15 Days of Happiness :: A Deep Breath


I’ll be honest.  It hasn’t been the happiest day.  It’s been a rugged day, full of unexpected complications.  My mother’s heart carries a private weight that makes buoyancy difficult.  Nothing catastrophic; the weight of  life is heavier sometimes.  Knowing I needed to write this post has had me thinking about happiness all day.

Every year I particularly love watching my Iceland poppies bloom.  There is something so touching about the way they bow their heads as the pod bulges with potential.  They remind me of those private moments when we quietly bow our heads to take the blows of life and gather the energy to lift our chins once more.  They remind me of a mother summoning the strength to bring forth life.   It is part of the process of making wonderful things happen, and I love how my flowers teach me this lesson anew each spring.

I’ve thought today about how happiness isn’t just a buoyant feeling we feel.  It’s also something quiet and steady we can learn to tap into.  Like the coals that burn long after the flames have died down, I think we can learn to find happiness in foundational things even when the days are hard.

Some of the quiet, steady blessings I reflected on today are:  a loving husband who is consistent, my children who still love me even at the end of my lousy days, knowing that I stand on the shoulders of giants – amazing people in my own family tree whose lives are/were solid and true, the sun that rises and sets each day, the relief of praying to God who holds the future, the ability to hold very still and breathe deeply.    Pausing in my complicated day to consider these things was my bowing, summoning, remembering.  I felt like my poppy.

It’s ok to have tough days.  Sometimes we have tough weeks, or even years.  If we can pause to stoke the coals of faith, remembrance and hope we will find the strength to be steady and to hang on to the happy things that are ours.

So today my act of happiness was a deep breath.  Several of them.


My deep breath allowed me to put the day in perspective.  I counted so many blessings:  the smell of my daughter’s hair as she climbed up on my lap, helping a daughter make a new friend, listening to my little girls play school together, taking care of something important, brainstorming a plan for my son to surprise a friend on his birthday, going on a bike ride, cleaning with my daughters, the sound of sprinklers, the neighborhood children playing in my yard, noticing how full of life and beauty my eight year old daughter’s face looked on the way home from school, a cool evening breeze.   The noticing of these little things reminds me that after the bowed head comes a face lifted to the sun.


Sometimes happiness is knowing that soon we’ll bloom again.


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