My Karri Hour

Admittedly, I have had an incredibly selfish month. The past 36 days, to be more exact. But I have done this consciously, and cautiously. For the first time in my 23 years, I made the clear choice to allow myself to focus on me, and I began the most incredibly journey of #100happydays

Now, I need no reminder of the fact that this movement is the exact opposite of that, focused on giving and connecting and inspiring others to be just as outwardly thoughtful and considerate. But that is the funny thing that I have learned already through this past month: when you begin to learn how to truly love yourself, how to praise yourself, to focus on encouraging and building and strengthening your own soul, you inspire others to do the same. Caring for ourselves is something so over-looked these days, and finding true happiness within our own hearts, unto ourselves and without the influence or ignition of any other individual, it is the most rewarding, self-empowering, genuine, gratifying content that I have ever known. And others see that, and they feel that, and they SUPPORT that, and they truly want nothing more for you than to continue being happy, each and every day. It is such a wild (and unfortunately rare) occurrence these days, to find people who are so happy for you just being happy for yourself. It is magnificent.

As an English teacher by profession and a writer by nature, I have been conducting this journey as somewhat of a study, making it the sole focus of my life, and truly letting it transform me. I have been blogging, documenting every single high and low of each of these happy days. I have been blown away by the number of readers near and far who have been following along and similarly inspired to take the journey inwards and uncover what makes them happy with themselves. It is through this recognition that I have so gratefully discovered what I’m doing here isn’t entirely selfish at all: it is simply shining a light on an independent focus that not enough of us take the time to make. As the website states, “71% of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason”.

These people simply did not have time to be happy. And while that seems outrageous, I have come to learn that it is actually entirely understandable. It requires a conscious, continuous effort to recognize happiness on a daily basis; it is literally a skill that must be worked at and acquired. And this is what people don’t take the time to understand: you have to take responsibility and accountability for your own positivity, and only then will your soul shift your mind to eventually make that happiness a natural reflex. I understand why people think they don’t have the time to dedicate themselves to this… But no matter how recognizable that excuse is, nothing makes it justifiable. I decided one day last week that one of my #100happydays was going to be the active effort to spread this awareness, to try to instigate peoples’ shifting souls, to inspire individuals to stop what they are doing, for one brief moment each and every day, and acknowledge (physically write down!) one positive moment from their day, no matter how fleeting (it is incredible how the silver linings begin jumping out at you, after no time at all). I transformed my #100happyday into a Karri Hour.

karrihourI constructed a dozen of these small jars, each containing this same hand-written instruction, with a few additional blank pages to accompany the note tucked inside. I distributed the jars around town (my place of work, the GoodLife Fitness locker room, Williams Coffee Pub, a corner bus stop, etc.), hoping the tiny title ‘Positivity’ might attract some passer-by (the way a message-in-a-bottle might elate a young child on the beach). I made one for my mother. I made one for my best friend. And I posted this photograph on my Instagram page. Suddenly I began receiving notifications, inboxes, tweet mentions, Instagram tags, from complete strangers inspired to take on this small daily task themselves (one of their photographs is also posted below). I was overwhelmed by how many people wanted to take responsibility and make the effort required to be happy, every single day.

It may be our God-given right, but that does not mean we are allowed to expect or assume it to come naturally or effortlessly or even easily. We construct our own happiness, we make decisions every single day all day long to inspire or deflate that happiness. Therefore, we must take responsibility and accountability for it. As one of my favourite authors Elizabeth Gilbert puts it,

I think it is important to account for the times you are smiling, to keep track of this, to be aware of it, to work not to lose it. You have to stay conscious of your happiness; appreciate it. People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck that will only sometimes descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it […] You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness, forever, to stay afloat on top of it… (Eat Pray Love)

While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.

Go forth, and be happy. Do it for yourselves, and do it for Karri: the happiest individual I ever had the pleasure of sharing my heart with.


Kelsey Oke

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