Sunday, 19 September 2010

Happiness Is A Beautiful View

In my line of business, the spiritual and new age industry, happiness and the pursuit of fulfillment is big business. I only have to glance through this month's copy of Kindred Spirit to see a myriad of ads offering healing, spells, readings, classes, retreats, coaching and regressions all dedicated to helping the recipient find themselves and their path in life. Reading the National Trust magazine I spotted an article entitled 'Simple Pleasures' which was an interesting read. They had asked a selection of fairly highbrow people, what their simple pleasure was. Quite an interesting variety: knitting, cooking, clever twists of grammar (whatever floats your boat!!), a scenic place, architecture, a new experience. The article quotes research by the New Economics Foundation which says that well being 'combines five factors: good relationships with friends and family; physical activity, particularly outside; alertness to the world around, especially its beauty; continued learning of anything from a skill to a subject; and last, altruism'. No surprise really then that illnesses like depression are now being diagnosed in children as young as 3, with family relationships more under stress than ever, with extended families often living quite a distance from each other; outside activities on the decline thanks to computers and television; connection with the world around seems to be unnecessary as kids (and many adults) immerse themselves in computer games and chat rooms hour after hour and as for altruism- forget it, although the schools seem to be trying to educate our children now how to be a good member of a community and the novel idea of considering others feelings as well as your own.

For me, one of the many things that makes me happy is a beautiful view. Before we had children we would regularly escape to a farm cottage tucked away up a rugged hillside in west wales, that had a beautiful panoramic view over the valley below. I used to love to see how the sky and fields changed with the light and the weather, it gave me such inner peace and I always cried when we had to leave. Now, with young children, rain and mud aren't so appealing, but I did pay extra this summer for a caravan with a sea view, so once again I could gaze at the ever changing view.

This need of mine for a view makes moving house very difficult too, we live opposite an open field with trees and whilst not the prettiest view in the world, it beats looking out at other houses. So whenever we consider moving and I look at what we would have to sacrifice, unless we win the lottery and can afford the sort of house with the sweeping vistas I crave, I prefer to stay put. And if I feel the need for more scenery I just pop up to Cliveden , our nearest National Trust property, which always has the power to uplift and soothe with its beauty and spectacular views.

West Wales


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