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What Is Happiness?

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Several years ago now I attended a global healing conference in Bali, Indonesia.  One of the speakers was the Finance Minister from Bhutan.  He spoke about Bhutan’s GNH or Gross National Happiness Index versus the Gross National Product/Gross Domestic Product we have based on an entirely different paradigm/frame of reference.


In this mostly Buddhist country you will see a series of hand-painted signs doting the side of the winding mountain road that runs between the airport and the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Instead of commands to cut speed or check mirrors, they offer the traveler a series of life-affirming mantras. “Life is a journey! Complete it!” says one, while another urges drivers to, “Let nature be your guide”. Another, standing on the edge of a perilous curve, simply says: “Inconvenience regretted.”


The Finance Minister told us that since 1971, Bhutan has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.  


In other words there is a belief that well being should take preference over material growth.  As our world collapses under the breakdown of financial systems, social injustice and wide-scale environmental destruction and degradation we may need to take this way of perceiving life under serious consideration!  In fact, let it be the operating system from which we live our lives!!


What is happiness anyway?  I could go on for pages and philosophize about the answer to this question, but when it comes right down to it everyone finds the answer within themselves and in everyday lift moments.  


So, I won’t go on for pages, but instead am giving you a video to watch that I would like to encourage you to share with many others.  After watching it (and wiping the tears away – have kleenex ready) perhaps you will be inspired to do a similar practice.  We couldn’t see the people on the other end of the phone, but I bet they were just as similarly affected as those we could see.
Would love your comments on this one!  Especially if you try it out….

https://www.upworthy.com/scientists-discover-one-of-the-greatest-contributing-factors-to-happiness-youll-thank-me?c=upw9

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by Richard Cawte, Ph.D.

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Learning How To Dance In The Rain

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…
it’s about learning how to dance in the rain”  ~Unknown Author

Dear Richard,

Something very powerful happened to me last week.  This “something” has been unfolding itself over the last month or more in a rather “stormy” time when I am TRUSTING that my bank account will soon see streams of income flowing in based on the heart and creative centered actions that I am taking one step at a time.

Instead of contracting into scarcity it was my decision to change my mindset – as you Richard so eloquently spoke of in your last post – and to “dance in the rain” instead.  My dancing had to do with a regular “street person” that I see frequently as I take the same route to places that I frequent.

Mother Theresa once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless”.   I believe that words, actions, smiles, creative, spontaneous, and anonymous acts of kindness and generosity all contribute to being the change we wish to see in the world.

There are opportunities all around us. Perhaps you see the person with a sign, standing on the median divider on a road well traveled, as someone who has a story to tell and gifts to give.

Who are they? What set of circumstances lead to their being there?  Do you roll up your window and pretend that you are busily engaged, or do you acknowledge them with a smile or a wave, or deeper yet as a whole human being who has needs just like you do and gifts to share.  Do you engage in conversation while you wait for the light to change?

One day I was curious about just such a person.  His name is Joseph and his sign is a little different.  He holds a picture of a friend that he has drawn and calls himself a disabled artist.  Not satisfied to just give him money, I wanted to know his story.  What transpired over a period of about 6 weeks was a back and forth dialog in which I challenged him to draw a self portrait which I would pay him for.

Result?  We looked forward to seeing each other when I passed by and there were always a few words shared and stories told about the project that I had given him.  When he came up against a perceived “roadblock” to completing this assignment we mutually brainstormed about how to get around it.

The day Joseph presented me with the piece – I parked near by and walked to the place where he stood – I was amazed at the skill and creative genius that was captured in the stunning self portrait that captured his essence.  I handed him the money that I had promised.  In return he was so elated to have this creative gift received in such a positive way that not only was a hug forthcoming, but there was a promise of more art to come.

Now I may never really know what impact this has made in his life, but for me I felt so much gratitude for the self-portrait and the meaning behind it. This person is making the best of his life and not willing to give up on the artistic gift that he has been given.  I received from him the courage to keep taking my steps no matter what the outward monetary circumstances may be in my own life.

I might add that when I said to him one day passing by, before he finished the picture, that I knew it was more of a challenge to do a self-portrait, he said to me – “I like a challenge”.  And he did!

Now, if I would have never engaged him in the first place out of a place of curiosity directed from the heart, then none of this would have happened.  The day that we exchanged portrait for money – all forms of energy – I felt more open and receptive to what my own life was calling me to do.

Next time there is a “storm” in my life I will be looking for the dance steps to take certain that the echos of my footsteps will be endless….will you?

With Love,

Gaye

WEBSITE www.ResonanceWithLife.com

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