Appreciating the Gift of Happiness

When was the last time you paused long enough to experience happiness?

With Christmas only 1 week away, the last minute rush of holiday prep induces the "I have so much to do" mindset. The lists seem to get longer as time quickly slips away. Let's hit pause and make room for happiness.

Where can you find joy in the preparation process? Maybe put on music and dance around the kitchen while you bake cookies and clean the house. As you wait in the lines to buy gifts, imagine the faces of people opening them. Or look again at the list and figure out which item really doesn't need to get done and cross it off. Whatever works for you, make sure to take a breath & appreciate the happy moments within the hectic.

I don't remember exactly why, but I chose the following quote to put under my senior picture in the high school yearbook: "All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoyed." Maybe the increased intensity of senior year, AP courses, and applying to college had already made me wonder why? Why do we move at a pace that doesn't allow us to enjoy the fruits of our effort? Why can't we have fun and find happiness in the pursuit? And once we've achieved the desired result, why don't we pause to appreciate and enjoy it?

I love this image and the quote fits perfectly with my experience taking it. While on tour in New Jersey a few years ago, we decided to spend a few days of down time at the beach. I knew the temperature in October wouldn't be conducive to swimming or sunbathing and that many of the businesses and restaurants would be closed in the off-season. So I didn't expect an indulgent vacation, just a breather in the middle of a busy week of work travel.

Imagine my delight as I walked down to the beach with my camera and discovered that monarch butterflies migrated through the area in the fall. The happiness I felt watching the bright orange butterflies flitting about the goldenrod flowers with the sound of the ocean behind me still resonates with me many years later. Those magical moments become the stuff of memories and I hope your holiday season is filled with them.

[Full Quote: Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.]