Saturday, December 1, 2007

The "Happy" Gene, and Saying Thank You

Angel daughter number four was born with what I would call, a joyful spirit.  She is the kind of child, or I should say, teenager now, who can walk into a room and make everybody smile. She exudes a kind of happiness that can only be described as genetic, because it is so natural and pure.  Yes, she is a teenager now, and yes, she does have her hormonal breakdowns and teenage alien fits that cause me to think, "Where has my sweet baby gone?"; but for the most part, she loves life.  Having a conversation with her is almost like speaking with an adult at times, because she is wise beyond her own years.  She appreciates being alive and her gratitude is contagious.  Even strangers find her very engaging.  She can brighten the dullest day with her smile.

This morning I was thinking about AD4, and contemplating what it is that I could learn from her.  This is something that I often do when it comes to the people who are in my life, but for some reason I was particularly zoned in on her this morning.  Maybe it is because I woke up with a lot of pain, and as I was scanning my body for particular points of tension, I needed something special to focus on.  Maybe it was because I was breathing my prayers into the Universe and something made me stop and contemplate AD4's approach to life.  Whatever it was, I came up with some things that I wanted to share.

We are all here for a purpose.  Regardless of someone's belief system, there is no denying that the gifts that we are given should be shared freely with others, because if they are not shared they are wasted.  Everyone, absolutely everyone who is, or ever has, breathed in life from this planet, has something important to contribute to the world.  There are times when we might feel like we want to isolate ourselves from others.  We all have those days in our lives when we feel like hiding under the covers and never coming out, and that is okay.  But we must always try to remind ourselves that no purposeful, joyous, fulfilled life can be lived aside from other people.  We must balance our need for solitude, with our need to be around others.  We must enjoy our unique abilities, while using those abilities to teach others that which we inherently understand.

As I thought about my daughter's happy spirit, I also began to think about other people who I know that are not quite as jubilant, and what it might take in order to cultivate a more joyous attitude.  Angel daughter four really appreciates life.  She is gracious and thankful much of the time.  So, I decided to isolate the gratitude trait, to see where that would lead.  This is what I came up with.

In order to be happier in our lives, I think it is very important to cultivate gratitude. Sometimes, I tend to take things for granted and I forget to be grateful.  So, I decided to do an exercise that I heard about someplace.  Tomorrow, I am going to say,"Thank you", each time something happens that makes me happy.  It could be something as simple as having another driver allow me to safely make a lane-change, or being able to open up my fully stocked refrigerator when I am hungry.  Things that I really do appreciate, but often take for granted.  

The next day, I am going to say, "Thank you", each time that something does not exactly go the way that I would like for it to.  Maybe not getting out of my house on time to make an appointment, or having somebody cut me off, causing me to miss a green light, and making me wait for another light cycle.  All of the little mishaps, and annoyances that occur each and every day.  You know, the ones that seem to effect our moods the most.  The ones that make us "perceive" that we are having a bad day.

I am going to continue this exercise for the next few days, gently reminding myself to show more gratitude for all of the events that happen throughout my days.  I am not exactly sure where all of this focus will take me.  I do know that when I expect a certain result when doing something, I often come up with something that was completely different from what I had expected.  I am going to write down my observations at the end of each day.  After I complete this exercise, I will write about the things that I learned here.  I would really enjoy hearing from anyone else who would also like to take this challenge along with me.  I would love it if you would share your experiences after doing this for a few days with me.  No pressure at all!

This is the time of the year when we are all feeling a bit more frazzled.  Our To-Do lists are longer than ever, and all of the crazies have been let out of their homes for the month.  Maybe doing an exercise like this one will turn out to be a gift that you can not only share with others, but something that you can give to yourself...something that will bring more joy into your life.

As I look at the picture of my Angel daughter number four, and our adorable Cornish Rex kitty, Callie, my heart swells with the joy of knowing that they both make the world a happier place. Even if we are not born with the "happy gene", I do think that it is something that we can cultivate over time.  There are so many things to be grateful for in our lives.  Sometimes, we just have to take a little time to remind ourselves to stop and notice all that is good.

Please remember to stop back, and let me know how this works out for you.  And may you always find SOMETHING to smile about, even on the hardest of days.


daviida said...

i am going to go on this journey with you despite not getting to see you every day. love you mommy

Debra W said...

That's my oldest Angel! MWAH! I love you, honey, and would be thrilled to take you on any journey that I would ever embark upon. You are definitely one of my greatest blessings.


Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Smiling and saying thank you is an immediate pick me up in my world. You can't really smile and say thank you and stay stressed or in a bad mood.

Btw, my youngest, Connor, lives somewhat the same way your #4 does. He is just a happy 14 year old - we have always said that if everyone lived in CONNOR WORLD, the world would be a better place!

KellyJean said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing and I'll be back to read it again... and possibly again.

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