Are You Happy?

Are You Happy?

Dancers Among UsHappiness is about finding your passion and doing it every day—no matter what others think or what is popular or what obstacles you face. And this is long-term happiness I’m talking about, not short-term stuff you get with drinking, checking Facebook or ice cream. Happiness is hard and it takes focus. Happiness comes from within, not from without—although I tend to be very happy when I get validation or acknowledgment from my poetry from other fans! Real happiness is self-sustaining and can grow even when you’re perfectly still or when you’re at the height of an activity—be it playing an instrument or dancing.

My view of happiness is perfectly embodied in Jordan Matters’ Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday. This book is almost all photography of professional dancers in nontraditional dancing settings wearing street clothes. The first question you ask is, how did they make that leap without any special effects? And then the second question is, why can’t normal people look this happy in real life? I used to dance as a kid and I wondered if I was ever that happy. Their joy becomes our joy! After flipping through the pages of leaps, splits, and high kicks in coffee shops, horse pastures and in snowstorms, you get a sense that being happy can happen anywhere, in the middle of any mundane situation. It’s really about being present—not thinking about the past or dreaming of the future.

As these pages illustrate, these dancers exhibit such joy because they are staying in the moment since their bodies are their instruments. If they didn’t have full command of their hands, legs, feet, torso and head—they’d be a hot mess on the pavement. Their focus brings about their happiness, which begs the question—when you’re focused, are you happy? Another question is, do you have be a master at something to achieve happiness?

I would say, yes, but happiness is also more than being focused or working hard—it’s also about being at peace with yourself and being grateful for what you have. I find when I’m grateful, I can change my whole mindset and stop my complaints and cynicism. So I put together my bliss list and I’d love for you to put yours together too!

  1. Singing
  2. Comedy
  3. Watching my favorite TV shows: Mad Men, Game of Thrones, True Blood and reading all of the post-show blogs on Monday morning
  4. Going to the hair salon
  5. Running
  6. Clean sheets
  7. Coffee
  8. Clean house
  9. Poetry
  10. Hiking
  11. Networking
  12. Wine tasting
  13. Clothes shopping at my favorite consignment store
  14. Finishing a very long book
  15. Napping
  16. Dark chocolate
  17. Museums
  18. Hugs from my kids and husband
  19. Writing a blog post for myself!
  20. Saying “hi” to a deer while running
  21. My nightly tea made and delivered by my husband


Happiness is also about saying you’re worthy of having pleasure and that pleasure makes you a better person. No one else can make you happy except you. Take charge of your own happiness today!


Posted in: Creativity

Leave a Comment (8) ↓


  1. Sharon Espinosa August 16, 2013

    Hi alice!
    Yes, happiness is doing something you love. For me it’s knowing I did a good job or the best I could do. Happiness when I worked as a nurse is to have a frail, hand of an older woman, pat me on the face and say think you.

    Happiness like you is writing a blog and having people respond to it or responding to their blog and bringing them a kind word or word for thought..

    Happiness is listening to nature and watching as a bee lights on a flower or a bird chirps to its heart’s content.

    Happiness is having my dog wag his tail and give me kisses.

    Happiness is having my husband put his arms around me and tell me he loves me.

    Happiness is baking a chocolate, birthday cake for my friend’s birthday and putting up streamers and balloons in celebration of her new year of life.

    Happiness is being thankful for the breath God gave me and knowing He loves me.

    Happiness if falling into the bed knowing I did the best I could for this day, and finding satisfaction in it.

    Happiness is opening my Bible and reading a passage that brings tears and joy.

    Happiness is being able to read a good book and delight in the author’s choice of words and story line.

    Yes, though i may not live in a mansion, some people may even call me poor, I’m happy. I love the life God’s given to me, and hope I can make a difference to someone’s life in some small way.

    Thank you for such a lovely blog.

    • Alice Osborn August 16, 2013

      Hi Sharon, my pleasure and thanks so much for taking the time and energy to share your bliss list with us! Keep up the awesome writing and blogging! Alice:)

  2. Tyler Johnson August 16, 2013

    Alice, I’m a part of the contra dance community. One of things that is astonishingly consistent there is how many people will earnestly tell you that they divide their lives in half. There is the time before they started dancing, and there is the time after. This is no mere date on the calendar, but rather some veil through which they’ve passed where their lives have opened up in color, laughter, and joy. I don’t pretend to understand this truth; I just accept it.

    • Alice Osborn August 16, 2013

      Beautiful! I feel the same way about poetry. Thank you, Tyler. Alice

  3. lawrence tibbetts August 16, 2013

    so nice!!! enjoyed

  4. Jeral Mooneyham August 18, 2013

    High Alice, and thank you for such a (typically, delightfully Alice) transparent and sincere insight into your world, and you experience of happiness.

    Happiness, for me, as with most things, is very simple. Happiness comes of always being in the process of accomplishing a worthwhile dream or goal. I am, at present, working on making a business successful, one which will permit my wife to retire early from her career, one she loves but which, with physical changes to herself over time, is harder to do.

    It’s always great to celebrate an achievement – publishing a new book, winning an award, shedding unhealthy pounds, mastering that piece of music, gratefully receiving applause. To be always happy, I have found that, even as I’m celebrating a peak event, I need to be planning for the next set of goals, reaching for the next new dream.

    As for worthwhile dreams, they always involve others, and especially the betterment of others, by some measure. By the simple, but scary, act of placing a deadline upon a dream, it becomes a goal, and I’m off again to the next achievement.

    Thank you for your steadiness Alice, and your wisdom. Jeral

    • Alice Osborn August 18, 2013

      Hi Jeral, thanks so much for responding to this blog post–that means so much to me! And I love your bliss list. Take care and please comment again! Alice


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