02 May Happy yet?
By Lionel Ketchian
Eight years ago I decided to try to hand feed some birds in my backyard. I put some crushed walnuts in my right hand and extended it. It was winter and the weather was cold, but I stood absolutely motionless, and completely quiet. Within a few minutes, a bird landed on my hand for the first time in my life. It was a cute tiny bird called a Black Capped Chickadee.
It flew onto the tip of my fingers, picked up a piece of walnut and flew off to enjoy it. Soon it returned to land on my hand again. This time it picked up a piece of walnut and dropped it on the ground. Then it picked up another and dropped that on the ground as well. Finally it selected a third piece, which must have been just the right one, and flew off with it. It trusted me enough to take its time and make sure it had a nice delicious piece.
It was not long after this event that I realized I had read the following quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne. “Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” Now I can say, “Happiness is a Black Capped Chickadee, a cute tiny bird, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
For me, an interchange with nature is an unforgettable occasion and is nothing less than a spiritual experience. This event made me realize that happiness requires us to quiet down and allow things to come to us. The more we pursue things that are beyond our grasp, the more they move away. The faster we try to pursue them, the faster they move away. Happiness requires us to relax, become quiet, and act as if we will get what we expect, without the need to become upset if we don’t.
The greatest things in life require patience, mindfulness, and knowledge of what is possible; being happy is a similar thing. I never thought I would be able to feed a wild bird and I thought the odds were against me. You may not think you can do something like become happy, but if you learn enough about happiness, you can do it. The important thing is knowing it can be done. It has been done before. Remember the four-minute mile. People did not believe it was possible to run a mile in less than four minutes. As soon as one person did it, the record began to be broken over and over again. What one person can do, another can do also.
Have you wondered: Is it possible to be happy all the time? Yes, it is! How is it possible to be happy all the time? Being happy all the time does not mean bad things don’t happen to you. It just means you are able to handle them and not let them make you helpless and hopeless.
You may ask: How can I be happy? You can be happy by making happiness a decision, and by choosing happiness all the time. You can be happy by not allowing a situation, or a person to make you unhappy. Don’t give up your happiness, because happiness is what you want more than anything else.
You may wonder: Why is happiness important? When things make you unhappy, you lose your power. In fact, you give your power away to the things that make you unhappy. The truth is, when you allow someone to make you unhappy, you have given your power to that person. Happiness is an issue of power. It’s time to take your power back!
If your question is: What if something bad happens? This is the time that you need happiness the most, during times of hardship and stress. Happiness should be your strategy for dealing with negative things. When bad things happen, you need all the balance, wisdom and endurance you can find. Happiness allows you to gain access to your emotional intelligence. It is in times of difficulty, that you need to control your thinking, so you don’t allow stinking thinking. You become unhappy as a result of your thinking, not because of what has happened to you. Your reaction, as a result of your thinking is what makes you unhappy, not the event itself. Happiness is your connection to yourself.
If your concern is: How can I make happiness work for me? The decision to be happy allows you to find out when you are off track. As soon as you realize you are unhappy, you are in control of changing your thoughts to allow you to choose happiness and get yourself back on the right track. You can practice being happy even when you feel unhappy. Pretend to be happy and you will start to make yourself feel happy. Act as if you are happy and you will become happy. Once you are operating with happiness, you begin to gain access to your best thoughts, change your negative ones, and your whole state of mind becomes peaceful. You begin to be flooded with good choices, alternatives, and options. You will begin to have ideas to serve you in the best way to find solutions to the problems you face.
What if there is no solution to my problem? If there is truly no solution, you have no problem. You have something that you do not like and cannot change. In this case, you are the problem. You will therefore remain unhappy unless, and until you change your attitude. Learn to accept what you cannot change, and move forward.
Do I have to live with what I don’t like? If you can change it — change it! If you can’t change it, then learn to love it, or it will make you unhappy. Once you change your attitude about the thing you can’t change and don’t like, the situation can change. What you resist — persists. When you stop fighting what you can’t do anything about, the problem usually vanishes. Remember the ‘serenity Prayer” and let happiness show you the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and cannot change.
Finally, you ask: When can I be happy? Be Happy Now! Stretch out your arm and as you open your hand, you realize that happiness is right there in the palm of your hand. It has always been within you. It’s time! Go and Be Happy!