I remember several years ago, talking with a medical professional about the happiness level of one of our kids. I was concerned. He wasn’t.
Holding our 10-pound, almost 12-inch thick file, he gently smiled at me as wisely said “With as many personalities as you have in your home, smiling and laughter might not be the gauge to let you know their happiness level. What makes you happy isn’t necessarily what makes them happy.”
Thanks Jennifer! and thanks to you guys for walking the road with me.
How The Sacred Art of Noticing Can Boost Your Happiness
Several years ago, my friend Paula spent the weekend with us. She came into our kitchen, while I was making breakfast, and she startled me with her exuberance.
“Oh Jennifer!” she cried out with awe. “Look! Look outside!”
I lifted my eyes from the sink to see what Paula saw. It took me a few seconds to capture her sense of wonder. Then I saw it:
Snow was draped over the trees, like a white blanket. The sun was glistening off of icicles. The bluest sky hung overhead.
Paula bolted out the door with her smartphone to capture moments, almost forgetting to wear shoes even though it was a subzero morning in February. I watched her from the kitchen window, while she ran across my yard, like a child chasing beauty.
Here’s something you need to know about Paula: She had come to stay at our house because one of her dearest friends was dying of cancer and that friend happened to live near our home. Yet, even in the midst of grief, Paula still managed to see the beauty all around her – beauty that I was missing in my own backyard.
I felt tears spring up while I watched her from my window, and I was jealous for her eyes. When was the last time that I … ?
In that moment, I realized how much I take the beauty of my everyday life for granted – beauty that has the potential to make me exceedingly happy.
The truth is, the same view that captivated Paula had captivated me when we first moved here. Had it lost its luster? No, it hadn’t. I just forgot to look!
This is what Paula teaches us all:
To pay attention.
To savor the life God has give us.
To thank God for the good when life is beautiful.
And to fight hard to find the happy when life is brutal.
I knew in that moment that I needed to recapture my sense of wonder. I committed that day to practice what I call The Sacred Art of Noticing. I would be like a tourist in my own home, appreciating the beauty with fresh eyes.
I dare you to do the same.
A DARE FOR YOU
Practice The Sacred Art of Noticing. Reignite what first captured your sense of awe: the view out your window, your husband’s terrific smile, your best friend’s quirky sense of humor, the cool vibe of your city’s downtown district. Be a tourist with fresh eyes, and pay attention to what originally made you go “Ah!”
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
Have you practiced The Sacred Art of Noticing today? Share what you’ve seen on social media with the tag #TheHappinessDare.
Did you enjoy this Dare? This is one of dozens of Happiness Dares that worked for me, and I believe they can work for you. It would be a joy to share more happiness with you in my newest book, The Happiness Dare.
Jennifer Dukes Lee is an award-winning former news journalist, an (in)courage writer and a blogger at http://www.JenniferDukesLee.com. Jennifer once took a dare to find out whether happiness matters to God and, if so, how to pursue it in a way that pleases Him. Out of that quest, was born: The Happiness Dare: Pursuing Your Heart’s Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire. Take Jennifer’s Happiness Style Assessment, and find out in five minutes or less, what truly makes you happy.