Happiness is Anti-Consumerism

Happiness is Anti-Consumerism

happinesss, consumerismOk first disclaimer right off the bat, I’m a consumer, damn near impossible to be raised and live in America without that lifestyle being beaten into our heads. But I’m a recovering consumer, I’ve become less and less of a consumer each year of my life. Now what do I mean by a consumer, essentially someone who is under the influence of advertisers, who believes more is better, who gets enamored with the latest, biggest and best things when they are really not that necessary or even necessary at all in some cases.

happiness, consumerismI would argue that the United States, even more than a capitalist society or a democracy is a consumer society, it has damn near become our national religion and it is what gives big corporations so much power. Don’t believe me, pull up a YouTube full of Black Friday videos and watch Americans go insane even to the point of violence and death to get a good deal for the holidays.

happiness, consumerismI’ve written before on simplifying your life and this is a topic near and dear to me. A lesson that I will be hammering home to myself over the next six months as I live on what I can carry on my back while on the Appalachian Trail. I’m guessing very quickly, new TV’s and new cars and the latest exciting electronic gadget will soon hold no relevance for me what so ever.

One of the biggest proponents of anti-consumerism is Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir.  I first met Reverend Billy about 10 years ago at Burning Man, a lot of what he was doing back then was highly entertaining and slightly serious theater with a message. However, the man and the message have gotten very serious and he’s become a staunch advocate for anti-consumerism and economic justice in America and I’m proud of his message and the work he’s doing.

happiness, consumerism

Rev Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir

This all recently hit home for me. I’m staying with my sister and her family which includes my 10 year-old nephew. He’s smitten with brands, his jerseys and shirts MUST be Under Armour. This is not so disturbing a result of advertising, peer pressure and father worship. However he also MUST have Axe body wash, this is disturbing.

We’ve all seen the commercials Axe does, they are a one trick advertising pony, the premise, use Axe products and hot women will attack you and rip your clothes off to have you. The idea that a 10 year-old boy has already completely bought into this ridiculous advertising ploy frightens me for the rest of his life. He’s a smart kid, hopefully he’ll come to realize the game companies are playing and get beyond it.

happiness, consumerismBut how much hope do I really have for that when I watch adults fall prey to the same lame advertising gimmicks.  So my friends, pay attention, be smart, want and use less and you’ll have much happier days ~ Rev Kane

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Holiday Happiness: Overcoming Holiday Depression

Holiday Happiness: Overcoming Holiday Depression

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The holidays stress people out so much. I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can. ~ Giada De Laurentiis

1Each year around this time I start a series of posts that last throughout the holiday season to try to give folks a boost to their happiness.  The holidays for many people are wonderful, for most people are stressful and for some of us damn near unbearable.  And yes, I include myself in that last category.

There are certainly elements of the holidays that I enjoy, I love giving good presents. The kind of presents that make people realize I know them and took the time to really think about them and give them something that is very special to them.  I love Thanksgiving, being out in nature, the cooking, the eating, the football watching.  I’ve never been much of a fan of Christmas or New Years, apart from the gift giving.

2I think that there are a combination of things that hit me pretty hard during the holidays.  First, typically being alone and not having immediate community is hard for me during a time of year where everyone makes a huge deal of how wonderful it is to be with the people they love.  And don’t get me wrong, family and friends often invite me into their celebrations and I’ve joined in some.  A friend in Las Vegas does a wonderful open celebration each year at Thanksgiving.  But Christmas is the kicker and there is nothing more awkward than crashing someone else’s Christmas.  New Year’s Eve, amateur night has never been fun for me, too much booze for too many people who don’t drink very often, too often leads to bad situations.  Finally, the shortest days of the year fall all over these holidays as well.  Cold, dark, short days can be real triggers for my mood to tank.

1During this time feel free to reach out by comment or e-mail, Happinesskane@aol.com, if you want a little encouragement, an ear or a kind word, I’m happy to be here for you.  So, as part of an attempt to help others cope a little better, and a bit of therapy to try to keep my own mood afloat I’ll be posting out daily from now until January 1st.  Each post will be designed to lift both my mood and yours and help us have happier days my friends.  ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness and Guilty Pleasures

Happiness and Guilty Pleasures

Happiness, Mardi GrasIf no tourists came, we’d still have Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a state of mind. ~ Ed Muniz

 

So tonight I guest posted for my longtime friend LeAnne on her fabulous Good for Spooning Blog, she’s doing Lent serious about Guilty Pleasures.  Give it a read and check out her blog, it’s centered around food and quite fabulous.  Have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

 

 

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Holiday Happiness: Funny Holiday Stories

Holiday Happiness: Funny Holiday Stories

happinessA day without laughter is a day wasted. ~ Charlie Chaplin

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 a few funny holiday stories to brighten your day, the first, is by far the best. ~ 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

Ten funny holiday stories from travelers http://www.travelmatch.co.uk/blog/2011/07/26/top-10-funniest-holiday-stories/

Holiday pet stories http://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/news-videos-fun/fun-stuff/funny-holiday-dog-stories

 

 

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Holiday Happiness: Wisdom & Happiness

Holiday Happiness: Wisdom & Happiness

happiness, paulo coehloThe 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

 

Today the consideration that without wisdom there cannot be happiness, what is wisdom, the piece linked to below believes that wisdom is:

1.  Understanding and common sense

2.  Ability to discern right from wrong

3.  Curiosity

4.  Versatility

5.  Good critical thinking skills

Here is the link to the full piece  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ethics-everyone/201107/wisdom-and-the-search-happiness give it a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

Other pieces about wisdom and happiness you might enjoy!

The Wisdom of Paulo Coehlo

Amazing Wisdom about Happiness & Positive Change

Happiness is Love & Unconventional Wisdom

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Happiness is the Desert

Happiness is the Desert

happiness, desert

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. ~ Edward Abbey

One night of easy living at the edge of the desert before I head out to camp for five days in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  This park is one of my favorite places and is a bit of a secret despite being voted as one of the best parks in America on a number of occasions.   Just to the south of Joshua Tree, Anza-Borrego gets overshadowed by the more well-known national park.  For example, I reserved my campsite two weeks ago and in Joshua you couldn’t find a campsite for this week over two months ago.  Also, Anza-Borrego is still one of those places that allows open primitive camping.

happiness, desert

The other thing about Borrego Springs is that it’s a dark sky city, so with so little artificial light at night and so much artificial space, this is one of the few places in America were the night skies are just layers of stars on stars.

happiness, desert

Being out here always makes me think about Edward Abbey, if you have never read his stuff, and you have an interest in the outdoors, it’s time to go get yourself a copy of Desert Solitaire or one of his other books.  I’ll leave my own philosophizing on nature til after days in the sand and the dust, there’s always a lot of inspiration in wide-open spaces.

happiness, desert

Although I’ll so some hiking each day, this place is not a great training ground for the Appalachian Trail (AT), not enough climbing for enough miles, but it will keep in shape and give me time to continue my decompression.  The next couple of weeks are all about getting ready for the AT both mentally and physically.  Physically I’m on my way, mentally, I need to keep slowing down, keep easing off of the throttle, becoming less dependent on normal everyday life in anticipation of a simpler new normal.  Not an easy new normal, but certainly a simpler one, perhaps a better one.  Hopefully you’ll find some time during the holiday madness to simplify, relax and find a new normal for yourself, and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Holiday Happiness: Family, Friends & Your Environment

Holiday Happiness: Family, Friends & Your Environment

01I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun. ~ Charles R. Swindoll

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

 

An interesting little piece for you on how your family, friends and the environments of your life impact your happiness.  Have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

How do you find contentment in an acquisitive society? By changing the things you spend your money on, says a US academic. The Secret of Happiness, talks about something that researchers have been saying for a couple of years now, money can buy happiness if you use it to buy experiences instead of things.

 

Below are a few pieces I’ve written about experiences and the happiness they have brought me:

 

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Precious Moments

Happiness is Swimming with Whale Sharks

Three Questions & Some Thoughts from Anza Borrego State Park

Mount Everest Travelogue

 

 

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Start Your Monday Morning Right

Start Your Monday Morning Right

be happy, smile, cynicism, quote, meme

Be happy

Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible ~ Dalai Lama

Sitting down tonight to write my Sunday night post and what’s really on my mind is Monday morning.  Work has been nuts for the last month, I’m working late one to two nights a week, I’m working six days a week.  This is not my normal mode of operation, at least it hasn’t been in a very long time since I began focusing on keeping my work and non-work life in better balance.  But we all have those times where circumstances and deadlines overrule the way things should be.  As long as this is a temporary situation, and mine should be, it’s ok.  It’s when this becomes the status quo that you absolutely need to make a change in your life.

So I’m not looking forward to the morning or this week, another very busy week, hopefully the last hectic week for a time.  However, instead of looking grudgingly at the morning, I’ve decided to think about kindness tonight.  I’ve written on kindness many times on this site for a very simple reason.  One of the best ways to make yourself happier is by doing something to make others happier.

On our campus we have recently begun a food pantry for students who are having issues with having enough to eat.  It’s an issue that hits close to home, there were a couple of times, happily only a couple, when as a kid I was in that situation.  Those times made a deep mark on me.  So on Friday a colleague and I got to go food shopping, spending $300 of some state funds earmarked for the purpose.  It felt good to helping out and I will be shopping once again after the holiday supplies run low on my own dime to keep the project going.  I tell you this not to brag or look good, but to remind you that there are ways in which all of us can help, however small, anything you can do matters as long as you are extending a kindness and that kindness will always mak it a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts on Kindness and Happiness

Random Acts of Kindness & Happiness

Videos of Inspiration, Kindness and Gratitude

Stories of Kindness

 

 

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Holiday Happiness: Overcoming Worry

Holiday Happiness : Overcoming Worry

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People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold. ~ John Jay Chapman

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

fix flowersI sometimes think that worry is the number one thing that keeps people from being happy.  We spend so much time worrying about what other people think, did I make the right decision, what might happen next?  Most worry is a total and complete waste of time, what others think rarely truly matters, once a decision is made whether it was right or not is irrelevant you just have to deal with the consequences of the decision you made, and finally worrying about what might happen, well that’s an infinite well you’ll never get out of and still be happy.  So tonight a tour around the web to find you some resources and advice on how to worry less.  I’m starting with a quote I really like, give then a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

1When you begin to worry, go find something to do. Get busy being a blessing to someone; do something fruitful. Talking about your problem or sitting alone, thinking about it, does no good; it serves only to make you miserable. Above all else, remember that worrying is totally useless. Worrying will not solve your problem. ~ Joyce Meyer

How to Stop Worrying – This is a fantastic piece that focuses on six steps:

  1. Creating a worry period
  2. Ask yourself if the problem is solvable
  3. Learn to accept uncertainty
  4. Challenge anxious thoughts
  5. Be aware of how others affect you
  6. Practice Mindfulness

I normally posts several resources when I do my resource posts but tonight I’m just going with the one because it’s spot on.  The trick is, like with anything else, you have to work at making change.  The full article goes into detail about why you worry and how to actively work at each of the six steps above.  Practicing mindfulness is one that many people might not be familiar with so here are a couple of links related to that.

imagesWhat is Mindfulness – A very nice explanation to what the term means.

The Mindfulness Guide – As always the blog, Zen Habits hits the nail on the head with a simple guide to how to incorporate mindfulness into busy life.

Mindfulness is Daily Activities – Some interesting and simple ways to be more mindful about things you do everyday

 

Other pieces you might enjoy!

Worry the enemy of happiness

Happiness, worry & the Dalai Lama’s thoughts

Deng Ming-Dao on Worry

A mindfulness day as a way to happiness

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Happiness on the Road: Anza-Borrego State Park

Happiness on the Road: Anza-Borrego State Park

happiness, desert“It’s the oasis,” said the camel driver.
“Well, why don’t we go there right now?” the boy asked.
“Because we have to sleep.” ~ Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist

As many of you know I’ve quit my job, sold my house and am traveling across the United States towards my appointed start date of February 26th to do a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Kathadin, ME (2189 miles). ~ Rev Kane

The Oasis

So a week or so before heading to Anza-Borrego, a couple of friends mentioned that they did a wonderful hike up to an oasis in the park. So I was excited to realize that the trail head for the hike was just outside the campground I was staying in. It was a beautiful little hike with a lot of nasty little boulders on the trail. Which was a good workout for my ankles and knees, I haven’t hiked any bad trails in a while and I’ll definitely see some bad trail on the AT.

So here’s a few photos I took on the walk and a little sound worm to drive you nuts and make you smile.

Get this out of your head, go ahead try: Your earworm

happiness, desert

I love this one, look to the right and you’ll see a man standing there, it gives the scale of how big these palms grow.

oasis5 oasis3 oasis2

 

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