The Art of Happiness

sunshine

 

If you ask people the one thing that they want above all else is, most of them will tell you  they wish for happiness. I recently got to wondering why happiness is such an elusive thing in our country (I site our government’s Misery Index? It’s real, Google it.) Our country is wealthy in comparison to most of the planet and yet we are seemingly so miserable. What gives?

In search of happiness, my husband and I decided simplifying our lives was the best place to start. Our first step in accomplishing that was to leave Los Angeles and to go back to the earth. Has this made us happier? You betcha! I mean, we no longer live with the worst traffic in the country. In fact, a traffic jam for us is ten cars waiting at a red light. Heaven! And while no traffic makes us happy, it isn’t the kind of soul-reaching happiness we’re after.

Gardening makes us happy as well. It’s hard work that can leave us more exhausted than we ever thought possible. Yet, it’s deeply rewarding to be able to grow our own food, healthier and more delicious than anything found in the stores. So this is happiness as well.

Raising our beautiful daughters, near extended family, is a nice big dose of happiness.

Being healthy is happiness.

Do you by chance see where I’m going here? The seed of happiness cannot grow in a heart of expectation and entitlement. Happiness flourishes in a soul rich in gratitude.

In 1972, in the country of Bhutan, The Fourth Dragon King,  Jigme Singye Wangchuch coined the term “Gross National Happiness”, where he was known to say that Gross National Happiness is more important than the Gross National Product.  Maybe that’s where we got it wrong. We, as a nation, are so focused on getting more, achieving more, and accomplishing more, that we don’t bother acknowledging and showing gratitude for what we already have. We’re focusing on our misery, not our gratitude.

In that vein, here is the source of my gratitude/happiness. I’m grateful for my family, my children, my friends. I’m grateful my husband’s cancer is gone and that his little girls will grow up knowing the man who loves them more than anything else in the world. I’m grateful for the land and the abundance thereof. I’m grateful for my journey, which has not always been easy, but always full of lessons. I’m grateful for my mistakes (of which there are many), for they have brought more knowledge than I’ve yet utilized. I’m grateful I’ve not received all of my desires, for desire makes me work harder.

When my family gets together for Sunday dinner each week, we hold hands and sing The Johnny Appleseed Song as our grace. “The Lord is good to me and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the apple seed. The Lord is good to me. Amen.”

Here’s wishing you true happiness and may the sun, the rain and the apple seed be abundant in your life!

Author Bio: Whitney Dineen is an Amazon bestselling and award-winning author of romantic comedies and middle reader fiction. Her first rom com, She Sins at Midnight, won a silver medal in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite Awards. Her second, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, won Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival, is a finalist in the 2016 RONE Awards  and won a silver medal in the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Awards. Whitney lives in rural Oregon with her family and chickens, who just happen to be named after Barbie Princesses.

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