Take a Deep Breath, Move Forward

Take a Deep Breath, Move Forward

1We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.            ~ Rev Kane

Transitions and changes seem ever-present and in the last year and I have certainly self-imposed a ton of those on myself.  The gears will certainly be shifting in 2016, unfortunately I didn’t become independently wealthy this year so it will be back to work.  I’ll be heading back west in the early part of the year and starting the job search.  At some point I’ll even have a normal place to live, I have to admit, I’m looking forward to living someplace for the first time in 15 months where I actually control the thermostat!

This week I left my speedy and overactive mind get ahead of itself as it is want to do.  I was already calculating that I have a trip in mid-January, one at the end of January, the holidays are here and the book’s not done.  I was feeling very much like I’m out of time and have not accomplished the big goal, getting the book done.  Time to take a breath.

01I started meditating again this week, it’s so silly how I can get out of the habit of doing something that I enjoy and is so good for me.  I’ve also had my head spinning over a long-standing relationship and have unfortunately gone to ground like I do, rebuilding the walls around myself that protect me.  The cumulative effect though has been to calm my brain down and get me to breathe and look around with a better eye.

I have six weeks left to work on the book here (I’ve only been here 5 weeks), I’ll have extra time around Christmas.  I had a ton of blog work to catch up on and that’s done so I can be more focused on the book.  Also, about two-thirds of the writing is done and some of the organizing, so I’m not in bad shape to have that first solid rough draft knocked off before I leave.  Finally, I can still work on it while on the road heading west and while I’m looking for a job.  I really hope to have it into the publishing process by June but that’s new road for me, so it may take some time.

01

As much as I really hate this time of year I move forward with the reality that life is really good right now, I’ll be at the beach for Christmas, one of my favorite places – St. Joseph’s Bay in Florida.  The welcome letter to the house I’m renting talked about snakes, turtles, dolphins and bears, a perfect little mix of forest and beach.

So tonight my friends take your own deep breath, this time of year makes people nuts.  You don’t have to be perfect, your house doesn’t have to be spotless, the gifts, whatever they are, or no gift at all will be fine. And if you get silly questions just laugh.

02So sit down, smile, relax, have a little eggnog, watch the sunset and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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How Happiness is Related to Age

How Happiness is Related to Age

happiness, wisdom, age

Comes with age

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty ~ Coco Chanel

Tonight a quick post, I encountered a really interesting bit of reading this week on the idea of how we perceive happiness differently at different ages, I hope you enjoy it and as always 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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The Happiest I’ve Ever Been

The Happiest I’ve Ever Been

There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself. ~ Henry David Thoreau

So this is my 1300th post on the Ministry of Happiness.  I realize that 1300 isn’t a typical milestone for anything, but it is for me and the blog.  You see the core function of this blog has always been through story, example and resources to help people live a happier life. This concept has actually gotten a bit of derision in the last few years and even a bit of satire.  There have been several posts in the last few years, unfortunately I couldn’t track them down, making fun of the pursuit of happiness.  I get it, like just about everything good, people eventually will go overboard, the media will blow it out of proportion and it will get talked about incessantly until we are all utterly annoyed with the idea.

And yes, obsessing over happiness or anything else, is not the best thing to do. So if you spend all of your time obsessing and worrying over happiness, trying five new ways to be happy every week, you’re probably not very happy.  So moderation in everything, even the pursuit of happiness is a really good idea.  Becoming obsessed and worried about anything is a sure ticket to becoming unhappy, as I’ve written about before, worry is the enemy of happiness.

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know that a big part of the reason I started this blog was because I had struggled with depression for a long time.  And as I learned more about how to be happier I started to pass that information on via this blog.  The blog has morphed over time, I’ve gotten less nail on the head, and instead have tended to talk about my life and travels and tried to draw lessons from both to remind us all how to be a little bit happier.  I feel that I’ve had some success in this respect, I get this from some of the comments and personal notes that have been sent to me.  I have always said that writing this blog has been the most rewarding writing project I’ve ever done.  I certainly get as much or more out of writing it, as you do reading it.  So thank you for reading and participating and especially for your comments which I really appreciate it, it lets me know how I’m doing.

hunter s thompson, fear and loathing, las vegasThe big reason this is such an important post for me is because of a realization that recently occurred.  In conversation with a friend it dawned on me that there is nothing dragging down my happiness right now.  Over the years I’ve dealt with the long-standing issues we all drag with us out of our childhood.  Currently, my job is going really well, there is no major drama in my interpersonal life.  I’ve moved to a great place, made some new friends, and reconnected with others.  Recently I’ve finally worked my way past the biggest remaining interpersonal stressor in my life.  As such, my mental and emotional landscape is flat, no obstacles in any direction.  That reality has produced a mellow and happy, calmness is my life.  This does not mean my life is perfect, I have some health issues to deal with, I need to lose another 20 pounds, I haven’t been romantically inclined with anyone in several years.  But my outlook on life has certainly improved, and this new state of mind has definitely allowed me to view things more positively.

So the natural question is how did you get to this point?  I could be a bit snarky and say, you only need to read the previous 1299 posts, and I’d be thrilled if you did.  And although that would give you the insight, let me be a little more direct and a lot more brief.  I’ve worked on myself, and that’s a popular and totally nebulous phrase.  What I mean by that is that I’ve taken the time to examine my life and myself.  I’ve looked at what has gone right and wrong and took an honest look at my role in each.  After that I try and continue to do the things that made things better, and not repeat the things that made things worse.  Sounds simple, but it takes years to go from where I was in my twenties to where I am now.

rev kane, slower pace of life, can make you happy

Let me give you an example.  In my life life some of my relatives were negative influences, the type of people that are uncaring, unsupportive and at times downright overly critical and mean.  On the other hand, my granny was my biggest cheerleader.  So I eventually cut the negative people out of my life and spent more time to in contact with my granny.  I’ve done similar things with losing weight, with getting out of my comfort zone and achieving some of the other goals in my life, including producing this blog every Sunday night.  So tonight friends, a thank you for your support and a hope that your work is progressing as well as mine and that you have many more happy days. ~ Rev Kane

 

 

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Notice the Small Things

Notice the Small Things

happiness, small things, burningman

A couple of small things at Burningman

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. ~ Mother Teresa

So today I want to talk about noticing the small things.  As we grudgingly roll out of bed and blast into our daily routine, commute, and start our work day, it is all too easy to do this in a haze; after all it’s just another day.  But tomorrow is another day you’re alive, another day that this magic thing that is life is occurring and we should be thankful and enjoy it.  We need to find the joy in the standard and the routine for that is the majority of our time.  One way to do that is notice the small things.  Take a second to return the smile of someone you encounter, notice the sunrise during your drive, or take a moment to see the new hairstyle someone is wearing in your office.

Noticing these things may not do anything in themselves to increase your happiness, but may increase the happiness of others, which in the end will increase yours.  So have a great day, take your time, remember to breathe, stay positive, notice the small things and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Do not consider any act of kindness insignificant, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face. ~ Mohammed

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Great Hikes & Treks

Happiness is Taking Risks

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

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A silly moment in the woods

A silly moment in the woods

happiness

Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment. ~ Horace

So as I hiked in the forest the other day I noticed  a sign that seemed a little confusing to me.

100_1799My confusion came from the thought of why the wildlife, might need to be insured.  My answer came with a quick turn to the right and another sign.

100_1800

Apparently the wildlife has been feeding on the plants and the plants are on drugs!  Ok, just a little bit of silliness to raise a smile and help you have a happy day my friends

~ Rev Kane

 

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Happiness is Doing the Best You Can

Happiness is Doing the Best You Can

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. ~ Mother Teresa

happinessHello my friends, tonight I’ve been sitting around thinking about life, not having a particularly good day but something raised a smile for me a little bit ago. You know that got me to thinking about life in general and about how much our attitudes really mean almost everything. You see I did not grow up well-off and in a place where I witnessed a lot of people who were even worse off than I was. I’ve also had the advantage of traveling around the world, not only to the nice touristy places on the planet, but also to developing countries were people often have nothing or next to nothing.

You would think that automatically that would mean that in these places people would be unhappy, or selfish given the things they are lacking. However, I have often found exactly the opposite, there is plenty of happiness, gratitude and generosity in these communities. This isn’t to say things are rosy, hell these are people with little food, money or many of the things we would consider necessary for a decent life much less luxury. However, I’ve spent wonderful happy nights in their company, I have spent many hours laughing with people who had little and didn’t even speak the same language.

The lesson I have learned from them is that in order to be happy you have to make the best of what you have. It doesn’t matter if you have money, or the job you want or the person you want to be with because you have your life. Whatever life you have, whatever situation you are in there is something to be happy about even if it just the sound of the wind through the trees, puffy white clouds plunging across a powder blue sky, or the sound of rain on the roof. It’s all a matter of what you decide to be in any given moment.

So today my friends, wherever you are, whatever is happening make the choice to be happy, just for a moment, then for the next and the next. Soon, once you’ve strung together moments they become minutes, hours and eventually a happy day my friends      ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

How Travel Makes You Happier

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Our Best Happiness Posts of 2015

My favorite Appalachian Trail Photos of 2015

Why I’m Happy Right Now!

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Even More, Happiness Signs & Sayings

Even More, Happiness Signs & Sayings

5 4 4 1 1 2 2 2 3 happiness 1 happiness, change, fear happiness, fear, change happiness, fear, change happiness, fear, change happiness happiness happiness, family happiness, giving happiness, giving happiness, giving happiness, giving happiness, giving happkiness, alive day

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You matter! You deserve to be happy!

You matter! You deserve to be happy!

monks

Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you ~ Lao Tzu

You matter!  I’m not sure there is any more significant set of two words related to your personal happiness, with the possible exception of thank you.  We’ve talked about how important it is to be grateful here before, but today I want to talk about understanding that you matter.

The inspiration for today’s post came from a conversation I just had with a former student.  She’s kind of stuck, not sure what to do next and like a lot of us has let the pressure build up to the point where she’s stressed out, not sure what to do next  and starting to doubt herself.    She reached out to me because I’d given her some useful advice before, she reached out in hopes that I might make her feel a little better about what she needs to do.  In a lot of ways, I think all she really needed to hear was that in fact, she was smart and strong, and that she can do what she wants and needs to do to achieve her goals, that she matters.

And of course she does matter and she’s done impressive things in her life.  She’s an immigrant, she’s become educated, runs a small business is raising four children, big things.  However she’s in her early 30’s and our society and her culture tell women enough, you’re in your 30’s, you have children it’s time to raise them and stop thinking of yourself.  This of course is wrong, your children feed off your energy and learn from what you do!  If you work hard and strive for a better life, sacrifice to become more educated then they realize that is important as well.  If you work to be a happier person, they will realize that happiness is important as well.

You matter and your happiness matters and whether you attain it by striving for some goal or whether you gain it as Lao Tzu suggests by becoming content with where you are or what you already have, it matters and you matter.  It’s funny sometimes a simple idea or phrase can have so much power.  Simply telling someone as David Best does at Burning Man, that it’s not your fault, or telling someone that they matter can have a profound impact.  Take it to heart my friends, you matter and you deserve to be happy.

The funny thing about helping others, is that it is almost never a one-way process.  My former student called today to get help from me, to have me help her feel better about her life.  I believe I was able to do that to a degree, but in the process, she did at least as much for me.  She was able to show me that the advice I gave her in the past had been good, had helped her and most of all that advice had a lasting impact, the advice mattered and she provided a nice reminder that I do as well.

So remember, you matter, you deserve to be happy and you can start by having a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

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Whale Tails and Happiness

Whale Tails and Happiness

The whales do not sing because they have an answer, they sing because they have a song. ~ Gregory Colbert

I’m lucky that in my job during the Summer we work four days a week, ten hours a day.  Unfortunately, Summer is running out for the college calendar and next week will already be my last free Summer Friday.  I suddenly had this realization last week, and determined to make my last two Fridays count, so I decided to use this past Friday to go whale watching.

The flat mark is the slick left after a whale dives

I used to go whale watching fairly regularly when I lived near Monterey, CA and so on Friday I headed back down that way, Moss Landing to be specific, and set out with Sanctuary Cruises.

Whale watching like any nature related activity requires patience, and it was certainly tested on this trip.  What was supposed to be a two hour trip started to get tentative once we were a full hour and fifteen minutes into the trip and still heading out away from the coast.  It was a wonderfully flat day on the sea with some cloud cover and the temperature was nice.  Everything was great, just no whales.  We did see a couple of harbor porpoises but nothing else.  It started to seem like we would end up turning around and seeing nothing when someone yelled two o’clock.  There off the starboard bow were a couple of humpback whale blows.  It would turn out to be four animals and we would get about a half an hour of observation as we followed them around.

On any whale watch, whales aren’t the only attraction.  On the way out of the harbor we saw otters

sea lions

lots of birds

and most excitedly on the way in we saw a flock of 60,000 shearwaters.  These birds who travel the Pacific in these giant flocks from time to time get sick.  One year, as the flock was ill, the birds skidded in land to a town named Capitola on the California coast.  They were everywhere, disoriented and slamming into buildings and windows, birds filled the town, it was damn near apocalyptic.  And in the middle of it all was a man named Alfred Hitchcock.  Seeing this massive flock I absolutely believe that story as the inspiration for the movie The Birds.

I think I was meant to be a pirate, or a sailor at the least.  My paternal grandfather’s family were fisherman in back in Ireland, I truly think some that has soaked into my genes.  I feel peaceful and calm on the ocean, it’s one of the few places where I feel I absolutely belong.  But as Jimmy Buffet so eloquently put it, I’m two-hundred years too late.

There are activities and places where we all feel peaceful and calm my friends.  It’s important that from time to time that we visit them, they are important for our souls and our happiness, have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

 

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Happiness is Poetry: Pablo Neruda

Happiness is Poetry: Pablo Neruda

neruda happiness poetryTo do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life ~ T S Eliot

Tonight my favorite romantic poet, I’ve never read anyone who can talk about love as beautifully as Pablo Neruda.  So have a read and think about the one you love and have a very happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

If you forget me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

****************************************

I do not love except because I love you

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

*********************************************

Don’t go far off

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because —
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,

because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

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