Happiness & Being Understood

Happiness & Being Understood



Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will ~ Martin Luther King

So tonight friends I want to talk about understanding, but I want to start with misunderstanding.  In the last couple of weeks I’ve had two situations in which people have made assumptions about me that were completely unfounded and then acted on their assumptions in a way which was detrimental to me.  I really find these situations to be frustrating, I don’t think there is anything as exasperating as being misunderstood.  It is one of the reasons that I myself am so blunt, open and honest with people, it is the hope that I’ll be understood and not put other people into the situation I recently found myself in.  Tonight I would ask you friends to slow your roll a bit, take time to listen to others and really try to understand what other people are saying, take the time to compare their actions to your conclusions so that you don’t find yourself acting on predetermined assumptions.  This is a skill called empathetic listening.

So tonight to help with that hope, a piece I found on-line about empathetic listening, I hope it helps and helps you have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness and Simplicity

Happiness and Simplicity

If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements. And finally, there is an intense delight in abandoning faulty states of mind and in cultivating helpful ones in meditation ~ Dalai Lama


Today I want to bring you some resources on happiness and simplicity.  Simplicity is one of those elusive goals that can really bring us true happiness, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

7 ways to find happiness through sustainability

Simplicity of Happiness

A really beautiful post

Simple living blog

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Happiness & Finding Your Passion

Happiness & Finding Your Passion

01Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. ~ Oprah Winfrey

So tonight’s post came from an idea that I had the other day, I was thinking about Christmas.  I don’t like Christmas but the one element of Christmas that I dig is gift giving.  I really try to give great gifts, to think about the person and get them something they might not expect but that they will really like.  I also like getting great gifts and surprises from people, I’m too often not surprised in life.  So getting surprised or getting a really great gift makes me really happy.

Unfortunately I have a lot of folks in my life who would just rather I give them a list.  Hey, that’s who they are, I’ve stopped trying to hope that’s not how things would work.  So, I’ve been trying recently to be a kinder, gentler human and find easier and softer ways to confront the things in my life I’m not happy with.  I was having a conversation with a friend and was lamenting that it shouldn’t be that hard to find me a gift I would like without checking with me first.  I think there are some really easy things to know about me and I started listing these off, and that’s when I got the idea to make a list of those things to share with those folks.  As I was thinking about writing this list I realized that the list was in itself a list of my passions.

It was a revelation, because I think about this idea often, the idea of how to identify your passion in life.  I have over thought the problem it seems, it’s as simple as considering what things get your pulse racing a bit.  For example, getting a Pittsburgh Steeler jersey from a friend was a great gift.  I love watching the NFL and cheering for the Steelers, it’s a passion of mine.  Now that doesn’t translate into the type of passion that leads to finding a perfect job but it does lead to ways to make me happy.  This year I tapped into that by going to my first Steeler game in Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for a Steeler game.

fix me steelerSo if like me you’re trying to really lock on to your passions in life, try making a list of the things that would make really great gifts.  Here’s what my list looks like:

Anything related to the Pittsburgh Steelers or Pirates.

Day of the Dead related items.

Full albums, yes albums, not single songs or greatest hits compilations from groups like the Doors, the Beatles, Credence Clearwater Revival, the Police or Howlin Wolf.

Hiking, Kayaking, cycling or Photography gear but even better gift cards to REI or Amazon so I can buy my own.  Understanding why you’re buying me a gift card instead of just buying one is what makes it a good gift.

Books related to the same things above as well as books related to happiness, positivity, travel or science fiction.

Poetry by poets who would be considered outlaw poets.  So no classics (Yeats, Shakespeare, Dickinson) but more modern poetry.  Not love poems unless they are in a Pablo Neruda book or collection.  My tastes run toward the harder edge of life, Bukowski, Warsan Shire, Doug Draime, Sapphire but I’m always willing to check out newer poets on the scene like Ashe Vernon.  A tip, if I featured them in a Ministry of Happiness Poetry post they are probably someone I like.

I love pizza, if you live near me and know where I get pizza, a gift certificate, or even better yet, a surprise pizza, half pepperoni & mushroom, half cheese with a Coke is the ticket.

Heirloom species vegetable seeds for my gardens are a great gift, a co-worker once brought me tomato seeds from his family’s garden in Sicily, great gift.

The list got me thinking about things that I wish people could buy me either because they are not things you can buy; time working with students, time to lay in a hammock and watch the sky, opportunities for learning (although I guess someone could buy me a cooking or other type of class).  Other things would be too expensive to ask for, the funds to go to Thailand or on a photo safari in Africa, a week in Bora Bora in one of those floating hotel.

What this list does for me is identify that the things that I’m passionate about include writing, music, art, poetry, gardening, traveling, learning and photography.  I obviously enjoy being outside either being physical, cycling, kayaking, hiking or taking photos.

I also have a passion for working with students, learning and educating,  something I know about myself is that I like solving problems and creating things.

So the point of this piece is not really for me to get better gifts, if that is a side benefit then who am I to complain.  But hopefully this piece does two things.  First, it gets you thinking about, and gives you a way to start, to identify your own passions in life.  Secondly, it gets you thinking about the same things in others around you.  The impact you have by surprising someone with a gift, no matter how small, that feeds or attaches to their passions is a powerful act of kindness and caring.  We should all do more of that, it makes the people we care about happy, but being kind makes us feel better as well, and gives us happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Pieces You Might Enjoy!

Overcoming Worry

Happiness Resources: Positivity, Kindness & Gratitude

Why I’m Happy Right Now!

A New Year & Some Questions for You

Happiness is Staying Positive

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Happiness is Poetry: Dylan Thomas

Happiness is Poetry: Dylan Thomas

happiness, poetry, poem







Though lovers be lost, love shall not ~ Dylan Thomas

Tonight my friends a tour through one of the more famous poets, Dylan Thomas.  His name often comes up on the lists of poets that my favorite poets have read, or recommend, so give his work a look and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

First his most famous poem.

Don’t Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Clown in the Moon

My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.


Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines

Light breaks where no sun shines;
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart
Push in their tides;
And, broken ghosts with glowworms in their heads,
The things of light
File through the flesh where no flesh decks the bones.

A candle in the thighs
Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;
Where no seed stirs,
The fruit of man unwrinkles in the stars,
Bright as a fig;
Where no wax is, the candle shows its hairs.

Dawn breaks behind the eyes;
From poles of skull and toe the windy blood
Slides like a sea;
Nor fenced, nor staked, the gushers of the sky
Spout to the rod
Divining in a smile the oil of tears.

Night in the sockets rounds,
Like some pitch moon, the limit of the globes;
Day lights the bone;
Where no cold is, the skinning gales unpin
The winter’s robes;
The film of spring is hanging from the lids.

Light breaks on secret lots,
On tips of thought where thoughts smell in the rain;
When logics die,
The secret of the soil grows through the eye,
And blood jumps in the sun;
Above the waste allotments the dawn halts.


A Saint About to Fall

A saint about to fall,
The stained flats of heaven hit and razed
To the kissed kite hems of his shawl,
On the last street wave praised
The unwinding, song by rock,
Of the woven wall
Of his father’s house in the sands,
The vanishing of the musical ship-work and the chucked bells,
The wound-down cough of the blood-counting clock
Behind a face of hands,
On the angelic etna of the last whirring featherlands,
Wind-heeled foot in the hole of a fireball,
Hymned his shrivelling flock,
On the last rick’s tip by spilled wine-wells
Sang heaven hungry and the quick
Cut Christbread spitting vinegar and all
The mazes of his praise and envious tongue were worked in flames and shells.

Glory cracked like a flea.
The sun-leaved holy candlewoods
Drivelled down to one singeing tree
With a stub of black buds,
The sweet, fish-gilled boats bringing blood
Lurched through a scuttled sea
With a hold of leeches and straws,
Heaven fell with his fall and one crocked bell beat the left air.
O wake in me in my house in the mud
Of the crotch of the squawking shores,
Flicked from the carbolic city puzzle in a bed of sores
The scudding base of the familiar sky,
The lofty roots of the clouds.
From an odd room in a split house stare,
Milk in your mouth, at the sour floods
That bury the sweet street slowly, see
The skull of the earth is barbed with a war of burning brains and hair.

Strike in the time-bomb town,
Raise the live rafters of the eardrum,
Throw your fear a parcel of stone
Through the dark asylum,
Lapped among herods wail
As their blade marches in
That the eyes are already murdered,
The stocked heart is forced, and agony has another mouth to feed.
O wake to see, after a noble fall,
The old mud hatch again, the horrid
Woe drip from the dishrag hands and the pressed sponge of the forehead,
The breath draw back like a bolt through white oil
And a stranger enter like iron.
Cry joy that hits witchlike midwife second
Bullies into rough seas you so gentle
And makes with a flick of the thumb and sun
A thundering bullring of your silent and girl-circled island.

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How to Change to Be Happy

How to Change to Be Happy

Rev Kane, be happy, happiness

Trying to be happy, Rev Kane sporting his new hairdo

Be happy for this moment, for this moment is your life ~ Omar Khayyam

Well tonight my friends I want to talk about what I always talk about, how to be happy.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been in a bit of a funk, and as I’ve often talked about during those times it is important to go back to the basics.  Are you eating right, sleeping, exercising and do you feel safe.  So as usual, I checked off the boxes and this time things really didn’t improve at all.  You hope after you make a change like that you will quickly be happy again, or at least happier and in a better place.

When the basics fail it means there is something else working on your mood and for me that was true.  I have something deeply personal weighing on my mind, something I’m not quite sure how to deal with, but something that shouldn’t have the impact on my mood that it is having.  That also is telling, you see when things are good, and the basics are in order you have resilience.   The definition of resilience, using less impressive vocabulary, is that  you have a buffer to your mood.  You can take some bumps and bruises and because of this buffer, your emotional reserve, you can handle the bumps and bruises and still be happy.  So, even though I’m doing some deeper mental work on myself, I should be doing better, obviously I hadn’t isolated the problem.

Part of what I came to realize was that I’ve had a real lack of any kind of downtime or relaxation lately.  Although I do well in social situations I truly am an introvert.  An introvert. Being an introvert, the way I charge my batteries is with time alone, time to think and write and not be drained by dealing with people.  I don’t get drained by the one on one good conversation dealings with people, but the general small talk, business interactions that we all have at work.  So what to do?

change einstein quote

The wisdom of change


So what’s necessary to a time like this is to make some change and break the routine.  So one change that I’ve obviously just made was to shave my head.  And please, people, I’m not recommending everyone go out and shave their head or even radically alter their appearance.  This was actually something that I had planned on doing for months but was just waiting for the right time.  I do have to admit though, it’s impossible not to feel the change completely and totally every time I walk by a reflective surface.  I come to calling myself the space monkey, after a line in the movie Fightclub.

But I have made changes, I tweaked the way I’m working a little bit.  I’ve pushed myself to find opportunities for kindness like shuttling some hikers back to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) whenever I can make it happen. Most importantly I’ve been finding little ways right now to just, stop, rest and be happy for a few minutes.

be happy, growth, maslow

Moving forward to be happy

One of the other things I’m doing right now is trying to stay mindful of the present but keeping my eye on the prize.  Basically trying to do things where I’ll be happy but preparing and spending some time thinking about my next big adventure which is less than 2 years away.

be happy, comfort zone

Do something that scares you and be happy

Comfort Zone

Finally tonight I want to talk about something that I’m not doing nearly enough of these days and that is getting out of my comfort zone.  I see a quote often on Twitter than says do something that scares you every single day.  I love that idea, I fail miserably at it, but what I know is that in my life, every single time I’ve pushed past my comfort zone and done something that scared me, I’ve gained great rewards.  Rewards in the sense of accomplishment or a hell of a lesson.  I’ve learned so much about myself when I’ve done that.  When I set off on the Appalachian Trail two years ago to attempt a 2200 mile thru-hike I had never done anything like that.  It taught me so much, I wrote a book about it Appalachian Trail Happiness.  But we don’t have to do big things that scare us, even the little things pay dividends.  Going up and talking to that person you’ve always wanted to.  Speaking up in a meeting and putting your ideas forward when you’re usually silent.  Doing things out of the ordinary and out of your comfort zone, more often than not, produce interesting and positive results.

So take a chance today, be happy, and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane


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What’s Next in Your Life

What’s Next in Your Life

what's next quote

So recently I wrote a post talking about the fact that I feel happier than I ever have and it’s a great place to be in life.  After taking some time to enjoy that realization I’ve turned to questions of what’s next?


travel quote

Well if you have been reading this blog or know me personally you know at least part of the question of what’s next, involves where to next?  That question I already have answered, in the short-term my next adventure will be playing guide for a couple of friends in New Orleans at Mardi Gras in February.  I love New Orleans and love Mardi Gras, specifically I love Mardi Gras parades.  So I’m looking forward to five days in the Crescent City, eating, walking and photographing my way across one of the best cities in America.

I’m hoping my next big adventure will be a trip in December 2020, I’m planning on taking a trip to Antarctica.  A flight to Chili and a cruise to my sixth continent, hoping to do a trip where I can actually spend one night actually camping on the continent of Antarctica.

But, the question that I haven’t answered is what’s next?  I have started a new and good job, I’m six or seven years from retirement but that’s a little too far out to be my only goal.  And we all know that setting and achieving goals help us stay happy.  So what’s my next life goal?  I have some things in mind, some work goals, several books that I’m interested in writing, and I think I can do all those things.  I’m about to finish my third book so I’ll have the space to work on my fourth.  There are health goals that I need to achieve, I haven’t been very good about my diet over the last year.  I need to lose another twenty pounds.

What I’m looking now for is impact, I think when you hit a certain age and you see that there are certainly less years coming than have gone, you look to make an impact.  Generally in these posts I try to provide answers, examples of what you can do, but you know, sometimes it’s really important to take a little time to just focus on the question.

So tonight friends, ask yourself a question, something that you need to answer, something that might lead to improving your happiness.  Feel free to share those questions out in the comments and as always, have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness, Wisdom, Calvin & Hobbes

Happiness, Wisdom, Calvin & Hobbes

So one of my all-time favorite comic strips was Calvin & Hobbes and it was a depressing day when the final strip was printed so many years ago.  Today an old friend shared with me a wonderful blog piece on the wisdom of life as found in the words of Calvin & Hobbes.  There really is some wonderful advice in the piece and following it could help us all have a happy day, enjoy my friends ~ Rev Kane

happiness calvin hobbes

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Happiness is Poetry: Hosho McCreesh

Happiness is Poetry: Hosho McCreesh

happiness, poetry, poem

So tonight my friends, the poetry of Hosho McCreesh, a poet I discovered in my communication with Doug Draime who recommended him to me.  Not suprisingly, Doug was right on the money.  Much like Doug’s work, Hosho writes the way I like my poetry, straight forward, intense like a punch in the literary gut, so good.  You can see more of his writing and buy his work at HoshoMcCreesh.com  Give these a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane


10 o’clock
and the night is
slow and dull,
and someone says
“Let’s go to Vegas,”

But then you
actually go.
And you spend three days
in a hotel room
at the Sahara,
dragging the plastic
garbage can down to
the hotel bar,
and filling it with
75¢ beers, and
chucking the empties
out your twelve-story window
at the construction site
across the way,
hands around
naked hips
trying to keep
each other from
falling off the
of the sad, lonely,
and desperate


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Happiness is Poetry: Warsan Shire, again

Happiness is Poetry: Warsan Shire

My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude. ~ Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire

I love her stuff so much I figured I’d giver her a second day, enjoy my friends and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane


My father was a drunk.  He married my mother
the month he came back from Russia
with whiskey in his blood.
On their wedding night he whispered
into her ears about jet planes and snow.
He said the word in Russian;
My mother blinked back tears and spread her palms
across his shoulder blades like the wings
of a plane. Later, breathless, he laid his head
on her thigh and touched her,
brought back two fingers glistening,
showed her from her own body
what the color of snow was closest to.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness is Poetry: Ashe Vernon

Happiness is Poetry: Doug Draime

Happiness is Poetry: Sapphire

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Are you noticed, valued and loved?

Are you noticed, valued and loved?

05There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved ~ George Sand

So ideas for posts come from lots of different places.  Today, as I was doing my daily Twitter posts, I came across this question, “Are you noticed, are you valued, are you loved?”  When I read that quote that it really hit me how important those questions are and how much the answers really impact on a person’s happiness.

I know personally for me that those questions are hard ones to ask around the people in my life.  Well, not so much the questions, as the answers.  There are people in my life I really care about, people I would say love me, but they don’t notice or value me.  I think most of our acquaintances in life notice us, and value us to a degree but they don’t love us.

When I really sat down to think about it tonight, there are very few people in my life that I can say notice, value AND love me.  Hopefully you’ll fare a little better than I did when you take that inventory.  But how many really isn’t important, I think what’s really important is that you have someone in your life that in fact notices, values and loves you.  Even more important than that my friends, have you told that person/those people how much that means to you?  And who do you notice, value and love as well?

The hardest thing for me in answering these questions for me tonight is that recently I’ve lost someone who was a giant affirmative on all three questions, and for me as well.  Happily, she’d been telling me this my whole life and I made sure as often as possible to tell her the same.  That knowledge eases the loss a bit, but don’t wait my friends, if you have people who make you happy, let them know, it’s always later than you think and you don’t want that regret hanging over you.  Stay positive, be open and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Our Best Happiness Posts for 2015

Revisiting Some of Our Best Posts & Pictures

There are Angels Among Us: A True Story of Giving & Kindness

Remember the Sweet Things

Happiness is Not Safety

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