Happiness–love, grace and attitude

I ran 12,5 miles today. I kind of see it as a new beginning after pneumonia and low motivation. Two weeks with no running (or barely walking) is a long time for me. Two weeks without clearing my mind, rinsing my body and processing thoughts. I dropped off Sofia for morning practice and went to the gym early this morning. It was dark outside and surprisingly cold and wet so I decided to stay inside. I did 5 boring treadmill miles, listening to a pod and watching news at the same time. So good, boring like crazy but it really empties your mind. And after an hour of crossfit when the sun was up and the sky looked blue I took off for a slow 7ish miler by the lake. I got some music in my ears to fade out the traffic and I had time to think. Slow tunes and slow pace, deep breathing and lots of thinking. And I started making lists in my head. Sofiasnacks for Spokane, emails to send, books to read and thoughts of happiness. I feel very happy when I run. I feel fortunate, lucky and kind of ridiculous for thinking that way. Every time my foot hits the ground I get reminded of last year’s escapades. I still tape my foot and have another lump that makes it somewhat painful, at least the first mile or two, before my mind wanders off. But it’s good to be reminded every once in a while that you are lucky, lucky to be out in the sun, lucky to be free to do whatever you want to. I sat on the dock for a while, watched birds dive, boats pass and a few lucky people glide by in kayaks. Beautiful weather and blue sky, quiet and an empty beach. The only thing I could think of today was that I can’t remember my grandfathers shoes. Really odd, I know, but it really makes me sad. I remember his regular shoes he wore with a suit or working and his boots he wore working outside. But I can’t remember his shoes he had on those happy mornings we spent outside counting tiny, newborn calves, drinking coffee leaning against a sunny wall. Walking in the woods, holding his hand and listening to a story I had heard many times before. Very happy moments.

I’ve been thinking about the word happiness and why and how some people are jumping around on clouds with a constant grin on their face. That’s not all true but I have been thinking of sources of happiness and how you come to that stage in your life when you feel content. And happy. I’ve realized that it has to do with a few different factors and to get the feeling “good enough” and at the same time “this is it”. The new sad trend of perfect health and looks/crazy performance/pursuit of happiness is a totally different thing that I am thinking even more of, but that is another story.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and attitude. – Denis Witley

Living with grace, I love that expression. Grace is a great word. (I would translate grace to ynnest in Swedish, that’s even a better word.) And attitude, magic, love it.

So I am going to try to summarize happiness, wrap it up in a few smart sentences. So this is what I think about what makes us happy. (The only thing that makes me unhappy at this moment is writing in English. But sometimes you have to do things that makes you uncomfortable.)

Relationships Love and/or friendship, that you have people in your life that you care about and that care about you. Allow yourself to be close to people and open up. And situations when you interact with people, a social presence. Connections with people that make you laugh, challenge your mind, tease you a bit, make you feel relaxed, shoot you a smile when you least expect it, a helping hand, a hug. Open a door for you, send you a text, a surprise call, a cup of coffee in the sun and a nice conversation. Share a meal with interesting people. The small things that reminds you of the important things. It’s all those small things that comes together and come alive. Some people in our life really touches you and sometimes it’s impossible to know why. Consider yourself lucky when you meet and interact with people you like.

All the small things. I know work means everything to a lot of people but you need more. Work-life balance has been around for a while and it feels a bit worn out. But it is important that you do things outside work and take that time. All the small details. See friends, spend time outside, read, cook, eat, try new things, travel, go to concerts, be present. That means that you are part of something bigger. Your life touches other peoples life’s. What more can you ask for.

Grateful. Be grateful for what you got. Look around. You are fortunate. Positive thinking.

Money. It would make life so much easier if you didn’t have to worry about money. But when you have all you need and a bit more think of what’s important. I would definitely choose to spend my money on having friends over for a nice dinner instead of a new pair of shoes. Or experience something with people I care about. Think of what’s important and makes a difference.

Goals. For me this is so important, I feel empty without a goal. It gives me a meaning to push forward but I appreciate that we all are different and have different goals. Challenge yourself, try your limits, live a little uncomfortable. It’s not always the easiest way to the destination that makes us happy. Sometimes it is the difficult way, the rocky journey that gives us the most even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.

Exercise and movement. You are probably tired of hearing this from me but it’s so important. When you run or move your body you set “happy hormones” free, endorphins. That means that you feel better, more happy and that makes us all healthier. If you are healthy your body likes you and you probably appreciate your body more. Confidence, health, good mood, blood pressure… And try to get enough sleep and eat well.

Spend time alone. Read, listen to music, nap, think, hit 100 golf balls, run, walk. Be comfortable to spent time by yourself. You can’t expect people to be there to make you happy, you need to be content enough to make yourself happy.

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