"Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful." - George Bernard Shaw
Inspired by the blogs Three Beautiful Things and The Happiness Project, I am launching my own blog chronicling my daily efforts to keep my little inner spring of happiness bubbling away.
I lead a simple life and have learnt that it's the simple pleasures that add the colour to the canvas of my life.
I've had some down times in recent years, but I've learnt to lift my own mood and appreciate all that's good in my life by seeking out and celebrating the little joys that can so easily go unnoticed if you're not open to them. They are everywhere if you train yourself to look.
Mindfulness is a key principle here. When you're not happy, it's easy to live "in your head", to walk with your eyes downcast, to rush and worry and remain oblivious to simple pleasures. Mindfulness is being "present in the moment" (sorry, I know it's a cringey phrase), being aware with all your senses of all that is around you - the smell of jasmine on the evening air, the sound of bell birds in the gardens, the feel of sunshine on your face, the sight of the first buds of spingtime and the sherbetty zing of a lime spider as it hits your tastebuds. Aaaaaaah....
But it's not just about noticing stuff - it's about appreciating the little things, revelling in them, letting them lift you up, being grateful for them and for the joy they bring.
More broadly, it's about choosing to be happy, to consciously direct your attention to things that will buoy your spirits. I'm not saying that we should push negative events and feelings to a dark corner of our minds and try to forget about them, just that being open to good things can help us to be delighted even when life isn't easy.
Even if you're already happy, seeking out and celebrating simple pleasures can add an extra level of richness to your daily life.
I'm posting my first entry on 1 September - the first day of spring, the season of renewal and hope - because it coincides with my first tentative, but optimistic, steps into a new phase of my life. I've recently ended once and for all an off-and-on relationship and I'm excited about the possibility that lies before me.
So, enough preamble. Let the blogging begin (in a week's time anyway...)! Oh, my vague plan is to post something every day, but whether I follow the "three things" format, I'm not sure. I probably haven't really thought this through yet!