Finding Your Own North Star

After my last post (Happiness), I received some very lovely and thought – provoking comments. I would like to share some of the highlights throughout this post. Thank you all for your beautiful, thoughtful responses.

The pictures may seem random, but in the end you will see why they are in this post.

When I turned 60, I created a DecadesWalk for myself. My cousin Jessica,
Aug 13 088from New Zealand (who helped make it a ceremony), my cousin Mike, and my husband Bill witnessed my story and my commitments to self for my 70th decade. The main theme of the decade for me, is Happiness.

Throughout my life, I have experienced many bouts of happiness, but to be mindful of Happiness as a state of being is another thing altogether. I used to depend on happiness triggers to be happy.  I thought there had to be something that would make me happy. Now I know this is not so.

There seem to be many levels to happiness.

I enjoy the FEELINGS of happiness that happen because of certain events like photographing cloud reflections in pools, but Happiness as a state of being involves choice, as inspired by the Dalai Lama’s words quoted in my last post.  In this post, when referring to the State of Happiness, I will use a capital “H”, but not for the feeling of happiness.


First Light

Michele, in the comments wrote, “Everyone seems to have their own north star to get to the place of happiness within.”  She then speaks wisely about the choice, and ways to stay in it.  She also acknowledges that “whatever we can accomplish here is a real miracle, given the complexity of our lives,” and she ends with,” Happiness is a really big deal!”

It really is a big deal! It seems so simple, and it is, but hard to stay centered and balanced in the world today. I think we – or I will speak for myself – I need the “happy becauses” to juice or boost my inner peace, and I am, of course, susceptible to the “unhappy or upset becauses,” which disturb my peace as well. These upsets, I can heal with love and self compassion as they appear.

I know that for myself, saying “I am” and being aware of my breath can bring me back to the present moment and in touch with my Happiness. Tai chi, meditation and prayer help me immensely, as does mindful walking in nature.  I am healing those things that mess with my Happiness, like fears that we won’t have enough water this year to keep the beavers alive, or about all the species that have disappeared because of climate change, or horrific events in the world.


I do know that the more inner peace, bliss and love I have in the silence within, the Happier my Being is.

Kris said, “Thank you for pointing out the relationship between mindfulness in the moment and happiness, and for pointing out that happiness is not about _____. Happiness is.”


I was melancholy for a lot of my life, due to circumstances and my unconscious belief that I was a victim of them. I did have many bouts of happiness during those periods, and I think even during periods of depression I would have told anyone who asked, that I was happy. I think even back then, I felt Happiness within that was beyond “because.” I didn’t realize at the time that staying in that place was a conscious choice.


I know that the more I choose Happiness, the more Peace I bring into my thoughts and the more Love I bring into my heart; the more I am able to recognize and appreciate beauty and happiness.

Jessica wrote about a time she saw the Dalai Lama.  He came onto the stage and sat down, and just started to chuckle. The audience followed suit. Then he started really laughing, which started everyone else laughing.  They all laughed harder and harder, until he just got up and left. Jessica loved that message of happiness.  She also talked about seeing the beauty in people and being totally immersed and present in their beauty in the moment.

I believe that the outer world is a reflection of inner reality, so to me, Jessica – you have that beauty in your own heart, or you wouldn’t see it in others. You see your inner beauty and Happiness reflected in their beautiful eyes, like a “Namaste” moment.

DAS 0029-H

Photograph by Carlos Eyles

Randy said, “sharing time with friends manifests happiness.  My key, or path to happiness is a deep gratitude for the smallest, simplest expressions of life, nature, kindness, sunrises, rain, tears, laughter, life.”

What you said, Randy very much resonates with me too.

What stood out for Sam was the Dalai Lama saying, “Right now!  This is my happiest moment.”

The last comment I want to mention is from Nancy. “I treasure the memory of 2 little girls walking in the woods together playing in the stream, being in the moment with the nature around us.”

That other little girl was me, and my Happiness within started then, as a child being present in nature.

When you engage in the vibration of Happiness, it attracts more happiness. Alignment with Soul Happiness equals love and peace. Fear and attachment is the antithesis of love and peace.


Photograph by Carlos Eyles

Seeking Happiness is a sacred pathway to Soul purpose. As the Dalai Lama says, “Happiness is the purpose of life.”

I love the happiness triggers, but have a deeper Love for the inner State of Happiness, as it is more lasting and dependable, even though paradoxically harder in which to be aware, mindful and present.

A few of my happiness triggers that remind me to be more present in Happiness are these:

  • Being in Nature
  • Laughing ducks – well it sounds like laughter
  • Duck butts, and their little webbed feet kicking beside them
  • Dolphin squeaks, whirrs and clicks
  • Whale songs
  • Goose music
  • Water sounds – crashing waves, lapping waves, trickling streams, loud waterfalls, roaring rivers10 08 074 - Copy
  • Beauty – nature beauty, music, art, dance, peoples’ inner beauty
  • The ability to feel deeply even though sometimes it hurts so much, it is hard to bear.
  • Kindness – interspecies rescue and relationship, as well as random acts of kindness – witnessing and participating
  • Creating
  • Singing at the top of my lungs in my car alone with the windows rolled up
  • Singing with friends
  • Laughing so hard and out of control with friends that it hurts (no need for further abdominal exercise that day!)
  • Sharing tears; ones of sadness and ones of joy
  • Appreciating simple things, like bubble patterns on water or a grasshopper on a blade of grass, or the patterns in an oak leaf.

Photograph by Brett Housego

  • Mindful walking
  • Seeing wildlife of any kind
  • Focusing on gratitude
  • Purple mountain majestyDSCN2028
  • Breathing deeply
  • The pair of mallards on the pond right now
  • Feeling music so much in my body that I have to dance
  • The smell of this jasmine tea right now and eating Fig Newtons with it, and thinking about how Bill’s step son called them “big new ones” when he was little.
  • Rising before the sunrise to watch the day begin – first light on the pond
  • Hiking alone, with a loved one and/or with Mattie.
  • Spending time with friends, old and new.
  • Seeing people happy, especially those I love (though not attached to that!).

This list is endless, for which I am grateful. The more my inner state is Happy, the more I get to experience the “happy becauses.”

What is your North Star for finding Happiness within?


32 thoughts on “Finding Your Own North Star

  1. Duck butts sticking out of the water. Now, if that doesn’t make you laugh, something’s seriously wrong.
    Love the difference between Happiness and happiness.
    You make me happy. I make me Happy.


    • Right?! I know, especially when they are really splashing hard with their little feet! Too cute.
      I like that, Kris. You make me happy. I make me Happy. ❤


  2. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful!
    Yes, happiness is really important.
    My North Star is a 180 degree inward meditation. Awareness looking directly back at itself, as described here in the 4min video,
    This is where I find first peace and then quiet joy emerging.
    Actually, inner peace and the resulting quiet joy were shown as really important to me. Not just because they feel so good. But also because they are like a magic wand.
    When in this state, then manifestation happens effortlessly. For we are connected to our real being.
    So, peace and joy are not just another emotional state. They are our real being.


  3. I Love all these Musings on Happiness! I feel utterly blessed in that I mostly feel Happy…..and Mostly I’ve felt that way all my life. Feels like I must have been cultivating the State of Happiness you talk about for lifetimes, because I’m sure I was born with it. So I guess my conclusion is that that the State of Happiness Can be cultivated. And Wow, is it worth it! Thanks, MerB! What a Great Thing to Call In for your Eldress years! Love you, Darlin’


    • Thanks Mishie. Yes, since I have known you, I have noticed a deep Happiness and Peace within. Your heart is so open and loving. I agree that Happiness can be cultivated and grown deeper and deeper. The choice is certainly worth it in every moment. I love you too, Mishie.


  4. Another great post, thanks for sharing. My mother is a naturally happy person, despite having had many disappointments in her life and painful arthritis from an early age. She finds pleasure in the little things in life, conversations with friends, watching the birds on her bird table, precious time with her 9 year old grandson, all animals, beautiful scenery, etc. She is an inspiration to me!


    • She sounds lovely, Cate. I am sure you are an inspiration to her as well. Finding pleasure in the little things in life – the moments – is a good way to find Happiness. Thank you for commenting. I love hearing from you in the comments and reading about your travels and insights in your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An absolutely perfect continuation to your last post. I enjoyed this so much and I am much happier now than when I started reading it. Thank you for collating everyone’s comments and adding your touch of magic and wisdom.
    My current North Star for finding Happiness within: Writing 🙂


    • Your writing shows it. There is so much beauty in your words, it makes perfect sense that writing would be your North Star. The Happiness comes out from inside and greets you in return. Thanks for saying what you did about my post. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Mary, your words and wisdom are exactly what the “doctor” ordered. Such a wonderful visualization while recuperating, I am transported to a peaceful place. “Bottoms up” ( duck reference, 😉


    • Oh, Helene. I have been thinking a lot about you lately. I’m glad you liked the duck butts. I hope you are recuperating well. Sending loving, healing LIGHT!!! ❤


  7. Yes, I recieved the blog and it didn’t just disappear! Wonders never cease.
    Thanks for blogging again about happiness. How to be, happy?For me, I think, right now, forgiving myself………and maybe tomorrow too….. and the next day too…..and after that …..
    what a weird thing to say………but I can’t seem to change anything but myself right now. (I hope!)


    • I’m glad it didn’t disappear!
      Seems like all we can really do is heal and change ourselves within. Every time we make a personal shift; every time we heal or uplift some aspect within, we add that healing energy to the planet. It changes the world around us. As we apply that love, healing and compassionate self forgiveness to the places that hurt – letting go of self judgements, loving the child within, we contribute to global healing. Love is always the answer. Using the power of Love and self forgiveness, we can offer healing to the world. Thank you for your openness, Michele.


  8. Happiness is coming upon a blog (yours) and thinking if I didn’t know better, I’d think we were the same person. And yes, yes, and yes again on all of the things which bring you to Happiness. Whale/Orca song, Geese music! (oh my, there is nothing like it, except for all of the other things like it). Just being out in the woods, or in my backyard, sitting quietly and becoming so still that dragon flies land upon my journal and set a spell. This is the year of ‘The Lovers’ for me, which is all about following my passions. I’ve been doing that, and it brings me to the most wonderful places where kindred spirits reside – like right here in wordpress. Thank you for spreading the Happiness!


    • What a very nice comment to see on this cold windy morning. All the geese are quietly hiding out of the wind behind cattails. It is always nice to meet kindred spirits, who love nature. Thanks for stopping by!


  9. Once again, wonderful observations, and comment on, really, the overwhelming goal/pursuit of people everywhere. Sometimes happiness is just surviving tough trials. Sometimes, an abundance, of the things you value. I have “happy waves” just sitting in the yurt sometimes, appreciating the shelter, but as well, the feeling the world is right there. Thanks, Mary, for sharing those moments we all need to be centered, grounded, grateful. Love, and peace, Randy&Trish


  10. You know I keep coming back to this post. I “liked” it when I first read it, and I just seem to stumble back in it. It’s a rare post that I read more than once. What draws me back is the title.. the North Star… and each time I come I find another titbit of inspiration.
    This morning’s inspiration was the reminder that we can choose our emotions. Even during times we feel sad, we can chose to not feel sad despite the circumstances and remind ourselves of all the good things in life to feel happy by.
    thank you for this post – it offers timeless inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Debbie! I am so glad. I do believe happiness is a choice. It is nice to move into gratitude in the moment when we find ourselves in a bad mood. I also believe that sadness may be trying to tell us something – to bring something to our attention that needs healing. I am big on self compassion. So, I guess I would humbly suggest not to choose to replace the sadness with things to be happy about without listening and loving yourself first. I appreciate what you said more than you know. Thank you, Debbie.


      • You’re welcome. I agree with you – indeed, its about processing the sadness and appreciating oneself instead of taking ‘victim’ mentality. so many times people say to me “you are so positive” but they do not realise that “being positive” is a choice, a constant endeavour, to be not overwhelmed by the appalling amounts of negativity in the world but to chose to take positive action. Its difficult at first but after a while becomes second nature.
        being in gratitude creates balance in the world and draws its own rewards. our personal health is so linked to our emotional state.
        i must say though that coming from a tropical climate, constant grey skies really depresses me. i know there is a scientific explanation for that – S>A>D – seasonal afflicted disease – but even so, sometimes one just has to accept that for whatever reason those emotions are there – its how we chose to process them and live with them that is important.
        Oh dear, I seem to have written a marathon. Have a lovely day/evening, Debbie

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. That would be hard – coming from a tropical climate and experiencing grey skies. The pollution alone would be depressing! I love your posts. China is a place I have never been drawn to, so it is nice to see it through your beautiful spirit.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey Mary,

    Like Tennyson’s babbling brook, I made a sudden sally, and sparkled out amongst the fern to bicker down your valley…

    Perhaps it was in the ‘orient hues’ of First Light, or in the iridescent flare of rainbows lifted like a veil from diamond encrusted snow. Perhaps it was in the crescendo of misted sound echoing through the trees as I approached the tumbling falls, or in the feint whisper of melting pack ice splitting and cracking beneath my feet. Perhaps it was in the passage of passing clouds shimmering in translucent pools, or in the purple weave and wave of folded mountains distant on the weighted horizon. Perhaps it was in the earth, the forest, the rocks, the sky, the insects and animals. Or perhaps it was just in the wonder of all of these beguiling things…

    ~ The Inward Morning ~ by ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

    Packed in my mind lie all the clothes
    Which outward nature wears,
    And in its fashion’s hourly change
    It all things else repairs.

    In vain I look for change abroad,
    And can no difference find,
    Till some new ray of peace uncalled
    Illumes my inmost mind.

    What is it gilds the trees and clouds,
    And paints the heavens so gay,
    But yonder fast-abiding light
    With its unchanging ray?

    Lo, when the sun streams through the wood,
    Upon a winter’s morn,
    Where’er his silent beams intrude,
    The murky night is gone.

    How could the patient pine have known
    The morning breeze would come,
    Or humble flowers anticipate
    The insect’s noonday hum–

    Till the new light with morning cheer
    From far streamed through the aisles,
    And nimbly told the forest trees
    For many stretching miles?

    I’ve heard within my inmost soul
    Such cheerful morning news,
    In the horizon of my mind
    Have seen such orient hues,

    As in the twilight of the dawn,
    When the first birds awake,
    Are heard within some silent wood,
    Where they the small twigs break,

    Or in the eastern skies are seen,
    Before the sun appears,
    The harbingers of summer heats
    Which from afar he bears.


    DN – 30/03/2015

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dewin. You write so eloquently. I am glad you came to take a walk with me. You seem to be able transport yourself to places, and experience them on many levels – perhaps why you write with such radiance, and create with such depth. Thank you for the Thoreau poem. I have read it several times in the last couple of days – each line like a truffle to be savored.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hey Mary,

    Thank you 🙂 But I cannot take credit for what is penned when each word I write is drawn from within your thoughts and each pathway I wander a memory alive in your living heart…so thank you for sharing the insightful charm of your Spirited company and the bounty of nature’s glorious trail…a wander through the special places of your extended soul, with each step and with every stride deepening an oasis of peace and serenity amidst a world unwittingly drowning in the aridity of humankind’s artificial glow…

    Please write more Mary and share further the beautiful vision of your captivating world and fervent inner garden.

    Our paths will undoubtedly cross again soon…I’ll keep a look out for the light depress of your tracks across the emerald blue of Earth’s vibrant blog-sphere.

    Take care Mary…


    DN – 31/03/2015

    P.S: Enjoy the truffles…I’m told they taste best at Easter 🙂


    • Hey Dewin,
      Thank you for your encouragement. It is my intention to deepen “an oasis of peace and serenity amidst a world unwittingly drowning in the aridity of humankind’s artificial glow,” and to show people who may not have a connection to Nature what we have and what we are all losing.
      I keep going back to what you said the other day, “I like to contemplate the work of others and discover the patterns, images, and narratives that fold themselves loosely between thoughts. I look to the spaces between words for insight…for these are the places in people’s thoughts where often they pause to breathe with the mind and find poignancy in the momentary stillness that arrives at the turn of every considered word.” These are beautiful words.
      In my work, I do this – I read between the lines with the help of the eye contact, energy shifts, tone of voice and body language of my clients. The way you put it is inspiring to me, not only for my writing, but my work as well.
      It is a perceptive and intuitive person who can find himself sitting between someone else’s thoughts, where they pause to breathe, and gaining insight from that place, especially without the help of feeling their vibration.
      You are very generous, gifting me and other bloggers with your heartfelt words. I am grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Dewin and Mary,
        It has been soul-lifting and calmingly peaceful to read these beautiful exchanges of words between you – and on this, one of my favourite blog posts. Your conversation has given me a chance to come back and reread these wonderful words about choosing our own emotional state of being – no matter what.
        This conversation has been poetry- thank you for sharing your generous souls in these comments.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Debbie. I love that you come back to this post.
        Dewin has been “soul-lifting” for me as well.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. Pingback: Light of Love | Walking my path: Mindful wanderings in nature

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