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Extracting Happiness

How common things can help heighten happiness.

It's that time of year. The long haul until spring, well ----springs. Growing up in Portland Oregon, the month of February was the LONGEST month of the year. It was cold, wet, and dark. The holidays were past, and the only thing going for us was the countdown until the wild daffodils would begin to pop up.

It's difficult to thrive in dark, cold, damp times. Perhaps there will be a time this month where you feel like you're living under happiness and not living in happiness. This can be a difficult space. It's natural to have moments in each day where happiness isn't quiet within our grasp, and life isn't all about "bliss chasing". To sit with each emotion and bring care and awareness to that moment is a practice of mindfulness.

I'd like to offer one practice though, that might help open the door to more happiness, during this long, cold month. Sometimes happiness is simply sitting on the other side of intentional awareness, so lets practice together.

I call this exercise: "Extracting Happiness".

I take this phrase from a quote by Henry Ward Beecher:

"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things."

Take a moment to think about something common, something that you do everyday that when you bring your awareness to this, there is a sensation of happiness there.

It could be something as simple as petting your dog, or drinking tea, or breathing fresh air after being inside for a while. When I asked my husband what small thing brought him happiness everyday, he said: "when the garage door opens and I get to drive into the garage, and then it closes and I'm cocooned in the quiet garage for a minute."

Whatever your common occurrence is, hold this idea in your mind and just take a moment to consider the energy of this common thing. How would you describe this energy? Quiet, unassuming, grounded, peaceful, joyful.

When you think of this energy, breathe it in. This is the "extracting" happiness part. Breathe in the happiness that this common thing has for you. Allow that energy to bless you, to add energy and vitality to you.

As you breathe out you can imagine that energy settling inside of you, filling small voids and creating more wholeness.

Breathing in the grounded energy

Breathing out, settling that energy within you.

As you move through the month of February, perhaps you can set an intention to regularly "extract happiness" from some of those common occurrences in your life.

Breathing in.

Breathing out.

Namaste friends!

Much light and love this month,

Juli Larsen, CMI

Certified Meditation Instructor

CHAOS to Calm Retreat Team

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