Thursday, April 11, 2013


As I awoke this morning to a beautiful sunshine-and-blue-sky day greeting me through the bedroom window, I felt a wave of sheer, straight-up happiness.

Some other things that trip my happiness trigger like that: witnessing kindness, laughter, hugs, solid and lengthy sleep, cute canines, purring felines, fresh flowers, delectable chocolate, strong yet sweet coffee, close friends, loving family, a wonderful meal, traveling, the ocean, wind on my face, a book that pulls me in from the first page, early spring air, a forest hike, a cracking campfire ...

You get the picture.

More and more it's really what the world considers the little things that have a big impact on my happiness. The process of simplifying has had a similar effect. I live in an apartment that's just shy of 600 square feet, and in many ways it's more than I need. Of course, it's not quite big enough for the stuff I still have, even after several rounds of downsizing during the past few moves, so it feels cramped in that sense.

That's likely why I've been feeling led to get a storage unit as part of the preparation for getting an RV.  Storage will be for the things I think I want to keep long term. What's left in the apartment after separating that stuff out will either stay with me for day-to-day use on the road, be sold or be given away.

Back to happiness. A few months ago I watched a movie titled "Happy," which is a well-worth-your-time type of thing. (Note for Amazon Prime members: Log in and check it out. I think you'll be pleased with the price.) In the movie, I learned about Bhutan's Gross National Happiness philosophy. Most countries are focused on Gross Domestic Product, but not Bhutan. Here are just a couple of the remarkable passages from the 2008 coronation speech of the young king of Bhutan, whose father instated democracy when he abdicated the throne:

"Yet we must always remember that as our country, in these changing times finds immense new challenges and opportunities, whatever work we do, whatever goals we have -- and no matter how these may change in this changing world -- ultimately without peace, security and happiness we have nothing. That is the essence of the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Our most important goal is the peace and happiness of our people and the security and sovereignty of the nation. ...

"I am confident because I know the worth and character of our people. You are the true jewel of this nation. As citizens of a spiritual land you treasure the qualities of a good human being -- honesty, kindness, charity, integrity, unity, respect for our culture and traditions, love for our country and for God. Throughout our history our parents have upheld these values and placed the common good above the self."

I don't know about you, but those passages resonate deeply with me. Seems to me they echo much of what the founders of our country were aiming for. And they so powerfully summarize what feels to be so needed not only in our leaders today, both here in the U.S. and around the world, but also in each of us.

Imagine how much happiness we could generate, together.

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