As it appears today, our home in the 1960s, Buffalo, New York
She would wake up in the darkness, earlier than the rest of us, to spend time alone.
While we were still nestled in our beds upstairs, our mother would sit quietly alone in the kitchen. The scent of freshly-brewed coffee mingling with the circling stream of blue smoke from her cigarette. The crossword puzzle sat on the table with its friend - the pen - waiting for her to continue, as she sipped a bit of coffee. This was the relaxing part of her day.
Her busy life was filled with demands of her family and obligations to her job and her patients. Her time, her love, her housework, her job all took their toll and so this early morning time was for herself.
I can see her at the kitchen table as clearly now as if she were right here in front of me. Mom knew what to do to help her stressful life long before all the talk shows came along to help us.
Last week I watched an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show, featuring Goldie Hawn as her guest, and have been thinking about it ever since.
Goldie wants all of us to be happy and she has a way for us to give it a go.
We can begin by taking her quiz.
But Goldie's discussion with Oprah was direct and to the point - all she ever wanted to be in life was happy.
"My identity has never been wrapped around my being famous," Goldie says. "My identity has been what's inside of me."
On the inside, Goldie says she sees herself as a daughter, mother, partner and friend. Aging and outside looks, she says, are simply a part of life. "Getting older is natural," she says. "We have to face the fact that jobs are going to stop . . . (Your looks are going to change) . . . These things are going to change."
Goldie is on a mission to teach people to be happier. Her happiness initiative with The Hawn Foundation means, she's devoted to helping both children and adults experience optimum happiness.
Goldie Hawn's messages came on the heels of some debates/discussions within the UK and EU forums about the US Declaration of Independence and its intentional inclusion of 'the pursuit of happiness' as something all Americans have a right to try to attain.
In another interesting article, it seems Goldie Hawn wants to help British children to be happy, too!
There have been studies done that indicate, (along with other findings,) that happy employees work harder and longer and value customers and teat them better so it all goes round and round in a good way.
Evidently, keeping your citizens, workers, and well, everyone, happy makes sense.
Bravo to the researchers - but explain how to help make people happy, please.
It seems some work has been done here.
If you have a moment, take the time to read the articles in the following links. They both make some good points.
12 Ways to be Happy this article is from a 60 year old woman
Find Happiness in Unexpected Places - this article is from a High School and geared towards teens
Dan Buettner, a member of the audience at Oprah's show, and a best-selling author, explains how we can find a bit of happiness, too. In his book, Thrive, Finding Happiness in the Blue Zone Way, we may find some answers.
But now, back to Goldie and how she has helped us to understand a bit about making ourselves a wee bit happier - something my mother knew fifty years ago.
She talked about finding time for quiet in your day. Begin with only a minute of total silence and sit quietly - doing nothing at all - just letting your mind wander.
Build upon your minute until you are practising this for 20 minutes or more each day. You can split it up into shorter segments if need be.
Wishing Happiness to you all!