Helen Keller’s Secret to Happiness

by Marci Shimoff

Imagine being deaf, mute, or blind — or even all three?

Could you be happy? Is it possible?

The brilliant Jean Houston, a renowned philosopher, author, and mystic, shared her insight about this during a lecture I recently attended. One day when Jean was a young girl attending school in New York City, her class went to visit Helen Keller.

After Helen finished giving a moving presentation, she asked the students if they had any questions. As her classmates looked sheepishly at one another, too shy to speak, Jean found herself raising her hand high. Although she had no idea what to say, Jean felt compelled to ask a question of this extraordinary woman who could not speak, talk or see and yet was living such a remarkable life.

Jean walked up to the front of the room, and as Helen’s hand traced Jean’s face to read her lips, she at last blurted a question. “Miss Keller,” Jean asked. “Why are you so happy?”

Helen laughed for a long moment and answered, “Because I live each day as though it were my last. And life, in all its moments, is so full of glory.”

What great wisdom: The only place happiness can ever be found is in this moment.
Of course, we’ve all heard this before. But stop right now and be present with this. Your life, even with all the pressures or challenges you may have, is rich with sights, sounds, feelings, experiences, and opportunities that when you feel them and savor them create a burst of happiness within.

Learn Helen Keller’s secret.

Helen was a master in the art of living in the here and now. As you go about your routine this week, apply her prescription, from an article that originally appeared in The Atlantic in 1933:

I who am blind can give one hint to those who see — one admonition to those who would make full use of the gift of sight: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind. And the same method can be applied to the other senses. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you through the several means of contact which Nature provides.

Happiness exists only in this moment. Whatever you’re doing over the next week — whether spending time with a friend, working late at the office, or waiting in line at the DMV — engage all of your senses and you’ll find that every single moment is alive with the possibility for joy, connection, and happiness.

Marci Shimoff is a celebrated transformational leader and #1 New York Times best-selling author. To learn more of her powerful techniques for establishing deep and authentic happiness and well-being, visit http://www.HappyForNoReason.com/

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