HAPPY Birthday!

Yes, it is my birthday! Fifty-second one in fact.

It is cold and pissing down rain.

I ache all over from the flair up of rheumatoid arthritis that I just found out I have.

And I could not be happier!!!

I woke next to Cookie Monster. PanKwake is growing into everything a parent could want…a confident, thoughtful and HAPPY¬†young woman with a bright future. All of my other children are safe.

What is there to complain about?

But the truth is…HAPPY is a core value and lifelong pursuit. Something that even through depression, anxiety, divorce, autism, epilepsy, miscarriage, domestic abuse and I am sure I am forgetting some…it is what I seek.

And I believe that we always find what we are looking for.

If we are looking for trouble, worry and pain, there is always plenty for us to find. Sixty seconds on social media is enough to prove that point…all the strife.

But likewise if we are open to HAPPINESS, joy and contentment…those too are easily found. Even on social media.

Even in the middle of depression, a failing marriage, epilepsy and sorrow following a miscarriage. I know! I remember that day so clearly. PanKwake and I were alone. She was playing happily in the little park outside of the flat we lived in with her father. I was struggling with all those things…and more. I was on medication for depression and anxiety. But in that moment…that space in time…I was HAPPY. The sun, the fresh cut grass, my child’s laughter, blue skies…that moment was perfect HAPPINESS.

How would I have known that though…if I never knew sadness?

That moment was in fact all the more special because it was so magnificent in a sea of darkness…what I call my valley of a shadow of death. Yes, even then in the greatest darkness I found light. And that light led me out of that valley. By recognizing it and holding on to it…by remembering that feeling when things were not so good…I found my way to better.

A couple of weeks ago I saw this video on YouTube and it truly struck home. I do believe that Mo Gawdat is on to something with his HAPPINESS formula.

As with so many universal truths in my own life, it is something that I have instinctively been doing for years.

So when I do finally get around to blowing out those candles on my cake, my birthday wish this year and always is…

HAPPINESS not just for PanKwake, Cookie Monster and me…but for ALL of you too.

Because true happiness is not dependent upon circumstances…it is within us all…all of the time. Find your moments as hang onto them as I did in the midst of the valley of the shadow.

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