‘Do you think you are really happy?’

Whenever it feels like a dark day, remember that true light comes from within

“Do you think you are really happy?”

I was touched by the question from a young boy to his weary mother, in a film I saw this week.

She was living a good life: working, running a household, raising a son. Was she happy? Probably not. Did she want to confront that? Definitely not.

How is it that we get so caught up in ‘life’ that we lose touch with what makes us truly happy? How often do we stop and focus on what really matters to us?

So I’ve been doing exactly that for the past three weeks – meditating and journalling for at least an hour a day on what really matters to me. Who do I commit to be in this world and, most importantly, why?

This is where I’ve arrived: all that matters is joy.

Sound glib? Sound too obvious?

After three weeks, it feels like both of those things to me too. But it also feels magical and enormously freeing.

It’s allowed me to deep-dive into what, therefore, is essential to me. What brings me joy? Here is the juice:

  • Being present. All I need to experience joy is right here, right now, in every moment. If I look out the window right now at the grey sky and the falling rain, I can appreciate my cosy home, my warm clothes and the peace and comfort of sitting here, working quietly at my laptop, letting the words flow.
  • Creativity – I find joy in using my creative talents and creative thinking. Anything from writing a blog post to designing my kinder life. 
  • Connection – I’m inspired not simply by being with people, but by connecting with people: having conversations that matter,  being fully present to those conversations, offering and receiving ideas, insights, and love.
  • Kindness‘All that I give is given to myself’*.  Every time I give a smile, even if it’s not returned, I give myself a wave of joy. It’s the same with a hug or a complement. It’s the same with volunteering my time and with making a donation.

What it’s not: My joy isn’t in money, career ‘success’, status or job title, my latest accomplishment, or pushing myself to achieve more (as I was starting to see in my last blog post). Joy isn’t in conformity with what others expect of me, who I think I should be or what I should do. It isn’t in conversations or relationships that lack depth or authenticity. And it isn’t in reliving the past or worrying about the future.

I’ve also been revisiting my values over the past few weeks, and one thing that has struck me is how aligned my ‘joy juice’ is with my five core values: kindness, contribution, self-growth, freedom, calm.

And that makes me let out a sigh of relief …. Ahhhhhhhhhh 🙂

It took me three weeks of mindfulness, meditation and journalling to get here. It feels bleedingly obvious, and it feels like a breakthrough. And that tells me I’ve hit the sweet spot.

Now my challenge, and my opportunity, is to create my kinder life in a way that fully aligns with that.

I’m not at the ‘plan on a page’ yet – but when I get there, whatever I commit to do, it will bring me joy, and others joy. It will require a commitment to presence, creativity, connection and kindness. And I am so totally up for that!

Expect to see me directing my energy towards igniting joy for myself and others in a way that creates social value; and for presence, creativity, connection and kindness to be visible elements in either what I do or how I do it.

So I’m on the record now with my commitment – and next is how to get there.

There are a million things I could do to deliver on my purpose and I have some ideas. I definitely don’t have all the answers. If you care about this stuff too, and it sparks ideas for you, please share your thoughts here.

Maybe you don’t care about igniting joy like I do. I’d really love to hear what’s important to you too!

The big question I want to leave you with is this: are you clear about what you care about and why? And do you live each day in a way that is consistent with that? My hope is that you do.

If you’re not there today, remember that every day is a do-over. And the light to lead you there is inside of you.

Yours with joy and purpose,



  • The movie reference is from 20th Century Women, screening in Wellington as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival. A beautiful story of life, love, struggles and freedom in Southern California in the 1970s.
  • I’ve been following Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Desire and Destiny mediation and journalling programme. It’s 20 minutes a day of guided meditation followed by questions to prompt your journalling. It’s been super helpful.
  • ‘All that I give is given to myself’ is lesson #1 from Gerald G Jampolsky MD’s book Love is Letting Go of Fear, a little gem of personal transformation.
  • The quote at the top of this post is unattributed. It was from a bundle of about 40 quotes from colleagues that I received as a gift when I left my job to begin my kinder life – all in individually sealed envelopes to open on days I need some supportive words or inspiration. I just happened to open this one today, and thought it was perfect. (Thank you to whoever it is from!)
  • Please leave a comment before you go. I love hearing other perspectives 🙂
  • If you know anyone else who would benefit from this post, please share. Sharing is cool. Thank you 🙂

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