Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy All The Time

I own my judgment around those who pursue happiness… to me it seems hedonistic, narcissistic, and addictive… take a happy pill, get an adrenaline rush, live like it’s forever Saturday night and life is a party. So, when a friend suggested I read a book titled, “What Happy People Know”* I scoffed. He laughed. And then I read it.

My cynical critic was online as I cracked the first chapters. The author talked about evolution like it was scientific fact and made all kinds of unsupported assertions about the human condition... it was easy to put the book into the category of “feel good fluff.” I kept reading.

And then he began to explore the biological and biochemical realities of our brain structure and system, quoting legitimate research on emotional responses and brain chemistry. I was hooked.

Two quotes resonated:

“Contemporary fear almost always fits into one of two categories: fear of not having enough and fear of not being enough. Having enough and being enough are the two factors that best ensure survival in the modern world, so fears about them are rooted to the core of the neurological fear system. They’re as deep as the fear of death...”

“…The antidote for fear is love… And the purest form of love is appreciation.”

So, he had me. He scientifically described a condition that I have long suspected… that fear and love cannot occur simultaneously. And that the surest way to move from fear is to appreciate. And when we appreciate, we are tapping into the joy of who we are and who we were created to be. And that makes me happy.

*Dan Baker, PhD, “What Happy People Know” New York: St. Martins Press. 2003

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You Did What?

So, my mom calls the other day to share her latest adventure. Turns out there was a little party store in her town in the desert that was for sale. She had known about it for months and it had been like a little a pot of soup cooking... she'd been playing with the idea, adding a little salt, pondering on how it might fit into her life and what she wanted, letting it simmer. And then, she bought it.


Now, I won't give you my mom's age, but you can approximate based on the fact that I'm 50. So, what is she doing buying a store?!? That rents bounce houses and sells pinatas?!?

Well, maybe she's acting on purpose. She knows who she is and who she's not. She's not the grandma ready to sit in the rocking chair. She's vibrant, alive. She desires to be connected with people. And who better to connect with than people throwing a party?

Recently she was reminiscing about the parties we used to throw when I was a kid. Fourth of July was the big event, but there were also halloween parties and pool parties, political parties, and just about any other excuse for a party... even the "Wizard of Oz on our new Color TV Party". I wonder now if she was thinking of the party store when she was reminiscing?

In any event, it's worthy of a post because it begs the question...

How are you acting... and living... on purpose?

Am I Listening?

A while back, someone said to me, “Wow, Vince, you’re such a good listener!”  It made me wonder what it’s like to be a bad listener!  So, I ...