Finding happiness and being grateful

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We moved to Bali for many reason in July of 2013 with no plans of how long we would live on this island for. One of the main reasons for our move, was to expose our children to different cultures and a different way of life – first hand. Having lived in tropical “paradise” for a year and a half, our older son has been very keen to move back “home” and get back on the “ice”! He misses snow and all that the land of snow has to offer – skiing, skating, and most of all playing “ice” hockey, as it is referred to here in Bali:). He has also been talking a lot about how much “happier” he’ll be when he moves back to Canada.

As a mother to two very active, head strong, independent, young boys, I have learnt that talking and having long discussion on happiness and gratitude just does not cut it. They role their eyes and take it as a lecture. The only way they(I) learn is by the action of “doing”.

Living in Bali has thought me so many things, the most important – it has though me is to share life lessons with my children through the action of doing. What we have know all along but experienced on a grand scale as a family, living in Bali, is that happiness is predicated not so much on a single event as it is on the continuous accrual of small pleasures. As Priestley puts it “gather enough kindling and you can get a cozy fire going, enough flowers and you’ll have a bouquet, enough friends together and you’ll have a memorable day”. And so it is with happiness – I have learnt to find the extraordinary in living my ordinary day to day island life, those fleeting moments of happiness I have experienced for example when being present in my breath when doing a yoga class, or a very challenging cross-fit class or sitting in the evenings at my local beach and watching my children and dog play in the water while the sun goes down, or sweating away and being uncomfortable when I’m cooking the evening meal in our hot kitchen…but knowing in my mind that everyone who is sharing in our meal that night will enjoy the love and hard work I have put into preparing the meal…. these are the small pleasures that sustain me in my life of of routine, responsibilities, achievements and setbacks. And these are the lessons I am hoping that my children will see and learn from, on being happy and grateful.

I believe and have learnt that happiness is something to work on daily. It is a cultivated habit and a mindset that we hold the key to. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to experience these fleeting moments of happiness on a daily basis. Wether we move back to Canada or continue to stay in Bali for another year, I am certain that true happiness for me is to be grateful for small fleeting pleasures and to enjoy the present moment without anxiously depending on the future.

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