Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abraham Lincoln

Image courtesy of Sam Logan's amazing website, Sam and Fuzzy,
which routinely makes me happy

After my rediscovered interest in the secrets of happiness and the spreading of love, I wander over to Gretchen Rubin's website, where I periodically hang out with the happy kids to make myself feel better. What I like about Gretchen most of all has been her continuing honesty that "happiness can be hard."

Gretchen's Happiness Project blog is actually one strand in a much broader project on happiness - a subject that I first came into contact through the Ministry's Artist in Residence, Jeannie Driver when she was doing a wellbeing project at my old library. The idea that happiness can be studied may have been news to me, but it was old hat to a lot of people. At the time I met Jeannie, for instance, there was a TV show called 'Making Slough Happy' which used the Happiness Priniciples of a man called Dr Martin Seligman, and Jeannie had used some of his questionnaires in her research.

Anyway, our Gretchen is working on a book about her experiences of happiness and working towards it, and her blog charts her progress, with both the project and the book. She's come up with 12 Commandments that I like:
  • 1. Be Gretchen.
  • 2. Let it go.
  • 3. Act as I would feel.
  • 4. Do it now.
  • 5. Be polite and be fair.
  • 6. Enjoy the process.
  • 7. Spend out.
  • 8. Identify the problem.
  • 9. Lighten up.
  • 10. Do what ought to be done.
  • 11. No calculation.
  • 12. There is only love.
I like lighten up best of all, and I love the sound of spend out, but am not entirely certain what it means.

What would your 12 Commandments be?

I'm going to work on some of my own, but Be Sarah is definitely at number one. Gretchen says in a recent post of this commandment:

"One revelation of my happiness project has been getting the dimmest sense of what this precept actually means, and why it’s so challenging to follow."

Isn't it strange (but true) that one of the most challenging things should be being yourself?

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