My year started under happy signs

Text: Markku Holopainen

Foto: Mirjam Adolphi

For me, 2017 started with a trip to Ukraine 2nd to 6th January. I had the opportunity to participate in distributing Christmas gifts from Children’s Embassy to families in Kyiv and in Pisky region.

You could hardly imagine a more pleasant and rewarding content for a trip. The cordial warmth and joy we met in the families was something splendid. So, I have reason to say that my year 2017 started under very happy signs.

Having written the much-used phrase ”under happy signs”, I stopped and thought about what happiness is, in fact. What gives us the feeling of happiness?

The western individualistic cultures tend to connect happiness with winning, achieving, ownership and fulfillment.

In eastern cultures, happiness is mostly connected with good human relationships, togetherness, contact with the natural environment, and small happy moments in everyday life.

About 400 years before the Christian era, Greek philosopher Democritus said: “Happy is he who is not grieved by what he has not, but enjoys what he has.” – A very good idea for us modern people as well. Sadly, many modern people keep pursuing “great happiness” so fiercely that they are not able to enjoy what they already have.

My poem reveals my idea of happiness:


Happiness Turns Up

Pursuing happiness is in vain;

happiness just turns up.

Happiness is not just burning love,

intense emotion, ecstatic sensation.

Happiness is in your life,

it hides in small everyday things.

Happiness is in a child’s laughter,

in the smile of a senior.

Happiness is in the twinkling of the evening star,

in the whisper of a fir tree, in sparkling water.

Happiness is in birdsong,

blooming flowers, roaring waters.

Happiness is in the blue veil of the sky,

in the smell of tar and the ancient sauna.

Happiness is letting your dreams fly,

spending a moment with a friend.

Happiness can turn up anywhere,

if you just stop to find it.


After these thoughts, I am happy to assure the readers of my blog that the few days I spent in Kyiv and Pisky provided ample experiences of happiness for me.

I wish to end by extending my warm thanks to Mirjam and Boas for the arrangements of my visit and the many rewarding discussions about developing our activities.

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