Happiness 3: the Ghana edition

I wrote the next ten additions to my happiness list on an aeroplane, flying to Ghana for a gathering of colleagues from across Africa with a shared vision for people-centred land governance: the International Land Coalition Africa‘s Annual Regional Forum and Assembly.

I wrote in my journal that night, “Here I am again, miles above the earth, filled with the usual joy and thrill of being between departing and arriving; suspended in a magical bubble.

I fly towards a new country, with few expectations other than to be surprised by many things that I can’t predict, but wish to simply enjoy as they arise. There are people to meet, things to see and learn, adventures to have and pillows to sleep on I couldn’t imagine if I tried.

Behind me lie my home, my family; friends and spaces I shall enjoy intensely on my return. Ahead lies simply the new, the unexpected.”

And so, my happiness list continues to grow….

  1. Flying towards new adventures.img_8699
  2. Flying home to my beloved family.
  3. Sitting miles above the earth, capturing my thoughts in words.
  4. Seeing how we try and understand or at least express something of our human experience through so many forms of art.
  5. Writing.
  6. Sharing things with my children that have a great deal of meaning for me, particularly from my childhood.
  7. Feeling my chest tight with love.
  8. Going with the flow.
  9. The excitement of a work vision having some concrete steps closer to reality.
  10. Trusting my instincts, and seeing that the trust itself, and the letting go it enables, is often a catalyst.


ghanaI’m writing now from my hotel bed, on the eve of flying home again after a wonderful four days of intense learning, engagement, and connection. The things in my heart as I write that fill me with happiness are:

  1. Exploring some of the colours, scents, sounds and unique experiences of places new to me.accra-gbawe-royal-family
  2. Meeting a wide range of amazing people from diverse countries, some of whom are likely to become and remain friends and connection, some of whom I will probably connect with from time to time, and others who I may never see or speak to again but am so grateful to have met.ilc-africa-2016
  3. Getting back to a sense of balance and certainty after having briefly felt off course.
  4. Catching myself wanting to drive others along with me in a process in my own excitement and desire to move forward quickly, and noticing in time to be able to slow down and keep the process moving forward collectively without pushing or dragging others with me.
  5. Listening to what my body wants, being gentle with myself, and finding relaxed and restful spaces.
  6. The excitement of knowing I’ll be back home in my own bed, with my beloved family, in less than 24 hours.
  7. Exploring new (to me!) local dishes.
  8. Conversation that integrates the personal and professional seamlessly and comfortably, just as the two are intertwined in our experience of life.
  9. Mementoes, particularly ones I can wear that remind me of travels and people I love.
  10. Panoramic views that provide the thrill and beauty of wide perspectives.

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