Cultivating Happiness

Let go of the people who cause constant pain; let go of the negativity that colors a room more darkly than any coat of paint. Keep close the people you love, the ones who stay engaged and open to life, who bring joy and peace to the house and garden. ~ Dominique Browning

I was a bit down yesterday.  Lots of reasons. I keep forgetting that happiness is a habit, something we have to practise regularly. I get so much pleasure from writing, I haven’t been ‘practising’ enough elsewhere.

Many of us don’t deliberately make a habit of practising and choosing happiness. The Dalai Lama gives us guidelines on how to start:

One begins identifying those factors which lead to happiness and those factors which lead to suffering. Having done this, one then sets about gradually eliminating those factors which lead to suffering and cultivating those which lead to happiness. That is the way.

I love how he says “cultivating”, like watering and tending a plant that we hope will bear fruit or flowers. I haven’t been nurturing myself or my family very well recently, and I certainly haven’t been eliminating enough of the things that get me down, like too much time at the computer and taking things too seriously.

So, in keeping with this week’s haiku theme, here are a few wee poems that make me smile. They’re from a book called One Hundred Books In Haiku by David Bader, who reminds us not to take Haiku, the ‘classics’ –  or ourselves –  too seriously!

METAPHYSICS ~ Aristotle

Substance has essence.
Form adds whatness to thatness.
Whatsits have thinghood.

TAO TE CHING~ Lao Tsu

The eternal Tao.
To know it is not to know.
What is it? Don’t ask.

LITTLE WOMEN ~ Louisa May Alcott

Snowdrops hang like tears.
Shy, sweet, saintly Beth has died.
One down, three to go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Which blogs or books make you smile? Which make you laugh out loud?

12 thoughts on “Cultivating Happiness

  1. If only more people could grasp this simple wisdom the world would be a better place.

    I don’t know how many indignant looks I’ve had from friends and family when I tell them that they alone are responsible for their state of mind and their well-being.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be a shoulder to cry on, a rock to steady yourself against but I can only open the door, you have to walk through it.

    As Abraham Lincoln said:
    “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

    Thanks for the humorous Haiku they made me laugh 🙂

    Marc – WelshScribe´s last blog post..Earth Day 2009

    • I love that quote, too, and you’re absolutely right, Marc. It is such a simple recipe for happiness that a lot of people don’t believe it’s that easy. I made myself miserable yesterday; no-one else did.

      Which blogs make you laugh?

  2. Hi Janice,
    Thanks for the timely reminder that self-care and life balance play such a large role in creating our happiness. Here a book I really enjoyed that builds on that theme: Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff.

    Your posts always give me a lift.
    Warmly, Jean

    • That’s one of the things I really miss now that my kids aren’t small any more. But one of the good things about the age they are, is they’re now old enough to enjoy ‘Friends’ videos with us and we have sessions of laughing till our sides hurt!

  3. A timely post Janice. I am fortunate to be partnered with Sean who resorts to every kind of humor daily from potty talk to the worst puns that give me deep belly laughs, belching the alphabet, dark cynical funny, quick wit, etc. He has imaginary blog posts, video posts, audio posts of things he would like to say to make people laugh that are for MY ears and eyes only and I cry it is so funny. Favorite funny legit BLOG definitely Dave at BloggerDad. His comics, his comments, his take on life just keeps me grounded and mindful to giggle. Children’s books are a great source of inspiration. Robert Munsch with all the hyperbole, Fred Gwynne and his word play, Amelia Bedelia books Jack Prelutsky, poet laureate and Shel Silverstein. The haikus are awesome. It is inspirational to see your blog evolve more each week. You are working it well!

    Cindy´s last blog post..Being Honest Prevents Roadblocks

  4. Thanks Cindy! I’m having fun not knowing what will decide to get itself written or posted next! This bloggling seems to be developing a mind of its own – and a rhythm. I’m inspired and influenced by people, comments, suggestions, synchronicity, daily events, books, music , TV, film, the weather – most things really! – but the common thread is I’ll only put something in if my heart says it may make someone’s day richer, or support them in some way.

    I hope other mums and teachers catch this comment thread for your book list. I’ve enjoyed folks’ comments so much, it’s like reading little mini blogs within a blog!

    And Sean’s grin makes me smile in his wee videos, so goodness knows what the laughter’s like in your house when he lets rip with the kind of jokes kids like!

  5. Thank you so much for all the Dalai Lama quote and for all those passages. They were all beautiful and inspiring.

    For me, the one book that makes me laugh out loud is “Eat, Pray, Love”. Every time I read that book, there are passages that are so funny because I can relate to them. Another book that makes me laugh is “A Return to Love” because there are passages that deal with human nature and some of it is so funny because it is so true.

    I am sure that there are many more books that bring a smile to my face but I am not remembering them at the moment. If I remember more, I will be sure to leave another comment!

    Thank you again for always having such wonderful posts that are written from the heart. You are awesome! 🙂

    Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog post..Happy Earth Day!!!!

  6. Hi Nadia,
    Thank you! I appreciate you commenting so often and letting me know what you like. It makes it easy to write from the heart when people are so supportive. I have a lot of lovely silent readers, too, who don’t comment daily but let me know by email that they read and enjoy what’s emerging over here. I look forward to opening up shop here every day (or every couple of days if the kids have a lot on.) It really is starting to feel like a wee café bistro, a cosy safe place to chat.

  7. Your post inspired me to write a ‘playful’ haiku about one of my favourite films:

    As Good As It Gets

    Eccentric loner.
    Finds dog. Then friendship. Then Love.
    Still needs his own spoon.

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