Happiness Project: I haz a happy! Now Go Cultivate Some Awesome

IMG_1018@BgKahuna recently posited a question How Do People Achieve Happiness? How do you define it?

Westerners define it differently than Easterners. For Westerners happiness is a feeling of euphoria. It’s a sense that everything is going to be wonderful, and that we are going to live happily ever after and ride on unicorns that fart cotton candy in the shape of kittens dressed in panda costumes (yeah, that was for you BgK!). In a word, it’s pretty unrealistic. One of the reasons is that the Western view of happiness is based on the external. If I buy a house, I’ll be happy. If I get a good job, I’ll be happy. If I get a big screen TV, I’ll be happy. If I shower myself and my family with luxuries that make Olympus envious, then I will be happy. See a trend here.

The Western view of happiness is totally based on external. Things that we do, obtain, or achieve outside of ourselves. They are hollow victories, and the rarely give any sustainable meaning to one’s life. Remember that smart phone you just bought? Next year’s model will be released soon, and it will have more memory, more features, and touch screen that will lick your nether regions if you get the right app. A Westerners view of happiness is based on conquests. It’s kind of like Gilgamesh run amock, only Gilgamesh never realized that his victories were hollow and that his defining commitment was to protect his people.

Easterners, on the other hand, view happiness as a momentary event. We are happy one moment, and sad the next. Happiness is a state of complete joy and serenity. It is the overwhelming urge to smile, laugh, cry, and dance at the same time. To allow one’s heart to explode with delight. However, it is also with the knowledge that true happiness is momentary. It’s impermanent. Really, the best way to explain it is inner peace. It’s knowing how you react to certain situations, and to be able to allow yourself to feel those emotions that you need to feel to get through trying times. Without that inner peace, we tend to look for outside forces to make us well which causes more suffering, which encourages us to seek out more bad forces, and so on, and so on.

However, it doesn’t end. It’s impermanent in the sense that one moment of happiness is not like another. It is also understood that happiness is in balance with suffering. You can not achieve enlightenment without suffering, neither can you achieve happiness without sadness. However, within that balance comes contentment, and the knowledge that happiness is an ever flowing river. It has it’s good parts, and bad parts, and there is occasional loss, but ultimately that is life. Short, beautiful, impermanent, and understanding that balance comes peace.

His Holiness the Dalai Llama has said that happiness is a muscle. It is something that we must work to achieve, through meditation and focus on where we are at the moment. My wife does not like that analogy. It’s a hard analogy to wrap our heads around. Either something makes us happy, or it doesn’t. What HHDL is saying is that we must be active in our happiness. We must cultivate our own inner peace.

For me happiness comes from making things. The things I make are rubbish for the most part. It’s not the end product, it’s the process. It’s letting energy flow through me to make something, to cook something, to build something. To be a part of the impermanence of it all. It’s joyous actually. I see that joy extending to my kids, as I watch them build something. It cames from this inner need to see how something works, and how it connects us. My happiness comes from the connections I cultivate, the people I talk to. The people who give me a little piece of themselves everyday, and in return I give myself.

More importantly, it’s knowing there is balance that I am responsible for in my own life. I am the cause of my own happiness. I can either be a part of this world, or I can shun it. I know a lot of people who shun it. They call themselves cynics. They would much rather say why I am wrong, then look at themselves. I am not saying that everything in the world is great. There are lot of things that suck. There isn’t a library big enough to contain all of the sucky things going on right now. However, I can’t let those sucky things stop me. In fact, it is my duty to help other out of their sucky situation as other have helped me out of mine.

We are, as it turns out, responsible for those around us.

Go be Happy. Go Be Awesome!

Cultivating a happy

My Greatest Subject


My oldest tends to be one of my greatest subjects. He has severe ADHD, so he is rarely slow. He is always on the move. Always exploring.

Yet, when he is still you can see the universe racing in his eyes. It’s like he moves along with the flow of the planets. He is a planetary force in and of himself, and he will always be the first of my greatest creation.

In which I struggle to make sense in a single post or “Hey Tokarrai, What are friends for?”

FezFriday Backstage!Got into a conversation with a friend and had some fellows from the blog group come in. Basically, he wants a logo done for his blog (a local blog for geeks of all sorts; check him out  - geekingindiana.com or @indianageeking). The problem is like all bloggers, promotion and marketing is hard – we always have a hard time finding the time or resources to market ourselves.

It got me thinking. This is the reason for social networking, connecting people. Not selling products. Not properly positioning your brand. Not increasing your social revenue. That’s a bunch of marketing bullshit. That’s something agencies use to make themselves seem important.

The real purpose is to connect people, and hopefully they meet, strike up a friendship, and collaborate. Collaboration. An exchange of ideas with mutual respect for each others work. All those marketing words are just agencies attempts to mold the user into their little automaton.

Anyway, it got me thinking. I will help anybody with a project if I believe in it. I may not always be able to and I may not be able to commit to a full set of projects, but I will give as much support as I can. You need a logo? Let me do it. It may take a while, but it’s what I like to do. It’s what keeps me charged. That said, some people feel uncomfortable, and that’s okay too.

Friday in the Park


In which I thank the cast of One Knight Wonders: Breaking out of your comfort zone (or “How to learn to crack your own shell”)

Rum Cow Time!I’m performing improv for the first time in 20 years. I am full of butterflies. Not only am I performing for the first time in decades, but I am also performing with a group  that is easily, half my age. I never thought that I would say this, but I am old enough to be their dad. It’s kind of cool in some ways. I mean these kids are fresh, they are trying new things, learning how to trust themselves to be in the moment, and to accept everything to see where it will go. I kinda get there and see where I was when I was their age.

It has made me realize what I have been missing. It hasn’t been the performing. To be honest, I can do without some of that. It’s not the performance, it’s the scheduling. Maybe when the kids are older it won’t be so bad. They’ll be more self-sufficient, and I may even be able to include them. It’s great to hangout and work on stuff in a team environment, but the scheduling is just a bitch. It must be just as fun for the director.

What I have really been missing is the ability to break the box. I do that a lot in just the way I see the world. I don’t see it as a clear black and white world with delineated absolutes. It’s more like looking at a big petrie dish of amoebas. Constantly changing. However, in my work I tend to stick with what I am most comfortable with. I use the computer to draw, I use a very set scale pattern for bass playing, and my food is usually stuff that I know by heart.

What I miss is stepping out of my own skin and just seeing where the choices go. It’s one of those things that my kids have been teaching me. Enjoy experimenting, and watching the kaboom if need be.

It’s kinda fun.

That all said, I am truly looking forward to performing again. I am scared, excited, nervous, and ecstatic. I think it’s going to be a great time, and the best part is I have a great bunch of performers I get to work with. I good bunch of minds who are willing to break their own shells.

For this I would like to thank all of the students of the Marian University Theatre, the Performing Knights club, and the entire cast of One Knight Wonders. You helped make an old meneheune feel young again.

Evil Bunnies with Rocket Launchers


One Knight Wonders