“Happiness is a direction, not a place.” ~~Sydney J Harris
“It is not about how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.” ~~Charles Spurgeon
“Learn to value yourself, which means, fight for your happiness.” ~~Ayn Rand
#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.
Happiness is created not waited for.
Last week, I reached a milestone that initially felt impossible; 14 years of sobriety. This is a testament to the many changes that I continue to make, both large and small and everything in between. It is through the WFS New Life Program that connections are made and cherished, continuing clarity grows and most importantly, adaptability takes center stage. Statement #3 is critical to creating, adapting and maintaining sobriety and recovery.
In our WFS Program booklet, our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph. D, writes, “For many years, I was convinced that some people were just naturally happy and others were not. And most of the time, I was not happy, I was too deep into feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change, and then instant happiness would follow. Happiness never came to me until I learned that the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.” This is an empowering shift that helps create the happiness we desire.
Instant happiness cannot be made without awareness or effort. Much like making instant oatmeal or mashed potatoes, there is a process that takes place beforehand. Seeds must be planted, grown and gathered. Ingredients are then collected and blended. Packaging, delivery and stocking take place before you purchase and then finally you can add hot water to create a seemingly instant meal. Happiness falls into the same process. Just like Jean, it is up to each individual to create their own recipe, live the process and cultivate their happiness. What will you create today?
Hi 4C women,
First, let me wish Karen congratulations on 14 years of sobriety. Her writings continue to inspire me and I am grateful for her sharing this beautiful gift with all of us.
Creating happiness this past year has been difficult for many of us and yet perhaps needed more than ever before to counteract our isolation, loneliness and loss that comes in diverse forms. I have learned over the years to create my own happiness so it was a bit surprising that I didn’t have more resiliency in keeping happiness alive and well during the pandemic. I often think of Jean’s words that we wait for the big moments of life – graduations, weddings, reunions – to define our happiness. Those are the high points of life. We must create the others (happiness) out of the threads of everyday ordinary living. Perhaps this is where the struggle has been this past year – the major change in our everyday ordinary living.
There seems to be nothing ordinary about it in reflection on how our everyday lives use to be. I have heard the words boring, lonely and frustrating over and over again. I’ve said those words myself. What helps me the most is that we are going through this together. In the past, I felt as though expressing my sadness and pretending I was okay, even faking happiness, was what was expected of me. Now we are a collective group of women, experiencing similar feelings and the support has been absolutely amazing. It is a powerful gift to be standing together, helping those who need it most and bringing to light one of the most empowering gifts of WFS – HOPE.
After each meeting, phone call, text or email, I am filled with the hope of the bond we share, being understood and accepted in my lowest moments, acknowledged in my triumphs and overcoming adversity. In fact, those moments of comfort lead to joyful feelings that I might not have had without the women in WFS.
This hope I have reminds me to keep searching for new ways of creating happiness including something old in perhaps a new way. I love dancing but my back and knees don’t exactly cooperate yet it doesn’t mean I have to stop trying to do some form of dancing that brings me great joy.
I have also learned that forgiveness of myself and others leaves a lot more room in my head for creative ideas as well as energy better spent for discovering my personal happiness tools.
Years ago, Oprah had a page in her magazine called, “Something to Think About.” As you can guess, I still have several of those pages. Here’s one on Happiness that I’d like to share:
All of us yearn for a life filled with joy. In the quest for happiness, though, we often overlook the good that’s right in front of us. Try to pause, even for a moment, and ponder the joy that already exists in your life. You just might see it’s everywhere you look. Find a quiet spot to sit and consider the following ideas.
- What gives you the greatest joy – and when was the last time you felt that joy? Starting now, how can you incorporate what pleases you most into your daily life?
- Each day for a week, make a list of the things that bring you delight. At the end of the week, hang the list on a mirror to remind you of all that’s positive in your life.
- How much joy you experience is connected to how open you are to receiving it. Do you believe you are worthy of it? How might the way you see yourself be robbing you of happiness?
- Who in your life brings you the most contentment? Are you depending more on your spouse, partner, friends, family to bring you satisfaction than you are on yourself?
The last question was the most challenging for me in the beginning of my sobriety. It took a long time to start understanding that my total dependence on others to make me happy was a heavy burden I placed on them. Now I see them as adding to my life and I am truly grateful for their love, compassion and acceptance of who I am. That’s one of my greatest joys.
Bonded in developing our happiness tool box, Dee
Perks of Conference Registration
Perk: WFS would like as many women as possible to attend the Conference, so this virtual conference is SUPER affordable! There are three rates for registration — access to the Conference sessions/activities are the same, no matter what rate you choose: $75 – $50 – $25. (The $75 Benefactress Rate helps fund scholarships and $25 of it is tax-deductible for US residents.)
Perk: If you’re one of the first 400 women to register, you’ll receive a clear, plastic WFS “I’m Possible” Toolkit full of recovery essentials. Not only will the WFS Program Booklet be in the kit, but so will a special Limited Edition WFS Statement Card Set, a travel-sized journal, & a worry stone with the I’m Possible! logo on it. You’ll also be ready for your next trip, as this plastic tote meets TSA guidelines for travel-sized toiletries. Win-win-win!
Perk: Conference Registration will allow women to utilize the REPLAY feature. The keynote speakers will be recorded, as will most breakout sessions. The recordings will be available for viewing during the two weeks following conference 24/7 (through June 27). You’ll be able to view the sessions you wished you had time to go to, at your convenience in that two week timeframe. With 18 Breakout Sessions to choose from, the Replay feature is a wonderful way to attend more of the interesting topics that will be presented over the course of the conference weekend.
Perk: Icebreaker activities! This year, WFS volunteers have put together a fantastic pre-conference week of activities. Registered conference attendees will be able to meet other WFS sisters in a casual setting before the live formal sessions begin. The Icebreakers are ‘meet & greets’ with fun topics. The schedule for the icebreakers is available on the conference page – just click on “Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 6” in the Agenda section.