Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"The Happiness Bank"

By Judi England

Recently something good -- very good -- happened in my life. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I pretty much wanted to alert the media, post a billboard, or, at the very least, gather around me all my nearest and dearest to toast the wonder of this moment.One of the treasures of my life is having friends and family to celebrate with, to be happy with. These times when my heart fills up and spills over just beg to be shared - like an unexpected windfall.

Most people I know are happy to jump in and join in the fun. We have the unspoken knowing that in the blink of an eye things could change, life could intervene, and the moment gone. “Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.” - so writes Robert Frost. The nature of transition makes me acutely aware of the need to love the moment - no not love - more like drink in, wallow in, take total delight in it all.

I think I was born happy, and stayed that way for most of my life with the exception of some brief, but notably awful periods. I’ve also notice that my level of happiness has increased with age- a fairly universal phenomenon I understand. Maybe that’s simply recognizing that after a certain age we’re on the down slope of the mountain, and it’s a lot easier ride. After all 62 isn’t middle age unless you plan on living to 124 - Gad! what a thought!

It doesn’t take much to make me happy. As a matter of fact I don’t think anything really MAKES me happy.

Certainly it isn’t about the stuff.Less is definitely more in my life now. Less to take care of, tend to, clean, maintain, worry about, feed or insure. Changing wardrobes for the new season usually winds up with more and more being given away- less and less being packed away. Quality, utility and beauty far outweigh quantity, status or glitz. Having enough, and sharing that - is what informs my choices.

Sometimes the happiness of one person isn’t something that can be shared. We each receive the experiences of another through the filter of our own history. For some, sadly, there seems to be an unspoken belief that there is a Bank of Happiness - with finite resources. One person’s blessing = a withdrawal = less for the other.

For now I am enjoying it all - not just the smiling part, but the whole physical experience. There is an ease in moving through the day, a lightness , a feeling of expansiveness and possibility when I wake. I am feeding my heart for darker, drier times.

With any luck happiness can soften it’s voice into contentment. And that’s the stuff that can last a lifetime.


Judi England, RN, LMT, is a long-time teacher of yoga. She also has a thriving practise in massage therapy. She lives in the Capital region of New York State. This post appeared first on Monday, May 19th, in the Holistic Health blog at

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