Happiness is both unique and universal. One universality is the importance of gratitude. As I embark on my blog journey, gratitude is no stretch. Indeed, I am overflowing with thankfulness for the many people who have showered me with generosity recently.
I don’t want this blog to be about me. It will be about all of us, as we work together to create greater happiness on the micro and macro levels.
To start, though, I will be personal. I’m going to name names:
First, my son Ben toiled for months turning the slightly decrepit A-frame in our backyard into a warm, colorful, and welcoming happiness oasis. Gone is the disgusting carpet, the sagging walls, the broken heater filled with mice souvenirs. The A-frame is now filled with color and joy — and, as we enter a long Vermont winter — heat!
Judy and Jenny stopped by to help me paint the polka dotted display pieces. Jenny delivered Happiness Paradigm posters all over Central Vermont and then volunteered to provide beautifully arrayed opening day refreshments.
Roni baked chocolate chip cookies, described by one visitor yesterday as “happiness in a circle.” Debbie surprised me with another batch of cookies. Renee was going to help Roni bake, but with a 10-week old baby (the totally perfect Charlie) that didn’t work out — so she brought a supply of chocolate candy instead. Rob brought a cupcake, and Paige brought a cake fresh from her mom Karen’s oven. Laurel brought M&M’s, AND gave me one of her upcycled bags. Ulrike and John shared wine, cheese and crackers at the end of a very long grand opening.
My sister Peggy in New Jersey has been scouring sources for happy items and interesting books that would be perfect for the store, and her son Timmy is working on a Wikipedia article about The Happiness Paradigm.
Lynn, Kairn, Jeannette, Cheryl and Liz all pitched in to edit the all important first Happiness Paradigm press release.
Megan and my other former colleagues at Home Share Now were an amazing and constant source of used colored paper for me to shred and turn into recycled paper art. I learned how to do that just last February, thanks to Christina and her friend Carrie who volunteered to teach a paper making class.
Amy, Kathleen, and Marianne have all agreed to come to the store and lead sessions on non-toxic cleaning (Dec 3), healing through sound waves (Dec 17), and how to wear recycled saris (Dec 10), respectively. In January, Linda is ready to teach reiki techniques, and Edward will lead us in laughing yoga.
Betsy gave me boxfuls of books to stock the “lifelong learning” free lending library. Janet is sharing her magical paper mache art. Nel, the queen of making art from things other people throw away, brought some of her gems to sell on consignment. Another Renee delivered colorful and warm hats knitted from recycled yarn — and, interviewed me on her WGDR radio show.
I can’t imagine how I could have gotten to this point without Kayla’s unwavering healing touch. And I’m blessed with smart, creative, and loving friends (insert long list here!!) who helped me find the courage to take risks.
My daughter Jennifer is my long distance cheerleader, especially on Facebook. In the spring, she’ll make me very, very happy when she gives birth to my granddaughter.
Best for last: Bob. Even though I was just barely 17 when we got married, somehow or the other I managed to get hitched to a really, really nice man who always trusts me to forge my own path. Plus, he’ll cook dinner, help with a multitude of tasks, figure out my computer needs (including setting up this blog). Not only that, he’s agreed to lead monthly ukulele sessions at The Happiness Store and Experience. That makes both of us happy.