If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

I have been crying a lot lately. I can’t help it. I’m an emotional person. Who wouldn’t shed tears when witnessing events as they unfold and devolve? Poverty, disease, wars, climate change, inequality, murder and mayhem. Does it ever stop? And why is it that, as a race, we keep making the same mistakes?

The smarter we get with technology and innovation, the dumber and more vicious we become. It’s outrageous.

You’re probably wondering why I don’t stop reading the papers and turn the television off. I probably should. But as a news junkie, that’s simply not an option for me. Better to know and cry along in empathy for the suffering, grow angry and frustrated over the senselessness and stupidity, than to remain uninformed.

Now I’m proselytizing. And that’s not good either. In a recent CBC article Pope Francis listed the top ten tips for happiness and was quoted as saying, “the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes.” I agree with him. As a result my rants rarely touch the religious sphere. I keep those thoughts to myself.

I agree with the Pope’s ten tips though. And being the pushy broad that I am at times, I feel a need to add a few more. They are not exactly tips. These are the things in my life I’m grateful for. They help me cope with the torrent of negative news.

Alpine meadows, mountains, oceans, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, the garden, butterflies that hover close to my face and twinkling stars that make me think of my mom. All these things demand that I pay attention. And there are other things to be grateful for too: love, friendship, health, purpose, reading, honesty, the freedom to voice my opinions (Who can tell how long this freedom will last under the current Conservative government? Sorry, I had to get that dig in.), and being heard.

So even as I weep for the injustices I read about, I’m also grateful for the ability to feel, see and not turn away. I’m thankful my compassion calls me to action. I discuss issues in my blog, with my friends and family, write letters to the editor, sign petitions, protest. I wish I could do more. But for now, being grateful helps me deal with it all, reminds me of all the reasons I’m happy. It’s great to have the reminder.

So what makes you happy? Pondering that question as I have of late helps. Believe me. My mother used to say these words all the time when she tried to convince me of something. In repeating them here and thinking of her, this memory gives me another reason to smile.

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