Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Recipe For Happiness: $2.99, a Loaf of Bread, and a Day With The Ducks.

Much of what we do at Rosanna and what I talk about on this blog is with the intention of exploring ways to help us live well and happily in the world. However, living within the constraints of this recession, we have all had to reassess what it means to live well. Lately, I've been thinking about this a lot. For inspiration, I've revisited my own childhood when times were simpler and slower and having fun didn't require spending a large amount of money, or any money at all.

Time and time again I seem to return to the same theme. Cultivating happiness and peace, often times means taking time to enjoy small pleasures that don't cost a thing, like taking a walk in nature...or feeding the ducks.

Last weekend I was out with my family for a stroll through Fremont, one of our favorite Seattle neighborhoods. We blazed through our window shopping faster than expected, and were left with nothing "to do." Again, I thought back to the things I loved doing as a child...playing make believe games for hours, exploring the natural world in a pack of neighborhood kids, or dancing in the living room around my parents to the smooth sounds of Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66. I wanted to do something that would elicit that same feeling of simple delight for my family. Then I had an idea.

We went to the grocery store and bought the cheapest/healthiest loaf of bread we could find. Then we walked over to the canal and looked around for some ducks. When we found some, we sat down and got to work on the bread. At the risk of sounding like a geriatric, I have to say that the hour we spent with the ducks was the best hour of our day. We laughed together watching the ducks interact with their different personalities, that made up the dynamic of their flock. As silly as it seems, just spending an hour as a family feeding the ducks was a sweet experience that made us feel closer, happier, and more peaceful.

It's quite the revelation, no? You don't need to spend large amounts of money to be entertained. You don't need a day at the spa to relax and you don't need to go on an expensive vacation to have quality family time. All you need is a loaf of bread and some ducks.

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