Warning: This idea could make you happy

Patient AcceptanceThey say that life begins at 40 and recently I realised that perhaps it’s because by the time you’re 40 you’ve known at least one or two people who have died too young. You get to a certain age and realise that not everyone enjoys the privilege of growing old. So maybe that’s why in their 40’s some people have a good go at making their dreams come true.

Yesterday I had a perfect day. I didn’t know it was going to be perfect but I did hope that it would be good. I started the day by sticking a post-it note on the bathroom mirror that said, ‘I love you.’ The second one says, ‘How can I make you happy today?’ (These are ideas from You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.) It made me cringe to do it and it makes me cringe to write it, because I’m embarrassed by the thought of such airy-fairy new age love-yourself stuff. After all, most people think that kind of thing doesn’t work, right?

But the reason I’m sharing it here is because I think that little thing made a difference that day.

Admittedly I already had quite a nice day planned. Let me tell you what I did yesterday.

  • I began the day with a mindful meditation. (Never tried this before.)
  • I had a pub lunch with an old friend. We took her kids and my kids – most of them were dressed as pirates! We all laughed and had fun.
  • I treated myself to a massage and manicure as a late birthday present to myself.
  • I decided to start painting again and bought some watercolours and a sketchpad.
  • I spontaneously bought myself a colourful bunch of flowers.
  • When I got home I listened to Perfect Day by Lou Reed, whilst cooking myself one of my favourite meals. I had some glasses of my favourite wine.
  • I watched On the Road [DVD] something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. (I love the book.)

Why am I sharing this with you? Because strangely it was a new idea to me to organise a perfect day for myself. It happened almost by accident, but just asking myself that question in the morning, ‘What can I do to make you happy today?’ made me think about the answer. I was lucky enough to be in a position to give myself things that made me happy. I’ve spent a lot of my life wishing that others would make me happy. This day I experimented with being my own best friend. I wouldn’t say that I loved myself yet, but this was quite a successful first date. I might even agree to see me again…

Stick that question on your mirror tomorrow and see what you surprise yourself with!

Flowers, for me? From me? Thank you!

Flowers, for me? From me? Thank you!

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Wish them happiness

So, I went to another Buddhist meditation class; this is now the second time I’ve been. This time there were a lot less people, which was interesting because we got to ask questions of the Buddhist monk, during his talk. This week’s theme was ‘Wish them happiness.’

What is deep happiness?

He explained that much of the happiness we experience on a day to day basis is a temporary happiness: like what you might gain from eating a slice of cake. This kind of happiness comes from external sources; food, addictions, relationships et cetera. As I understood it, deep happiness then is something that cannot be affected by external sources. It doesn’t fade when the last bite of cake is eaten!

How do you get it?

Of course that was our next question. You will be pleased to know that the Buddhist monk did reveal to us how to attain deep happiness: Wish deep happiness on others. Wish them happiness. The more you wish others happiness the happier you will be.

Feathers

He said that when we are seeking these external sources of happiness it is like we are trying to cover the ground with leather: Instead of wearing shoes. This reminded me of an episode of Fingerbobs: A beautiful and mellow children’s program from the 1970’s. “Yoffy” would tell a story using a selection of paper finger puppet animals, such as Finger Mouse.

I remember one episode where he told the story of the town where people loved to dance, but they had no shoes. Shoes hadn’t been invented yet. The land was very stony and hard. Whenever the people wanted to dance they had to lay down a carpet of feathers to dance upon. Eventually somebody came up with the idea of tying feathers to their feet, and then the people could dance wherever they liked!

Was Yoffy a Buddhist?

Yoffy was played by a Canadian actor called Rick Jones. Was this bearded and bald-headed children’s presenter a gentle and wise Buddhist, sharing his wisdom with the children of the 1970’s? Apparently not. According to Wikipedia:

“At the end of the series Jones was so sick of making the show that he destroyed the finger puppets while the camera was still rolling.”