I wear these bracelets everyday: an Alex and Ani Aquarius bracelet or sometimes the A&A initial bracelet my sister-in-law gave me, a silver leaf bracelet I rediscovered from college. It was one of the first pieces of jewelry I bought with my own money at a craft fair one weekend. And finally, my Lisa Leonard "Happiness is Contagious" bracelet, which a friend sent me when I was having a difficult time.
Classes started last week and I wasn't dealing with the stress of it all very well. I spilled coffee all over my countertops and stove; I ran late when I couldn't find a parking spot. I grabbed the wrong shoes and gave myself blisters. But, during my composition class, we were writing about objects that hold meaning for us and I wrote about the bracelet. Here's an excerpt of what I wrote,
We often think about happiness as a kind of goal, something to attain if we do enough x or y or z and that once we achieve it, that's somehow enough. But happiness is a state of being, a feeling, an energy, one you can project out into the world. Everyday, I wear a bracelet that has "happiness is contagious" stamped on it as a reminder that it matters how I begin my day. It matters that I want to be kind, that I treat people I meet with kindness and respect.
A dear friend sent the bracelet to me as a surprise when I was going through a difficult time, trying to figure out if I was in the right place, doing the right thing for my life and career and happiness. At the time, I was anxious, struggling with how to make sense of things changing around me. The bracelet was a message for me then, a word of advice that even in difficult circumstances, I could create a better energy around me, or at the very least, attempt to do so.
I don't know if it worked. I doubt that I was able to change some of the people I came into contact with, and I still struggled to see the good some days. But I do know that wearing the bracelet kept me focused on my actions and energies, rather than just reacting to others.
Today, it's often a gentle reminder, a truth I can hold onto. I rub my fingers across the letters, slide the bracelet around my wrist, and think of all the good things, people and places in my life. And I try to allow that energy to fill me, so it's there when I, or someone else, need it the most.
I read part of what I wrote to my students near the end of class and one of the students remarked, "I'm really excited about this class and the positive environment," which of course, helped me feel so much better about the day and the spilled coffee and running late and the whole craziness that is trying to get used to and create a routine again.
Right now, my sinuses are haywire, my apartment looks like I just moved in and I can't get the smell of the beyond molded squash out of my fridge, but it rained yesterday a much needed rain. I was able to help someone who needed advice. My students are bright and motivated and it's September, which means Fall is surely on its way, which makes me incredibly happy.
What makes you smile today?