A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Follow the route of happiness

First of all: Happy New Year to everyone celebrating Chinese New Year’s Day! And to everyone else, too! I feel this is a good day to think about New Year’s resolutions again, since for many international students who have been arriving these days, a new year starts quite literally: a new phase of your life, living in a new town, with new friends and possibly on the way to get a new view on the world! How awesome!

Happy year of the horse! (according to the Chinese calendar)  I met this horse in the Cronesteyn park.

Happy year of the horse (according to the Chinese calendar)! I met this horse in the Cronesteyn park.

In her lovely post One Hundred Happy Days!, Gemma recently already posted about her resolutions for 2014: Bring more happiness in your and other peoples’ lives! That is a fantastic intention, and I think it doesn’t harm to talk about this once more. Do you also intend to become a happier person in the new year? Well, here is the good news: You are in the perfect town for this!

As I cannot emphasise often enough, Leiden is a town that can constantly surprise you. Some random (probably rainy) day last autumn I was sitting in one of my favourite cafés, Borgman&Borgman, and got a fortune cookie with my coffee. The cookies were freshly baked and had a lovely little message (“If it feels like everything is resisting, think anew!”). As I found out, the café took part in the geluksroute, the route of happiness/luck. This project follows the life-rule that “Happiness is only real, when shared”, and takes place once a year in Leiden, Haarlem and Amsterdam. Many cafés, restaurants, shops, people and organisations take part and offer a variety of happiness-experiences: free hugs, yoga, flowers, messages and massages, cakes, and many other things. 

If it feels like everything is resisting, think anew!

If it feels like everything is resisting, think anew!

And last weekend, surprisingly, I came across the geluksroute again! I escaped my books and studies for an afternoon to go for a walk with a friend. We went to Cronesteyn, a lovely polderpark just outside the centrum of Leiden, which I can just highly recommend to everyone who is craving some green and silence once in a while. As soon as the weather gets nicer I will go there again to take some pictures for you. A walk with a good friend is already quite a happiness-bringing thing, but it got better: We stumbled upon a mini-geluksroute-event!

smiling for more happiness

smiling for more happiness

They offered Reiki and massages in this caravan next to the tea room.

They offered Reiki and massages in this caravan next to the tea room.

Around and within the ‘tea room’ (I like that it doesn’t call itself café) De tuin van de smid, the whole day was dedicated to “happiness-tasting” (geluksproeverij), with readings, meditations, world music and many other workshops. I think activities like these are such a lovely reminder that it is so important to care for your own and each others well-being. One way to think about this is the “one minute of nothing” practice that was suggested on a little card attached to a green chair that stood in the middle of the path towards the tea room. You were supposed to take a seat and make a little “film of nothing” for one minute – and “maybe you will discover something new about yourself and the world”.

#1minuutniks (happiness project by Katja Linders)

#1minuutniks (happiness project by Katja Linders)

I followed the invitation and took a little video; and now I would like to pass the invitation on and ask you to watch it and during this one minute think about what you can actually and actively do to be a happier person and to make other people happy in the new year, which always starts today!


P.S.: I just noted that this year’s geluksroute of Haarlem is actually taking place this weekend (1.-2. February)! And the program is promising! So maybe you take a train to Haarlem tomorrow and are inspired to “collect moments, not things”.

Rainbow on Leiden's Townhall

Rainbow on Leiden’s Townhall

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2014 by in Anna Frederike, Culture, Leisure, Nature and tagged , , , , .

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