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Happiness Resides Within May 29, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness.

Happiness is the goal behind all goals.  We all desire more happiness and less suffering. 

But, when we look for happiness in “all the wrong places,” we cause unnecessary suffering to ourselves and others. 

Reading this week’s posts reminded me that we will not find lasting happiness:

* In diamond engagement rings . . . costing a whopping $2 million!  

Spending money to buy symbols of status to impress others with our material success may buy “external approval” . . . but it’s apt to evaporate in short order. 

* In portraits with opulent jewels (diamond rings, a diamond necklace, emerald bracelets, a ruby brooch, and a gold Rolex) painted into place.   

Allowing greed and jealousy to blossom will not create lasting happiness.  We cannot add to our happiness by causing suffering in others.

* In judging and condemning others for their addictions and all-too-human frailties, rather than offering kindness and compassion.

People who say and do stupid things are worthy of our compassion.  Their stupidity is what makes them human . . . even if we can’t understand how they ended up “that way.”

* In taking life too seriously and forgetting to laugh.

We do not laugh because we are happy . . . we are happy because we laugh.

* In “righteous indignation” and anger when others don’t say or do what we want and expect them to do.

Anger is a signal.  If we remain mindful, we can choose how best to respond:  (1) observe the anger and do nothing, allowing it to dissipate; (2) share the anger with others in a constructive way; or (3) share the  anger with others in a destructive way.  Sometime we sacrifice our happiness by insisting that we are “right.”

* In failing to accept ourselves as and where we are . . . even when we are having a bad hair day.  

The goal of life is not to be better than anyone else . . . but instead to be better than our previous self.  When we accept who we are right now, we have the energy to become “the best” that we can be. 

* In forgetting to count our blessings.  Simple pleasures are life’s treasures:  getting a good night’s sleep . . . having a house to call “home”. . . our faithful companions . . . the wonders of nature . . . surviving Mother Nature’s wrath . . . life’s miracles and mysteries . . . enjoying freedom of choice.

There is no one-size-fits-all life.  No one can “have it all.”  Every choice we make precludes other choices.  

We alone must decide where our priorities lie.

Look deep. The answers lie within . . . 

As does happiness.

Quote:  It is interesting to me that people don’t see any connection between their misery and their complaints ~ their feeling of being a victim; the feeling that everyone is doing something to them. It’s amazing. How many times has this connection been pointed out in the dharma talks? How many? And yet because of our fear we won’t look.

~ Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen, Love & Work

For more inspiring quotes like this, visit The Blue Lotus Cafe

No rules.  Just write!


1. Loreen Lee - May 29, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: Don’t know how to copy and paste a ‘link’. If you’re interested however, in this guru’s talks, I’m sure you’ll find something of interest by Googling the address below.

Sogyal Rinpoche Videos
Looking for the elephant’s footprints – Sogyal Rinpoche … The videos from Sogyal Rinpoche’s teachings in Bhutan, March 2007. He introduces his teachings …

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

Thanks, LL

2. Richard W Scott - May 29, 2011

I’m with you on this, Nancy. It was a good thirty years ago I first noticed that getting what I wanted did not make me happy, it just shifted my attention to a new future acquirement.

This is not to say I don’t forget the lesson, and sometimes often… but when I can remember to avoid attaching “happiness” to some physical object, my life is better.

I went outside to feed the “volunteer” cats (the ferals who line up for food), and the day was brilliant, the air was cool, and there was a soft breeze.

It was the happiest I’ve been in weeks.

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

It takes very little for our happiness to surface . . . once we get out of the way.

As we become more mindful, we see how we have created unnecessary suffering by accepting the truth of the thoughts we think. 😀

3. Vixter2010 - May 29, 2011

Great post, wise words!

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

Thanks, Vixter.

We cannot control the world around us . . . but, if we work at it, we can control the world within.

4. Patricia - May 29, 2011

Maybe having stuff isn’t all that important to me because I have never had much of it. It’s fun to dream but I am content with my reality.

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

We’ve always had “enough.” We’ve never had to worry about our next meal. But even when I worked as an attorney, our desires were “modest.”

We’ve always been “frugal” and never wanted to own designer clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, or expensive cars. We wouldn’t enjoy them.

We get more satisfaction from supporting charities that work to create a sustainable future for our planet. Not spending all we earned (and being “thrifty”) has given us freedom.

5. Tilly Bud - May 29, 2011

‘We do not laugh because we are happy . . . we are happy because we laugh’

I believe that.

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

That’s why I love the name of your blog ~ The Laughing Housewife. 😀

6. Linda - May 29, 2011

I don’t see how anyone could be happy wearing a 2 million dollar ring! I would be scared to death. Who needs that kind of worry. And to think of all that could be done to help others with that 2 million dollars.

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

Same here, Linda.

Not only would I be afraid to wear it . . . I would be embarrassed to flaunt that kind of wealth when so many people are struggling to pay the rent, buy groceries, pay for health care, or put their kids through college.

7. Debra - May 29, 2011

I so agree. Stuff is just stuff. It comes and it goes.

As you say…having a home…able to have food…in relative good health… hearing the birds chirp away in my mornings…being able to help when I can…I am thankful for those and many more lovely gifts.

I choose to be happy. I make that choice every day.

thanks Nancy, cool as always:)

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

Stuff weighs us down as effectively as an anchor. My parents “can’t” move because of all their stuff.

They’re sinking . . . and they don’t notice because of the distractions of caring for stuff that they don’t need. It’s quite sad.

If they went out, and their house burned to the ground, they’d be better off than they are . . . and they’d never miss 90% of “it.”

But . . . let me think a few happy thoughts instead.

Thanks for the great quote!

8. jannatwrites - May 29, 2011

I don’t think I could wear a 2 million dollar ring. It wouldn’t feel right, and I’d probably end up breaking my finger after the rock caught on something.

I agree that happiness can’t be bought. Have a happy Sunday 🙂

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

Thanks, Janna. Buying, owning, or wearing something like that wouldn’t occur to me . . . no matter how much money I had.

It’s just an example of ridiculous and ostentatious excess by the “haves” when the “have nots” are struggling to make ends meet.

9. Alannah Murphy - May 29, 2011

Sometimes, the most simple things make one smile. Today, I rescued a bunch of sad looking red roses from the reduced basket in the supermarket, you should have seen how sad they looked, all wilted but I bought them anyway, just for 75p and now, they’re on my table, looking perky and happy and just having them near me makes me happy. All that for just 75p…priceless I think 🙂

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

That is the bestest most happy thing I’ve heard all day. Thanks, Alannah.

I love that you offered the red roses a chance to perk up and be happy . . . and that they made you happy in the process.

You go, girl!

Alannah Murphy - May 30, 2011

Thanks Nancy, the roses taught me a lovely simple lesson, that sometimes happiness can come in the most unexpected ways 🙂

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

So true.

10. viviankirkfield - May 29, 2011

When my husband and I were first married and living on a REALLY tight budget, we went to a zoo and found bird feathers (some peacock) on the ground…many of the birds had free rein and strutted about. We retrieved those beautiful feathers and, at the time, my husband was involved in making “flies” for fly-fishing and was able to use some of the feathers, instead of having to go out and buy them.
I think there is so much around us that is free…sunrises and sunsets, birdwatching and flora and fauna observing while hiking or walking…too bad the media is so insistent that we accumulate lots of STUFF.

Thanks for a beautiful post, Nancy.

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

That is such an awesome recollection, Vivian.

When we take time to “smell the roses” or admire the peacocks or go fishing with homemade flies . . . we’re far too busy to stare at a $2 million diamond ring on our finger. 😀

11. Rosa - May 29, 2011

Great timing on this post, Nancy! I had a mini-meltdown about money and material goods and life in general last night. This morning though, I woke up with a firm resolve to work on my happiness! Not my ‘stuff’ but my happiness; my gratitude! I have a wonderful home with an amazing dog! I have great family and friends; a support system! I’m feeling Happier already!!

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

We need “enough” to put food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads. Beyond that, it’s gravy . . . that can give us indigestion if we try to consume too much at one sitting.

Hearing that you’re feeling a bit happier . . . made me a bit happier. Yay for both of us!

12. Penny - May 29, 2011

Happiness does begin within- it’s the encounter attacks-that gets in our way !! 🙂

nrhatch - May 29, 2011

We are so easily distracted and thrown off balance. Reclaiming our balance not only restores our equilibrium . . . it returns smiles to our faces.

Thanks, Penny.

13. oldancestor - May 29, 2011

happiness: a day well spent

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

True dat.

14. Cindy - May 30, 2011

A lovely, positive post. Enjoyed the comments too 🙂

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

Thanks, Cindy. Here’s to smiles all the way around.

15. barb19 - May 30, 2011

Happiness comes from within if we would only recognize it. Great post Nancy.

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

Even in the face of adversity, I find that laughter is a key. If I can find something to laugh about . . . the world seems brighter.

16. eof737 - May 30, 2011

“It is interesting to me that people don’t see any connection between their misery and their complaints…”
I love that line because it is so true. Some folk can’t stand themselves and then they accuse others of being the problem… 🙂
If the joy doesn’t start inside, it ain’t coming on the outside…
Have a Blessed Memorial Day!

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

I read that quote on Debra’s blog the other day and said, “YES!”

People complain about something, anything, or nothing. The things they complain about grow bigger in their minds, crowding out the joy . . . until all that is left is misery.

We need to shift gears if we hear ourselves thinking, “THEY called me a . . . ” or “THEY won’t . . . ” or “THEY did . . . ”

If we don’t nip those thoughts in the bud, we are merely “shaking our fist” at things outside our control and creating unnecessary suffering in the process.

17. ceceliafutch - May 30, 2011

You are a wise woman and I always walk away from your blog a little wiser for having read it. Thanks.

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

Thanks, Cecilia!

My favorite thing about blogging is that I can share what I’ve learned with others while giving myself a “refresher course.” 😉

18. adeeyoyo - May 30, 2011

Possessions don’t make one happy and you end up being ‘owned’ by them.

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

So true, Adee. The things we possess may come to possess us. My parents are being held hostage by inanimate objects.

19. Paula Tohline Calhoun - May 30, 2011

Part of why I wrote my poem, “On Lying Down,” was my effort to learn to appreciate everything. One never knows when even what we might think of as the worst things that can haappen can ultimately be sources of joy – if we make the choice to see it that way, and to look for it. Whatever one looks for one will find it, and that goes for unhappiness as well as happiness.

Far too many people fail to undertand that happiness is a choice, and joy is always available to everyone, regardless of physical circumstances.

When I was young Mom used to say something to me that I always swore I would never say to my own children; however I learned how right she was when I started using that phrase myself. Whenever I would say to my Mom that “I want this, or I want that,” (and she always knew the difference between need and want), she would answer me by saying, “That’s great, Paula! It’s good for you to want things. THe more you look for things you want and don’t have, the more likely you are to recognize those things you really need and already have.” It’s a lesson in learning to want only what you need, and need what you want. (Read Frost’s “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” – especially the last four lines – but I love the whole poem:


Some of the happiest people I know live in abject poverty. Things have nothing to do with happiness. In the end, it’s all just stuff that you can’t take with you and that only weighs you down.

Great post, Nancy! Thanks you!

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

Thanks, Paula.

I wish you enough . . . especially enough sleep! 😀

20. viewfromtheside - May 30, 2011

you can buy happiness, when you spend money to alleviate another’s troubles and do so with no thought of return

happiness comes from what you make of life, not from the circumstances that are given to you

nrhatch - May 30, 2011

So true, Sidey.

Paying bills is not fun . . . but writing checks to a few favorite charities each month always makes me smile.

When we give to others, our happiness is doubled by their happiness.

21. flyinggma - May 30, 2011

Love this Nancy. My hubby always somehow feels responsible if I am not happy. I told him it’s not his job to make me happy it is an attitude choice on my part.

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

Thanks, Jeanne. I had that ephiphany one night after a hard day. BFF and I had both had “enough.” He didn’t have anything left to give. As I “stewed,” the still silent voice within whispered . . . “It’s not HIS job to be there for YOU. That’s YOUR job.” 😀

22. Sandra Bell Kirchman - May 30, 2011

I believe it’s okay to want things. And it’s even okay to get them. However, it’s important not to confuse needs with wants. We need food, shelter, love, health, sex (not just physical intercourse, but mental intercourse, the exchanging of ideas). Our needs are simple. We also need spiritual refreshment, which happens when we go to bed every night and travel in the Universe. We receive spiritual renewal when we laugh, when we share of ourselves with others, when we give of what we have to people and animals who truly need it.

Wants are things like Nancy was talking about…rings, furs, expensive possessions. But wants can also be new coat to be warmer and look nicer, fixing up the house, taking a course to learn gourmet cooking, and so on.

Most of my adult life, I have been a light worker, and I was always interested in being of service and sharing of myself…learning ways to do it more effectively so as to be of greater service. I have never had much in the way of material possessions.

Now, I wouldn’t mind a few. There are courses I want to take, I wouldn’t mind a family ring (the precious stones for each one in my family), some lovely crystal figurines.

I don’t feel there is anything wrong about these as long as I remember my priorities, my needs. I have gone hungry at one time and didn’t know where my next meal was coming from. I know what a need is.

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

Good points, Sandra. When we are mindful of our thoughts, we see that our desires can create suffering . . . especially if we tell ourselves that we cannot be happy until X arrives. 😀

I want a comfortable bed to sleep in every night . . . not because owning the bed will make me happy, but because a good night’s sleep works wonders for my mental health.

I want inspiring books on my bookcase . . . not because owning books will make me happy, but because reading works wonders for my intellectual well-being.

23. suzicate - May 31, 2011

The goal of life is not to be better than anyone else . . . but instead to be better than our previous self. When we accept who we are right now, we have the energy to become ”the best” that we can be. – wisely said!

I have family members who are very materialistic which has driven me crazy because I am not. I’ve had to learn to accept this just as they have to accept me as I am. The problem I have found with them is that they really have no idea who they are because they are so focused on “things”…but again, it’s not my business. I just have to keep reminding myself of that!

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

And when they buy something new . . . do they have to share it? And give you all the details about where and when they found this “latest and greatest” acquisition? 😀

I’ve had people drag me around their homes so they could point out all their recent purchases. Too funny.

24. suzicate - May 31, 2011

Oh yes! It starts with every piece of clothing and jewelry from the “expensive brand”, to how much they paid, how they could not resist the purchase, etc….

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

I’m reading a novel right now in the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella . . . about Becky Bloomwood’s ability to rationalize extravagent purchases that far exceed her ability to pay for them.

Makes me so GLAD that I’ve never cared for designer duds.

25. Piglet in Portugal - June 7, 2011

Hi Nancy,
A little late in my response as I’ve been in England. I think your words are so true
“In taking life too seriously and forgetting to laugh” I wish my Mother could read your words. Her negative attitude towards life has taught me so much and this post is the icing on the cake…

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

Thanks, PiP. Seeing the unnecessary, self-created suffering of others always reminds me to be mindful of my own thoughts so that I don’t follow them down that road. 😀

Piglet in Portugal - June 7, 2011

True…trouble is when you are so close to the “coal face” it’s difficult to detach yourself. Hence my binge on Devon clotted cream scones LOL 🙂
PiP 8)

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

Some people just “suck the life” right out of us . . . and we need to bolster ourself with delicious treats. 😉

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