Now that my challenge for November of writing every day is over, I decided to start setting additional monthly challenges for myself to see how I will fare with those. For the month of December I decided I will attempt to spend most of my writing time on working out what it means to be happy, which I am sure you will agree, is no small feat. Philosophers have spent lifetimes decoding what the simple phrase “being happy” means and there is almost never any universal agreement. While I do not think I will have it figured out in 30 days, I do want to make an honest stab at what decoding it for myself entails with pure intent, without guile, and without a handful of snark.
That last bit will be hardest to overcome, I am sure.
Lest you be afraid of my cynical heart of getting in the way, I will have some help. I will be using Gala Darling’s DARE/DREAM/DO email seminar which I bought back in October and have not started yet. I do not remember how I found Ms. Darling, but I have been enamoured with her site for quite some time and appreciate how much she posits that to be happy means work. Hard work. She is not shy on giving you straight forward advice either, which also seduced me to her.
As DARE/DREAM/DO was designed to be a one a day thing, I will be tackling and writing each day individually. Since I am starting this a few days after the first of December, the DARE/DREAM/DO sequence will go over into early January.
Additionally, I will also be looking at techniques from Zen Habits. If you have been following along with my posts on minimal packing, a lot of my inspiration came from Leo Babauta. Lastly, I will be also incorporating any articles, posts, or bits that I have stumbled upon along the way and adding them into the mix.
Because I fear this will be a massive month of writing, as I also plan to do other writing on top the making happy challenge, if you’re interested in following along with me, add the Making Happy feed to your RSS reader or just click on the Making Happy tag to see what is going on and where I am at. And as always, if you have any suggestions for sites, articles, books, or something else entirely you think I should read/view/hear, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
I was partially inspired to shape this challenge by a recent blog post by Theodora Goss and wholly inspired by her entry title, because it was a kick in the pants reminder happiness does not just come to you, it has to be worked for and earned.
But I believe that happiness is different: it’s a day to day, minute by minute thing. Whether I am happy at any give moment can depend quite a lot on whether or not I am eating a cupcake. If I am eating a cupcake, I am happy. (Depending on the cupcake, of course. I mean, I’m picky.) Happiness does in fact depend on things outside ourselves, so to make ourselves happy, we need to change things outside ourselves. (At least, that’s a lot easier than just trying to be happy, which I think is a very hard thing to do. Make yourself be happy, try to produce an internal state of happiness without changing anything external . . . Much easier to buy a cupcake.) Theodora Goss
She then goes on to list the things, simple things really, on what makes her happy. After reading her post, I tried to come up with a list of things off the top of my head in the same vein and found myself struggling with that list, but here it is:
- Really good, dark chocolate. Sometimes all I need is just a bite to satiate me and make me happy
- A fancy bubble bath with good smelling soaps and a book to read while I soak
- Watching my stock pile of Jane Austen and related movies. Fictional, influenced, blatant rip-off – doesn’t matter. My world always seems to be brighter when I spend a few hours with Jane.
- Wearing something from my collection of BPAL scents. I have a few non-BPAL oils but BPAL almost always wins hands down for selection, price, and smell.
- I can listen to Elbow‘s entire catalog on repeat forever and never get tired of Guy Garvey’s voice. May I present their rendition of Beyonce’s Independent Woman, as played out by kittens.
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- Listening to Cabin Pressure, as defined here.
Small list, but a good start.
It should be noted when I went through Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training for my Borderline Personality Disorder, much of the training concentrates on the purpose of self-soothing techniques for when I go into crisis, of which much of that training seems I have misplaced over the last few years. So this is a good reminder to stockpile those skills because there will be a point in the future when I am in crisis again. But it is also good to have this list of happy making readily available not for when I’m in crisis, but a reminder of what makes me whole.
This day in Lisa-Universe: