What makes you Happy?
I am reading a book right now about the holocaust. It’s called The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. The author is a survivor and a thought she related by her mother struck a chord with me: “Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings…It’s something we make inside ourselves.“
How do I make happiness come from inside myself? I am still delving into what this really means, but for now, I feel like there are several things that my inner self reacts to with a feeling of joy. Almost like I don’t have a say in it. When I do these things—I have no choice–I am happy. My soul is happy. These things connect with my soul. Does that make sense?
What makes my soul happy? The obvious first ideas that came to my mind are my family and the knowledge of my Savior. But what else? What else makes me happy? Is it the fact that I live in New York City? Not really…I love the city, but I am not happy because of the city. Is it my house? Definitely not…(see previous post). 🙂
So what makes me happy? What speaks to my soul?
We were supposed to have a blizzard in NYC today. Like most other predictions of weather in the city—it was wrong. We ended up with a couple inches and some slush. So, despite that it was still really cold, I decided to take my daughter out for some fresh air. She LOVES to walk/run, and I thought it would be good for her. As we were walking I was looking around at my surroundings and realizing that I hadn’t ever really LOOKED at them. I have walked on this exact street for almost 2 years and I haven’t really LOOKED. But now I was looking—and it made me happy. I was noticing little details that I hadn’t seen before in the buildings and streets. I had slowed down (because I am walking with a 2 year old, am I right?!) and the pace allowed me to LOOK. To NOTICE. To REFLECT on what was around me—on my surroundings. The surroundings did not make me happy—the looking and noticing and reflecting made me happy. And I was struck by how much being outside makes me happy. It doesn’t matter where that outside is—if I am out there and NOTICING it—I am happy. I can feel the energy in the air and it replenishes me—replenishes my soul. I think that comes from inside me…my looking, noticing, reflecting on the outside brings me joy.
See the different colors of buildings?
This is the house that I mentioned in my previous post.
It looks like it was put there by a giant. Plop.
This walk made me start thinking about what else makes me happy. I was thinking back through my life for a common thread, and I came up with 2 specific activities that have always made me happy—no matter where I am: running and reading.
If I was ever angry or upset or emotional or anything when I was younger, my mom would always say, Megan—just go for a run. Right before I got married, the advice my mom gave John was—if I ever get angry etc…to just tell me to go for a run. A couple years ago I had an extremely negative experience while teaching, and the first thing I did when I came home was I threw those running shoes on and jetted out of the house. A couple of years ago, I read this book all about running called Born to Run and it changed my life. Running speaks to my soul.
And reading. I don’t even know where to start with reading. I need to read. My mom would make me do book reports during the summer—and I LOVED it. (I have the best mom, right?!) During finals week my freshmen year in college, which is a notoriously busy week, I read The DaVinci Code. Seriously? Who does that? I often bump into things while I am walking outside because I am reading. Well, I used to before I was chasing (or meandering with) my 2 year old. The characters, the imagery, the escapism—they all whisper to my soul.
Outside-Running-Reading. We’re pretty much soul mates…
What 3 things—outside of the obvious ones— call to your soul? What are your soul mates?
The more we reflect and act on these things, the happier we will be. I think. I am still testing out my theory…