Holiday Happiness: The Poetry & Wisdom of Khalil Gibran

Holiday Happiness: The Poetry & Wisdom of Khalil Gibran

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The holidays are a very stressful time for everyone and an exceptionally hard time for some.  So, until the New Year I’ll be posting a Holiday Happiness post each day to try help folks out who are struggling.  As always you can reach out to me at Happinesskane@aol.com for a kind word or someone to listen. ~ Rev Kane

 

Tonight one of my favorite writers, Khalil Gibran, decided to do a mix of his quotes and poetry.  Enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

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A Tear and a Smile

I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart
For the joys of the multitude.
And I would not have the tears that sadness makes
To flow from my every part turn into laughter.

I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
Of life’s secrets and hidden things.
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and
To be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of broken heart;
A smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.

I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than that I live Weary and despairing.

I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the
Depths of my spirit,for I have seen those who are
Satisfied the most wretched of people.
I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and Longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody.

With evening’s coming the flower folds her petals
And sleeps, embracingher longing.
At morning’s approach she opens her lips to meet
The sun’s kiss.

The life of a flower is longing and fulfilment.
A tear and a smile.

The waters of the sea become vapor and rise and come
Together and area cloud.

And the cloud floats above the hills and valleys
Until it meets the gentle breeze, then falls weeping
To the fields and joins with brooks and rivers to Return to the sea, its home.

The life of clouds is a parting and a meeting.
A tear and a smile.

And so does the spirit become separated from
The greater spirit to move in the world of matter
And pass as a cloud over the mountain of sorrow
And the plains of joy to meet the breeze of death
And return whence it came.

To the ocean of Love and Beauty—-to God.

 

01Beauty

And a poet said, ‘Speak to us of Beauty.’

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, ‘Beauty is kind and gentle.

Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.’

And the passionate say, ‘Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.

Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.’

The tired and the weary say, ‘beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.

Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.’

But the restless say, ‘We have heard her shouting among the mountains,

And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.’

At night the watchmen of the city say, ‘Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.’

And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, ‘we have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.’

In winter say the snow-bound, ‘She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.’

And in the summer heat the reapers say, ‘We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.’

All these things have you said of beauty.

Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,

And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.

It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,

But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,

But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.

But you are life and you are the veil.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

 

01Pain

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the
daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.

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Other posts you might enjoy

The poetry of Raina Maria Rilke

The poetry of Rumi

The poetry of Langston Hughes

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Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

fearWe can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark, the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light ~ Plato

One of the biggest problems I see in society these days is fear.  It most often shows itself in the form of worry, people are afraid and so they worry about so many things that could go wrong, or harm them, or might happen.  I’ve written about this problem before in a piece entitled, Worry the enemy of happiness.  But today I want to talk more specifically about fear for two reasons.  First I see people expressing a lot more fear these days than I ever remember hearing and seeing before.  Secondly, most of the things that we fear are irrational.

I often hear people, usually people who want your support in some way, saying how smart people are and I’m not sure I agree.  Now you know you’re smart so of course that statement must be true.  However if it was, I don’t think we would so often see people letting their emotions overwhelm they’re intellect.  You may argue people are smart but they don’t use it.  This is like arguing that Billy is a really fast runner, he just never runs fast.  Possibly true, but not very likely.  What is often said about people that I do agree with is that people fundamentally want to be good and kind and happy.  I have seen this demonstrated, not so much in day-to-day society but in times of deep sorrow and tragedy.  People get caught up in a me first attitude day-to-day, but when confronted with the truly harsh realities of life their better nature usually comes to the fore.

Let me point out, in relation to our fears, exactly why I’m not convinced people are very intellectual.  I know perfectly fine human beings who climb into a car and drive every day without a care.  In the United States, nearly 33,000 people died in car crashes in the United states in 2013, nearly 100 per day!  Those exact same people will not wade more than ankle-deep in the ocean because they are afraid of sharks.  On average in the United States, ONE person per year is killed by a shark, six are killed worldwide.  There are normally less than twenty shark attacks in the US each year.  Our fears about sharks I have a feeling went up significantly in the 1970’s with both the book and the movie Jaws.

01Our fears are driven not by an intellectual evaluation of risk but our emotional reaction to the object of fear.  In the last ten years, less than 100 Americans have been killed in the US by terrorists.  If you want a bigger number you can go back to 9/11 and the total will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3200 people in the last fifteen years.  In the last ten years, there have been roughly 300,000 deaths due to gun violence in the United States.  Yet I hear much more concern about terrorists coming to the US to kill us than I do about fearing gun violence from other Americans.  Again, this is driven by emotion not rational risk analysis, but I get it, the image of planes flying into towers, massacres in the streets of Paris, news of deaths in San Bernardino cause an emotional reaction.

Having an emotional reaction to something terrible is utterly normal, reading about someone being attacked by a shark or killed by a terrorist at a cafe should elicit a fear response.  That you react emotionally to the event does not impact your happiness.  How you choose to react and act past that initial response is what can damage your happiness.

If your reaction to shark attacks is to spend hours worrying about a shark attack before you go to the beach you’re impacting your happiness.  If you are unable to enjoy yourself in the water because you are very afraid that impacts your happiness negatively.  Worst of all, if you won’t go to the beach at all, or won’t go on a cruise or let your kids swim in the ocean you are letting your fears keep you from doing things that will very likely make you happier.  Some may argue that if you have that fear then staying home is the best option, you’ve escaped your fear and aren’t stressing.  But I’ll give you another way to look at this, you’ve let your fear dictate the way you live your life and have reduced the number of positive experiences you are able to have.  If you begin to avoid everything that harm you pretty soon you’ll be living in a padded room.

I see the same thing with terrorism, yes, there are people in this world who are willing to kill you.  They want to kill you for nothing more than your nationality, religion, color of your skin, sexual orientation or any number of other things that someone has deemed is wrong.  For this reason I see people speaking out in unkind ways about people they have never met.  I see political leaders using this fear as a foundation for bigotry.  Hatred and suspicion will never be a path to kindness, generosity or happiness.  And I would argue that most people see themselves as kind, generous and want to be happy.

When we come back to actual risk however, we see that terrorist truly pose very little risk to our lives.  This does not mean we shouldn’t work to reduce that risk for us and others, but it also doesn’t mean we should act in ways that are counter to our core values.  In particular where refugees are concerned, I believe we should continue to vet refugees the way we do, do a good job of weeding out those who mean to harm others.  We have the data that in fact shows over the last ten years there has been very little risk created from the hundreds of thousands of refugees we’ve admitted to this country.  We typically admit about 70,000 refugees per year into the United States.

04I don’t think we should fantasize that we can ever devise a perfect process, or that people may not change after they are in the United States for years.  We’ve seen this fear before in the United States, fear of Italians, of Jews, the Irish, Mexicans and Communists.  And yes, throughout our history we’ve allowed folks to immigrate to the United States who have turned out to be mafia members, criminals, Communists and others who were not a positive force on our society.  But this number has always been small, we emotionally fear the new, those we see as other, in reality these people have always and will almost certainly always pose a very small risk to each of us.  On the other side think about how these people have enriched our society and culture, it is part of what makes America the envy of the world.

02So let’s get back to being happier in our daily lives.  We need to reduce the fears that we have and hopefully this will lead to reducing worry and the stress that it brings that is so detrimental to your health.  My recommendations are as follows:

  1. Reduce your news intake, particularly your cable news intake.  You don’t need to watch 4 hours of coverage about the latest attack regardless of where it is or how many people have died.  Understand that local news also has a formula that will cause you unnecessary worry.  Whatever tragedy occurs, attack, earthquake, meteor strike, Ebola, local news will always do a story, entitled, <insert horror> can it happen here? Even if the answer is no that story will still make you worry.

2. When you do start to fear and worry about something, do a reality check.  I’m afraid of Ebola, let’s see how many people have ever died of Ebola in America, zero, ok, maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about that.  It may not eliminate the worry but it should put it in proper context.

3.  This will seem counter intuitive, but scare yourself, stretch yourself.  I am a huge proponent of adventure leading to happiness.  I can tell you from personal experience, the more you test and scare yourself and succeed, the more you will begin to realize that your fears aren’t as real as you believed them to be.  And focus on that, if you’re afraid of shark attacks go to the beach and just watch.  Lot’s of people frolicking in the surf and no one is getting voraciously consumed by the epitome of swimming death.  Focus on the reality of your experience instead of the fantasies of your fears.

4. Finally, actively work to stay positive, when you are worrying or afraid, ask yourself is there another way to look at this situation?  Instead of focusing on the 6 shark attacks this year, how about focusing on the hundreds of millions of people who swam in the ocean without being attacked.

I hope these tips can help and I want to make a final comment related to social media.  It’s easy to express your fears behind a computer screen and to dismiss other opinions.  Online we seek out others who echo our opinions, be careful.  If we have a fear about sharks and we post and read posts about shark attacks, the algorithms for sites like Facebook will feed you more posts about shark attacks.  In those posts you see lots of comments for people with the same fears which amplifies and confirms your own fears.  Be smart about how you use social media and don’t respond to others who disagree out of emotion and fear.

03So my friends, try to reduce your fear and worry, try to focus on more kindness and generosity and have a happy day.  I’ll end this piece with one of my favorite quotes from Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, I have always found these words to be profoundly wise and have quoted this to myself at times when I was truly afraid. ~ Rev Kane

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.          ~ The character Paul from Frank Herbert’s Dune

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Remember the Sweet Things The best story you’ll ever hear!

Happiness, Worry & The Dalai Lama’s Thoughts

Why I’m Happy Right Now!

Happiness Resources, Positivity, Kindness & Gratitude

Stories of Kindness

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Holiday Happiness, A Little Laughter

Holiday Happiness, A Little Laughter

happiness

The holidays are often a very stressful period for people so for the next 34 days (Thanksgiving through Christmas) we’re going to do a post a day, something happy and uplifting each day, perhaps an image, a poem, a quote, a moment of happiness or some bit of wisdom all in an effort to boost everyone’s happiness a little bit.  You can do your part by paying it forward, send these little bits of happiness on to others and ask that they do the same and as always, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

A cautionary tale for you holiday pranksters out there and a bit of a chuckle for the rest of us.  http://laugh.housewifemafia.com/Louises_Stockings.html

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

The Art of Smiling and Being Positive

Happiness is Staying Positive

Twelve Days of Christmas – For People Who Don’t Like Christmas

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

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Happiness is Art: Storytelling

Happiness is Art: Storytelling

01Stories are a communal currency of humanity.Tahir Shah, in Arabian Nights

I love storytelling, I love nothing better to tell or hear a good story.  I was fortunate recently to be in the Arctic and have the honor of listening to an Inuit elder tell us stories about her life, it was a magical night.  Storytelling is one of those things I forget about until I’m in the middle of hearing or telling one.  Last week there was a wonderful interview on NPR with a storyteller named Noa Baum.  The interview was fabulous and she told a couple of magnificent stories.

I’m fortunate enough to have a friend who is a magnificent storyteller her name is Kim Bateman.  She’s someone who if you have the chance to listen to you absolutely should.  I’m a really good storyteller and she’s much better than I am, she did a TedxTalk recently called Singing Over Bones and it’s worth a watch and listen.

One of my favorite all-time stories and maybe the most moving story I’ve ever heard I featured in a post called, Remember the Sweet Things.  It will be the best six minutes of your day to give it a listen.

Storytelling seems to becoming popular again and I love that.  There are two things recently that have helped that, the first is Story Corps, a really remarkable project that all around America has people come in and tell the story of their families, with their family.  Both the project and the site are amazing, check it out.

The last project to tell you about has a very odd name, The Moth, but it is a project dedicated to people telling stories live, without notes and so the stories have a tendency to be incredibly personal and amazing, check it out and if you’d like you can submit your own through the site.

We all have stories to tell, so tell your story and I think you’ll have a happier day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Van Gogh, Picasso, Chihuly

Art Sculptures in the Desert

Happiness is Street Art

Zen and the Art of Food

The Art of Smiling and Being Positive

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Holiday Happiness: Deng Ming-Dao on Worry

Holiday Happiness: Deng Ming-Dao on Worry

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The holidays are often a very stressful period for people so for the next 34 days (Thanksgiving through Christmas) we’re going to do a post a day, something happy and uplifting each day, perhaps an image, a poem, a quote, a moment of happiness or some bit of wisdom all in an effort to boost everyone’s happiness a little bit.  You can do your part by paying it forward, send these little bits of happiness on to others and ask that they do the same and as always, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

Worry is an addiction
That interferes with compassion

Worry is a problem that seems to be rampant. Perhaps it is due to the nature of our overly advanced civilization; perhaps it is a measure of our own spiritual degneracy. Whatever the source, it is clear that worry is not useful. It is a cancer of the emotions-concern gone compulsive. It eats away at the body and the mind.

It does no good to say, “Don’t think about it.” You’ll only worry more. It is far better to keep walking your path, changing what you can. The rest must be dissolved in compassion. In this world of infants with immune deficiencies, racial injustice, economic imbalance, personal violence, and international conflict, it is impossible to address everyone’s concerns. Taking care of yourself and doing something good for those whom you meet is enough. That is compassion, and we must exercise it even in the face of the overwhelming odds.

Whenever you meet a problem, help it if is in your power to do so. After you have acted, withdraw and be unconcerned about it. Walk on without ever mentioning it to anybody. There there is no worry, because there has been action.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

The Art of Smiling and Being Positive

Happiness is Staying Positive

Twelve Days of Christmas – For People Who Don’t Like Christmas

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

 

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Holiday Happiness: Inspirational Quotes

Holiday Happiness: Inspirational Quotes

happinessThe holidays are often a very stressful period for people so for the next 34 days (Thanksgiving through Christmas) we’re going to do a post a day, something happy and uplifting each day, perhaps an image, a poem, a quote, a moment of happiness or some bit of wisdom all in an effort to boost everyone’s happiness a little bit.  You can do your part by paying it forward, send these little bits of happiness on to others and ask that they do the same and as always, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

75 Inspirational quotes on life and happiness

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

The Art of Smiling and Being Positive

Happiness is Staying Positive

Twelve Days of Christmas – For People Who Don’t Like Christmas

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

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Holiday Happiness: Resources for Fighting Holiday Depression

Holiday Happiness: Resources for Fighting Holiday Depression

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If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days. ~ Kris Carr

The holidays are a very stressful time for everyone and an exceptionally hard time for some.  So, until the New Year I’ll be posting a Holiday Happiness post each day to try help folks out who are struggling.  As always you can reach out to me at Happinesskane@aol.com for a kind word or someone to listen. ~ Rev Kane

Hello friends, tonight we continue our posts on holiday depression with a collection of resources that I hope will help you cope if your mood starts to suffer during the holiday season.  Let me be clear, we are not talking about clinical depression.  Clinical depression is a disease that needs serious attention and treatment.  If you are feeling down and not bouncing back after the holiday season then maybe something more serious is going on.  At that point I’d check in with a medical professional and have a conversation.

Practical and Powerful Ways to Overcome Depression – I really love this piece, simple straightforward and sound advice.  Get outside, exercise, get sleep, eat better, ridiculously simple but also highly effective.

Nine effective treatments for overcoming mild depression – I like the way this piece starts out, recommendations for exercise, light therapy and some supplements.  The last couple recommendations are fairly heavy and seem more directed to more serious depression.

From WebMD, 10 Natural Depression Treatments – There is a definite pattern in the advice offered from various resources.  Get the basics right, eat, sleep, safety and security.

This time of year you may also be suffering from the most terribly acronymed issue ever, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  So this piece is worth a quick read as well, you’ll definitely see some overlap between how to deal with both issues.

7 Tips for Treating SAD at Home

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

The Art of Smiling and Being Positive

Happiness is Staying Positive

Twelve Days of Christmas – For People Who Don’t Like Christmas

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

 

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Holiday Happiness: Happiness Moment

Holiday Happiness: Happiness Moment

happiness

The holidays are often a very stressful period for people so for the next 34 days (Thanksgiving through Christmas) we’re going to do a post a day, something happy and uplifting each day, perhaps an image, a poem, a quote, a moment of happiness or some bit of wisdom all in an effort to boost everyone’s happiness a little bit.  You can do your part by paying it forward, send these little bits of happiness on to others and ask that they do the same and as always, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

A happy little story today about a moment of happiness, on Halloween night I had a 18 month old Jedi Knight come knocking on my door.  The young Ben Kenobi scammed me out of an extra piece of candy.  He was adorable, and even helped me close my door and stood there waving, left me smiling all night.

These may also may you smile…

Happiness is Laughter: Funny Signs

Happiness quotes

The Art of Smiling and Being Positive

Happiness is Staying Positive

Twelve Days of Christmas – For People Who Don’t Like Christmas

 

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Holiday Happiness: The Dalai Lama on Caring for Others

Holiday Happiness: The Dalai Lama on Caring for Others

The holidays are often a very stressful period for people so for the next 34 days (Thanksgiving through Christmas) we’re going to do a post a day, something happy and uplifting each day, perhaps an image, a poem, a quote, a moment of happiness or some bit of wisdom all in an effort to boost everyone’s happiness a little bit.  You can do your part by paying it forward, send these little bits of happiness on to others and ask that they do the same and as always, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

dalai lama bday

Honest concern for others is the key factor in improving our day to day lives. When you are warm-hearted, there is no room for anger, jealousy or insecurity. A calm mind and self-confidence are the basis for happy and peaceful relations with each other. Healthy, happy families and a healthy peaceful nation are dependent on warm-heartedness. ~ Dalai Lama

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

The Art of Smiling and Being Positive

Happiness is Staying Positive

Twelve Days of Christmas – For People Who Don’t Like Christmas

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

 

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Holiday Happiness: Holiday Travel Tips, including Traveling with Kids

Holiday Happiness: Holiday Travel Tips, including Traveling with Kids

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The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.                     ~ Saint Augustine

The holidays are a very stressful time for everyone and an exceptionally hard time for some.  So, until the New Year I’ll be posting a Holiday Happiness post each day to try help folks out who are struggling.  As always you can reach out to me at Happinesskane@aol.com for a kind word or someone to listen. ~ Rev Kane

Tonight I wanted to post something about travel for two reasons.  One, the travel we do over the holidays can sometimes be the very thing that makes unhappy during the holidays.  Crammed into cars in the winter, long lines at airports and bus stations, traveling with the children and often staying with relatives in less than ideal sleeping situations.

So a couple of things tonight, first some tips on holiday travel and secondly some links to pieces about better travel options, lessons learned from traveling the world, posts about adventures and awesome places to go.

So tonight hopefully a few good tips, and if nothing else, some reading to take your mind away from wherever you are right now and to someplace more fun.  Enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

Some tips for holiday travel!

Ten survival tips for holiday travel

Tips for Holiday driving trips

Tips for traveling with children for the holidays – really comprehensive piece with air and driving tips.

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Some pieces to take you away!

Five Things I learned about happiness from traveling the world

Happiness is Cycling in Ireland

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Precious Moments

Happiness is Photography: Ireland

Appalachian Trail Happiness – 3 Questions

Himalayan Travelogue Series

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