Saturday, August 24, 2013

Happy Anniversary?

My wife and I celebrated our 11th anniversary by going to the movies and dinner.  When you have kids and a babysitter, that’s about what you hope for.  But it’s fitting, because our first date revolved around a Woody Allen movie, and now we saw his latest one, Blue Jasmine.

Most of the country doesn’t get his movies.  I’m not sure why.  They always cover a meaty topic, and usually point out that love is hard to keep and life usually leads to loss and heartache – and then you die.  Maybe the Jewish guy from New York intellect is not the issue – maybe he is too pathetic, sad, and whiny for America to embrace.

It’s hard to be happy all of the time, or for many, even some of the time.  To be happy is to at least not be in pain or in need of something.  But it’s not just a state of needing or wanting something or of avoiding bad things.  To be happy is to be so for a reason, because something or someone makes you smile and feel good.  If we just settle or remain ignorant, we’ll likely be happier, but not necessarily more satisfied and accomplished.  But if we question everything and don’t remain satisfied for more than a moment, we’ll always feel unhappy and incomplete.

So what will it take to achieve happiness?  Is it an addiction that makes us happy?  Do people abuse their body, mind or bank account in order to get high and feel good?  Is that why so many prefer to drink, gamble, do drugs, overeat, womanize, etc.?  They just want to escape reality and create a state of fantasy.

I thought that’s what books are for – to give is a new world or a new way of looking at the world.

I’ve been married for over 4,000 days and with each sunrise there is a new opportunity to seek out happiness and though I’m still looking to reach certain goals in life, I find a measurement of happiness in sharing my life with someone who sees me in a way that no one else can.

Who knows what makes any of us happy or why we so quickly go from happiness to states of anger, depression or self-destruction.  Nothing is static for long.  We constantly move towards happiness – or away from it – intentionally or unintentionally.

Most often, for me, happiness is writing and creating.  What makes you happy?

EXCERPTS FROM:  The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck, M.D.
“It is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning.  Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure.  Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom.  It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.  When we desire to encourage the growth of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage the human capacity to solve problems… It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.”
“Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems.  We procrastinate, hoping that they will go away.  We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist.  We even take drugs to assist us in ignoring them, so that by deadening ourselves to the prim we can forget.  We attempt to skirt around problems rather than meet them head on.  We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them.”
“Most of us operate from a narrower frame of reference than that of which we are capable, failing to transcend the influence of our particular culture, our particular set of parents and our particular childhood experience upon our understanding.  It is no wonder, then that the world of humanity is so full of conflict.  We have a situation in which human beings, who must deal with each other, have vastly different views as to the nature of reality, yet each one believes his or her own view to be the correct one since it is based on the microcosm of personal experience.  And to make matters worse, most of us are not even fully aware of our own world views, much less the uniqueness of the experience from which they are derived. “
“Discipline has been defined as a system of techniques of dealing constructively with the pain of problem-solving – instead of avoiding that pain – in such a way that all of life’s problems can be solved.  Four basic techniques have been distinguished and elaborated: delaying gratification, assumption of responsibility, dedication to the truth or reality, and balancing.  Discipline is a system of techniques, because these techniques are very much interrelated.  In a single act one may utilize two, three or even all of the techniques at the same time and in such a way that they may be distinguishable from each other.”
“No problem can be solved until an individual assumes the responsibility for solving it. When character-disordered individuals blame someone else – a spouse, a child, a friend, a parent, and employer – or something else – bad influences, the schools, the government, racism, sexism, society, the ‘system’ – for their problems, these problems persist.  Nothing has been accomplished.  By casting away their responsibility they may feel comfortable with themselves, but they have ceased to solve the problems of living, have ceased to grow spiritually, and have become dead weight for society.  They have cast their pain onto society.  The saying of the sixties (attributed to Eldridge Cleaver) speaks to all of us for a time: ‘If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.’” 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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