant freedom and greater opportunities and possibilities to choose my responses.

Discovering this capacity to be increasingly mindful and aware of my own inner power has enhanced my growth and life satisfaction in many surprising ways.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you use the spaces between stimulus and response to more mindfully navigate life?

I’d very much like to learn about your efforts and progress, and hope you will consider replying to this and future posts.

“Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.”

“Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.”

—Toni Nelson, Author of A Beggar’s Purse

Image from Unsplash by Caleb Martin

Close your eyes and picture the following:

  • A bird with a french fry
  • A squirrel with an acorn
  • A dog with a bone
  • A cat with some yarn
  • A baby with a toy
  • A football fan with a remote
  • A kid with a cookie

Note that these examples involve an external/extrinsic source of happiness.

Venture within yourself to where the intrinsic sources of happiness reside. Notice that many of the best things in life are not things.

EXERCISE:

Take a few minutes alone or with others to create a second list of intrinsic sources of happiness. Perhaps you can also expand the first list, just for fun.

Feel free to reply to this post with what you discover.

“You carry the passport to your own happiness.”

“You carry the passport to your own happiness.”

—Dianne von Furstengberg, Belgian Fashion Designer

Image from Unsplash by Nicole Geri

When was the last time you used your passport to travel to another country?

If you are like most people, your passport is collecting dust and your plans to break it out anytime soon are remote.

In early August, our children and our grandson converged on our home in Michigan for a “staycation,” following a series of COVID-19 tests to assure safety.

With a dose of creativity and lots of love, we all racked up lots of happiness miles!

EXERCISE:

In what ways can and will you use your internal passport to happiness wherever you find yourself?

How can taking a “There’s no Place like Home” approach to life bring you greater joy?

“If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy.”

“If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy.”

—Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation

Barry, Wendy, and their family

Every summer when I was a kid I got to camp for two months at Indian Lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I look upon those yearly adventures as some of the happiest times of my life. Our days were simple and always included friends, food, fun, and sun.

On July 1st, my daughter Rachel realized FaceTime was not sufficient. She decided to get a COVID test and bring our grandson Weston to Michigan for “Grandma and Pop Pop Camp.”

Guess what?

Family, food, fun and sun are still essential elements of many happy times over a half century later!

EXERCISE:

What are the essential elements—internal and external—of a full and happy life for you?

How and in what ways can you rediscover the happiness and joy in the simple things in life?