January 23, 2018

Happiness is an Action Verb. Here’s how to Let it Shine. {Playlist}

I’m so sorry! Did my bluebirds of happiness whap you in the face?

People cannot stop apologizing for being happy lately. A wide smile is interpreted as naive, un-empathetic, and just plain rude. The president of the United States is calling other countries sh*tholes, more voices are crying #MeToo, and there is marching to do.

But what if in our personal lives, we really do feel happy and want to share it? Like, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine?” or, “Love is something. If you give it away, you end up having more”? 

What about this poem I memorized in kindergarten?

“Smile, my friend, and you shall see

How very wonderful life may be,

For a smile is worth a thousand crowns,

It chases the spirits and lifts the frowns.” ~ Unknown

Are we not to be lifting frowns anymore?

I am not naive, un-empathetic, and hopefully not rude. My eyes and ears have seen and heard severe sadness. This heart has been used as a doormat and shattered to pieces. All of us carry some kind of heaviness in our lives, without unfiltered statements by a president or poorly behaved men.

Yet, do we need to hide it when our hearts are happy? Maybe happiness exists only in public? 

Before we slide down a random rabbit hole…

Let’s define happiness.

“More of the good and less of the bad.” ~ Dr. Mark Epstein

“Happiness is the joy that we feel when we’re striving after our potential.” ~ The ancient Greeks

“Happiness is a state of activity.” ~ Aristotle 

“Someone once asked me what I regarded as the three most important requirements for happiness. My answer was: a feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt 

Notice the trend here? Happiness is not a state of being. It’s an action verb.

In a public lecture on “The Pursuit of Happiness: The Buddhists’ Way,” Professor Karunadasa shared this:

“If we want to be happy, there are in fact two options before us. One option is to change the nature of the world to suit our desires. The other option is to change ourselves to be in harmony with the nature of the world. It is the second option, though difficult, that Buddhism adopts, because the first option is simply not possible.”

Sooo, if we are in harmony, if we feel a lightness from our actions and work, if we feel happiness, should we share it?


“One of the good things is realizing that you are not a solitary cell. You are part of a wonderful community…It’s like a flower. You open, you blossom, really because of other people. And I think some suffering, maybe even intense suffering, is a necessary ingredient for life, certainly for developing compassion.” ~ His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

The Beatitudes from the New Testament agree:

“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them.

Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised.

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully.

Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them.

Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God.

Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children.

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!” ~ Matthew 5: 3-12.

Whether one believes in heaven, reincarnation, or the unknown, one thing is clear: happiness is a movement. If we are hoping for a world of love, peace, kindness, mindfulness, and happiness, we must act.

Go on, let your light shine.

This playlist might tempt our toes to tap and voices to sing.

Cue the bluebirds of happiness…

“Get Happy” with Judy Garland


Clap, snap, or gimme a strut with these old movie stars:

Don’t stop.

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” ~ Justin Timberlake


Share what makes “Happiness,” like in the Charlie Brown Musical.


This heart is also sensitive and listening. If this cheerful tone or these upbeat tunes cause sadness, jealousy, bitterness, frustration, or just plain annoyance, embrace that. Go on, go there. Fire up. Let those emotions rip. Allow the feelings to come up. We must ask why and stare the answer in the eye. If we dare to look, we may start to work and find happiness for ourselves.

Happiness is an action.

It takes work.

It takes guts.

It takes time.

It takes grace.

“The ultimate source of happiness is within us.” ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

~Copy Editor: Call

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