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4 Keys to Happiness

This holiday season I was back home on the Saskatchewan prairies. I found myself often sitting and reflecting in a little nook off the family room over looking the hoar frost trees through the window, and our dining room table. I couldn't help but feel a little different this year during the holidays. My family chose not to celebrate Christmas because my grandmother recently passed away. It has been a challenging time for all of us. We miss her so dearly. I enjoyed my time here reminiscing on past busy Christmas gatherings. All of us chatting around the table filled with Ukrainian food, laughing, catching up on current life events, having silly fashion shows with my grandma’s vintage clothing, and all those hugs, love, and of course the cookies, cookies, cookies. This year's theme was, simplicity.

Needless to say, this holiday season was much quieter and unadorned, yet, enjoyably cozy with plenty of silent moments of shared presence with my grandfather. As isolated as it occasionally felt, I had an overwhelming sense of inner peace and calmness from within. During my time of introspection and meditation, I had written some reflective inspirations that had arisen. I follow them with an end of the day self inquiry question. This is what I wrote:

1. Hygge

The danish word for coziness of the soul. (and so much more-) It’s about atmosphere and experience, not ‘things’, and about being with the ones we love. I spent much of my time engaged in long talks with my grandpa, we laughed, we shared our emotions, we were present. It was very hygge. There was a special feeling of being home and feeling safe in the simple togetherness.

Simplicity tip: Come as you are, be as you are.

Question: Was I committed to experiencing and savoring the present moments with loved ones?

2. Nature

There is something sublime about being immersed in Mother Nature. A non-judgmental and fully accepting kind of attitude comes with it.

The weather was very mild, with a soft blanket of snow over the hills. My son and I made snow angels, snowboarded, and tobogganed on the prairie hills and took in all the nature around me. From the earth to the sky, to the purity of the air, it was all stunning.

Simplicity tip: Pay attention to the sounds you hear, the colors you see, the smells, and the wind direction.

Question: Did I slow down and notice the details in my surroundings?

3. Inner Truth

This means living with intention. Living my truth has been on my internal compass for many years, however this holiday season it became crystal clear. I need to speak up, express myself, let my authenticity shine, and live each day with intention, as we never know what can happen in life. Following your truth requires a bit of vulnerability. I’ve learned vulnerability is a great measure of courage. Showing up, being heard, and following your heart, even when there are no guarantees. Beautiful.

Simplicity tip: Follow the whispers of your heart.

Question: Am I being true to myself and focusing on the things that really matter to me?

4. Love

First we must choose to love ourselves. Second, we choose to act with love. Finally, we can become love in all our interactions.

I believe to live a purposeful life is to choose to be a loving person and love the being that we are. This holiday was simply about the loving connection, not materialistic things. My grandma had a perennial loving heart, we honored her and kept her spirit in our presence. That reminder of grandma’s love and kindness inspired my grandpa and I to be kind and gentle to ourselves and remain loving, even through the grief.

Simplicity tip: Spread love and kindness in each interaction.

Question: Was I loving today to the people closest to me? How do I want to be more loving tomorrow?

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