Thursday, March 20, 2014

International Day of Happiness




The International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on March 20th. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 when world members were inspired by reports of the tiny nation of Bhutan, a place where everyone appeared to be genuinely happy, and amazingly...all of the time.

Bhutan is a magical place, high up in the hills of southeast Asia, where one immediately can feel the happiness so intently that it makes them feel happy just by being there and around the wonderful people,  as well.So, this very small, and seemingly impoverished and simple nation, has become a symbol of the art and practice of happiness.

In honor of International Day of Happiness, I am sharing a simple garland or bunting that I created in just a few minutes. I simply cut out the words without using a pattern or even drawing the letters first and glued them onto the fabric.A few moments of my time, no judgment of myself  for the simplicity of the project, and gratitude for having the time and the fabric to create and hang my little garland of happiness.

Why not make a peace or prayer flag, a simple bunting or garland and create your own simple act of happiness today!

And each and every day, here is my own variation of 10 ideas for celebrating happiness in ways that will make you happier, today and every day.

 1. Be Kind to Yourself
 "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." The Dalai Lama. If you have ever heard him speak, then you know that he truly is.
 Being kind does not mean to go shopping, although that is often the only way most people seem to be able to find as a way of being happy. Truly, it means not being critical or judging yourself of the things you create in your life. See everything as a teachable moment in your life, part of the purpose for this journey. Learn and grow in that awareness and in that self care and kindness.
2. Be grateful:
An "attitude of gratitude" is simply appreciating everything and everyone..no matter who they are or what role they may play in your life. It is about recognizing even the tiniest acts of kindness, both given or received. It is about appreciating nature...the beauty of the natural world outside and the inner beauty of spirit within. Having a constant recognition of the many gifts and blessings we do have in our lives helps to ease the pain and suffering, and challenges that we might otherwise focus on and experience, instead.
3. Be curious:
Curious people tend to be attracted to new people, new things, and new experiences, and they are rarely bored. Everyone possesses curiosity to some degree but it is up to us to foster that curiosity and to use it in ways that benefit our life's experiences. When I am curious about anything or anyone. I ask questions, I look it up, or if it is someone I have just met, I connect through the heart to that person in that moment. Life is filled with curious people, places, and things..find out what you are meant to learn, grow, or experience from life's journey.
4. Take in the good:
Face the sun if it is out today, or imagine it if it is not. Now, close your eyes, and take a deep, deep breath from within the very depths of your being. Hold it for a few seconds bringing in all of the positive energies of the world...love, gratitude, connection, and the flow of the divine. Now, gently release the breath and with that release allow any pain, any sense of judgment or negativity to flow out, as well. Direct that negativity to go into that part of the cosmos that accepts and reconstructs negativity into all there is, without harm to others.
5. Connect with someone:
Reach out to another, it can be in real life, over the telephone, or in a letter whether it is traditional mail or an email. Show your love and caring for another, or in the reverse, allow your connection to listen, truly listen, to their heart, their journey, or their problems that they need to share to lessen their own burdens. Then notice, truly feel, just how much better you now feel.
6. Laugh:
We know laughter therapy is the best therapy. My mother and I found things to laugh about all during the 9 months of her cancer treatments and again through 8 years of her Alzheimer's Disease. Neither was something most people would think of as opportunities for joy or happiness but they were for us. She had a less than 3% chance of surviving that advanced cancer but did. And yes, she went on to get Alzheimer's. but it was still an incredible journey of love and learning for all of us, as challenging as it was. And because of our practices and our understandings, we were able to connect her to a deeper place within where she still felt joy and still maintained a sense of humor when almost nothing else was working (inside or out) for her anymore.
8. Breathe:
Just breathing slowly in and out, can reduce your stress and bring on a physiological relaxation response. I breathe in deeply to a count of 8 focusing on bringing in the light, and an out breath of 8, as well, this time releasing the dark.
9. Live in the Now:
Living in the moment is a concept we all can believe in, but one that takes practice to maintain. There are many books and practices that provide opportunities to learn about this process. Some people practice yoga or meditation, others go out into nature, and others garden or quilt! Being focused and joyful and outside of time and space in the what the aboriginal people call "Dreamtime" allows us to express our 'True Nature'. A happy person who lives life the best that they can, and as they say..when you know better, you do better.
10. Love.
Love is the greatest gift of all. It is the center of all things, the purpose of all things, and gives meaning to all things. Simply love.


Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

6 comments:

  1. Great suggestions, especially practicing compassion. Thanks, hope you're happy today as well.

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    1. I am, Celia, thank you so much! I love it when you stop by for a visit~

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  2. Michele what a beautiful post with these amazing words of wisdom. Some of them I already try to practice, some I am perhaps guilty of not doing - I shall have to mend my ways!

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    1. Thank you so very very much, Maureen. It means so much. Take care of yourself and have a good weekend!

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  3. Love your flags, and love mostly that you just got down to "doing it" ..no searching for the just right materials, no putting it off..just doing it. I have to search for stuff and then can't make up my mind, so end up not doing it at all. I must remedy that! Very nice words of wisdom for us all. Laughter really is the best medicine, always. And compassion, and being grateful, and breathing...oh and everything you wrote.

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  4. Thank you, Barbara! Your comment not only put a smile on my face, but it lifted me up a notch as well :-)

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.