I think I’m lucky. Disney’s Gladstone Gander, the female version, without the goose feathers.
It’s not because I win the lottery every day or because I find diamonds on the pavement.
It’s because I have the gift of feeling delight.
Feeling delight because of a well-presented meal. Feeling delight that someone has recommended a good place to eat. Savouring the view of a majestic mountain. Experiencing the pleasure of laughing for no apparent reason. Taking a minute and saying to myself: how wonderful!
So yes, Gladstone and I have the same initial. And nothing or no one can stand between me and my happiness. That is what I choose!
What about you, who won’t you allow to stand between you and your happiness?
A friend who was travelling through Paris on his way home to Germany mentioned that his neighbor would be making dinner for him when he got back that evening. I congratulated him on having such a nice neighbor, and he chuckled before explaining that he had simply called her earlier in the day to say that his fridge was empty, his apartment cold, and to ask whether she would be willing to share her dinner with him!
She was only too happy to help out.
How many times have you found out after the fact that someone could have used your help, but didn’t ask? How often have you said something like: «I would have picked you up!» or «why didn’t you tell me?» or «why didn’t you call – I would have done it with pleasure!»
In such circumstances we often feel cheated, that it’s a pity that our friends don’t reach out to ask for our help. On the other hand very often we don’t ask for help ourselves, as we prefer not to ‘bother’ someone.
How about if you dared to ask? Rather than killing two birds with one stone, you might just make TWO people happy with one request.
Inspired by « Cristal Heart », a story by Frédéric Lenoir
A young man, unhappy after a recent insult by his friends, went looking for comfort from an old wise man but didn’t get quite what he expected:
« Nobody is able to make you unhappy”, said the old man. “Also, instead of having been insulted, let’s say your friends had offered compliments. Would you have been happy?”
“Probably”, the young man answered.
“Well, then you would have given them the power to make you happy. It’s the same thing.
“Life holds up all kind of mirrors for us, so that we can learn about ourselves and make progress. An insult or a compliment is just a mirror that is being held up for us. It doesn’t matter who holds it up.
“When you look into a mirror and you see that you have a blemish on your face, you don’t get mad at the mirror or the person holding it, do you?. You just do what you can to remove the blemish.
“What you want to do is use the mirror of others remarks to observe yourself and to observe your own reactions. Each gesture and each word that touches you is there so that you get to know yourself better, change what you need to, and move on. Happiness and unhappiness are inside you.”
I saw bits of myself in this tale, so I thought I’d check with you: have you given the power to be happy or unhappy to somebody else or are you in control?
Anja and I both adore the same book: Magic Cleaning by Marie Kondo, a Japanese woman who specialises in tidying and creating space in tiny Japanese apartments.
One of her many tips is to take each item of clothing you own in your hands, feel it and ask yourself honestly if it makes you “happy”!
Anja and I both saw this as a far from pragmatic approach. Have you ever bought something on impulse? If so, it’s more than likely that the particular item made you feel happy as you were going through the till. And if that works for purchases, it also works for uncluttering in your life!
Anja has turned this into a philosophy for life and writes a blog about it. She strives to only keep what makes her happy in her life. She parts with the rest. “Even my ex-husband,” she says laughing.
Without being quite so drastic, what are the things that no longer make you happy and that you’re still dragging around like a millstone around your neck?
In front of me is appetizing spread of olives, cheese and juicy tomatoes all bought from local producers at a market in Italy. The sun is shining, there’s a fantastic view of the lake and I’m just so happy.
For me, that’s luxury. Natural produce like a tomato grown in the sun without pesticides, a clean and functional holiday apartment, and deliciously tasty locally produced olive oil.
What if luxury were simplicity? Knowing how to enjoy the simple things in life? Instead of having a wardrobe full of clothes that you never wear, why not just keep the ones that make you happy? Taking the trouble to create meals with produce that makes your mouth water? Being somewhere where you find the view magical?
Luxury isn’t necessarily five-star hotels and major brands, it’s more about your own ability to enjoy the things that inspire you.
During a trip to India, we had long discussions about Buddhist teachings, especially gratitude.
I have long been a fan of gratitude exercises to celebrate small (and big) daily joys, and have now reached the next level for novices of Buddhism:
Instead of keeping my gratitude – and the satisfaction that goes along with it – to myself, I offer it to someone else.
Obviously, this is something I do in my head and heart rather than with a gift-wrapped parcel. At first, I was dubious, and struggled to assimilate this silent gift. But with a bit of training, I’ve understood the additional benefit that it brings: I’m delighted about something and I pass this feeling of delight on to someone else, which of course makes me feel good.
What about you? Who would you like to silently pass your delight on to?