Sometimes that’s a really hard thing to do. It takes tremendous effort, actually, and it feels very selfish. It is also very important.
We see a country in turmoil. We see a plague ravaging the world and reinventing itself to expand the threat. We see people turning against each other to assign blame in a misguided attempt to regain control. We see people struggling with food insecurity, trying to keep their homes and jobs and businesses. We see people looking at what others have and becoming consumed with envy. Looking at all this it is hard to consider feeling anything but dispair and I often feel truly guilty if I say I am happy.
The act of feeling contentment or happiness takes determination and feels contrived. In fact, it isn’t becoming happy that is contrived but it is the difficult, methodical and scripted steps necessary to clear our spirit of the clutter prohibiting us from feeling worthy of happiness, that takes contrivance.
One of the most common ways for me is to focus on all of the good in my life. Yes, if I am trying to be happy I begin by counting my blessings – slowly and reverently. This is not the same as arrogantly flaunting that I have something that someone else doesn’t have. This is not about others at all. Our blessings are unique to each of us, and it is purely and directly about thanking God for each particular blessing we have been gifted. It is personal. It can be hard and must be repeated whenever necessary.
This is a good day for me. I awoke well rested. I can see my home, and the snowy midwestern landscape outside the windows. I am fed, and warm. I have spent the morning painting. I feel joy seeing my husband’s smiling face as he greets me and encourages me just as he has done for the last 35 years. I am truly blessed and immensely thankful. I am happy.
I hope you enjoy today’s painting, a 16″ x 20″ oil on canvas. Perhaps I will title it, Finding Happiness.