This morning, after wrapping myself in my new cozy sweater and wrangling my toes into my tall boots, I drove to work, half-mumbling the lyrics to a song about being restless and looking for God.
Sipping my homemade coffee, I worked quietly in our pleasant office, writing emails, prepping for appointments, and perusing websites. I came across an article posted by National Geographic, http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/happiest-places/happiness-hot-spots-photos/?source=link_fb20111027travel-happy, detailing four global “hot spots” for happiness. The article cited various reasons for the happiness of each location’s citizens, ranging from security, free healthcare, and balmy weather to longer vacations and a stronger spiritual cultural emphasis.
I started to wonder about my own happiness hot spots. Where’s my happy place right now?
When I was eight years-old, one of my happy places was underneath my bed. At that point, I hadn’t developed anything resembling claustrophobia, and I loved the coziness and solitude I found under the bed, reading books and creating slides on miniature plastic films. At 10, after moving to Arkansas, my happy place became my bedroom window, encased in wooden shutters. During the winter, my cat Ralph curled up next to me. Despite the chilly air seeping in through the cracks, I kept the bed right next to the window, watching the stars as I drifted off to sleep.
Life became more complicated as I got older. It became harder to find happy places because I wasn’t as happy with myself. The past few years, I’ve rediscovered several happiness hot spots. I’ve learned that if I spend time outdoors, whether I’m active or not, peace and contentment seem to nestle within me. I’ve noticed how much I enjoy baking. When the scent of cinnamon wafts throughout our old little farmhouse, all seems right within me and with the world as well. I’ve found myself drawn to our garden; I can’t explain why, but dirt on my hands makes me feel alive. I’ve picked up on how much pleasure I derive from a good book in my hands and a hot cup of coffee right beside me. And I’ve found, despite all odds and prickly doubts, that the beautiful relationship I’ve developed with the love of my life is one of the most constant sources of strength and joy I’ve ever known.
Most importantly, I have let myself fall into God’s hands again, slowly but surely resting in the still calm that overtakes every part of me.
As I head out to fight the stinging rain to make my way to meet some friends for lunch, I’m overwhelmed, grateful for all the happiness hot spots I’m blessed with, particularly the eternal happy place I’ve found.