Tag Archives: Happiness

Hot Chocolate on a Cold Night

There are certain things in life, regardless of whether you live on Park Avenue or park bench, with the ability to instantly sooth the heartache of the moment. Some of these are the smile of a child, the warmth of a faithful dog lying by your feet, a letter from an old friend who laments your absence, or a cup of steaming hot chocolate on a cold night. Feeling the warmth of the vessel against your cold hands and the slight tingle of cocoa aroma as it connects with your olfactory system.  Savoring the taste when you raise the cup to your lips and sip the chocolate nectar as it spreads across your tongue, engaging taste buds in some kind of pagan dance ritual.

Certain foods have the ability to massage away the pains of the day, whatever they might be – a supervisor bellowing some unjust accusation, a bill collector twisting the knife of need in an already gaping wound, a family member disappoints or a lover without understanding. There is a sort of chocolate healing that goes on inside that steamy cup; the same kind of magic reserved for alignment of the planets or moments when providence shines through with good fortune.  Once consumption occurs, a spell unwinds through the marriage of cocoa and milk, heat and loving care, and begins to weave upon the willing recipient. Suddenly you see order where there was chaos, solutions for all your questions,  happiness in a barren soul, and light where there was only darkness.

And after you pull the cup of magic away from your lips and drag the flavor across the roof of your mouth, you search for words that can give scope to the experience, but fall flat as you exclaim, “Man, that is one good cup of hot chocolate.” Somewhere in the cosmic domain of the chocolate universe an Angel sighs, robbed again of a simple thank you.

Oh, if only all of life’s little bumps and bruises could be healed with a cup of hot chocolate, what a better place this would be.

“Love is like swallowing hot chocolate before it has cooled off. It takes you by surprise at first, but keeps you warm for a long time.” ~Anonymous

Tis the season

Bell’s will be ringing; it’s Christmas time. A time of reflection and renewal – for gratitude and forgiveness. One lesson I have learned is happiness cannot be bought and paid for; it cannot be bribed or given out like candy at the Christmas parade. It has to be nurtured from the inside out. Anytime I hang my happiness on something outside of me, whether it’s another person, a job, an activity, or the things I buy, I am usually disappointed because they fall short of my expectations.

Not wanting to sound like a bumper sticker here, but happiness is an inside job. It’s coming to terms with yourself and deciding to accept life on life’s terms. All the money, property, or prestige in the world is not going to fuel the engine of happiness within me.  That must come with my own acceptance of where I am in life – how I feel about myself, the things I do, and what I can bring to life, not what life can bring to me. By learning that lesson, I have found that I can be happy regardless of my circumstances. So the solution, I have found, is to simply decide to be happy. It really is that simple.

So, what does all this have to do with the Christmas season? Not much, really. The internal components I am referring to relate to life in general, whether it’s Christmas Eve or National Dance Like a Chicken Day (May 14th in case you were wondering.)

You can decide to be happy this Christmas and be a positive influence to those around you. I know some people take prescribed medicines for clinical depression. By all means, take your meds, but at the same time be responsible and do the other things that promote healing. What it comes down to is making the decision to heal, to be whole – to find some peace amidst the turmoil of daily living.

Is it easy? Not in the least. It’s one of the hardest things to do. But, if I’m going to have any serenity in life I’m the one that has to put it there. There’s too many negative influences at play to leave my mental well-being to chance. I can’t tell anyone how to do it. They have to find what works for them. For me, I found it in the service of others – putting my needs aside and being available when opportunities for service arrive in my path. I’m one of those guys that believes everything, good and bad, happens for a reason. My part in it is to be open-minded and do the right thing when it’s before me.

So, in spite of whatever is going on as we transition into the holiday season, don’t put someone else in charge of your happiness. Disappointment is the likely outcome. Take charge of your life and find the happiness within. It’s there – trust me.

Oh, and Happy Fruitcake Day! (December 27)

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. ~Benjamin Franklin