happybabyI don’t like when people tell me to cheer up. It drives me crazy when I’m walking down the street and a stranger says, “smile.” And I wince at the phrase “turn your frown upside down.” But I love being happy.

It’s just unfortunate that the word “happy” has gotten all mixed up with some misguided belief that we should be happy all the time. And that we should pretend we’re happy even when we’re not. And that there is something wrong with us/life/our situation if we aren’t happy.

In my own experience here is what I know to be true:

  • When I’m present and paying attention, there are LOTS of things I can do to feel happy.
  • Sometimes none of these things works.
  • When nothing works I try to just accept how I’m feeling and be really compassionate with myself.
  • If I let it be okay that nothing is working and that I feel the way I feel, at some point I start to feel better.  My energy comes back. I get happy.
  • Rinse and repeat

I realize that what I’m saying sounds overly simplistic. And I know that as humans our emotional landscape can be very complex. But I think the whole subject is worth talking about, even if I can’t find a way to do it that feels quite right.

I used to think that “happy” meant Disneyland and chocolate ice-cream cones and the color pink. I had disdain for the word. Didn’t want anything to do with it. I chose the beach in the middle of the night, gothic rock, sitting alone on a bench reading a great book. What I didn’t realize is “happy” has nothing to do with pink vs black.  And it has everything to do with loving what is.

For me, “happy” is a sense of well-being. Energy. Passion. Connection. It’s when I’m not fighting life. When I’m not fighting for my share of the pie. When I’m not thinking “me” or “my” but am actually part of some bigger “we” and “us.” When I’m feeling good I am more open, more kind, more understanding, more energetic, more generous, and more fun. Knowing that makes it worth my while to continue to look at what’s behind feeling good.

How do I “get happy” …  or not?


Rich German is one of the teachers from whom I’ve learned a lot about authentic happiness. Rich often says, “Make feeling good your number one priority.”  Because from that place of feeling good, good things ripple out. It feeds us and those around us. What I love about Rich’s coaching is that he offers simple practices that energize me, inspire me, and bring a deep sense of quiet joy. We’re not talking donuts here!

On August 4, my business partner  Tricia Huebner will interview Rich about “How to be Happy.” Join us. I think you’ll be surprised.

August 4, 2009
6pm PST; 7pm MST; 8pm CST; 9pm EST
Cost: $10 (Free for Simply Celebrate Facebook Fans or Cherry Blossom Soup blog subscribers)

If you don’t already subscribe to this blog, do it now! Then sign up for the teleseminar here:


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As always, if you’ve got some thoughts about this, I’d love to hear ‘em. What does the word “happy” mean to you?