The Dalai Lama was recently in the East Bay, in Berkeley and Richmond. He often speaks about finding happiness, how we Americans have lost touch with “art of happiness” (title of his book) and the simplicities of life. We are consumers, tied to our technology, our iPhones, our “smart” phones, that we forget to look up and look out at the wonders around us. My iPhone was stolen a year ago – and I can’t afford to get another one right now. So, I’ve been keeping it simple, with my flip-phone, circa 2007.
I bought a book today that I’ve been wanting to read for awhile, “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin. I got it at Pegasus Books on Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley – (they also have one on College Avenue in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, an area that I love. …). Today’s post on “The Happiness Project” blog says, “To Do the Most Important Thing of the Day First.”
What do I do first in the morning?
2. Make Coffee
3. Drink Coffee
4. Check the major headlines
5. Check my emails
6. Check my calendar and start to plan my day
7. Check the plants outside – do any of them need water?
8. Check the dishes in the sink / kitchen; tidy up (because I usually don’t do that after dinner – I admit)
9. Eat some toast, small breakfast; take my vitamins
10. Get dressed & get ready to take on the day.
I don’t see how I’m searching for happiness in the morning that way — just doing my routine, and drinking my coffee while I’m on auto-pilot. Sometimes, just the act of waking up and facing the day is the biggest thing to do. There are a lot of days that I would much prefer just sleeping, cozy in bed, with the blinds drawn, and my down comforter pulled up. But I know that I need to tackle the day — wherever that day will lead me … even if it’s doing routine tasks that need to be done. That’s what life is about, there’s routine and the happiness that can spring out of nowhere. The routine allows us to be organized and free up the time so chaos does not create a problem later on.
But reviewing my list — maybe just taking that first pee in the morning does make me happy — freeing my bladder — because that’s pretty important, right? It sucks to hold it for hours, or to pee in an unfamiliar or public location.
And then drinking coffee is always a happy thing — I recently did not have coffee at home, I ran out, and MAN, you should have seen the unhappy Christine in the morning! She was like Godzilla. Herbal tea at 8 a.m. would not do.
Maybe the search for my happiness involves a great cup of coffee and avoiding Godzilla ….