Tag - happiness

Five Pathways to Happiness

by Errol and Marjorie Gibbs, authors of Discovering Your Optimum Happiness Index

We often think of life as a path or a journey, and largely it is, but in a broader sense, we travel along multiple paths to multiple destinations in the material world. We have discovered that at some point along life’s journey, the ultimate path and destination become real, and everything else becomes an illusion. The challenge is to recognize the path that leads to the greatest fulfillment of life and happiness.

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After traveling separately and together for several decades (metaphorically speaking) along multiple paths, we have discovered five illuminating pathways that we share with you. We delineate these five key pathways as Spiritual Happiness, Moral Happiness, Social Happiness, Intellectual Happiness, and Physical Happiness.

Each of the five pathways underpins the human journey. They confer on us all of the spiritual and material gifts that we desire to experience a life of fulfillment. The benefits become real when we subscribe to a belief in the existence of a higher Spiritual Intelligence.

Spiritual Happiness – or joy – transcends all other forms of happiness. This path is a noble way that brings both happiness and joy to others and ourselves because it is the realization of the whole purpose of human existence.

Spirituality sustains us when everything else fails. Spiritual Happiness is the Optimum state of happiness. It rises above all other imperatives of happiness.

Spirituality compels us to choose light instead of darkness, love instead of hate, tolerance instead of intolerance, faith instead of fear, hope instead of despair, peace instead of war, and happiness instead of unhappiness. We can maintain both spiritual and material happiness when we consciously and consistently seek to purify ourselves of the tendencies to act on selfish impulses. We must guard against inaction that can amount to shirking responsibility to bring happiness to the lives of others.

Moral Happiness – This is the pathway taken to understand, embrace, and practice moral laws. The principal foci of the moral foundation are the transcendental and transformational benefits to moral leadership in the world. Moral happiness comes from knowing that our behavior and character are in conformity to higher moral authority.

It informs our understanding of our spiritual and natural relationships with God and neighbor. These two mutually inclusive relationships help us to maintain a perfect spiritual and natural balance between “moral” and “civic” duty, which often conflict in other areas of our lives.

The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code, and morality. It essentially states, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” When we make a conscious effort to prioritize morality in our decision making, and set concrete goals to live our lives in an ethically upright manner, and provide an example of such to others, we’re ever growing closer to moral happiness.

Social Happiness – This is the pathway taken to build close social relationships with fellow beings. Relationship bonds define all human interactions in a myriad of ways. Social Happiness is not merely with family and friends, or with our immediate neighbors, but with those in the diverse international community, religiously, morally, socially, culturally, scientifically, and environmentally.

Intellectually and intuitively, we understand that there are many distinct types of relationships, each with a unique bond and directive. The nature of these interdependent relationships makes us happy or unhappy. Strong relationship bonds enable us to build and weather the challenges that we may face in the myriad of relationships that we experience daily. The quality of these social connections is a function of our social well-being and happiness, and how we strive to mitigate and manage each situation relative to each bond.

By making time for family and friends as part of our overall wellness practice, we are feeding our own social happiness. Making sure we are tending our relationships with our parents, siblings, romantic partners, friends, coworkers and neighbors increases our social happiness. Like a garden, water each relationship in turn.

Intellectual Happiness is the pathway that informs the human intellect. It is being in an environment that stimulates and inspires people to reach greater heights, much beyond our rational reasoning. Many may view happiness generically, but intellectual happiness comes from the capacity to make critical life-saving and life-enhancing decisions.

Our human intelligence guides our decision-making concerning the nature and purpose of every human action and endeavor, especially happiness. It enables us to understand things beyond our natural comprehension.

The imperative to keep learning about our world, our vocation, history, art – these things don’t end when we receive a degree, nor are they exclusive to the traditional education establishment. Take a class, attend a lecture, read books on topics that will expand your knowledge, visit museums and historic sites in your region and beyond. All of these activities will expand your intellectual happiness – and combining them with tending our social relationships makes it all the more enjoyable.

Physical Happiness – This is the pathway that exists in the physical realm, which comes from a sense of physical well-being, but understanding all of the complexities of our physical well-being is critical to living healthy and happy lives. For instance, we cannot experience physical health and happiness to the exclusion of spiritual and mental health and a clean environment.

From the medical scientist to the layperson, all will agree that the human body is complex but marvelously made. We are also, as living beings, an integral biological component of the living and breathing universe. Even the living trees exchange matter with people.Physical happiness is achievable when we have good physical health, which is a function of diet and nutrition, sleep, exercise, and general wholesome (stress-free) living. The correlation between the environment and human health and happiness is debated and documented in scientific literature, and it is a major concern to governments around the globe.

About the authors:

Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs are avid readers, self-inspired researchers, and writers. Religious, scientific, educational, philosophical, and humanitarian pursuits highlight their work. Multigenerational family life, nurturing child development, community, business, and corporate experience underpin their quest to inspire happiness in others through their seminal work on the Optimum Happiness Index (OHI). Global travel afforded the writers a panoramic view of the human landscape to observe how people in various parts of the world experience happiness and unhappiness, co-existing in a cultural mix of wealth and poverty.

Marjorie G. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), a Business Accounting and Assistant Diploma (BAA), and certificates in Conflict Management and Environment Technology. Marjorie practices in the field of Accounting Management, where she meets and interacts with people from diverse nations and lifestyles. These meetings help to enrich her happiness journey even when she is not reading or traveling.

Errol A. Gibbs has a polytechnic engineering background, primarily in the energy industry. Errol relinquished his career in Project Management and Business Consulting to pursue a higher understanding of human development from religious, humanitarian, and philosophical perspectives and to write and speak on issues that impede human growth and peaceful coexistence. Errol has presented at conferences hosted by diverse organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP).

Connect with Errol and Marjorie Gibbs at www.gibbshappinessindex.com.


The Golden Key to Happiness

by Joyce and Barry Vissell

Several days ago we attended the Cultural Awareness Program at Mt. Madonna School where our grandson is in first grade. His grade of ten adorable students reenacted a Buddhist story from Cambodia. In this story a single mother has three grown sons. She is very concerned that her sons do not help her or anyone else, and care only about money. She confides this concern to her beloved sister and together they come up with a plan. The mother draws her three sons together, shows them a treasure chest, and says, “When I die, you can open this chest. It has been locked with a golden key and my sister will give you that key after I pass from this world. What I will be giving you will bring lasting happiness. The sons secretly think that their mother will be giving them precious jewels and a vast amount of money.

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A short time later, the mother passes from this world. The sons go to their aunt, claim the golden key, and return to the treasure chest with great excitement. When they open the treasure chest, they discover that the only thing in there is a letter from their mother. In her neat handwriting she had written, “The key to lasting happiness is to always help and serve people. If you follow my words, you will always know happiness in your life, for helping others brings a warmth and joy to your heart that money can never bring.” The sons loved their mother very much and therefore decided to follow her advice. They started helping people wherever they went and indeed they became very happy and fulfilled men.

After watching the children’s precious play, I reflected upon my father. My father was always helping people and going the extra mile. If someone asked him to do something for them, he would always do much more, often in secret. Towards the end of my father’s life, his heart and his health were failing and he completely lost his hearing. He could have sat around feeling sorry for himself, but instead he used what very little energy he did have to make wooden toys for a very poor day care center for migrant Mexican workers. When he had made around seven toys, after making special arrangements, my mother drove him to the day care center. It brought my father so much joy to see the children playing with the toys that he had made. They had very few toys and none of them very nice. These were beautiful toys. My mother snapped a photo of him and he had the biggest smile on his face.

My parents then went out to dinner to celebrate the toys and the joy on the children’s faces. My mother reported that my father seemed happier that evening than she had seen him in a while. He kept talking about how excited the children were to have his toys. Twelve hours later, my father died of a fatal heart attack. His last hours on this earth were spent in giving and bringing happiness to others, just the way he would have wanted his last day to be.

My mother also was constantly giving to others. Towards the end of her life these ways became small, but still she continued. She would write letters of encouragement and call people she felt might be lonely. And then because her memory was failing her, she was not able to do even these things. She said to Barry and me, “I cannot really help people anymore in the ways that I like, but I can still smile at people. Smiling will be my service to others now.” And indeed anyone who passed my mother was given one of her winning smiles.

Of course there are other ingredients to a happy life. Remembering God and taking time to feel that connection with the Divine, honoring ourselves, loving others and expressing that love, and taking good care of your body, getting exercise and eating well are all important. Honoring our planet and all of the animals and helping and serving others is very important. As the Cambodian story suggests, the golden key to happiness is truly in being of service.

My parents were not able to leave very much money to my brother and me when they died. But they left us with the valuable gift of modeling service to others. This gift has been more precious than any jewel-filled treasure chest.

Here are a few opportunities to bring more love and growth into your life, at the following longer events led by Barry and Joyce Vissell:

Jul 22-27, 2018 — Shared Heart Summer Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, OR

Oct 10-16, 2018 — Assisi Retreat, Italy

Feb 10-17, 2019 — Hawaii Couples Retreat on the Big Island

About the authors:

Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are widely regarded as among the world’s top experts on conscious relationship and personal growth. They are the authors of eight books, including two new books, To Really Love a Woman and To Really Love a Man.

Call 831-684-2299 for further information on counseling sessions by phone or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their web site at SharedHeart.org for their free monthly e-heartletter, their updated schedule, and inspiring past articles on many topics about relationship and living from the heart.


You’re Responsible for the Decision to be Happy and Healthy

by Katherine Sapio, MS, NCC, CHC

Beginning at a young age, I always felt like something didn’t fit. That I didn’t fit. I spent many years attempting to find reasons why and desperately attempted to comprehend why happiness did not come easy for me and why I felt such a deep sense of anger and loneliness. These feelings lead to a series of poor choices in my life including surrounding myself with people who didn’t love or accept me for me and yet I for some reason idealized. I felt as if I needed to fit the mold of who they wanted me to be while losing site of who I was meant to be and, falling short every time. I sought validation from all the wrong people and consistently challenged my own morals and values and who I truly was at my core. With each value, moral, and belief I silenced in my head, the more the hatred for myself grew. I was always raised to love myself, trust my gut, not allow others to take advantage of me or treat me poorly. But in my mind, I wasn’t worthy. I felt as though I didn’t deserve happiness or love and believed that I had to be this perfect person and just being me was far from good enough. I wasn’t necessarily a rule breaker, disrespectful to authority, or rebellious. I instead engaged in self-sabotaging behaviors making sure that I didn’t directly or intentionally upset or hurt anyone in the process.

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Although I have never been one to hide my emotions, my screams were silent. All the feelings and thoughts that burdened every aspect of my being led me to punish myself. I began spiraling into deep forms of depression as a result of daily anxiety and paranoia. Instead of being able to understand why I was feeling the way I was, let alone, verbalize it, I began to take my feeling of worthlessness, anger, loneliness, and loss out on myself. At a young age, I began my self-punishment through self-mutilation and eating disorders.

As I was a prisoner in my own mind, I watched as my family desperately attempted to shower me with love and support only for me to be numb to the very thing I had been seeking all along and in all the wrong places. I watched my mother attempt to comfort me daily while holding back her own tears and my younger siblings struggling to understand what was happening and who I was becoming and my father, constantly appearing angry and confused as to why I was this way which only led to a greater divide between us.

I became more and more of a stranger to the ones I loved and attempted to conform more and more to the ones who would never truly love me the way I thought I needed them to. With the support of my family, I sought professional help. I spoke with therapists, school counselors, social workers, religious figures, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. only to find that oddly, I already knew what they were telling me. I heard their words like it was something I already knew but may have felt couldn’t solve the complicated questions and feelings I was experiencing.

As I continued to spiral down my own personal dark hole of self-loathing, I was put on endless amounts of medication in hopes of “pulling me out” of this dark place, only to lead me into an even darker one. I wondered over and over who would save me; who could take me out of this nightmare, where would my answer be? I sought instant gratification from alcohol, negative people, and continued to attempt to find some way to magically “see the sign” or “snap out of it”. The things I was good at slowly slipped away and the people I loved and who truly loved me back became strangers. I was desperate and tried every clinical approach possible to pull me out of this darkness.

One day, as I sat alone in my room, watching my family prepare for a trip, a trip I would have normally gone on, I truly saw that I was letting my life pass me by. I saw that my family was so desperate to continue to keep their strong bond and let love be the foundation of our family. I watched them as if I were watching a movie. It felt as though I was no longer a contributing factor to the happiness and love and that through my darkness, I had brought the people who loved me the most into my nightmare. I vowed to myself that at this moment, enough was enough, and the one piece of advice I was going to take out of all the clinical and psychological feedback I was given, was that happiness is a choice.

For all these years, I continued to choose to not be happy because it was what I felt I deserved. It was a place that I knew and I was oddly comfortable in the familiarity of my own darkness. I knew what to expect when I was unhappy and I was able to control it. But what if I tried to pick myself up and choose the harder road which was to make better choices for myself, take a risk, and choose the healthier options in order to attain what I was seeking all along. I didn’t have to punish myself or feel not good enough. I could start with one small decision at a time. One healthy choice after another. I could begin to heal myself and the ones I loved.

At this moment, I chose to live. I reached out to the proper people to help me with this process to ensure that I would take my time in order to be successful. I began to make amends with those I hurt and realize that those who hurt me were only struggling within themselves and facing their own battles. This journey was not an easy one as I was still walking towards the light out of my darkness. It was in my decision to choose happiness and health that I was able to attract the right people into my life, find the decisions that were right for me, and truly uncover what my soul had been so desperate for me to hear and see.

The decision to choose happiness is so much more than just a choice. It’s accepting that life is not always perfect and sometimes taking a risk can lead to hurt and undoing previous patterns will often lead you to feel like being out of your own skin. Making this choice does not mean that things won’t go sour or that there won’t be road blocks ahead. It means that through the storms and through the difficult days, the decision to love yourself can bring you true clarity, comfort, beauty, and determination to embrace who you are and who you are destined to be.

Making a choice to embrace health and happiness is one that needs to be made every single day because unfortunately, for those of us who do struggle with Mental Illness, this doesn’t just go away. It is part of who we are but we don’t need to let it become our identity. It is in each day that we decide that the past will not continue to chain us and drown us over and over but we will make the decision use our tools to break free and breathe regardless of the demons we carry and the hardships life will throw our way. We will make the decision each day to survive and fight because it is in that decision that we continue to live.

About the author:

Katherine Sapio is a Certified National counselor who recently obtained her Health Coaching Certification, and will be applying shortly to become a National Wellness Practitioner. Her website is: https://theapblog.wixsite.com/theapblog


Is Inner Silence the Way to Happiness?

An awakening was not scheduled in Michael Linenberger’s calendar, but it happened anyway. Fortunately for us, he was paying attention, and the result is Simple Awakening: The Power of Inner Silence (New Academy Publishers).  

Michael Linenberger is a successful businessman, a former VP in a large management consulting firm with several best-selling books on workday management to his credit. Starting in late 2012, Michael experienced an extraordinary, positive change happening spontaneously in his life. A profound inner silence began developing, one that grew stronger and stronger each day. From that silence, a fundamental set of life transformations emerged: 

•Work became easy, life became easy, and all striving ceased. 
•All fears and doubts disappeared. 
•Unconditional happiness—bliss—moved in. 

Perhaps most important, a profound and accurate intuition began guiding his life to greater and greater achievements, both in his business and personal life. All these changes occurred through something Michael calls simple awakening—which he feels nearly everyone has the potential to achieve.

In an extraordinarily practical way, Michael tells the story of this amazing transformation unfolding over three years in Simple Awakening: The Power of Inner Silence. Most important, he explains what awakening can mean to you: what it looks like, how you might cultivate it, and the many ways it could revolutionize your entire life.

Michael Linenberger has held major roles in the field of information technology and business management for over twenty years. A former vice president at a large, international management consulting firm, he also worked as head of technology at U.S. Peace Corps. An expert on managing work tasks and communication, Michael has written seven books on workday productivity, among them several best sellers. 

Michael holds a B.S. and M.S. from The University of Massachusetts. He started his career in 1976 as a scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the 1980s, he worked as a civil engineer designing foundations for some of the largest buildings in San Diego, California. For more than forty years, Michael has also been interested in the development of consciousness. He is a popular speaker with insightful talks and seminars on how to improve one’s business and personal life. 

Michael’s story of awakening is so heartfelt. This book will keep you turning the pages as you realize that the blissful core of who you are is available to you, just below the surface, in simple silence.
– Marci Shimoff, #1 New York Times best-selling author, Happy for No Reason

This book has taken me by surprise! Michael is a beautiful writer and, he’s written something so important, of great value. I love this book!
– Jennifer Read Hawthorne, coauthor, #1 New York Times bestseller Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and author, The Soul of Success

Michael demystifies the process of ‘awakening’ as he explains his experiences and their meaning. Michael has masterfully conveyed the real-life impact and potential of awakening—and how simple it is!
– Susan Marcinelli, PhD, former Senior VP, Innovation & Leadership, Best Buy

Michael’s book is so needed! It’s very inspirational because it shows that awakening is achievable. It gives people hope that they can actually get to that place of expanded consciousness.
– Nancy Romero, former CEO, Accelerated Family Counseling

For more information, please visit www.simpleawakening.com. 

Simple Awakening: The Power of Inner Silence

By Michael Linenberger
New Academy Publishers
Available online and at fine bookstores everywhere
March 2016
ISBN 13: 978-0983364740
ISBN 10: 0983364745