Saturday, June 11, 2011

500 Days of Happiness

About 52 days ago, I started this project entitled 500 DAYS OF HAPPINESS on Facebook.  I have always been a thankful person, a grateful person and an appreciative person, at least I like to think I am.  And even though I wake up in some state of pain, I often remind myself of two things:

a.  that the pain reminds me that I can feel; and
b.  that I woke up.

Those alone should be reasons to jump for joy. 

With that said though, I cannot remember for the life of me when I last experienced unabashed joy.  Utter happiness that did not come from the heady experience of purchasing a designer purse, or latest piece of jewelry, or found the latest art acquisition or didn't involve any monetary purchase whatsoever.  Actually, if I really stop to think about it, I have not felt joy for 16 years. The last time, I believe I felt joy, was when I was holding my first new born niece in my arms.  She was three weeks old and I was babysitting her for a couple of hours.  She was crying and an Eagles song came on and I started to sing the song to her, she went very quiet and stared at me with complete clarity and put her little hand on my chin.  It was at that exact moment I felt like the Grinch who stole Christmas, because my heart was growing right out of my chest and the joy I felt at that moment superceded everything in my life.  It was the first time in my entire existence where I actually fell in unconditional love.  It goes without saying that I love all the rest of my family, but in those cases, I was born into the love.  In this case, my niece had done nothing but look at me and I was head over heels for her.  I still am when it comes to her and her sister.

But that is the last time I remember my entire being, my person and my heart being full.

This past year has been a reflective one for me.  It's been a year of searching.  Sometimes, it has been about yearning for something intangible.  Sometimes its about finding and losing and finding again my passion that I had in spades in my 20's. Sometimes it's just about trying to have meaning. Other times it's about stopping, looking around and taking in small moments. And if I were to be honest, I have to wonder if I am just having a midlife crisis.  Who knows.  What I do know is that I have reshaped my life in the last 4 months.  I have lost 40 pounds and worked hard to change my food habits all in an effort to relieve some of my pain and it has worked.  It’s not easy eating no sugar, no flour, no processed foods especially when you go holidays.  I had initially thought to myself that a change in my pain level would increase the serotonin in my brain and bring me joy.  It didn’t.

It is a bit of cultural shock when you realize that the thing that you blamed for years for your lack of happiness, in my case pain, is not the reason you are not as happy as you should be.

Then I realized that it wasn’t about the pain, although it does play a part when your life is curtailed.  What it was about inactuality was allowing or retraining my heart to soar and live and breathe and enjoy.  For some reason, I put it into a strong box and threw away the key to the lock for a very long time.

I was watching Rita one day from the Adventures of Cinderita, we are friends on facebook.  She is constantly doing what she needs to do to be happy and joyful.  There is something to be said about hugging people every day, it does raise that elusive serotonin in the brain.

So I created this page on facebook as a way for me to remember the small things that make me happy.  Simple things like waking up to sunshine, a good breakfast, a walk with my better half, snuggling with my little pooch, watching birds in my garden, finding a ladybug on my arm. Just simple things.

And as I write this, I wonder what brings you joy.  What makes you ecstatically happy.  Does your happiness runneth over to the next person. Does their happiness runneth over to you?

I guess this is a bit of corny post, but here it is: I invite you to join me on 500 Days of Happiness to share with me the things that get your mojo going.  The things that make your smile broadly.  The things that make your heart soar.  The things that just make you grateful to be alive.  And those things that make you smile, may just make someone else smile and then perhaps all of our days would be slightly better.

Mostly, I hope you will share with me, if even just in the comments section of this post, the things that light up your life.  Who knows what your happiness is but imagine if you shared one thing that made you happy and 50 other people read it and it made them smile too, wouldn’t the day just be better?

Here’s hoping that you really do have a very happy weekend.

Until Next Time.


  1. I really like this post and I'm definitely going to join you, I'll start here though. One thing that really brings me joy is listening to the sound of the waves, while I soak the sun's rays on the beach. I know it sounds cheesy, but I really feel so relaxed and at peace with everything when I'm there.

  2. Not cheesy at all Alex, I live by the ocean and so love the sound of it. Thanks for joining my little group! Cheers my friend!

  3. I think it's important to remember to be grateful for the good things in life.

  4. You know I'm always finding something to post on your page! Keep adding--as we both know, it's the small things that give us bits of happiness during the day.

  5. nice.
    i'm not on facebook but check back here to see progress.
    my cat makes me happy. true joy. she gives me unconditional love.
    my art [making and sharing it] makes me ecstatic... even if it fails. i have learned to live for the processes in life's journey, rather than focus on outcomes.

  6. Deep felt joy is in itself a gift. There are times in our lives when it is elusive and no matter how hard we try to grab it joy evades us. Unexpected joy, like you experienced with you niece, takes us by surprise. Tracy, joy will find you! xo

  7. I've love this idea from the moment I first knew you were doing it. Your story about your nieces is so sweet and loving. I just know that you must be a big part of their happiness and joy too! You are right on when you speak about the simple things. The little moments really add up in a lifetime and I think we'd all be surprised to see how many of those moments we've had if we looked back and added them together.

    My moments of true joy are my daily morning phone calls with my grown daughter. Speaking on the phone from hundreds of miles away may not seem like much in and of itself, but when it's the only option you have to interact and the person you're speaking with occupies the fullest parts of your heart, it's sooo all about the joy...

    Beautiful post my friend,
    XOXO, Mrs B

  8. This was not a "corny" post! I loved it! Go see my post today. Much better than the Debbier Downer one from last night. What brings me joy? Holding a baby, specifically my nephew Ethan. He's now five, but when he was born, he had to have heart surgery to repair a tear in the lining of his heart. He was a day old and the doctors gave less than 10% survival rate. My sister called a priest to baptize him right before surgery. Miracles happen! Ethan survived the surgery and 11 more after that. It's been a long struggle for him but he's perfectly healthy now. He's my superbaby, my miracle baby. And every time I see him or he smiles at me, it's as if I've won the lottery!

  9. Ain't nothing corny about this post my friend. Our one true purpose in life is to experience joy and however you do that is to be long as you do that. I love your project and can't wait to see where it lands you!! it only takes 21 days to create a new habit..I'd say you were WELL on your way. Thanks for the shout out my friend!!! I can't wait to hug you!

  10. Thanks for the great comments my friends!!!

  11. What an interesting post. I never know what I'm going to find when I visit here! As a person who didn't have much joy in my earlier years, but who does now, and who writes about it, this topic is close to my heart. Some studies indicate that only 10% of our happiness is dependent on outside circumstances. 50% is based on the temperament we are born with. 40% is based on our habitual thoughts, words, and actions. Your participation in the 500 days of happiness is really about breaking old habits and developing new habits that will bring you more joy. I'll be eager to hear about your experience. I think it will change your life!

  12. My son makes my heart sing every single day!
    Hiking Maple Mountain with my good friend and our German Shepherds. Actually watching them interact with each other makes both of us very happy. Or when she brings her dog over and my bossy female hides all the soccer balls so he can't play with them! This is joyful and makes us laugh!
    Oh and laugh out loud comments i get on my blog! I love that!!!

  13. Glitter makes me happy. And Macaroni. And friends like you. Especially wonderfully warm slight nutty friends who fill my fcebook page with sunshine and seseme street songs. Love your 500 days of happiness. Now go paint some noodles

  14. You guys are awesome... Thanks for the info Galen, pretty much explains a lot for me since I was hollering for weeks after I was born.. lol

  15. At the moment, very sall things bring me joy. Sometimes, depending on my mood, it can even just be the light on a beautiful flower. But the latest thing that brought me most joy was my little 18 months old cousin. I was putting some little cups on top of each other to entertain him, and when they fell, he had a huge laughing fit. So I did it again, and again, and every time they fell, even if it was just one, he would literally bend over with laughter. I have rarely met such a happy little boy and one who can be happy with anything. I hope he can stay that way.


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