Tuesday. The most hateful day of the week if statistics are right. Logical actually: the memories of the happy weekend are starting to fade. There is an – often painful – Monday in between. And looking forward to the coming weekend is only reserved for real optimists. The happy few. Maybe I am one of them. You can certainly call me “happy” – question of the day: does a Chief Happiness need to be happy? We’ll let this question resonate … you are definitely part of the “few” – aka “unique” – is what people around me say. And since I’m a happy person, I regard this as a compliment!
The Tuesday on which I write these words is a particularly beautiful one. As usual, the day sets off at the crack of dawn with a short walk with my dog. It is exceptionally windy, but we enjoy the fresh air with our noses to the breeze. Truly heart-warming, our mutually mindful walk with my dog regularly seeking eye contact!
A positively vital start of the day. Back home, a savoury mango moment completes my morning routine. As a genuine home carer for my proper well-being, I grant myself this moment, literally and figuratively. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to wash away last night’s taste with a delicious piece of fresh mango in my mouth. Let the vitamins sink in, because I have a challenging day ahead of me: yours truly will give her first international speech today!
But first things first: off to the chiropractor! Because stress held me hostage during my teenage years, my body gave me a very honest barometer: an extremely fragile left ankle. When I feel the pain rising in my ankle, I know that unhealthy stress is piling up in my body. I do what I can to prevent this phenomenon, and I am not too proud to call on help. My chiropractor helps to keep my body healthy. Together, we are a dream team!
I must admit that I cannot pinpoint exactly what I appreciate about my visits to the chiropractor. Maybe it is the treatment itself resulting in relieved muscles, released tension and a lighter body. Maybe it’s the bike ride: surrounded by the city’s buildings like trees in a forest, the bike is the most efficient means of transport; moreover, cycling is really relaxing. Maybe it’s the timing: before the crack of dawn, I cycle through a metropolitan city that still seems to be asleep, and when I cycle back after my treatment, I can sense the wonderful intimate energy of that same city stretching under the early morning blanket. An experience I enjoy time and again with sheer amazement.
Afterwards, I land in the office in time for my very first international performance: an online presentation to a group of CHO’s who are in training in remote Beirut. I talk a mile a minute about my job as Chief Happiness and I explain why I threw the ‘Officer’ overboard in my title. The trainees ask me a lot of inspiring questions and succeed in what many people think is impossible: silencing me.
The question “Is happiness at work on the table when you are in a country at war?” makes me gasp for breath. Honestly: I don’t know. I have never experienced war, which makes me, by definition, happy now that I think about it. But at any given time, it is self-evident to live in a war-free country and does this then still contribute to my happiness? I try not to get lost in the questions, uncertainties and ideas that are taking me by surprise.
“I cannot think of a sensible answer to this question,” I hear myself say, “because I don’t know what a war situation does to a human being. I did experience an economic crisis very consciously and what it taught me is that a lot of warm flowers can grow in a bed of misery. In these moments, humanity can be so rewarding, and people depend on each other in search of understanding, trust and a heart-warming smile.”
A moment of silence ensues. I can feel the warmth of the group radiate from Beirut all the way to Belgium. The flow of words has come to a complete standstill, both at the level of my lips and my brain. And that feels … awesome. It connects us. Deeply. And just when I feel that I might dare to ask them whether they consider my answer to be helpful, a heart-warming applause emanates from the other side. My working day has barely started and already it can’t get any better. Quite an achievement on this statistically most hateful day of the week!