Monday, 07 March 2011
I like March better already. The sun is out. I’ve had a picnic breakfast and picnic lunch on my back table this week. I’m going to cut back the plants winter froze, so that spring can grow blooms in my garden.
According to the Magic Tree House books 37-40, there are four secrets to happiness, the first of which is to pay attention to small things in nature. Spring offers this secret of happiness to me every year with the changing of the seasons, especially when we’re in New Mexico.
The header picture on this blog was taken when Cavanaugh and I were trying tubing last summer. He was so nervous that he wore his water wings even though he was in my arms and held up by the inner-tube.
That day actually offered up all three of the other happiness secrets the Magic Tree House reveals:
- Be curious about everything.
- Have compassion for all living things.
- “Taking loving care of another [person or creature] can make one very happy.”
I watched Cavanaugh explore the sandy river beach, shiver in the water, and jump from fear to delight (his curiosity and mine). We watched teeny fish in the water and tried to persuade my nephews and their buddy not to cut worms in half for fun (compassion for all living things). As he huddled into me on the tube (loving care of another), I pointed at the sky, the cliffs of the canyon, and we played shape searchers with the clouds (notice nature).
We were playing shape searchers again this morning with his graham crackers. “What does this look like Mama?” He’d take another bite. “What does it look like now?” It’s a lot easier to for me to notice happiness in some remote natural setting than in my messy living room, but it’s right here.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m working through Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project with a group of friends. One of them sent out a reminder on the last day of February that read something like, “Aaaack, it’s almost March and I don’t have my resolutions. Thought I’d share in case anyone else needs a reminder too.”
At the end of January, I could report that I was feeling much happier. My resolution to give myself a bedtime made a tremendous impact on my happiness.
My more frequent attempts to meditate–I averaged 10 minutes of sitting a couple times a week in January–made me more mindful the rest of the time so I noticed when my mind had dissociated from where I was and what I was doing into some worry about the future or missing something from the past. Though my thoughts still wander further than an Australian backpacker, I could come back more quickly and easily and notice that right this minute was usually pretty good.
Then came February. It knocked me down, with the cold, with my ex-husband’s need to be out of town so I was single parenting almost full time for most of the month. Then Cavanaugh was sick and I was sick. Plus, I tried adding too many resolutions last month, so I ended up just not accomplishing or even attempting most of them.
So last night, I charted my resolutions for March, my road map toward Happiness. The gist of them is to take care of my body by drinking water, getting exercise, and resting enough (by keeping that pesky bedtime) that I have energy to meet each day. And so far, the days have been glorious. I want to meet them. I am ready to approach happiness, in nature, in my living room, anywhere.
Do you agree with the Magic Tree House? What are your secrets to happiness?