Friday 3 April 2015

Happiness is ...

When my inner world is torrid with fear and doubt, regret and loneliness,  I find a semblance of order by searching through the chaos and consciously writing a list of everything, no matter how small or fleeting, that has recently made me happy:

A Quiet Day of Solitude, when beyond the windows of our house, the busy world roars and rushes by. As hard as it is not to feel guilty about my choice, I down tools, refuse to do housework, admin, writing or any other kind of work and then spend an hour, a morning, a day in meditation. An extra bonus is when these quiet days coincide with a rainy day that shrouds the house in a misty, muffled silence.
When Shadow the Cat rolls over in her basket and exposes her bare, fluffy (and, I hate to say it, LARGE) tummy, in utter trust that she's safe. Watching her sleep and loudly snore brings a sense of accomplishment that's difficult to describe: when Shadow adopted us she was an abandoned cat. She'd been abused, too, with chemical burns all over her tummy. As I tickle that scarred tummy (to a few drowsy growls of annoyance!) I realise that, for her to sleep in such a vulnerable position after being so cruelly hurt by humans, is a lesson for all of us who keep our defensive shields firmly in place simply because we can't get over our past emotional wounds or are too scared of being hurt again to trust so totally and with such deep abandon.
The thrill of a wild visitor in the garden: a solitary kiewietjie landing with a shrill cry and strolling around the garden for hours until sunset, pecking and pulling her lunch out of the lawn, all the while disdainfully ignoring Shadow and keeping a watchful eye on me. 
That moment after load-shedding starts and the power goes off ... followed five minutes later by the hummm of our generator!  On so many levels this still moves me deeply: the relief that we have power and our productive life can continue without interruption. The gratitude that, while we'll never be more than comfortably middle class, we at least have the financial security to afford a generator (unlike many other hard-working people who unfortunately have to rely on Eskom to generate their power needs). And the bliss of a hot cup of tea on a cold autumn evening when the dark silence is broken only by the soft music of our supersilent generator.
I've barely got started on my "happiness list" and already I'm feeling cheerful again!  That reminds me, as it always does that, like most things in life, happiness doesn't just happen. It's a choice we make: to let life grind us down daily, or to choose to find as many happy moments as we can in the ordinary tapestry that is our life. 

What are your happy moments today?