Day Two of Heena’s Quote Challenge continues with my focus on the nature of happiness.
This was to be my Day 3 Challenge but unfortunately WP is playing up on me and has lost my Day 2 Challenge post – hence bringing this forward a day…. quite fitting as I am now not too chuffed…… and searching vainly for my original Day 2 post!
Today I am considering the illusive, and paradoxical nature of happiness.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better pushing right back.”
― Albert Camus, The Stranger
There is something quite fascinating about the above photo that I found on Pixabay. It would make a wonderful prompt for a story. It makes you ponder why the girl is in such a sorrowful pose, with her head hanging, and a cigarette poised in the air. The shadows and lit pathway ahead suggest possibilities, the foreground is all bright, and yellow like her jeans. Perhaps she has had terrible news. Life is not all happy days, there are good and bad moments, and true happiness can sometimes allude us. Recently I heard a very sad story from my mother about the grandmother of a young man who died of a heart attack at age eighteen, such a shock to his family, and friends. This goes against all our expectations – how can a seemingly fit young man die before his grandmother? How does one cope with such grief? The very thought of it makes me shudder. How can we accept such loss, and what does it say about the meaning of life?
Life is too short. For some it is bitterly short. So perhaps we shouldn’t search for happiness as if it is a goal to be achieved. Instead, just be. Happiness is not a quality that you can capture, it is a state of being that you experience first hand without hardly noticing. So rather than searching down endless pathways looking for the things that make us happy perhaps it’s better to live in the moment, treasure those seconds, minutes, and hours of pleasure spent in the company of much loved family and friends, store them up and keep them for a rainy day when you might just need them.
Welcome to the third day of Heena’s 3 Day Quote Challenge:
My focus today is on happiness in its simplest form.
“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
Yes this charming quote says it all, happiness doesn’t have to be anything fancy and elaborate in fact often it is the simplest things that give us the most pleasure. We’ve all had those little moments of happiness that leave us breathless in their simplicity, they’re the ones that remain the longest in our memories, such sweet moments to treasure.
Here’s the Goodreads synopsis – Zorba The Greek.
The classic novel, international sensation, and inspiration for the film starring Anthony Quinn explores the struggle between the aesthetic and the rational, the inner life and the life of the mind.
The classic novel Zorba the Greek is the story of two men, their incredible friendship, and the importance of living life to the fullest. Zorba, a Greek working man, is a larger-than-life character, energetic and unpredictable. He accompanies the unnamed narrator to Crete to work in the narrator’s lignite mine, and the pair develops a singular relationship. The two men couldn’t be further apart: The narrator is cerebral, modest, and reserved; Zorba is unfettered, spirited, and beyond the reins of civility. Over the course of their journey, he becomes the narrator’s greatest friend and inspiration and helps him to appreciate the joy of living.
Zorba has been acclaimed as one of the most remarkable figures in literature; he is a character in the great tradition of Sinbad the Sailor, Falstaff, and Sancho Panza. He responds to all that life offers him with passion, whether he’s supervising laborers at a mine, confronting mad monks in a mountain monastery, embellishing the tales of his past adventures, or making love. Zorba the Greek explores the beauty and pain of existence, inviting readers to reevaluate the most important aspects of their lives and live to the fullest.
Laughter’s the best indication of happiness ever invented! We can’t hope to laugh unless we are happy, and laughter has the most infectious quality to it.Happiness can’t exist without sadness, we wouldn’t know what happiness was unless we’d experienced its opposite. And of course there’s nothing like a kiss to make us happy.
If you haven’t read The Perks of Being A Wallflower then I’d recommend that you do. I read it ages ago in 2013 – perhaps I need to read it again – and I rated it 4 stars. Unfortunately I didn’t review, as I read it before I started writing reviews.
Here’s the Goodreads Synopsis:
Charlie is a freshman.
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
I found this quote on the blog of ontheroadtoinkrichment, http://www.inkriched.wordpress.com, and it just sums it all up, doesn’t it? The majority of us, just don’t make a sack of money from writing. There are exceptions of course. So why do we invest all the time and effort, if money isn’t our goal?
Enrichment. One simple but powerful word. It holds the word rich in its grasp, but means so much more.
So on the subject of Enrichment let me share with you my road to enrichment! I have been practising Taoist Tai Chi for several years and it never ceases to amaze me how I am always learning something new. The original Tai Chi master of the group that I belong to, Master Moy Lin Shin, was a sickly youth, who was sent to a monastery, with ill-health. There he trained in the teachings of the Earlier Heaven Wu-chi sect of the Hua Shan School of Taoism and regained his health. He studied the religious and philosophical side of Taoism and acquired knowledge and skills in Chinese martial arts. In 1949 Moy moved to Hong Kong, there he joined the Yuen Yuen Institute, in Tsuen Wan district in the New Territories, continued his education and became a Taoist monk.
Moy was sent overseas with a mission of spreading the understanding of Taoism and its practices. After some travel, he settled in Montreal, Canada, and in 1970 began teaching a small group of dedicated students. In those early days, Moy taught both the health and martial arts aspects of Tai Chi. Upon moving to one of Toronto’s “Chinatowns” a few years later, he changed his focus, emphasising the health and personal development aspects of Tai Chi, although Moy still placed a strong emphasis on Tai Chi push hands practice and sometimes demonstrated other self-defense aspects of Tai Chi as well.
Moy started with a standard Yang-style t’ai chi ch’uan form, and mixed in elements of other internal arts, and taught it to enable students to learn Lok Hup Ba Fa later. Moy called this modified form Taoist Tai Chi. Moy emphasized the non-competitive nature of his style of teaching and of the form.
A teacher of Taoist Tai Chi is asked to conform to and live by Moy’s
“Eight Heavenly Virtues”:
Sense of Shame
We are often told Master Moy’s life story at classes. One particular story remains with me. Master Moy
did not place much emphasis upon the importance of money, in fact he had very little. He would sometimes come to class with not enough money in his pockets for his bus fare back. His pupils would gladly give him money so he could get home.
He began practising Taoist Tai chi as a means to manage a severe health problem. He succeeded, and not only did he improve his ailing health but his legacy is an organisation that is now in multiple countries across the globe. His original Tai Chi set has been handed down, more or less in its original form, and teachers give their time for free, volunteering to teach pupils Tai Chi. There is a spirit of cooperation, and friendship, within the whole Taoist Tai Chi culture. I so admire this ideology and the selflessness of the instructors. This means that each local group works together doing the Tai Chi set as a team. As I said, Master Moy didn’t have much money but I expect he was happy and fulfilled. The older I get the less I think we really need. I know that some people may say, you have more than most, and I would say this is true, but I don’t believe that material things make us happy. All we really need are the basic things in life: a roof over our head, enough food to eat, and the knowledge that our families are safe, in good health and above all else enjoying a full, and happy life. Everything else seems immaterial.
Here are some links which you may find interesting: