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What Mama Said

By Christine O'Brien

My mama told me many times, "You can't wait for the big things to make you happy because they may never come. You have to learn to be happy with the little things that happen everyday." Making happiness a habit is one of my guiding thoughts. Developing this habit takes practice, planning and living in the moment

For my practice I do some things my housemates find odd. I greet the lizards and all the other creatures around my home, Lizard Hall. I tell the flowers how beautiful they are. I sometimes just shout, "Yes!" Gratitude is part of the practice, thanking my food for giving me life, appreciating the amazing beauty in nature, feeling blessed by the resting places and friends along the way

While I am writing there are rainbows flying around my room from the prism catching the morning sun-- that's planning for happiness. Planning can be my special bowl for my oatmeal, a kindness or meaningful work, walking in the twilight, reading a lovely poem, an appointment with a friend.

You know about living in the moment. It's when the clouds are beautiful and you just stop and stare. The flower fallen in my path, a friend's laugh from another room, a beautiful color; all it takes is attention, attention, attention.

I am not always happy. There are tragedies and horrors in my world. There are friends in pain. Children are hungry. We are hurting the earth. I am disabled. Where did I learn "Like as the night follows the day so misfortune is the shadow of joy, Karma bestowing her lots with both hands?"

I recommend making happiness a habit. There will always be suffering but there is also the possibility of joy which is a sweet walk through many pleasures.