Happy Day, Happy Spring!

Happiness is neither a frivolity nor a luxury. It is a deep-seated yearning shared by all members of the human family. It should be denied to no one and available to all.
~Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Today is the International Day of Happiness! On June 28, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming March 20th the International Day of Happiness.

While acknowledging that happiness may have different meanings for different people, the UN chief said that all could agree that it means working to end conflict, poverty and other unfortunate conditions in which so many of human beings live.

Read more about the International Day of Happiness Day here.

The mega producer Pharrell teamed up with the UN to to help lift lift spirits and spread good cheer. Videos featuring his hit song, Happy, have been making the rounds in commemoration of the day. You may have seen the one above featuring the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences. Even Congressman John Lewis got in on the act. It’s not progressive policymaking, but it’s fun. And just for a few minutes, it brings us all a little closer to restoration, away from society’s overreliance on vengeance and punishment.

Today was International Happiness Day, and here in the northern hemisphere, it was the first day of spring. Although it was a gorgeous, sunshiny day in Atlanta, I know we aren’t quite out of winter’s grip just yet. We’re expecting a mild 72 degrees Saturday afternoon, with lows below freezing by early next week. Still, I’m encouraged by nice days. I know more are on the way soon.

Spring marks the beginning of running season for me. I’ve been keeping fit indoors with DVDs for weight lifting and cardio, but I’ve missed the fresh air and and scenic views of the Greenway runs. Even more than those things, I miss think time. Doing choreographed exercise is fun, but I truly enjoy the creative thinking, reflection and problem solving I accomplish while pounding the pavement.

As always, I have a couple of projects in the works, and the arrival of spring (any time really) is a good excuse time to pause and reflect on where I am, where I’d like to be, and what steps I want to take to close the gap.

Wishing you a happy day, and a happy spring!

Agnes asks the question of the day

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 10.52.58 AM
Gru says goodnight to Agnes.

Four of us went movie-going yesterday – two adults, two kids. We donned our 3D glasses, cozied up to some popcorn, and settled in for Despicable Me 2. My movie watching has been severely limited the past few years, so I hadn’t seen the  original. I met the characters for the first time, and while I had a couple of favorites in the bunch, Agnes inspired this post.

Gru is our hero, super-villain turned anti-villain, and Agnes is the youngest of his three daughters. Without giving too much away, Gru finds himself sad and unsure of what he can do about something that feels out of his control.

He admits his sadness to the intuitive little one, and in an effort to comfort him, Agnes poses two questions:

  1. Is there anything I can do? (No).
  2. Is there anything *you* can do?

This second question resonated with Gru, who was sparked to action as a result. It moved the story forward and it moves me forward as well, whenever I feel similarly overwhelmed.

Materially, realizing there was something he could do didn’t change Gru’s situation all that much. On the other hand, realizing there was something he could do changed his attitude, and helped him uncover potential in what seemed a hopeless state of affairs. Spotting that potential and then taking the next step gave him power when he was otherwise powerless. And sometimes that’s all we need.

Realizing we can’t do everything but we can, at least, do something, can help us gain perspective. We can then take action rather than being defeated in our hearts, settling for nothing at all. The next time you’re in a rut, or feeling overwhelmed by adversity, think about Agnes, and ask yourself what you can do. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, but is there anything you can do? If so, get to it!

We cannot do everything at once,
but we can do something at once.
~Calvin Coolidge.