Happiness and Being Grateful

Happiness and Being Grateful


Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.  ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

So we have fully entered into November and as if Mother Nature thought we were doubting it, the mercury dropped like a snowball this week.  I like the fall, I like the feel of cold air on my skin while standing in the sun.  There is nothing better to me than to be outside working hard in the cold air, nothing better than starting early in the morning and coming in to a big, hot breakfast and a nap.

In the last couple of years there is a new tradition that seems to have begun amongst people I know and I’m sure others, and that is of giving thanks each day in November.  Perhaps this has grown out of Thanksgiving being in November, I don’t know and frankly it’s not important because it is a great idea.  It is good for us to be thankful for what we have, no matter how bad things may be there is always something in our lives worth focusing on, worth being thankful for.

It is important to focus on the good things in our lives; we can often overlook the good things in our pursuit for even better things.  While it is great that some of us have dedicated a month to do this, to me it should be an everyday activity.   So today my friends take a second or two, a think about something you are grateful for, you don’t have to do any great pronouncement, it is good enough just to give thanks.  However, if it is a specific person you are thankful for why don’t you go ahead and let them know, you’ll certainly make their day.

While we’re at it my friends, today I’m thankful for all of you for reading this and for the opportunity to help in some small way to bring some additional happiness to your lives.  As always, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other pieces you might enjoy!

Quotes about Happiness, Gratitude & Kindness

Happiness & Gratitude for the Small Things

Happiness & the Benefits of Gratitude

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Thoughtful Happiness Quotes

Thoughtful Happiness Quotes

01Tonight a set of quotes to get you thinking, have a happy day my friends         ~ Rev Kane

1 1 02 2 2 033 3 04 4 4 05 058 09 9 010 010 10 10 011 11

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Quotes about Inspiration & Happiness

Quotes about Happiness, Gratitude & Kindness

Revisiting Some of our Best Posts, Quotes & Pictures

Inspirational Quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

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My Bucket List

My Bucket List

happiness, hiking, appalachian trail

My Polar Bear Selfie

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.                  ~ Oprah Winfrey

I remember writing my first bucket list, it was almost thirty years ago.  I only put on twenty items, my thinking was not as expansive as it is these days.  I would write additional bucket lists over the years as the items on my earlier lists were completed.  Not that that I’ve ever completed all of them, the first item on the list has always been on the list.

photography, travel, adventure

Aurora while photographing Polar Bears in the Arctic

However, I knew even when I wrote the first list, I knew as a child that I always wanted to travel.  My curiosity is immense and likely insatiable, I have always realized that I’ve wanted to see everything, know everything, as impossible as that obviously would be in a single or even multiple lifetimes.  But that hasn’t stopped me from trying and that will be obvious from my list.  The list is heavy on places, but that shouldn’t be seen as limiting, because the journey to these places, that travel, provides experiences that are priceless.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my first view of the Treasury Building in Petra, peeking through the Siq, camels kneeling on the ground for anything.  But as amazing as that vision was, it was the journey to Petra that was so fantastic.  My first time in a Middle Eastern country, my days in Wadi Rum with the Bedouin, conversations with cab drivers and locals, almost driving into an ISIS attack that killed 30 people, and bobbing like a cork in the Dead Sea.  All of those experiences were wrapped up in the seed of one item on the bucket list, going to Petra.  Although swimming in the Dead Sea had also long been on my list.

petra, jordan, travel

Rev Kane at Petra

So, I’m sharing my list with you tonight (in no order of importance), using this post as a reason to reconstruct a new one, in hopes it will inspire you as well my friends.  Not just to draw up your own list, which I hope you will do.  Writing the list is a fun little dreaming exercise of its own.  But even more importantly in hopes that in creating your list, in reading my own adventures, that you’ll start checking off items on your own list and have happier days my friends.  ~ Rev Kane

My Bucket List

  1.  See the Great Pyramid at Giza
  2.  Travel to outer space
  3.  Complete the Appalachian Trail
  4.  Hike at least 500 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail
  5.  Hike the Western Highland Way in Scotland
  6.  Hike in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco
  7.  Hike the Overland Track in Australia
  8.  Hike 500km on the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand
  9.  Hike to Machu Pichu
  10.  Hike in Patagonia
  11.  Do a walking tour in Kenya
  12.  Hike at least 500 miles on the Trans-Canada Trail
  13.  Bicycle across the United States
  14.  See Stonehenge
  15.  Walk on the Glaciers of Greenland
  16.  Go to Iceland
  17.  See Mount McKinley
  18.  Take an Ocean Voyage
  19.  Kayak the coast of California
  20.  Kayak the Zambezi River
  21.  See mountain Gorillas in the wild
  22.  See an elephant in the wild
  23.  See a lion in the wild
  24.  See a hippo in the wild
  25.  See a right whale in the wild
  26.  See a grizzly bear in the wild
  27.  See a tiger in the wild
  28.  See a snow leopard
  29.  Go on a bigfoot expedition
  30.  Photograph the great migration
  31.  Swim in the Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls
  32.  See Iguazu Falls in Brazil
  33.  Do a cage dive with Great White Sharks
  34.  See a Rhino in the wild
  35.  Go to Marrakesh (done)
  36.  Go to Tangier (done)
  37.  Hike the Muir Trail
  38.  Hike Rim to Rim at the Grand Canyon
  39.  Photograph the Wave in Arizona
  40.  Go to Tonga
  41.  Go to Tuvalu
  42.  Go to the Cook Islands
  43.  Visit Cappadocia, Turkey
  44.  Go to Up Helly Aa
  45.  Go to Angkor Wat
  46.  Go to the Great Barrier Reef
  47.  Visit Australia
  48.  Go to Antarctica
  49.  Visit the Galapagos Islands
  50.  Visit Vietnam
  51.  Go to Carnival in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
  52.  Surf a sand dune in Fortaleza, Brazil
  53.  Visit Italy
  54.  See the Taj Mahal
  55.  Backpack in India
  56.  Backpack in Thailand
  57.  Go to Bangkok
  58.  Hike Rainbow Mountain in Peru
  59.  Visit Norway
  60.  Attend Diwali in India
  61.  Run with the Bulls in Spain
  62.  Visit Cuba
  63.  Take a hot air balloon ride
  64.  Skydive
  65.  Do Peyote
  66.  Do Ayahuasca
  67.  Search for a buried treasure
  68.  Do a century bicycle ride
  69.  Float in a sensory deprivation tank
  70.  Go to Timbuktu
  71.  Go to the Louvre Museum
  72.  Go to the Van Gogh Museum
  73.  Climb Kilimanjaro
  74.  On the same day, sunrise from Mt. Whitney, sunrise from Death Valley
  75.  Go to Glacier National Park
  76.  Watch a game at Wrigley Field (Done)
  77.  Swim in a Great Lake
  78.  Learn how to surf
  79.  Go to Spanish language school in Oaxaca (done)
  80.  Oaxaca for Day of the Dead (done)
  81.  See an Orca in the wild
  82.  Meet a penguin
  83.  Photograph Antelope Canyon in Arizona
  84.  Hang with Grey Whales in Baja
  85.  Visit Bhutan
  86.  Photograph the race track in Death Valley
  87.  Go Parasailing
  88.  Learn how to play the saxophone
  89.  Learn Akido
  90.  Publish a book of fiction
  91.  Catch a stage of the Tour De France live
  92.  Swim in Jellyfish Lake – Palau
  93.  Start a business
  94.  Too personal to post
  95.  Hike to Kuang Si Falls in Laos
  96.  Take a boat from Manaus to Fortaleza, Brazil on the Amazon
  97.  Vagabond for at least 3 months
  98.  Create an art prank like fairy houses
  99. Find a meteorite
  100. Swim in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Have any better suggestions, add them in the comments ~ Rev Kane


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Happiness & gratitude for the small things

Happiness & gratitude for the small things


When I started counting my blessings my whole life turned around
~ Willie Nelson

Sometimes we make things harder than we have to, we look for complicated ways to get the things we want, even happiness. Maybe if we just paid attention to the little things, the good things that happen to us each day, we might find we have all we need to make us happy.

Just a few of the things that made me smile today:

* Seeing a post I missed with my little niece in her Halloween costume
* Having a Ministry of Happiness post go viral
* Having a few people tell me that my leaving my job is a loss for my school
* Potstickers
* A pleasant walk on a surprisingly warn November day
* Packing for a mini vacation I’m taking for the next few days

Take a few minutes and make your own list and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Don’t Lie to Yourself

Don’t Lie to Yourself

lie to yourself quote

I fell into a conversation the other day, a very interesting conversation.  It was about the internal dialogue we all have with ourselves.  You know, the conversation inside our heads that we are constantly having with ourselves.  When I end up talking with someone about this, the focus is usually on how we can use this voice to make us happier.  An exercise I often ask people to do, is to work on changing their internal dialogue, particularly in creating a more positive self-image.  I ask people, three times a day, to look in the mirror and tell themself how awesome they are.  I ask them to do this to counteract the negative messaging we all get both from external sources and from our inner dialogue.  As you all know, internally we are often our harshest critics.

But this conversation the other day was a bit different.  We were discussing the level of honesty we possess in our own inner dialogue.  I have often said that human beings possess two superpowers, rationalization and denial.  We seem to be able to rationalize anything we do to protect our own well-being.  In the process we are also seemingly able to deny almost anything, even reality.  We all know people who have issues, who no matter how plainly they are confronted, are able to first deny that they have an issue.  Then seemingly incredulously, if you can get them past the initial realization, can fully rationalize how their behavior really is ok.  Addicts are the true masters of this ability.

But that’s not the type of internal lying I’m talking about tonight.  I’m talking about the lies we tell ourselves to avoid telling ourselves the whole truth.  For example, we end a relationship because the other person is not right for us.  However, the real truth is that it really is you, not them.  The real reason the relationship had to end was that there is some issue you need to resolve within yourself, not something they needed to do different.  That deeper realization is what we really need to understand in order to help ourselves become happier.  That’s the real work that you have to do in order to improve your life.

Getting to that truth is not easy, it often takes accepting things about yourself that you’re not proud of, or make you highly uncomfortable.  It’s important to take time to face and address these issues for they are at the core of the things that can destroy your happiness.  It may seem a daunting task to discover what they are, but it really isn’t that difficult.  These are things we already know about ourselves, it just takes some quiet time, and some honest reflection about who we are and why we do the things we do.  Give it a try, take some time, focus on the why of your decision making and tell yourself the truth, I think the effort will be illuminating and bring you happy days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness is Poetry: Wolfgang Carstens

Happiness is Poetry: Wolfgang Carstens

happiness, poetry

Tonight a poet recommended to me by Adrian Manning, his name is Wolfgang Carstens.  Wolfgang is a seriously interesting guy, his words are angular, sharp, they seem revel in the terror of honesty, good stuff.  He’s also interesting in the different formats he uses to show his work.  So here’s a written piece, a series of his work being read by him and finally an illustrated poem.  Take a look, enjoy and have a happy day my friends
~ Rev Kane


Wolfgang Carstens was kind enough to provide us with some more material, so here’s a live reading of Enjoy Oblivion, in front an audience at Brittany’s Lounge, enjoy!



(as published in The Abyss Gazes Also)
what if life had bumper-rails
like alleys do when children
go bowling—so that
everybody stayed true
to their course.
goals would be achieved.
dreams would come true.
nobody would be derailed.
nobody would disappear
into the gutter.
life would be easy,
and boring.
there are no bumpers in life.
here, from our birth
until our death,
we throw gutter ball
after gutter ball
until finally, exasperated,
we return our rented shoes,
crumple our scorecards
and slink quietly from the alley.



Wolfgang Carstens

Readings some of his own work

A question of Nothingness and a couple of others


happiness, poetry

Some other good reading…

Happiness is Poetry: Hosho McCreesh

Happiness is Poetry: Doug Draime

Happiness is Poetry: Rilke


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Happy Alive Day!!!

Happy Alive Day!!!

happkiness, alive day
Hello friends, recently I was made aware that a friend was celebrating the 30th anniversary of her Alive Day. What she was celebrating was 30 years from a failed suicide attempt. This really hit me, I have no idea if I’m unique given its prevalence, but there has been a lot of suicide around me in my life. Growing up three kids in my neighborhood killed themselves within weeks of each other, years later one of their nephews would also kill himself. Two of my friends have had sons who have committed suicide and I myself at one point as a teenager stuck a shotgun in my mouth and happily/luckily couldn’t pull the trigger. Having been someone who has suffered from depression in the past I know how deep the well is that people can find themselves in, and how impossible it seems at that point that you’ll ever get out.

happiness, alive day
The reason why my friend’s Alive Day is such an awesome thing is that it shows that not only is there hope, not only can things get better, but that they can get so much better that you actually can celebrate being alive. My friend is a sampler of life, one of those people who is at the fire hose of life experience with her mouth wide open trying to drink it all in. She has a great life, a job where she helps people, great friends and a wonderful partner! Pretty much the antithesis of someone who sees no reason to live.


happiness, alive day

I think friends if you never have before, or never choose to again I’d like you to share this post. If this idea, if the reality that there are real people out there who have come this far, gives one person enough hope to not try and kill themselves, we’ve all done an amazing thing together. 


happiness, alive day
Ideas like this are the reason I started the Ministry of Happiness, my hope is that we all can help each other live happier lives, have happier days.  I have also learned that combat veterans also celebrate Alive Days , based on near death experiences in combat.  So here’s a thought I have, it doesn’t have to have been a suicide attempt, but I think we all have a significant day or event in the past that made us realize how precious life is, what a gift it is for all of us. Take that day, or pick a date that’s near enough and celebrate your own Alive Day! Let’s spread this idea and all have happier days my friends and thank you all for being part of this. ~ Rev Kane



We are all damaged but we CAN be happy!

The Power and Health Benefits of Hugs

Happiness and your Authentic Self


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Why giving makes you happy

Why giving makes you happy

happiness, cooking

Rev Kane and LeAnne at her 25th Wedding Anniversary Party

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. ~ Lao Tzu

We’ve talked a lot about gratitude and giving and one of my favorite posts on the subject comes from a long-time friend of mine on her wonderful blog.  Her piece is short and simple and truly gets at the core of why giving of your time and yourself can make you happier.  The best bit is that she posts a list of the things that she learned or relearned as part of her volunteering, give it a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Things I Have Learned (or reminded of) Recently by LeAnne Notabartolo on her Good for Spooning blog a really wonderful blog about food and life.

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Happiness is Making Connections and Having an Impact

Happiness is Making Connections and Having an Impact

love happinessWhere there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence.  Art and literature are antidotes to that. ~ Susan Vreeland

Looking for Inspiration

So it’s Saturday night and I’m going to be out of town for a few days starting tomorrow so I needed to get my Sunday night post nailed down and I had NOTHING!  I’m not in a mood to write an uplifting and positive post, because honestly it’s been a long week.  I had surgery on Monday and it seems to have gone ok, but the antibiotics I’m taking are really tearing up my stomach, but I’m adjusting.  I’m having to sleep on my left side and it’s been wholly uncomfortable and I’m not sleeping well. I’ve also hit that point before an adventure where I haven’t quite left my old life and haven’t quite entered my new life and so right now I just have a million things to do and I’m feeling just a bit overwhelmed and in limbo.

Then earlier this week one of the few celebrities I truly look up to, Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.  Like a lot of other people his stories touched me, he was a kindred spirit in his outlook about the world and I’ll miss having him out there.  His passing has really made me sad.  I know that feeling of hopelessness and feeling completely disconnected from the world and whenever my mood shifts to the darker side of things that’s the way I feel.  I’m sorry he couldn’t find his way back from that abyss.  If you find yourself there friends reach, people care, I promise.  If nothing else you can always reach out to the suicide prevention hotline., by phone or even by chat.

Call 1-800-273-8255

Available 24 hours everyday

So all of this is swirling around in my head tonight and I can’t figure out what to write and then bam, I get a message.  The message was in the form of a poem from someone I grew up with.  The poem talked about how he joined our lunch discussions in high school, little did I know it had been to escape bullies.  We reconnected in the last year or so and he liked my poetry, even served as a reader for my book of poetry and recently he began sharing his own poetry, so we’ve reconnected on a whole new level.  His message gave me some credit for inspiring him to share his words and it really deeply touched me to know that I had that effect on him in any way.  It’s funny how we often don’t know the impact we have on the people around us.

Making connections and having impacts

So that’s what I want to talk about tonight, connection and impact.  Recently I was at a friend’s house and I was talking with someone who I’ve met before but hadn’t really talked with in detail.  She started asking about my life and after a time said to her husband, “we’re living wrong.” Now I disagree with the statement but I got the sentiment, she wants to be doing the type of things I do.  That’s what I hope this blog does for people at one level, that by writing about what I do and how I do it, others may gain some inspiration to create their own adventures and live happier lives and I’m always available for individual advice on how to do it.

be happy, human contact

A hug to be happy

Tell someone they mattered

As an educator, I’ve been fortunate enough a couple of times to have students return after a time and tell me about the positive impact I’ve had on their life.  There is little in life that is as satisfying as those moments.  It’s a really special thing to know you’ve had that kind of positive impact on another human’s life and unfortunately at times I forget that as an educator and a writer, that’s what I’m trying to do and sometimes I’m successful.

The thing is that we often have this impact on people without trying or ever even knowing about it and that’s ok.  Sure, it’s magnificent when we find out, and the lesson is there that you need to tell the people who have inspired you, who’ve meant something to you.  You will be doing them an incredible kindness.  But we inspire people by our example.  By living a life that has purpose, that is about living, not just existing, you show others how important it is to live that way and the happiness and fulfillment it can bring.  You become an example for others, especially your children.  There is a parallel from the education world, parents who go to college and include their children in their homework sessions and make them feel apart of the process, hugely increase the chance those kids will also go to college.  Similarly, parents who live a purposeful and happy life are more likely to raise children with a similar outlook.

Living Fully and Reaching Out

The companion piece to living fully is to make connections, to connect with those who come along and to reach out to those who you can have an impact on.  In my line of work I get access to students, faculty and even younger managers who I can reach out to and help find their path.  But we all have people in our lives where this opportunity presents itself, jump on it friends.  Take the time to listen, to care and to impart some wisdom if you have it to give, you never know how impactful your time and attention can be for someone.

Tonight has certainly been one of those nights where in writing this blog I hopefully gave you something worth reading but selfishly I gained more out of it than I gave.  Regardless, I hope it helps you have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane


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This is really hard, I’m Really Happy

Hello friends a quick note Day 4 at Neels Gap really amazing trip so far.

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