Sometimes, Happiness is Avoidance

Sometimes, Happiness is Avoidance

happiness

Happiness depends on ourselves ~ Aristotle

Here at the Ministry of Happiness we have talked often about the necessity of facing your issues and dealing with them straight on. This is almost always the option and particularly at the times when we least want to do it. So for the truly important things in life that are diminishing your happiness this is still my best advice.

However, there are small things in our lives that can suck away our happiness and for many of them it would take more energy to confront them, than it would to simply avoid or ignore them. One way I’ve done this in my life over the last year has been to avoid the news. This was not an easy thing for me, I’m a news junkie, I like to know what’s happening and have some deeper understanding of the why of the world. A female friend once joked, you’re the only guy who I ever leave alone in a hotel room and when I come back he’s watching the news instead of sports.

Watching the news however was doing less to inform me that it was to inflame my emotions and annoy me. So, I essentially banned news channels from my viewing habits and have chosen to get my news from less inflammatory sources. Something else that wasn’t easy! My go to news sources include the New York and Los Angeles Times, the BBC and my absolute favorite news source, The Christian Science Monitor. I find that the Monitor does a good job of analyzing the news without much spin to the left or the right. Of course the tradeoff is, that unlike CNN or USA Today you don’t get new headlines every 20 minutes but you do get more depth.

I will still scan through the headlines on CNN but if I want more in-depth reading I’ll dig into the web for the information. I have to say that this change has made me less politically oriented and less likely to jump into political arguments on social media, again a very good thing as all of this has lowered my stress level which increases your happiness.

The inspiration for this piece came today from a very conscious decision to walk about 2 minutes out of my way to avoid having to face an employee. This person is utterly fragile, prone to exaggeration, passive-aggressive and any contact just fuels her fire for drama and conflict. So sure, I walked a few extra steps, but in doing so got a little more exercise, lessened my stress and had a happier day, hope you’re having one to my friend.

~ Rev Kane

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Happiness is reducing stress

Happiness & Selected Families

Happiness, Simplicity & Letting Go

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Happiness is Laughter: Kids Explain the World

Happiness is Laughter: Kids Explain the World

happiness, kids

One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination. ~ Sam Levenson

 

Tonight a little tour around the web to find children explaining the world, especially where babies come from, enjoy ~ Rev Kane

 

Kids debate whether it’s raining or sprinkling, watch it all the way to the end, the end isadorable. (2:03)

 

Little kid talks about his day and explains where babies come from (3:08)

 

Hunter has an alternate take on where babies come from (5:27) At 4:12 it gets really nuts.

 

Kids are handed a walkman and asked to explain what it is (7:23)

 

Kids explain what dreams are (3:18)

 

 

 

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Happiness is Poetry: Amanda Oaks

Happiness is Poetry: Amanda Oaks

happiness, poetry

Tonight another poet I found on the recommendation of Hosho McCreesh, her name is Amanda Oaks, give her work a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

If Our Beginning & End Shared a One Bedroom Apartment

The day they move in together the End will say,
I know how ugly I must look to you, but baby,
my entire existence is because of you & for so long,
you didn’t even know that I was alive, but I,
I watched you. I watched your lips
like train whistles taking off their clothes
so they could collide with everything
that was in front of them, watched you
Desert Storm your way into the thick Middle
fencing us off from one another. I thought
it was because you wanted to touch my face, trace
full moon-shaped patterns around my navel, baby, you
were the most beautiful when you wore your bravery
like an open trench coat running across a packed stadium;

& the Beginning, the Beginning will be terrified,
her stomach will flip over on its back, she’ll feel
like a welcome mat in front of the infirmary,
& she’ll say nothing. She’ll say nothing
because everything she ever believed to be true
already crossed the great divide without her.
The End will try so hard to get her to speak,
will try to kiss the words out of her mouth,
will whisper all the good stories that came
between them into her ears but her lips
will stay pressed together like two books
on a shelf, like two frigid legs.

Every morning, he’ll sit her up in bed,
bring her a cup of tea to try & warm
her hands hoping that she’ll lift it to her lips
just once. He’ll get out the record player
in the afternoons & dance around the bed
like a brush on canvas trying to get her to
bloom into him but there will be nothing,
there will be nothing but winter behind
her eyes.

Every night, he’ll settle down into the couch
like a string of red balloons hanging off
the arm of a tree, strung up & deflated,
wavering in the wind & whispering
over & over again, baby, please— please try
to remember how much you loved yourself
before you met me.

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

‘You Flood’ (audio link to the author reading the poem)

It’s raining your name & five miles back
my windshield wiper eyes gave up on
clearing the way you used to mother me
into thinking that it was okay to love me
like that. It’s raining your name like
the way bones shake when they are
standing in the tallness & balancing
on the hollowed-out surface
of either our love or fear. It’s raining
your name like bomb squad, like
battering ram, like fallout shelter.
It’s raining your name & I want it to be
hymnal. I want it to be like two sets
of legs intertwined inside a sleeping bag
in a covered bed of a pickup truck parked
on a forgotten dirt road. I want it be like
the way the body remembers touch. The way
a smell or a song can jet ski you back 20 years.
It’s raining your name & if it can’t be that,
I’d rather it be volcano ash falling over a town
we just mowed over. I’d rather it be the debris
from the crash between our two airplane hearts
dead-dropping to the ground. It’s raining
your name & I turn slow leak. I turn puddle.
I river. I ocean. I fuckin’ tsunami. You
waterboard. You constant drip. It’s raining
your name & I can’t seem to remember
the way the inside of my head sounds
without it.

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

How to Appear Dangerous (audio)

When they come at you with all of your crimes
spilling from their hands to tell you that you’re
dangerous, don’t shrink. Believe them. Lift
your dress. Tell them that the city in your soul
never sleeps no matter how many lullabies
have tried to weave their way through its streets.
Tell them about the sirens. The glass. The boys
you made messiahs. The back room at the bar,
the picnic table in the rain, whose bed you woke
up in the morning of 9/11. Don’t hold back.
Tell them. Tell them about the shoplifting.
The slashed tires. The smashed windows.
When they come at you like your skirt
is an invitation. Tell them to go home.
When they come at you with fists,
make your face the storm
that will swallow them
whole.

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

Listen to My Eyes

I often wonder how long we could
carry on without speaking. The last word
hanging astrally abstract in the air.
By morning there’s a whole galaxy
tangled in my hair & I’ve already
dressed myself in vowels.

My tongue has its own zip code,
swollen with words & bleeding
against my seam ripper teeth.

When our mouths don’t open,
the whole universe is silent.

Not even a clang
from one
single
bell.

Just quiet.
Our lips sitting witness
on mountaintops, signal fires
burning to touch.

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

RELATED LINKS

Happiness is Poetry: Langston Hughes

Happiness is Poetry: Even More Bukowski

Happiness is Poetry: Doug Draime

Happiness is Poetry: Z Deacon Blue

Happiness is Poetry: Hosho McCreesh

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We Hear You, We See You, We Love You

We Hear You, We See You, We Love You

happiness, burning man

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others ~ Jonathan Swift

The image above was taken in the courtyard of the Temple of Grace this year at Burning Man. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll being doing some posts inspired by things I saw and read at the temple. I love these signs, utter simplicity and massive impact. These signs remind me of one of the things I really liked in the movie Avatar, the Na’vis in the movie didn’t see hello, they greeted each other by saying I see you. This is a powerful difference in that hello is an acknowledgment of your presence, however I see you is an acknowledgment of your person. That’s how these signs impact me, a simple way to tell people we acknowledge your person, that you’re valuable, not alone and most of all, you’re accepted. It’s not surprising that here at the Church of Abnormal Acceptance’s Ministry of Happiness, we’re on board with this.

happiness

People’s Climate March in NYC, Sept. – 2014

To take a little bit of a left turn with this idea, I heard some criticism recently of the climate march in New York City recently. The criticism went something like this, if this is such a serious issue, why does that march look like a festival or a big party. The answer is pretty simple really, people feel alone a lot of the time. Not just physically alone but mentally and spiritually alone, even alone with their ideas. So here was an opportunity to not feel alone, to feel that your thoughts, ideas and even values were accepted and shared. As such, you as a person could feel accepted and shared and that absolutely creates a sense of happiness, joy and festivity. So I get why the demonstrators seemed happy and festive.

My friends this piece is a reminder, this blog comes from the Ministry of Happiness, a ministry of the Church of Abnormal Acceptance. As such, we hear you, we see you, we love you and maybe even more importantly, we accept you and hopefully that will help you have a happy day ~ Rev Kane

 

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Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: Three Important Questions

Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: Three Important Questions

happiness, appalachian trail
Hello my friends, as I mentioned in a post recently I’ve begun my long preparation before hiking the Appalachian Trail starting in late February or early March of 2015. Over the next year and hopefully from time to time on the trail I will be updating you on my progress both in preparation and hopefully in miles walked. I will be writing along the way and hopefully learning and sharing some lessons on happiness along the way.

So I’ve been giving some thought lately to my downtime on the trail. I know, when you’re walking 2200 miles it doesn’t sound like there will be much downtime, but there will be some each night in the tent. Also on days when I hike into a town to replenish my foods supplies and at times take a full day off from hiking to take a shower, do laundry and eat non-reconstituted dried foods.

happiness, appalachian trail

When you’re hiking this many miles you obsess about pack weight and try and reduce every ounce you can. The way I’ve started to think about this is that it is estimated that walking the AT takes five million steps. Think about holding one pound and walking one step, you have done the work of moving one pound, one step. Over the course of the AT you will have moved that one pound, five million steps. The work if you will of moving five million pounds one step. If you’ll tolerate just a little more math that means for every 3.2 ounces of weight that you carry it is the equivalent of moving one million pounds one step. That is why weight counts so much.

So there isn’t a lot of weight for “luxuries” like an mp3 player or a pillow, unless you’re willing to add the million pounds. One of the luxury items I’ll carry is a journal so that I can record events, thoughts etc….someplace to compose future Ministry of Happiness posts. As I was thinking about all of this today I decided to also cut down what I want to record each day. There will certainly be days when I’m too wet and tired to write, but I really don’t want to lose the thoughts of a single day, so I decided at a minimum every day I will record three things.

happiness, appalachian trail

What did I learn today?

What made me happy?

What was the most beautiful thing I experienced today?

I think a couple of hundred days of recording these observations should lead to some pretty interesting reading, at least I hope so. Of course, as I thought about these questions I realized that I probably shouldn’t wait until the Appalachian Trail to start looking at my days this way. So my friends, I’ll start and I encourage you to start asking yourself these questions each day. Perhaps you even have better questions, I’d love for you to leave them in the comments, but even more, I’d love for you to record those thoughts daily and make every single day a happy day ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness, simplicity and letting go!

Happiness, simplicity and letting go!

100_1737

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak ~ Hans Hofmann

First tonight a little note about the image above, this was one of the many things written on the walls of the temple at Burning Man this year.  Each year the temple, the heart of the city, is a place where people say goodbye and more importantly let go of the things in life that are making the sad.  Over the next couple weeks I’ll be showing you more images from the temple, more wisdom photographed from its sacred walls.  Tonight, let’s talk about one way we can try to be better, simplifying our lives.

Tonight I’m a bit more focused on the actual physical act of simplification, and artifact of the process I’m involved in, getting ready to move.  I’m in the process of selling my house in anticipation of my upcoming adventure, and I’m starting to simplify.

Tonight that has literally meant throwing things away as well as piling things into piles for a yard sale, donation or sale on Ebay.  I often find the process of throwing things away one of the most mindful things I do.  There is real immediacy in that moment of decision, how important is this thing to me?  It makes you consider what is truly important in your life.  One of the things I always find most interesting in the thought process is when I come upon cards.  Birthday cards and holiday cards are these really personal communications from people you care about, very often people from your selected family.  Deciding whether or not to keep them tells you a lot about yourself, are you sentimental, extremely practical, whose cards can you throw away, whose can you not?

It’s good from time to time for all of us to simplify, to take stock and to remember what is truly important to us.  In the simplest of exercises we can often find the deepest of meanings.  Have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Happiness & Selected Families

Happiness & Mindfulness

Happiness & Simplicity

Happiness, Simplicity & Gratitude

 

 

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Happiness is Laughter: Bloopers

Happiness is Laughter: Bloopers

happiness, laughter

 

Big Bang Theory Bloopers

Game of Thrones Blooper Reel

News bloopers

Jackie Chan movie bloopers

Wedding Bloopers

 

RELATED LINKS

Happiness is Laughter: Cartoons

Happiness is Laughter: Surprising Humor

Happiness is Laughter: Goofy Images

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Happiness is Poetry: Matthew Dickman

Happiness is Poetry: Matthew Dickman

happiness, poetry

The wonderful Suzanne Burns turned me on to Mathew Dickman’s work and it’s really wonderful, give a few pieces a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

Slow Dance

More than putting another man on the moon,
more than a New Year’s resolution of yogurt and yoga,
we need the opportunity to dance
with really exquisite strangers. A slow dance
between the couch and dinning room table, at the end
of the party, while the person we love has gone
to bring the car around
because it’s begun to rain and would break their heart
if any part of us got wet. A slow dance
to bring the evening home, to knock it out of the park. Two people
rocking back and forth like a buoy. Nothing extravagant.
A little music. An empty bottle of whiskey.
It’s a little like cheating. Your head resting
on his shoulder, your breath moving up his neck.
Your hands along her spine. Her hips
unfolding like a cotton napkin
and you begin to think about how all the stars in the sky
are dead. The my body
is talking to your body slow dance. The Unchained Melody,
Stairway to Heaven, power-cord slow dance. All my life
I’ve made mistakes. Small
and cruel. I made my plans.
I never arrived. I ate my food. I drank my wine.
The slow dance doesn’t care. It’s all kindness like children
before they turn four. Like being held in the arms
of my brother. The slow dance of siblings.
Two men in the middle of the room. When I dance with him,
one of my great loves, he is absolutely human,
and when he turns to dip me
or I step on his foot because we are both leading,
I know that one of us will die first and the other will suffer.
The slow dance of what’s to come
and the slow dance of insomnia
pouring across the floor like bath water.
When the woman I’m sleeping with
stands naked in the bathroom,
brushing her teeth, the slow dance of ritual is being spit
into the sink. There is no one to save us
because there is no need to be saved.
I’ve hurt you. I’ve loved you. I’ve mowed
the front yard. When the stranger wearing a shear white dress
covered in a million beads
comes toward me like an over-sexed chandelier suddenly come to life,
I take her hand in mine. I spin her out
and bring her in. This is the almond grove
in the dark slow dance.
It is what we should be doing right now. Scrapping
for joy. The haiku and honey. The orange and orangutang slow dance.

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

Lents District

Whenever I return a fight breaks out
in the park, someone buys a lottery ticket,
steals a bottle of vodka, lights
a cigarette underneath the overpass.
I-5 rips the neighborhood in half
the way the Willamette rips the city in half,
it sounds like the ocean
if I am sitting alone in the backyard
looking up at the lilac.
This is where white kids lived
and listened to Black Sabbath
while they beat the shit out of each other
for bragging rights,
running in packs, carrying baseball bats
that were cut from the same hateful trees
our parents had planted
before the Asian kids moved in
to run the mini-marts
and carry knives to school, before the Mexicans
moved in and mowed everyone’s front yard—
white kids wanting anything
anybody ever took from them in shaved heads
and combat boots.
On the weekend our furious mothers
applied their lipstick
that left red cuts on the ends of their Marlboro Reds
and our fathers quietly did whatever
fathers do
when trying to beat back the dogs of sorrow
from tearing them limb from limb.
Lents, I have been away so long
I imagine that you’re a musical
some rich kid from New York wrote about credit,
debt, and then threw in Kool-Aid
to make it funny for everybody.
I can see the dance line,
the high kicks of the skinheads, twirling
metal pipes, stomping in unison
while the committed rage of the Gypsy Jokers
square off with the committed rage
of the single mothers.
The orchestra pit is filled with Pit bulls
and a Doberman conducts them all
into a frenzy.
In the end someone gets evicted, someone
gets jumped into his new family
and they call themselves Los Brazos,
King Cobras, South-Side White Pride.
Dear Lents,
Dear 82nd avenue, dear 92nd and Foster,
I am your strange son,
you saved me when I needed saving
and I remember your arms wrapped around
my bassinet like patrol cars wrapped around
the school yard
the night Jason went crazy—
waving his father’s gun above his head,
bathed in red and blue flashing lights,
all American, broken in half and beautiful.

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

Roma

Last night my neighbor was looking a little enlightened,
you know, the way bodies do
after spending the afternoon having sex
on an old couch while responsible people are suffering
with their clothes on in cubicles and libraries.
He had that look vegetables get
in really nice grocery stores where the tomatoes aren’t just red
they’re goddamn red!
He was like that. Like a glowing, off-the-vine Roma
sitting in his living room picking pineapple off a Hawaiian pizza
and telling me about his father who was a real mother
fucker. I ask him if he still loved his dad, or if he loved him more
now that he is dead. Sure, he says, I love anything that’s dead.
Someone’s hand floats up onto the beach
while the body is still lost below the current, a vase of lilacs
turned brown, the black archipelago of mourners marching
up the hill. My neighbor is there to greet each of them
with a box of chocolates and a barbershop quartet in the background.
When my father died, he says opening a beer, he was no longer
my father. He was no longer a man. It’s easy to love things
when they’re powerless, like children and goldfish.

This is the way with enlightened people. They say things
that are so infuriatingly simple when the world is not.
So I put down my Pepsi and pull out the big card.
What about Hitler? I ask. You can’t love Hitler!
My neighbor puts a piece of pineapple on his tongue like a sacrament,
sucks the juice out of it, chews it up, then turns
his head slow like a cloud and says I can love anybody I feel like loving.
And I say that’s ridiculous.
And he says what’s ridiculous is that you don’t. And there he is again,
shining in the grocery store, pulling the bow off
the heart-shaped candies and putting one softly into his father’s mouth.

RELATED LINKS

Happiness is Poetry: Suzanne Burns

Happiness is Poetry: Bukowski

Happiness is Poetry: William Blake

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Happy News – September 17, 2014

Happy News – September 17, 2014

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Tonight our weekly tour around the web to give you some happy news as alternative to the depressing news we normally get from the media.  Enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

Absolutely awesome solar lantern to bring light to poor people without electricity

happiness, happy news

Largest humanitarian donation ever, given to fight ebola

 

A Happy Ending to a 13 Year Quest to find the Owner of a Photo from Ground Zero

happiness, happy news

A Stranger Drops off an Envelope…

happy news, happiness

 

Twelve Year-old Cancer Patient gets 3D Printed Vertebra

 

 

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Happiness Resources: How to be Happy

Happiness Resources: How to be Happy

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Tonight our weekly tour around the web to provide you with some resources to help with your personal journey to happiness, have a read and a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

 

How to be Happy: Tips for Cultivating Contentment

 

Seven steps to being a happier person

 

10 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Happier

 

20 Hard things you need to do to be happy

 

The 15 Habits of Supremely Happy People

 

 

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