BKS Iyengar once said, “The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”
No one is in charge of your happiness except you. When you choose to be happy, everything in your world spins accordingly. The Universe conspires to your happiness. Choose to conduct your own happiness symphony.
I have witnessed that gratitude practices and random acts of kindness work in establishing and continuing one’s happiness. I practiced conscience gratitude for a complete year, dropping brightly coloured papers through a wide-mouth glass jar.
My dear friend Therese gifted me the jar and the challenge to fill it. I wrote a daily gratitude sentiment before bed each night and at the end of the year, re-read the rainbow of proclamations. Memories of events, places, people and accomplishments were palpable.
I listened to a talk by Dr. Meike Bartels at NYUAD last month and her scientific research confirms, suggests and encourages writing letters and notes of gratitude as a way to achieve happiness.
For the random acts of kindness, remember, “real happiness is effortless,” states Guy Finley. They cost nothing and mean everything. If you share a smile with someone, hold a door open or pick up a fallen object, those are acts of kindness that are effortless. If you can, do something kind everday. Never limit yourself…you can do anything.
The other day I was on the bus and an older (than me) woman got on with a lot of bags. She struggled to get on the bus, tagged her bus pass on the affixed tag-reader machine, then saw no available seat. I got up from my seat and gestured for her to sit down. She thanked me with sparkly eyes and a smile.
That easy act was my way of putting kindness out in the Universe. I share that story to make a point that acts of kindness are happy-making endeavors and really easy.
Last month, I embarked on a journey (a personal goal) with five friends, to trek 76 km through the Great Rift Valley in Jordan. The trip was a birthday celebration of one of the trekkers. Over the course of the three-day hike, up and down the mountains, rock formations, hills, roads, we shared laughs, stories, heartbreaks, breakthroughs and songs. We also sang “Happy Birthday to you,” the requisite forty times, to the birthday girl. The happiness quotient doubled in my heart by sharing this experience with people I really didn’t know prior to the trip.
I allowed new experiences, NDBs*, authenticities and my sincere listening to guide me. Even when I thought I could not climb one more ledge, I repeated a silent mantra to myself, “never give up; you can do this.”
Witnessing shepherds and dogs herding sheep and goats was such a joy for me. We slept in floorless tents, ate fabulous, freshly-made dinners around a campfire, and sang camp songs at the top of our lungs. I am so happy to achieve this goal, on this trip, with these people and at this time in my life. I challenge everyone to do something outside your comfort zone too!
As you begin your new month, I invite you to open your heart and mind to new things, people, events and adventures. Find what you love, share that and see how far you grow! Life is really good and is meant to enjoy.
Choose to find happiness in all you do, and create your own symphony!! Happiness is contagious and a lifestyle; and whatever you choose, make sure it makes you happy.
*NDB= never done before. I strive for one everyday.
By Denise Schnitzer