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Is happiness hiding in plain sight?

childrenlaughingThis is a post about happiness, and the strange, paradoxical truth that little, apparently inconsequential things often have more power to actually deliver on happiness than the big, ambitious schemes we sometimes dream up.

The beauty of letting the little moments of our life be an aperture for happiness is it takes no effort and doesn’t cost any money. The moments are happening anyway – we simply open our eyes to what we have perhaps overlooked before.

Here are one or two examples.

Every once in a while, in my exchanges with my wife JoAnn, I succeed in saying something that is at least a little bit funny – funny enough anyway that it provokes some spontaneous laughter in her. Three or four days ago, I suddenly noticed how at a certain point when she has been laughing awhile she pauses and says, "Oh heck." It’s been going on for years. I realized how much I love hearing these two simple little words in this context.

I also became more consciously aware of something else that happens when she laughs.

She always finishes her laugh with a warble or two -- don’t know how else to describe it. It seems to come from somewhere deep in her throat and it sounds like happiness humming to itself.

I shared a joke with my doctor today. He’s a great guy. We were talking on the phone, and he was apologizing for the fact that he was croaking because of a bad cold.

As the conversation came to a close I couldn't resist it. I said, "I've got one or two good medical books here, Dr. Thom. Maybe there's something I could do to help with your cold."

I'm afraid my jokes don't always work. But I think this one did, because he began wheezing with laughter. It may sound strange. But there was as much happiness in me in that simple little moment as when I walked up the gangway of a Holland America cruise ship a few years ago at the start of a Caribbean cruise with JoAnn.

Perhaps the expectations we load on to “big” events work against us sometimes? Reality has a difficult time living up to them?

In any event, I find more and more that there is gold – the gold of joy, the gold of eternal happiness and love – waiting for me always in the little everyday moments of my life. It’s “hiding in plain sight.” All it seems to need from me is my attention.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

nandita December 8, 2009 at 9:26 am

wow!just came across your blog…wonderful!:)
thank u.

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Bonnie December 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Thanks for another beautiful commentary, Chris. I look forward to your new entries. Keep writing. Bonnie

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Barb December 9, 2009 at 5:38 am

Very nice blog. I hope you don’t mind I’m going to add you to my list that I read on my blog. 🙂

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Christopher Foster December 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Hi Barb. So sorry I didn’t respond sooner. Many thanks for your kind message re my blog and for including me on your reading list. Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.

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