Dr. Nick Baylis, author of the newly released book The Rough Guide to Happiness: Practical Steps for All-Round Well-Being, spreads his passion for living life to the fullest in his work as an experienced therapist, lecturer and columnist. He begins by explaining what happiness is not: it is not the definition given by Freud -the sum of our pleasures minus our pain. According to Baylis, pleasure and happiness are not the same.
Pleasure is a transitory state dependent on our physical sensations or emotions. Happiness is a deep rapport with life: with others, with nature, with our own conscious and sub-conscious.
I could read The Rough Guide to Happiness in one day - and then forget most of what I read. Instead, I'm approaching it as an opportunity to make changes in my own life, by embracing the ideas in his book one by one. Yesterday I went for the longest walk in a year, exploring the neighborhood around our apartment. It was not the bicycle ride I would have done in years past, but to do nothing because I can't do what I used to enjoy would be to quit the struggle to remain actively engaged with life. And it is a struggle most days, but that is no reason to give up.
There was a merry wedding in the park we passed by, with a horse-drawn carriage for the bridal party. In this recently-built neighborhood, the houses were architected in a style strongly reminiscent of old Portland, and the charming streets reminded me of days from my childhood. A bank of pale pink climbing roses wafted a scent that brought back the rose trellis in our back yard when I was in grade school.
Sights, sounds, smells, memory: engaged with my world, myself, a satisfying afternoon to save in my memory portfolio.