Sunday, May 13, 2012

Authentic Happiness

I should have remembered to say HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you moms out there and to those of you who "mother" others in your lives...hope someone is celebrating you today!
My son worries about my physical health. “Mom.  You’ve got to be more physical. Figure out a way to get some regular exercise.”

My daughter worries that I’m not more joyful.  “Mom.  You worry too much.  You’ve got to smile more. Remember what Julia said!”

Julia was the girlfriend of my sister’s ex and she’d read our palms one Thanksgiving.  After studying my “lines” she looked at me carefully choosing her words. “You need to have more happiness in your life or your worrying is going to make you — ill. You need to smile more.”

This caution stuck with my daughter.  Truthfully, it stuck with me.

I tried smiling more on and off for a week or so, but it was hard smiling for no reason.  So when the community ed center brochure came and I saw the four-session class “Authentic Happiness” I thought — “Okay, this is for me.” And I signed up.

Certainly I had skepticism. I  believe in alternatives, but basically I’d lived most of my life in a negative mental/emotional state.  From second grade on I had a sense — not a very clear sense — but a sense of foreboding.  That things weren't gonna turn out alright.  

All the grown-ups I knew, the ones I knew at home or at school, were always saying, “Don’t worry.  Everything’s going to be all right.”  But it didn’t seem that way to me.  In fact, it seemed the opposite.  That things could change and explode in a minute. 

The class was on a weeknight and would involve a bit of a drive to the next town, but I was looking forward to it.  The first night, I went in, sat down at the first table for two I saw, and looked out the classroom door.  Walking past was a woman who looked like someone I’d like to get to know — she walked in a different door, came forward in the room and (luckily) sat down next to me.  A good beginning.

Then the teacher began.  He looked like an energetic 80-year-old Methodist minister-type.  Within five minutes of his opening conversation to us about what we'd be doing in the class, I found myself smiling.  For no reason.  He wasn't saying anything funny and he wasn't doing anything funny.  Whatever it was, it just made me smile and it was only 7:05.

The class was interesting and somewhat interactive. He showed a lot of short videos all meant to make you happy or help you understand happiness in a new way.

I found it very different from anything I'd experienced and wonderful.  I was happy to be there.  I was learning about happiness and I was feeling it more.  All in one two-hour class.  Seemed like a pretty good deal to me.   I was looking forward to the next three.

Our regular bedspread

the new one AND its reverse side!

And this initial try at authentic happiness?  It must be working because the other day I went shopping and (uncharacteristically) bought new sheets and cases AND a new quilt-stitched summer bedspread/blanket (even though I didn't NEED them) and promptly introduced to our bedroom something far out of my usual zone.  

   Looks like happiness to me...

(But I could not get this photo rotated upright, the way the pattern really is.)


  1. Well this just made me smile :-)
    AND, I love the new quilt, to me it colors are so symbolic of who I see you as - just goes to show how perspectives are different - I see you as sunny and bright and full of a sense of wonder...
    Happy Mother's Day:-)

    1. and a Happy Mother's Day to you Hope and all you moms out there...thank you for letting me know this made you smile!

  2. It's good to hear you're sharing with yourself some of that happiness you always bestow on others! And the new bedspread's great--I agree w/Hope's assessment of the colors. Love you and miss you. Happy Mother's Day! KW

    1. Thank you KW..thank you very much! Miss you too

  3. Wonderful you found something to make you smile!! Maybe we can influence our own happiness.... Wow, it is really an everyday practice. Hope you love the next 3 classes. Thanks for sharing, Teri