Happiness is walking with Michael Moore

Happiness is walking with Michael Moore

happiness, walking







No decisions should ever be made without asking the question, is this for the common good? ~ Michael Moore

If I could have my pick of famous people to do a guest post here at the Ministry of Happiness, Michael Moore would be high on that list.  I like Moore, I have since his first famous documentary, Roger & Me.  I think what I like about Michael Moore is that I see some of me in him.  We’re both blue collar kids with a brain, both of us in our own way are trying to make the world a little bit better through our words.  I saw him speak once and as famous as he is, he still felt like he was one of us.  Today, a friend shared a really amazing post from him Facebook page and so without his permission, although if you’re reading this Mr. Moore feel free to drop a note and approve, here’s what I’m calling Michael Moore’s virtual guest blog for the Ministry of Happiness.  And by the way Mr. Moore, I was out there tonight, thanks for the idea.  Good stuff here, read the whole thing, it gets better as it goes along and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Michael Moore on Walking

I am now in Week 42 of my walks. Each day, 30 minutes, that’s it. Thousands of you have joined me since that Sunday night on March 18 when, as a joke, I said I was going for a walk. I had read that morning in the paper that there were now more people in the U.S. on anti-depressants than those who go to the movies. I tweeted out that maybe that’s the problem — perhaps if people got out and went to the movies more they might feel better. This unleashed a lively conversation about mood-aletering drugs, the lousy movies these days in theaters, the rip-off prices for 3D films, etc. Finally, someone wrote: “Sometimes I think what I need is just a brisk walk.” I tweeted, “Hey, there’s an idea! I’m putting my shoes on right now.” I went out and came back home after 30 minutes — and a few hundred of you had amazingly joined me where you live. So I went walking the next night, probably out of some sort of obligation because so many had written to say “please let’s do it again tonight!” So I did. And the night after that. By the end of the week it was hard to determine how many thousands were now going out with me on these “virtual walks” in hundreds of cities and towns, but it had taken off like a rocket and so we all went walking every night from that point on.

Now it’s 250 days later. What a simple, great idea that person had! Some have asked, “Why are we walking?” “What’s the cause?” There is no cause other than to go for a walk. We do it just because it feels good. We do it because we can. We do it because it’s free and it takes no time. All you need to know is how to put one foot in front of the other (or, for the disabled who’ve joined in, by any means necessary). It’s the perfect slacker/schlub activity.

I am often asked “How much weight have you lost from all this walking?” For a while I didn’t understand the question. I mean, why would I want to lose anything? I have enough trouble finding my keys! Then I got it — skinny people (1/3 of the country) want us, the majority, to be like them. That’s so nice of them.

But the truth is, exercise does not work, diets do not work, feeling crummy does not work. Nothing works. My advice: Quit trying to be something you’re not, be happy with the life you’ve been given, and just go for a pleasant walk outside. With me. Wherever you are. Get off the treadmill, stop drinking diet Coke, throw out all the rules. It’s all a scam and it conspires to keep you miserable. If it says “low-fat” or “sugar-free” or “just 100 calories!” throw it out. Remember, one of the main tenets of capitalism is to have the consumer filled with fear, insecurity, envy and unhappiness so that we can spend, spend, spend our way out of it and, dammit, just feel better for a little while. But we don’t, do we? The path to happiness – and deep down, we all know this — is created by love, and being kind to oneself, sharing a sense of community with others, becoming a participant instead of a spectator, and being in motion. Moving. Moving around all day. Lifting things, even if it’s yourself. Going for a walk every day will change your thinking and have a ripple effect. You’ll find yourself only eating when you’re truly hungry. And if you’re not hungry, go clean your room, or have sex, or call a friend on the phone. Without knowing it, you’ll starting eating like the French (there is no French word for “fast-food”) — and you will feel better. You do not feel better admonishing yourself or beating yourself up or setting up a bunch of unrealistic rules and goals with all the do’s and dont’s that are just begging to be broken. You wanna know something? I eat ice cream every friggin’ day. I drink a regular Coke every single day. I put butter on things. But I also walk every day. Some days now, I walk twice. And now I’ve started to do some push-ups and lifting stuff. It’s building muscle, and in doing so, has created an extra furnace to burn stuff and create energy. Weird! That, in turn, makes me sleep 7-8 hours a night which is another game-changer. And all the walking and lifting makes me thirsty, so that makes me drink more water — another huge plus!

So, you can see from the photo of me up in the box that something has changed. I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost and I don’t care. I don’t care about that or diets or home gym equipment or rules about what I can or cannot eat or anything other than making sure I go on my walk today. That’s it. That’s the big secret. It costs nothing. I feel great. I can see my feet! There they are! Hello, feet! Wanna go for a walk? The feet say YES! Ask yours right now. And if you want, join me. But do NOT go on that walk with me if you are doing so to “get fit”, “be healthy”, or “lose weight”. You are fine just the way you are. Only walk outside with me right now because you know it might just feel good, because it’s a beautiful day, or someone is joining in with you, the fresh air is invigorating, you have to drive down to the drug store but you realize you can walk there, or simply because it’s just nice to be alive for one more day. Walk to walk and nothing else — and the other stuff will take care of itself.

I’m heading outside in an hour. Join me. And let me know how it went!

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We are all damaged, but we can be happy!

We are all damaged, but we can be happy!







Defensiveness is usually someone silently screaming that they need you to value and respect them in disguise. When you look for deeper meanings behind someone’s pain you can then begin to heal not only yourself, but others. ~ Shannon L Alders

It is funny how often ideas come to me while driving, and while on the way to the gym today something hit me. I was thinking about a past relationship and how what I really couldn’t get past in the relationship was her damage. She was a great girl, but in her life she had been hurt too many times by other men. This manifested in ways that I could not accept, that kept us from being at peace in our relationship. This is not blame, only recognition; I have plenty of damage of my own. For me, I’ve been somewhat slow in my emotional growth and as a loner I have a hard time bonding with others. Add to that terrible timing in my relationships and for a very long time an inability to be fully open or trusting and you might not be surprised to know I’m not married. However to be fair, being married has never been a significant goal of mine, if it happens that would be great, but I won’t do it unless it truly feels right.

We are all damaged, the real trick is to understand and know ourselves well enough to know how we are damaged. Some of us can do this work on our own, some of us need counseling or other help to understand these issues. Once you know where and how you are damaged, that’s when the work begins because you have to work to fix these things. I’ve done a lot of work over the years, a lot of my damage has been repaired. Many of the things that doomed my previous relationships have been dealt with to my satisfaction but I’m still working and still on the path.

So my friends the keys are to know yourself, do your work and also try to be as accepting as you can be of the damage that exists in others. We are all in this together and forgiveness and acceptance are powerful acts. So understand, work, accept, forgive and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane


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Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: A Start

Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: A Start

happiness, appalachian trail



Hello my friends, this is my Appalachian Trail (AT) journal but no, I’m not on the trail right now. I have however decided to start in late February or early March of 2015 to attempt a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail.



I recently told my doctor about my plans and you may have just reacted similarly to him.

Me: I’m going to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Him: How far is that?

Me: About 2200 miles.

Him: WALKING?! You’re going to die, 2000 miles, wild animals, oh my God, I could never do that.

All of those thoughts have crossed my mind, I’m quite aware that it is one of the safest places I could be in the US. I’ve also considered being ripped to shreds by bears, bitten by rattlesnakes or copperheads, gnawed on by coyotes, laid immobile by bad water, buried in snow, being struck by lightning, shivering with hypothermia, having my face paralyzed by Lyme Disease or falling to West Nile Virus. Relying on one of my favorite movies, Ghost Dog, it’s the way of the Samurai to contemplate certain death.

I will have just angered folks knowledgeable with the AT, few people ever die on the trail. Some people get hurt or ill and in fact the biggest dangers come from the littlest critters, if you become ill on the AT it will most likely come from tiny critters in your water, ticks or mosquitoes. The larger and more prevalent downer for most people is deciding to quit an attempted thru hike.

I have a different perspective on doing a thru hike, a lesson I learned five years ago trekking to base camp at Mt. Everest in Nepal. The reason I did that trek was to get to base camp, to put my feet on Mt. Everest. I’m not a climber, I have no ambition to summit the highest peak in the world, but I wanted to walk across the Khumbu Icefall and put my feet on the base of Mt. Everest. One of the coolest moments of my life was the first time I got to view Mt. Everest with my own eyes and it fueled my desire even more.

happiness, everest








However somewhere along the way, I know not where; as I had personal firsts every day, my first time above 13,000 feet, reaching 14,600 feet which is higher than any mountain in the continental US, reaching my personal best of 17,600 feet. Somewhere in the process of walking each day in unimaginable beauty I realized a truth that I had read and heard stated my entire life but never truly believed, it’s not the destination but the journey that matters.

I stood on the Khumbu Icefall, only because it’s much, much larger than I ever realized, it’s a river of ice that goes on for miles. However, a freak snowstorm struck the day before we were to visit base camp. This closed the pass we were supposed to take the day after leading into the Gokyo Valley. Our group had a decision to make, make it to base camp and likely have to skip the Gokyo Valley, or miss out on base camp and do a marathon trek around the mountain we were supposed to go over. Had you presented this scenario to me prior to the trip I would have guaranteed you I would have selected going to base camp. We didn’t, we chose the Gokyo Valley and in doing so I found one of my favorite places on earth, the second sacred lake of the Gokyo Valley, the peak called Khan Tiga gleaming in the distance. I spent a couple of hours just sitting there looking at a level of beauty you rarely find anywhere feeling a peace I have rarely felt.

Second Sacred Lake in the Gokyo Valley

Second Sacred Lake in the Gokyo Valley







Somewhere along this trek I had learned an amazing lesson in mindfulness and in focusing on the now, not the next. It’s time to physically remind myself of that concept again on the Appalachian Trail. I hope to become a 2000 miler, a thru hiker and walk from Springer Mountain, GA to Mt. Kathadin in Maine over all forms of insanely steep hills through 14 states. However, if it doesn’t workout that’s ok, it takes 5 million steps to complete the trail. However many of those steps I take, I’m sure it will be worth it and will provide me with many happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness is Poetry: Even More Bukowski

Happiness is Poetry: Even More Bukowski

happiness, bukowski






Hello friends, I’ve posted a few posts of Charles Bukowski’s poems but tonight I want to go a little further with my favorite poet. I actually found Bukowski first through his novels, the writing was raw, honest and touched me. Within the books there was some of his poetry and that was my entry way into Bukowski the poet. Over a one year period I read everything I could get my hands on and since then, as a book collector, have bought a number of his rarer books. Bukowski is beyond rough around the edges, he’s just plain rough, some would say a hard man. Bukowski is not for the faint of heart. In tonight’s post, some stories, interviews and of course some of his poetry, enjoy my friend, have a read and a happy day ~ Rev Kane


An article by Bukowski writing about the race track and life
Charles Bukowski’s first interview


A Smile to Remember

we had goldfish and they circled around and around
in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes
covering the picture window and
my mother, always smiling, wanting us all
to be happy, told me, “be happy Henry!”
and she was right: it’s better to be happy if you
but my father continued to beat her and me several times a week
raging inside his 6-foot-two frame because he couldn’t
understand what was attacking him from within.
my mother, poor fish,
wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a
week, telling me to be happy: “Henry, smile!
why don’t you ever smile?”
and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was the
saddest smile I ever saw
one day the goldfish died, all five of them,
they floated on the water, on their sides, their
eyes still open,
and when my father got home he threw them to the cat
there on the kitchen floor and we watched as my mother

Relentless as the Tarantula

they’re not going to let you
sit at a front table
at some cafe in Europe
in the mid-afternoon sun.
if you do, somebody’s going to
drive by and
spray your guts with a
submachine gun.
they’re not going to let you
feel good
for very long
the forces aren’t going to
let you sit around
fucking-off and
you’ve got to go
their way.
the unhappy, the bitter and
the vengeful
need their
fix – which is
you or somebody
in agony, or
better yet
dead, dropped into some
as long as there are
humans about
there is never going to be
any peace
for any individual
upon this earth or
anywhere else
they might
escape to.
all you can do
is maybe grab
ten lucky minutes
or maybe an hour
is working toward you
right now, and
I mean you
and nobody but

A Close Call While Shopping

pushing my cart through the supermarket
the thought passed through my mind
that I could start
knocking cans from the shelves and
also rolls of towels, toilet paper,
silver foil,
I could throw oranges, bananas, tomatoes
through the air, I could take cans of
beer from the refrigerated section and
start gulping them, I could pull up
women’s skirts, grab their asses,
I could ram my shopping cart through
the plate-glass window…
then another thought occurred to me:
people generally consider something
before they do it.
I pushed my cart along…
a woman in a checkered skirt was
bending over the pet food section.
I seriously considered grabbing her
but I didn’t, I rolled on
I had the items I needed and I rolled
my cart up to the checkout stand.
a lady in a red smock with a nameplate
awaited me.
the nameplate indicated her as
Robin looked at me: “how you doing?”
she asked.
“fine,” I told her.
and then she began tabulating my
not in the least knowing that
the fellow standing there before her
had just two minutes ago been
one grab from the


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Happiness is Laughter: Fun Friday!

Happiness is Laughter: Fun Friday!

happiness, laughter








Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company ~ Mark Twain

happiness, laughter






A guy who finds a way to stick it to the banks the way they stick it to us, classic!!!

happiness, laughter







My favorite fireworks video of all-time.

3 2





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Happiness is Art: Chihuly

Happiness is Art: Chihuly

happiness, art, chihuly


I never met a color I didn’t like

~ Dale Chihuly



Tonight a look at a really amazing glass artist, you’ve almost certainly seen his work in Las Vegas or at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or in traveling exhibits.  I’ve been fortunate enough to see all three and his work is truly magnificent.  So take a look at some amazing images, enjoy, and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

happiness, art, chihuly 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Happiness is Music: Webb Wilder

Happiness is Music: Webb Wilder, Last of the Full Grown Men

happiness, webb wilder


Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard, grow big, wear glasses if you need ‘em!

~ The Webb Wilder credo



Tonight I write about one of my favorite musicians, the man, the myth, the legend, the last of the full grown men, Webb Wilder.  I first encountered Webb while living in Kentucky in the early 90′s, his album Hybrid Vigor (here’s an old MTV promo for the album), got some decent airplay on the local radio and songs like Hittin Where It Hurts, Wild Honey and The Human Cannonball really turned me on to Webb’s music.

His next album Doo Dad was truly a sensation and Webb has gone on to dance through a lot of genre descriptions, he’s been called country, rock, roots rock, and even psychobilly rock. The great thing is there are elements of all of that in his music.  Just to really illustrate the difference all you have to do is listen to Sitting Pretty (a rocker), Baby Please Don’t Go (blues tribute to Big Joe Williams) and then Carryin’ the News to Mary (country).

Webb and particularly his partnership with R.S. “Bobby” Field has produced a lot of amazing music.  Webb is certainly a larger than life character and his shows own up to the billing of Webb as an electrifying artist.  I’ve had the pleasure to see Webb play in Lexington, KY – Knoxville & Johnson City, TN – and Starkville, MS.  Webb is always gracious to fans and has been a pleasure the couple of times I’ve had the chance to meet him and say hi.  So friends, give him a listen and have a happy day! ~ Rev Kane

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Happy News – July 15, 2014

Happy News – July 15, 2014

bliss happiness burning man





When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you. ~ Shannon L Alder


Hello friends, tonight our weekly tour around the web to find positive, happy and uplifting news as well as how the media is talking about happiness.  So here we go friends have a read and a happy day ~ Rev Kane


Our first stop a site that I really should have found quite some time ago since it specifically provides its’ namesake Happy News.


Along the same lines as Happy News, The Good News Network.


A great article with cool pics and videos about Fireflies in the Smoky Mountains, from another positive site Sunny Skyz


Not to be confused with our earlier source, The Happy News.


One final site tonight, Positive News another collection of positive news stories.


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Happiness is Losing Weight

Happiness is Losing Weight

happiness, weight loss






I heard this for the first time recently and I really love this quote.  So today is certainly a happy day my friends, you see I made myself a promise that I would be under 200 pounds by my 50th birthday and today this is what I saw:

happiness, weight loss





The really good news is that my is still 43 days away!  What got me so motivated?  Well the initial goal was enough and I was on pace to make the weight, I was at 209, when I found out that my blood sugar had once again gotten back into Type 2 Diabetes range.  So where I had been being careful about what I was eating this diagnosis pushed me even harder.  So I’ve gone low carb and that in combination with starting to ramp up my training for my Appalachian Trail (AT) Hike next year I’ve lost 10 pounds in about 4 weeks.  I hope to keep going, I would be nice to be at 190 for my birthday which is about what I weighed in about 1988.

Weight loss isn’t easy for anyone, with good motivation we can do well, the trick is holding the weight off long-term which of course means making changes to our lives.  For me there are several real hurdles, pasta (I’m part Italian), potatoes (I’m part Irish) and my biggest issue my absolute love for Coca-Cola.  Given my predisposition to blood sugar issues drinking a Coke is about the worst thing I can do, but God I love them.  This struggle with weight has gone on for some time for me, I was 250 pounds in 2002 when I moved back to California.  By 2005, I had gotten down to 210 but my weight has for the most part danced between 215 and 230 for the last ten years.  Hopefully my new motivation and the AT hike will help me hold on to a sub 200 weight.  It’s an issue of health and I need to stay focused because I want to have many happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness, Zen & The Art of Food

Happiness, Zen & The Art of Food

happiness, food, cooking


Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. ~ Rumi



Tonight a guest post from a dear old friend and the author of a most excellent blog, Good for Spooning  I highly recommend that if you love food or cooking that you give it a look and here’s a video of her giving a live cooking demo on How to Make Home Cooking Fun.  Given her love for food and how much joy and happiness it brings her I thought she would make an excellent guest poster for the Ministry of Happiness. So thank you LeAnne, and here’s her post on how food brings her happiness, give it a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane


The Reverend Kane and I have known each other for more than 30 years and I was thrilled and honored when he asked me to share my thoughts on the happiness I derive from food. For some it is the simple pleasure of eating, and that is surely there, but for me it runs MUCH deeper.

On my spiritual journey I have sought happiness, enlightenment and peace, just like everyone else. I thought if I could learn to meditate, I’d be happy. And while I tried to meditate, I found I simply COULD NOT do it. I couldn’t empty my head and BE in the moment. I would do my yoga postures like “corpse” and “half lotus” and feel like a complete failure because I couldn’t empty my mind and BE in that moment. Until I started seriously cooking. When I say “serious cooking” I mean just that, getting serious about my cooking.

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, even as a teen. I like putting food on the table for people to gather around and enjoy. I like the feel of a full belly (who doesn’t?). But, I didn’t start getting really serious about my cooking until, like Julia Child, I entered culinary school later in life. Even though I had been cooking for more than 25 years, I wasn’t truly investing myself in it. To ace the class, I spent hours chopping onions and potatoes (I practiced a LOT on those because they are cheap). That’s when it started. The humble potato. I found I couldn’t talk, watch TV, listen to music or do anything else while I was trying to batonnet, julienne, or precisely dice. If someone tried to talk to me while I was doing this I had to put the knife down and give them my attention, because I couldn’t give my full attention to the potato. I had to focus on the task at hand. Empty my mind of everything but the potato and the knife. BE in the moment. At last I had found a way to come close to meditating! The simple realization that I had found a way, FINALLY, to come close to meditation made me deliriously happy. I loved it, like the proverbial fat kid loves cake. I began to crave the experience of meditation and I found that it led me to bliss and that my food was better for it. When I was blissed out on the task, my food tasted better, looked prettier and was more fulfilling all the way around. And that made me Happy.

happiness, cooking

Rev Kane and LeAnne at her 25th Wedding Anniversary Party








There is now a certain “Zen”, if you will, to most of my cooking now. I can, and certainly do, enjoy having friends and family cook with me, but those times when I am under stress or out of sorts, I find myself seeking a somewhat difficult, engrossing or time consuming culinary task to help me get centered. I find joy in growing my own food and the dedication to detail that involves. I find happiness in tackling a culinary challenge that I never thought I could accomplish. I breathe deeply and close my eyes and relish the fragrance when I deglaze a pan, stir a sauce or simmer a stock.

On the face, it all seems rather simple, trite and some might even think I am off my rocker, but learning to be serious about my food is the closest I have ever been able to come to peace. While it may not be the path for many, I have found happiness in the search for, destruction of and rebuilding of a food so it can be consumed. The task of creating the meal feeds my mind and soul in very much the same way as the meal itself feeds my body. And being fed makes me Happy!


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