Monday, May 5, 2014

Dynamic Duo

by Dotti

When we started Focusing on Life, we wanted our space to be about more than ‘just photography’. We wanted it to be about life, as well. So let’s chat a little bit about the ‘life’ side of our focusing today, shall we?

Let’s talk about what I’ve started calling the ‘Dynamic Duo’.

You see, the theme of happiness is one that has been playing on my mind now for some weeks. I knew I wanted to do a post about it but I couldn’t quite get it into focus. Bit by bit, it began to take shape in my heart and mind. All this thinking brought me to the conclusion that happiness is a choice.

When  I found the quote on the uptop photo in the Word document where I collect my favorite quotes, I knew that it was the perfect lead for today’s post. So much truth in it, don’t you think?

But I’m getting ahead of my story.

My  6 year-old granddaughter comes to my house after school each day and she usually ends up at her Peepaw’s desk {which, if you ask, she’ll tell you is her desk}, where she loves to write. I find little scraps, big scraps, all kinds of paper scraps with her thoughts, ideas, emotions written down. Two weeks ago, I found this note, at the bottom of which, she had signed her name.

Of course it brought a huge smile to my face and I confiscated it, thinking it would be perfect to post here when I shared my thoughts about happiness. We’re blessed that this little girl does indeed have a sunny disposition and has done since she was born. Does this mean she’s always in a good mood? Heck, no! But deep down inside, she finds happiness because most of the time she chooses it mostly because it's more fun.

Then a week ago, at a medical appointment, as I sat waiting for the technician, I noticed this handwritten note that she had stuck up on the wall above her desk. This led us into a wonderful discussion about happiness as a choice. She told me she believes that nobody should have a bad day because of her. She owes it to everybody she meets during the course of her day to choose happiness and try to share it with others. Isn’t that beautiful?

Finally, the third piece to my puzzle.

I’m a big fan of Karen Walrond and read her blog Chookooloonks every time she posts. Just last  week she had this to say and it blended perfectly with what I had concluded as I pondered this idea of happiness. Karen says it much better than I can.

One of the things I talk a lot about … is gratitude.  Indeed, I am convinced that gratitude is the key to living a more joyful life:  the practice of being grateful makes it easy to see the moments of joy in your life; furthermore, I think it helps when things aren't going as well as they could to spend some time noticing the moments that do bring you light.  Gratitude just works.

There it was. My thoughts exactly! The choice of happiness and the practice of gratitude are a dynamic duo and if we choose to let them, they will guide us to a more joyful … dare we say, more creative? … life.

Now of course, this doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Life gives us some pretty nasty blows from time to time. But even in those times, I believe if we take just a few minutes a day in the midst of our heartache and struggle, we will find a better place and the strength to go on. It sounds kind of Pollyannaish, I know. And there are plenty of ordinary days when I have to consciously remind myself to 'choose happiness'. But I can’t think of a better guiding light to navigate the tricky and sometimes treacherous waters that we call ‘life’.

Can you?


Focusing on Life said...

I am a very big believer, Dotti. Did you know that there is a lot of current research on happiness? Stanford, University of Penn., and University of Chicago are just a few of the hubs for the new research. I love to read about it and, as so often happens here at FOL, I have actually been planning a post about it too.
I thank you for a beautiful, heartfelt post, Dotti - your granddaughter has made my day with her sign, and I wish you all a good day in the pursuit of happiness!

kelly said...

dotti, you have just hit the nail on the head...gratitude and happiness go hand in hand. what a perfect way to start the week! hope you have a wonderful, happy day!j xo

Kim Stevens said...

It's something that I've written about a lot too -"As my gratitude grows, so does my joy" - gratitude gives me the perspective in need to stand in the right place. Of course it doesn't mean I don't get off track every now and again...great reminder for the start of the week!

gina said...

A wonderful post to start off the week! This dynamic duo has been on my mind too. I am a much happier person since I began to cultivate gratitude several years ago. I didn't understand the power of this practice until I began to realize how it was changing my life for the better. I love your granddaughter's note!

terriporter said...

What a perfect post to wake up to on a Monday morning! Such a simple concept yet one so easily forgotten. But it is so true that focusing on the things we are grateful for brings us happiness. It's kind of a "wanting what you have rather than having what you want" kind of thing. Love that your sweet girl is already learning this lesson!

AFishGirl said...

One of my favourite posts, ever. Yes, yes, and more yes, a resounding yes. You can't choose the hand you're dealt but you sure can choose how to react to that hand and have some say in the amount of time spent being actively grateful (and hence the happy). I always think "happy" to me at this age is more when I feel peaceful. I am going to shoot a sign for you right now....

Carol said...

In case you were wondering, that was me in the first FOL comment - whoops!

Linda/patchwork said...

This is so true. How can we not feel joy, when we stop and think about all we have to be grateful for?
Your granddaughter is very wise.

susan said...

Love this post…really love your focus here Dotti. Focusing on two important elements 'happiness and gratitude' and carrying them with you throughout your day. Such and important reminder. xo's ~ susan

Cathy said...

Well it has all been said in the comments before me. I am a firm believer that when we choose happiness and gratitude and it fills our life so. And that note of your granddaughter's tells me she has the good models. What a treasure.

Anonymous said...

I love these kinds of post Dotti and yours in particular. Over the years, I've spent a good amount of time reflecting on what brings joy and happiness to my life and I've come to a few conclusions. First, happiness and joy are quite different. It is often difficult to choose to be happy -- there are not many who can do that, for example, in the midst of great grief. But I've had the experience of great joy arising from the most painful of experiences when they are transformed by acceptance, gratitude and surrender. When we stop clinging to what we think will make us happy and instead allow the joy that always lives deep within us to come out (which paradoxically can happen at the moments of the most intense pain) then that is when we feel truly alive and full of joy. I totally agree that joy is intricately linked to gratitude, because no matter how bleak things are, there is always something to be grateful for. It is accepting the full mix of the human experience that brings joy, if not always happiness.

Cathy H. said...

Wonderful thoughts and such great quotes, especially your sweet granddaughter's!

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