No net needed for bluebirds and butterflies

Of course, Canadians are happy people, aren’t they?

Of course, Canadians are happy people, aren’t they?  Out of 156 countries ‘tested,’ Canada comes up sixth — one of the happiest nations on the planet!  Yet in spite of a broad stream of references to “fun” in our lives, happiness seems to be more and more scarce.

How do we hold onto the ‘butterfly kiss’ of delight, or keep the ‘bluebird of happiness’ from flying away?

Books on “how to be happy” have multiplied like fruit flies.  Should we shop? Eat more? Do more? Less? Plan a vacation?

Our present age could easily be labelled “The Age of Acquisition.”

“I want” bombards my ears so often that perhaps what “I need” exists already.

And we are still unhappy.

Where have the bluebirds and butterflies gone?

If I went looking, where would I find bliss?

I want a gladness I can keep — a pleasure to preserve.

Not a hole in my net.

Perhaps I should just smile. A smile changes our brain chemistry. And a ‘thankfulness list’ can lift our spirits.

But is that happiness?

That perverse topic operates backwards at the best of times.

As Vaillant said, “Happiness isn’t about me.”

It never is.

Happiness is one tough-to-handle substance!

It needs to be on the move if it is going to exist.

Held closely, happiness is toxic.

But when passed around, it grows and gathers fragrance.

Want to grab joy?

Hand it grandly to someone else.

Perhaps with our statistics, the whole world will soon be moving to Canada.

But if folk come to Williams Lake seeking happiness, they won’t find it.

It does exist in this area, however — well camouflaged and shyly concealed.

Happiness is reclusive; it lives in the unhappiest of places.

Happiness hides its colour and lightness among the unfortunate and downtrodden.

It can be found in a home full of sick children and laundry.

Its delight is buried deeply behind mountains of work.

It lurks in the shadows of filthy, unsuccessful, old, smelly, lonely, frightened and wicked places.

Those unhappy places hold the most happiness; they are where happiness is caught. Misery is the net.

You want to be happy? Then “Be unhappy,” I say. Be unhappy if you haven’t helped someone lately.

Be unhappy if you have no purpose outside yourself.

Be unhappy, really unhappy until a place to contribute and meet a need is claimed as your own.

Two miserable women came separately into my office one day. Lots of things had gone wrong.

Life offered them no quick fixes, and maybe no tangible hope at all. Both of them had their nets out, seeking the chirping of those gleeful birds and the touch of butterflies that kept escaping.

Their take-home assignment was to find someone who was struggling and offer to help. Then the two women were introduced to each other. Their focus improved, their troubles faded, and after a while, the bluebirds and butterflies reappeared, unbidden.

Happiness is captured in someone else’s need.

Then bluebirds and butterflies will be everywhere. No net needed.

Rita Corbett is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.



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