Day 247: Practicing Happiness

September 3rd, 2010

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” Aristotle

The recent opening of time in my life has shined a light on this ancient and wise perception of life’s meaning. Relaxing the tempo opened up a golden moment of togetherness today at the lake with my four children and one of their oldest friends. We sat on a giant floatie in the middle of a beautiful nearby lake. Having all the kids together these days in a shared activity is increasingly rare as they get older and all the more special for its infrequence.

Floating through the afternoon, laughing in the middle of so much beauty surrounded by the people that actually lived inside of me at the beginning of knowing them is a unique and visceral experience. Loving people sometimes happens most profoundly as a visceral experience. I was so happy right then and it occurred to me happiness takes practice at least for some of us.

Prioritizing the times that make us happy and then recognizing the moments that feel good seems like stating the obvious but I don’t think I am alone in not noticing and not choosing well. I don’t know how many times I have to be reminded how brief and golden these moments are.

Today the reminder followed right behind the sweetness. My younger son called in tears in the middle of his soccer practice with a kick to the head. Happily, it was more frightening than injurious, but he will have a big bump for a few days. We all sat with the reminder though. Life and all those we love are fragile. The central connections in life are strong and tenuous all at once.

Out of all of that, what is there to search for and practice more than happiness.

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