Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hello 2011

For as long as I can remember, I've been slightly bothered by the phrase "Happy new year." "Happy birthday" I can handle just fine, as birthdays seem well suited to a day of celebration and being happy. But a whole year?

As American citizens we are granted a constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness. And so we feel entitled, maybe even pushed into ever ongoing attempts to find, seek, make, discover and live in a state of rapture. Here's what I think happens. Sometimes seeking pleasure and happiness gets in the way of experiencing it... the seeking itself takes over and becomes the goal. (Duh ~ I am more mindful of that trap now, more open to seeing simply what IS with delight.)

Another possible downside to continual pursuit of happiness may be a decreased ability to function emotionally, physically and spiritually during the inevitable hard times. If we stop chasing and stop fighting, relaxing into what is, noticing a wide range of feelings, perhaps then we will actually experience our lives as having wholeness.

I'm sure there are many philosophers who have given great thought and good words to the concept of happiness while I simply scrape at the surface. Yet, entering 2011, I wish anyone who is reading this and myself a "whole new year!" May we take it all in, experience all of it fully, the happy and the unhappy, the delightful and the boring, the fun and the drudgery. May we open ourselves to all of it.


  1. So here's a weird thing... up to this year, I think if I said that phrase, it was just something to say. But this year I was writing comments on a lot of blogs about the New Year and it had such a different meaning than in the past, much more than about happiness. I think it came from my own reflection back on last year, and be frittering it away and not ending it where I wanted to end it, and really wishing my fellow "dieters" (sorry for using that word) have a great New Year in that they have every success they are working for. Does that make sense? It really felt different to me this time. That said, it might not be happy. Or happiness. But happy enough?

  2. I say "Happy New Year" as an innocent and somewhat wholesome term of endearment. Just a happy euphemism. Somewhat neutral..... somewhat of a time waster..... maybe like a "get well soon" card....
    nicely meant albeit formulaic and overly processed.
    At least it means no harm! Like a happy smiley face --
    it has a place in our little blogging world where text and typing take the place of voices and hugs.

  3. Here is some food for thought: if a happy camper is someone who is content then couldn't a happy New Year be a year that is filled with content!

    I get what you mean about the Happy as a greeting but as you know since you paint words so beautifully there are other meanings, its just for us to choose what meaning we intend!

    Beautiful wishes for you!

  4. I view ‘Happy New Year’ akin to a long term weather forecast. If the weatherman predicts a hot, sunny summer, I don’t expect glorious sunshine every minute of every day. I know that there will be some misty mornings, or the occasional thunderstorm generated by the heat and a maybe a few cloudy days (make that definitely here in the UK).

    When I wish someone a Happy New Year, I am saying I hope this year is kind to you, I hope your blessings outweigh your woes, and that your year will have a goodly share of happy moments.
    But I agree with you that the pursuit of happiness can get in the way of just being happy. I also think that worrying about potential problems, even before they arise, can be an obstacle to obtaining happiness. Those who are content with what they have will always be happier than those who always want something more or different.

    I like your wish for a ‘whole new year’ and thank you for it but I still wish you a predominately happy new year.

  5. Ah yes, consistently being open to the endless possibilities for happiness helps me find them in even the smallest of things. It's what I wish for others (present company included) when I say, "Happy New Year!"

  6. There is nothing wrong with seeking happiness, even continually. The sad thing is that most people have no idea what would make them happy. For them its an intangible just out of reach.

    So Happy New Year to you from me. I am wishing you will have all good things this year and always...peace...calm...love...contentment...and time to pursue what feeds your soul.


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