Happiness is…

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

~~Happy New Year! That’s been the greeting of choice for the people I’ve met the last few days. Everybody is wishing everybody else a happy year. Then I heard a radio program this afternoon where a man about to be a daddy was saying that the question he would probably ask his daughter the most was “Are you happy?” We want the people around us to be happy. We want our children to grow up happy. We want to be happy. There are even lists that say what we need for happiness.

  • Happiness is a warm puppy!
  • Happiness is a hot cup of cocoa!
  • Happiness is seeing a new book in print!
  • Happiness is finding your true love!
  • Happiness is curling up in front of a fire with a new book!
  • Happiness is a good review or two!
  • Happiness is winning the tournament – meeting a deadline – paying all the bills – gifts under the Christmas tree – a baby’s laugh – going to the circus – hitting a homerun – blowing out all the candles on a birthday cake.

~~I could go on and on and I’m sure you could too. We could make lists of things that make us happy all day, but is that what happiness really is? Is that how we get happiness or do those things simply raise our happiness awareness?

~~When I researched the Shakers for my Shaker books, I came across a Shaker saying about happiness.

Happiness does not so much depend on circumstances as we think. Within our souls the foundations must abide.

~~While not all who went to the Shaker villages were able to find that happiness, many of the Shakers did seek it diligently and along the way they offered good advice on what was needed for happiness. They didn’t think it was something we could bring to ourselves by getting more things, living in more comfort, or having an easy life. You know the saying – Money can’t buy happiness. (Not a Shaker saying, by the way.) Few of us would argue with that although we might joke that we’d like to go shopping and give it a try. But the Shakers didn’t think happiness was something we could get from other people or our individual circumstances. Not unless our own foundations of happiness are strong within us.
~~But how to go about establishing that foundation of happiness? The Shakers thought they could do it by separating themselves from the world and living as brothers and sisters with no familial stress to cause them to sin. Some people think they can do it by accumulating more things. Others think they can by getting rid of all things and living life at its most basic. There are times we look to others for our happiness and times when they look to us for the same. But I think our foundations of happiness has to be something independent of others and things. We have to build it within ourselves as we figure out who we are and what we believe. We certainly need others for happiness and a warm puppy doesn’t hurt, but the foundation has to be there within us before we’re able to consistently answer yes to that question, “Are you happy?”
~~Along with that warm puppy, a good review of my books always raises my happiness awareness. I was gifted with a few of those this week. You can check them out at http://virginiasmith.org/ (go to her journal and then book reviews) and http://tnchristianreader.blogspot.com/2010/01/shaker-series-by-ann-h-gabhart.html. It’s such a boost to know that someone liked your book enough to share that news with others readers.
~~Hope your happiness foundation is solid and strong all through 2010. Happy New Year! Thank you for being a reading friend.