Let your joy give you wings original artwork by Stephanie Martel. Find 8x10 prints in my shop.

When I was little, I was very good about naturally doing things that made me happy: bike around the neighborhood with my friends, watch my mom dance around the kitchen as she made dinner (and I joined her sometimes), make shoebox dioramas of dream rooms in my dream house and binge eat all the candy I could get my hands on.  These may sound silly, but they filled my heart up to the point of bursting.  I wasn’t trying  to be happy, I just did what felt good.

Now that I’m an adult (well, most times anyway), I realize the things that make me happy aren’t so different from when I was a kid: meet my friends for a bite to eat and catch up on our lives, reminisce about sweet moments spent with my mom, slurp down an icy cold coke with some doritoes and make time for all sorts of creative painting mojo to flow in my art room.

We think we change so much as we get older, but we don’t really change all that much on the inside.

And when I periodically tune in to my inner compass to help me figure out what makes me happy, it keeps bringing me back the things I loved to do as a child.

It happened again this past Sunday.  It was gorgeous out–I woke up to the sound of Chris grinding his coffee beans and the birds chirping in the backyard.  The morning was full of my favorites:  buckwheat banana-walnut pancakes drizzled with maple syrup, whole-hearted conversations with people I love and an uninterrupted session of playing + painting in my studio.  My heart was exploding that day because  I was tapping into the main things that make me happy: connecting with others, enjoying amazing food and expressing myself.

It wasn’t until later I realized that I was practicing all of my childhood favorites.  I was feeling so connected, so understood and so calm.

I thought, I need to do these things everyday.  We all need to do things everyday that make us happy.

What if you’re not sure about what makes you happy?  Here are a few quick questions to help you figure out those happy points:

  1. What are the things you think about when you have a few moments of free time? (What do you day dream about?)
  2. If you had a day to do anything that didn’t involve obligations to anyone else (parent, job or partner responsibilities), what would you do?
  3. What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

These dream scenarios are your happy activities.  Whether they’re a hobby, a hope or just something that you want to try, you can incorporate them into your life in some way.  Not sure where to begin?  Just start digging or ask someone for help.

And in case that little guilt monger is creeping in about hording ALL the happiness, just let that go.  I’m not talking about being indulgent or about always being ‘blissed out’,  it’s more about  incorporating simple things in your everyday life that keep you in your natural, joyful state.  It’s about finding and following your special flow.

Have you found what makes you happy?  I’d love to hear about it here.

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(Artwork by me)

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