Just at this very moment, we have sunshine in Bellingham. Have I ever mentioned that sunshine is one of my very favorite things? I love what it does to me. Sunshine lifts my mood, gives me permission to smile and invites me to take my dogs for a walk. I have other favorite things that make me happy just because they exist.

But February has been a hard month for me. It started well enough – with a fabulous writing workshop that left me reveling in the glow of other creative types. Unfortunately, this was followed by a series of bad news phone messages about sudden illnesses befalling people that matter to me. The most recent difficult news was that my dear friend and confidante had her beautiful, healthy baby girl, but also had serious complications post delivery. Since my girlfriend is someone I can’t do without, I was overwhelmed with concern for her and her whole family as they waited in ICU for her body to heal.

 It wasn’t until after I was sure she was on the mend that I crashed and gave in to a good long cry, holding my delayed grief and fear with as much compassion as I could muster in my tired state. That was last Saturday. Sunday I went out for a six mile run and spent more than an hour with my distracted thoughts, letting them come and go as they pleased.
Now, finally, on Thursday, I’m calmer and have caught up on all the things I didn’t do around my house last week. I’m looking at the sunshine outside my window and reflecting on what gives me joy, even during the hard things.

Here’s my short list:

  • Watching people meet their goals. Whether I’m watching a client finally take that first step to live out her lifelong creative dream to become a writer or watching a budding marathoner take on his training with a vengeance (as I’m doing in the case of my friend Brandon Nobach), I adore seeing people’s faces when they start to move in their preferred direction.
  • Nonprofits that do good work. I could list a hundred non-profit organizations that make me happy, but two of my favorites are Street Youth Ministries and the Bellingham Sister City Association. One supports homeless and disenfranchised young people in getting off the streets of Seattle, and the other facilitates “people to people diplomacy” between Americans and individuals from other cultures around the world. Yay for good work. It reminds me that there is balance in this life.
  • Talking with people who hold different world views. Every time I travel, my taken-for-granted ideas about life and right and wrong are challenged. That’s a good thing because it makes my own world feel bigger. When I can’t travel, I read. Right now I’m reading Radical Acceptance: Embracing your life with the heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach. Buddhism offers some interesting ways of approaching pain and longing.  My mind is expanding as we speak….
  • Dogs. As is well documented (because I say it all the time), I love dogs. Mine both need baths at the moment, but as stinky as they are, I’m gonna let them curl up on my lap and give me some of their happy-just-to-be-with-you warm energy today.
  • Friends. I have the best friends in the world, of that I’m sure. My friends have cried with me through the darkest of times and shared good times of hilarity with me, too. Right now, I’m making new friends during my Monday and Wednesday workouts with Carol Frazey and her Fit School for Women. When women run together, they inevitably share their thoughts and dreams and griefs with one another.  There’s always room for a new friend, don’t you think?
  • Love. Last but not least, I love being in love. Valentine’s day was only ten days ago. Bill and I reconnected with each other nine years ago in February and we always celebrate getting reacquainted on Valentine’s day. I am grateful and peaceful nowadays largely because I have him in my life. On a hard day, he’s the best medicine.

So, when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when you’re feeling sad… what makes you happy again? What are your favorite things?

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This