Recently, my sister asked me to join her for a celebration, which is what she calls her afternoon coffee break. Coffee in hand, we stopped into River & Road, a little gift shop, where we noticed a book on finding happiness – it had a shocking, not family-friendly title, which I cannot remember.
Then, we walked along the local pier enjoying a sunny, hot August day. We noticed the many birds, the breeze causing the water of Lake Erie to splash up on the path, and the young girl poking the sand and looking at rocks on the shore a stone’s throw from the rest of her group.
Later, I looked for the book on Amazon and could not find the book at all. Have you ever done an internet search for books on “finding happiness?” There are too many to count.
It seems like many books address happiness but relate to work (get that promotion!), or one’s home (Spark Joy with the art of organizing), or relationships (kick him to the curb and find joy). All these may bring happiness, but on the surface. Psychology Today calls them myths of happiness. Surface happiness is dependent upon the world. What I mean by this is that happiness derived from perceived successes, relationships with others, or other benchmarks are all tied to the ego. They accompany the worldliness of who we are and where we live.
Surface happiness, or happiness tied to the world, is fleeting. Events and situations are just part of our human experience.
True happiness is different. If we were to layer happiness, true happiness would be the foundation, and lie underneath, supporting all other levels of pleasure, contentment, and excitement. When happiness is the foundation and not the surface, you can sense this happiness even during times of great sorrow.
In a situation like this, there’s a subtle perception of everything being right with the world, even underneath whatever the sad or difficult situation might be. There is a tether to happiness in some important way, even though you’ve just experienced something profound.
Through the practice of mindfulness, happiness may become the foundational emotion. With the practice of mindfulness, we focus on awareness and non- judgment, and so events of the world, or the happenings, disappointments, and surprises sure to occur in life do not have the same impact. Mindfulness allows you to touch into that place of calm that always exists. You can reach that place of happiness, and that place of wisdom that always exists.
That place is simply yours.
Mindfulness is an experience, and it takes practice. Reading a meme or a book, or even my team telling you about mindfulness isn’t going to teach anybody what mindfulness really is.
We invite you to experience the practice of mindfulness. Bring our team into your workplace or your school, in person or using our professional development course online. You may start with our Zoom mindfulness practice and mindfulness on YouTube.
Once we practice, we learn and experience what mindfulness is. Over time, happiness becomes the foundation- a stable platform regardless of the events in our world.
Annamarie Fernyak is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Align LLC based in Mansfield, Ohio. She is a certified life coach, mindfulness meditation teacher, and serial entrepreneur. The development of the MBAwareness Education Program was conceived while Annamarie was volunteering to teach mindfulness in a local middle school and found that the teachers and students were struggling to grow calm for their guest teacher, students seemed unable to pay focused attention, and the teachers were growing frustrated.
Annamarie’s focus was to create a program that would transform the lives of the students. She focused on hiring a licensed teacher to create and instruct the mindfulness-based social and emotional learning curriculums to elementary and secondary school students and teachers. Due to the challenges associated with global health concerns, Annamarie’s mindfulness education program is further now evolving into online mindfulness education focusing on teaching tools that reduce stress and support a life where people can feel more at ease. We also teach as a part of corporate wellness programs.
In 2017, Annamarie launched Align Mindfulness which is a FREE app downloadable from your app store that sends prompts a few times a day, bringing attention to what’s happening in your world. Intentionally simple, these reflections help you build a well-rounded “mindfulness” muscle by offering variety in where you place your awareness.