Last weekend I had the opportunity to watch a true Happiness expert in action. I was handing out flyers to the “Happy Hour” when she came running at my full speed, jumped, landed firmly on both feet right in front of me and said “HA! HA!”. It was as if in the sea of people, she recognized a kindred spirit, one that appreciates life on that same plane. I bent down deeply and responded with the same battle cry of Happiness, “HA! HA!”. Being an adult and she all of maybe four years old, I tried to engage her in conversation. “So, what did you have to eat today?” She giggled and responded with gushing enthusiasm “I don’t know!” This was said as if it were a silly question – as if her tone said, “Silly man. It does not matter what I’ve had to eat – it’s in the PAST and is no longer of interest”. Her mother was now before me. She had a camera in hand. I secretly hoped she had caught some of the interaction on film (though knowing that even the top-of-the-line camera could not capture the palpable feelings exchanged between teacher and student). I offered her a flyer and she took it with a smile then meandered to the next booth. Little Sage, as I have come to refer to her, wandered in that direction as well, but then paused. She was mesmerized by the site of people twirling wooden rifles. She stood in the middle of the sidewalk, fixated. Eyes wide. Body still. Then, for apparently no reason, she jumped into the air. Landing, she continued to watch the riflemen. Then another jump, then back into observation mode. After several seconds, she turned to catch up with her mother. I turned slightly to hand out another flyer. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a blond missle coming in at 4 o’clock! BAM!! I’d been hit! The four year old had ran full blast into my thigh, arms wide open, hugging me tightly before suddenly releasing me and running back without a word to rejoin her mother and be enveloped by the swarming crowd.
I learned SO much about Happiness in those two minutes. Or should I say she REMINDED me so much about Happiness. A colleague of mine recently asserted that we are born Happy, then “learn” how to be unhappy. I do not know if I categorically agree with the statement but I have yet to find anything yet to contradict it. The quickly passing storm of Happiness, would definately be evidence in favor of my friend’s theory. When is the last time you jumped into the air (even just a little hop?) just because you CAN. Are you concerned about what you did, said or ate this morning, yesterday or last year? Or are you living in the present? When is the last time you took 30 seconds to just be completely in the moment and allow yourself to feel wonder or awe about the miracles happening all around you? When is the last time rang out your battle cry of Happiness? How about even a really enthusiastic hug? Adults laugh 15 times a day. Children laugh 400 times a day. We have a lot of catching up to do. This is the reason I teach Happiness 101 and the “Happy Hour” – to help clear away the clutter and the “shoulds”. To help you remember. Remember how to be Happy.