Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happiness. Do you have it?

I was chatting with Kam this morning about happiness. Not anything in particular just being happy in life. It is remarkable how many people are not happy in life. Yes, the world has many tragic events. Yes, we have diseases that are killing people daily. We were not talking of the catastrophic events. We were talking of general daily happiness. That happiness that is not dependent on other people or events. So many people are waiting for something to happen to make them happy. I'll be happy if...I win the lottery...drop 50 the love of my life...move to another city/state/country.

In this chat we thought perhaps people need to practice being happy. There are so many life experiences we practice for and feel quite normal in doing so. All musicians practice before a performance and throughout their career to get better. Athletes practice before an event. Even a simple workout is a practice. Students are practicing by studying before an exam. Why not practice being happy?

I feel happy most of my day. There are mornings that I wake up grumpy, sick, tired, or not wanting to face the world. Everyone, even the happiest person has those moments. In pondering this general happiness I dug deeper. I wanted to realize what effects my daily happy in a positive way and how that could be translated into a happiness practice. I start my morning with puppy snuggles. My dogs make me smile first thing in the morning. One of them wants to be pet and played with the other wants to curl up and be cozy with me. I like this. Not everyone would and that is OK. I enjoy checking in with my friends while I drink my morning hot beverage, tea right now but sometimes coffee. I check email and I check with my friends on Ravelry and on Facebook. I might post about my day or not it all depends on the morning.

Most mornings I spend an hour or two with my online coaching. This brings me great joy. I love assisting others in their process. I love being there to help someone make a change that can turn their day or life around. Nutritional coaching is one aspect of my job. Fitness coaching is another. I coach both of these at a distance. The growth and changes these clients and friends experience is tremendously rewarding. The clients I see in person bring me great joy too. I love watching a client reach new heights in their awareness of themselves. It is a beautiful process.

Another source of joy for me is to cook. I love making meals that taste good and are good for the body. It makes me so happy to cook for my family and have them enjoy the meal. I often think about how they will like the different tastes in the food. I try to know and remember everyone's favorite foods and bring something to the table that satisfies those desires. Today I made a stuffed squash. I had quite a variety of tastes in this squash. My goal was to have all these flavors blend yet hold their own distinction. It was a challenge. I'm proud of the result.

Stuffed "Acorn-ish" Squash

3 acorn (or similar size) squash (I used dumpling squash. They have flat bottoms.)
1 small onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound asparagus
1 package baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil OR 2 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Top and seed the squash. This is quite a lot like making a jack-o-lantern in miniature. Cook upside down in 1/2-3/4 inch of water for 35-45 minutes or until soft.

Seam saute the onion and garlic. This is done by heating a fry pan and adding a few tablespoons of water with the onion and garlic. When the onion is soft add the asparagus. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the asparagus is just beginning to soften. Add the spinach and steam to wilt. Add in the basil and cranberries and remove from heat. Fill each squash and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes.


I hope that everyone finds a way to practice happiness in their day. Pick something simple if you are feeling low or down. Find a small activity to be happy about. Look out your window. Is there a tree that might have a bird to watch? Is there a city street below that might have a mother or father laughing with a child? Can you say hello to someone you don't know while grocery shopping? What do you enjoy doing and how can you raise the happiness bar just a little?


  1. I love being happy too. Thanks for writing about it. And I agree, as we talked, it does take practice...
    I am committed to having a good time in my life and that seems to make being happy easier when things are stressful or tough. Thanks for the support April.

  2. Oh yes, this squash was sweet to me, and the savory mix inside really went perfect with it. I really enjoyed the meal.

  3. Oh, my, this sounds soooooooo good! I need to pick up the ingredients next time I go shopping.

  4. Thanks April. Yesterday's blog post on happiness is personal and inspiring. I need the journey stories as much as I need to learn how to cook vegetables in a hundred and one creative ways! I look forward to reading every post (no pressure!).