Happy (as hell), part 1

How are you doing? How is your spirit in this first week of November? If you are anything like me, you have moments of worry, doubt, feeling disconnected, fear, grief, loneliness, anger, sadness and more. These feelings are all real, and at the same time they don’t have to last or be who you are forever. There are things you can do.

For me, when these feelings show up I take a deep breath and practice being present. I pay attention to my senses and I listen, smell, touch, observe and take some more breaths. I put my phone down, or turn off my TV and I do something like watch the birds or look out the window. I just pay attention to what is around me in that moment. And I try to do things that inspire me. I have always written these articles as a practice to “capture stories” about good things that are happening around me in my family, with my friends, in the community and even in the world. I look for goodness, I notice it, I jot a few notes down and sometimes the ideas end up in the paper. It is a practice of directing my attention to something helpful.
Here is an example of my process. Last night, my husband and I went to Abbey Gardens for a Halloween concert put on by the Haliburton Folk Society. I know when I buy the tickets that I will capture lots of great stories in the evening. And I did.

First, Thom Lambert does an opening set. He plays all of his original music, some from his COVID series, and others from other times. He is singing his way through COVID with his guitar and a glass of scotch. Second, Suzie Vinnick gets up on stage and she is a bright and powerful presence. Her opening song, “Happy as Hell,” makes me smile and feel alive and I am tapping my foot from the beginning to the end. With only 20 people in the audience, it is a privilege and I am so thankful for the folk society. Third, Suzie is singing a song about how we/she loves chocolate and Oreo cookies and of course I could relate in an instant! Chocolate is definitely part of my well being. I am enjoying the song when my friend pulls out a delicious El Camino chocolate bar and shares it with the three of us sitting with her. A small act of kindness, a big impact on the heart. It’s these little things that make a good life. Fourth, before we left for the concert, good friends dropped by our house with homemade Halloween cookies as a treat for Jim and I. Made my heart grow 10 times that she made the cookies, they delivered them with love and I’m eating one as I write this article! And finally, the full moon. When we got home from the concert I took Billie, the best dog ever (lots of stories there), out for a little walk and we stood under the full moon and just took in its bright light and its space in the sky. Just looking at the moon shifts my attention.