Making A Choice to be Happy

Audrey Hepburn said, “If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness, not my miscarriages or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough.” Do you think you would do the same, or do the sad times stand out in your mind?

I am generally the kind who’d rather be happy than sad. Yes, times when things really make me sad, hurt, disappointed, but I can shake these negative feelings off after a while. Being a reflective person also helps me in striving to look for the brighter side of things.

We only have one life to live, one precious life to make the best of everything, so it pays to create a positive outlook. Having a positive disposition can help us navigate the sometimes troubling waters of our lives. It’s a choice for us to make — to be happy despite the unpleasant, sad circumstances that may be dealt to us by life. I shall then connect this to my previous post, “On Becoming Who We Are” –

That if we define ourselves to be happy, positive persons, we then choose to be happy and optimistic however depressing our situations may be at times. Isn’t this a better way to carry our loads — with grace and equanimity? And I believe this is also one big secret to why Audrey Hepburn’s classic beauty remained with her until the end.

So the next time you find yourself being overwhelmed by a distressing moment, choose to be happy, and stay positive! Cheers!

 

On Becoming Who We Are…

Buddha said, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Do you believe this is true?

I adhere to this universal truth, and understand it from the eyes of my Christian faith. Other disciplines likewise understand this universal truth and speak about it in terms of their own languages, such as philosophy and psychology.

But in this post, I’ll write briefly about this in terms of my Christian faith and theology.

My Christian faith teaches me that I have been created by God who is Love, and since I am made in God’s likeness and image, thus my striving should be that of becoming a person of Love – a loving person.

To become a loving person who is able to enflesh God who is Love in our daily lives is the goal of each and every Christian. For to do this is to journey towards God, towards whom every Christian yearns to go back to.

An essential point, too, is to realize that in our deepest core lies God; in the center of our being is God.

Thus, to love as God loves makes us who we really are: good, loving persons, created beings in the image and likeness of God who is Love, and who is Good.

Yet, God who is Love also gave each human person his/her own free will, and through this free will, comes the freedom of choice – the choice to be good, or to be bad; the choice to be loving or not to be so.

In moral theology we speak of two kinds of freedom, but I shall not be delving on that here, but just know, through the free will God has given us, we can create a Christian moral vision of ourselves: “Who am I before my God?” Good person or evil/bad person?

A slide presentation I made for my students in Moral Theology some years back...

Nevertheless, like what Buddha is quoted to have said, We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves,” when a person realizes that s/he is indeed a good, loving person, from the deepest core of his/her being, and chooses to be so, then the choices s/he makes are towards being good and loving. As such, s/he acts accordingly. Each act an act of goodness, of love.

To think good, to think love is an act, and all actions pertinent to such thoughts of goodness and love thus naturally follow.

However, as human beings, we do fail at times in our goal of becoming good and loving. We are sinful; we are weak. That is part of being human.

At the same time though, one act of failure does not diminish the truth of who we really are: good, loving persons.

Yet, if we constantly fail – then our acts of failure will become bad habits that may soon define the person we are becoming, which is farthest from who God has originally created us to be.

I know that to profess “God is love” sounds so abstract to many people, even to Christians – but as my final word in this post, it would help to focus on the Trinitarian God, for in the Trinity – 3 persons in One God – a community of Love exists, and this is how I believe God who is Love can be enfleshed in our lives, and how we ourselves can strive to be good, to be loving.

In short, by building a community of Love in our homes, in our societies, in the world, each of us can flourish to our fullness as a human person of love and goodness.

How about you dear readers, care to share your thoughts on this? Use the comment box below.

 

Knowing Sadness Makes Us Appreciate Happiness

Do you believe you need to know sadness in order to appreciate happiness?

I’ve always held the belief that to be happy is to be grateful with what you have, with your life, with who you are. Being happy also means appreciating the small things – like taking delight in your family, your everyday tasks, enjoying nature around you, seeing a smile on a loved one’s face. Just simply being thankful for another day…

Seeing beauty in a simple floral arrangement makes me happy…

Someone named Marc shared an entry from his grandmother’s journal, depicting this: “My body sometimes feels sore, but it works.  I don’t sleep well most nights, but I do wake up to experience another day.  My wallet is not full, but my stomach is.  I don’t have all the things I’ve ever wanted, but I do have everything I need.  I’m thankful, because although my life is by no means perfect, it is MY life and I choose to be thankful in it, as I continue to do the best I can.” 

And that is exactly what I feel and think about happiness, which I do my best to apply, in general. Making the most of what I have, striving to be and to do the best I can.

Yet on a different level, I think that sometimes, knowing sadness can help us appreciate happiness more. Because sometimes, we tend to take things and people for granted —

“Sometimes it takes sadness to know happiness, noise to appreciate silence and absence to value presence.” – Unknown

I do believe that if you haven’t learnt about sadness, you cannot appreciate happiness. Nana Mouskouri

Indeed.

And the good that comes out of our sad experiences? Our personal encounters with sadness can also help us in being more compassionate, more empathetic towards others in their times of pain and struggles, so it moves us to become more loving, more generous.

What do you think? You may share them in the comment box below.

Snowflakes in Summer…

It’s December, a month associated with joy, the Christmas Joy that warms the heart, the Christian Joy!

Snowflakes in Summer

Image Source

But it is also a month people from the tropics – like me –  normally associate with the wintry cold in the west, with many countries experiencing Snow, something I myself never have experienced, but which I used to dream a lot about as a child.

And so I give way to this joyful, warm feeling of CHRISTMAS, infusing it with some frosty fun into my blog by bringing in some Snowflakes!!! Even just on my blog can I have a dash of Winter —

“Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! ”

 

Silence’s Shadow

Who could ever live with

Sounds that mar the peaceful rhythm of the hours

just before the break of day?

Nary a soul perhaps

Except for one who

at times

seeks to hear again and again

the comforting echo of a

Song’s refrain…

if only to flee

the lingering

Shadow of silence…

Writing Prompt courtesy of The Daily Post’s Ebook: 365 Days of Writing

Through the Looking Glass…

It took me so long to come up with a response to this photography assignment: “incorporating glass into an image to add a layer of complexity.” Thus it was a blessing I and my family got to dine in a restaurant with this fascinating view of the outside…

Through a glass panel – The sharp lines and striking view of the buildings beyond, plus the soft twirls of the clouds in the sky, were made clearer by using more contrast and color saturation.
Through a glass panel 2 – same view but at a slightly different angle…
Through a glass panel 3 – I included more of the street below…
Through a glass panel 4 – stronger colors…

I never thought taking pictures through a looking glass can be interesting; now I’m hooked, thanks to The Daily Post’s Photography 101 course. Cheers!