We will be able to depart this life with the quiet peace-giving notion, that we were permitted to contribute to the happiness of many who will live after us. In our long lives we endeavored to unfold the collective consciousness. In our lives we have known hell and heaven; the final balance, however, is that we helped pave the way to dynamic harmony in this earthly house. That, I believe, is the meaning of life.
Your true self is enough. There is no need to be better than everyone else around you to be happy. True happiness comes when you are in harmony with yourself and no longer feel the need to one-up other people.
The air is wine. The grapes on a score of rolling hills are red with autumn flame. Across Sonoma Mountain wisps of sea fog are stealing. The afternoon sun smoulders in the drowsy sky. I have everything to make me glad I am alive. I am filled with dreams and mysteries. I am all sun and air and sparkle. I am vitalized, organic.
“People speak of the misfortunes of suffering, but if at this moment I were asked: ‘Would you rather be what you were before you were taken prisoner, or go through all this again?’ then for heaven’s sake let me again have captivity and horseflesh! We imagine that when we are thrown out of our usual ruts all is lost, but it is only then that what is new and good begins. While there is life there is happiness.”
The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.
I think you can be depressed and flourish, I think you can have cancer and flourish, I think you can be divorced and flourish. When we believed that happiness was only smiling and good mood, that wasn’t very good for people like me, people in the lower half of positive affectivity.
Can you be happy with the movies, and the ads, and the clothes in the stores, and the doctors, and the eyes as you walk down the street all telling you there is something wrong with you? No. You cannot be happy. Because, you poor darling baby, you believe them.
―Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice.
Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy.
There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.
All that night he thought like boomerangs fly: an idea would shoot way off into the distance, all the way to a caravan in Hollywood and, for a moment, when he had got as far away from school and reality as it was possible to go, he was reasonably happy; then it would begin the return journey, thump him on the head, and leave him in exactly the place he had started from. And all the time it got nearer and nearer to the morning.
―Nick Hornby, About a Boy
Public Domain Image: Herbert Basedow, 1920 via the National Museum of Australia
Life is such unutterable hell, solely because it is sometimes beautiful. If we could only be miserable all the time, if there could be no such things as love or beauty or faith or hope, if I could be absolutely certain that my love would never be returned: how much more simple life would be. One could plod through the Siberian salt mines of existence without being bothered about happiness. Unfortunately the happiness is there. There is always the chance (about eight hundred and fifty to one) that another heart will come to mine. I can’t help hoping, and keeping faith, and loving beauty. Quite frequently I am not so miserable as it would be wise to be.
―T.H. White, “The Troll” from Ghostly, Grim and Gruesome