Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happiness - thoughtfully

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.

6 comments:

david said...

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Pandababy said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, David.

I don't have an iPhone, but I looked up The How of Happiness by Lyubomirsky, and I plan to check it out of the library. After reading about her research, I think it would be interesting to compare her conclusions to those of Dr. Baylis.

I appreciate you bringing her work to my attention.

Charlene Ann Baumbich said...

I LOVE how wisely you are using your Memory Portfolio. YAY!

Pandababy said...

Yes, Charlene, it was a desire to add good things to my Memory Portfolio, prompted by the reminder to stay "actively engaged with life", that motivated my long walk.

And I'm so pleased (tickled, chuffed and downright happy) to have you notice my blog - a timely encouragement, when several of my long-time blogging friends have abandoned blogging for twitter or Face Page. Thank you.

Jaye Patrick said...

Okay, while I do have a Facebook page, I refuse to do the Twitter thing.

Proper communication takes time, not a dashed off sentence that wreaks of self-interest and self-indulgence.

So, I'm sticking with the blogging thing.

It sounds like a lovely neighbourhood you live in. Walk more, live longer.

(Hmm... word verification: adverm - when you can't remember 'adverb'.)

Pandababy said...

HI Jaye -
"Walk more, live longer."

Working on it.

I'm sticking with blogging too, a satisfying challenge for a writer-wanna-be.