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The Art and Science of Happiness

The process of creating your own New Life Stories can provide you with tools, encouragement, support, and guidance in creating the life of your dreams.

Are you ready for a new life?

Whether you’re coping with:

Transitions

Stress

Feeling stuck

Depression

Procrastination

Loss

Anxiety

When you’re aging gracefully (or not), dealing with disability, chronic illness, or the frustration of creative block, you can remember to transform your fear and pain into creative living. It’s both an art and a science. We’re here to help with both.

The art of happiness lies in creating your life as a work of art. You can live your vision of balance, love, and wisdom with clarity. You can find your voice and learn to live and write out loud.

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist,
I will answer you: I am here to
live out loud.”

Émile Zola

The “new” Positive Psychology documents paths to happiness that have been tested scientifically (and throughout the ages). According to the latest research, if you have goals and ways to move closer to them, you have hope.

With hope, you can move one step ahead and take the next step and the next and the next. You don’t have to see the whole path ahead of you. Just take the first step.

“Where there is no way, the hopeful person will find a way.”

C. R. Synder–Psychological Researcher

Learning to love again?

Feel blocked or unable write, sculpt, design, or paint?

Unable to begin a new project?

Have goals, but wonder about the

hows of reaching them?

Is it time to live your vision out loud and find like-minded travelers?

Reach for your heart’s desires

Bring more love into your life

Live simply if you choose

Seek wisdom

Restore hope

Make your life a work of art

Feel the creative flow

Achieve balance on a daily basis

Transform your troubles into strengths

Find clarity and inspiration for your journey

Celebrate your life

Bring your unique gifts to the world

Now is your time to:

Know what you really, really want

Reach for your heart’s desires

Bring more love into your life

Live simply if you choose

Seek wisdom

Restore hope

Make your life a work of art

Take the next steps in spite of fear

Feel the creative flow

Achieve balance on a daily basis

Transform your troubles into strengths

Find clarity and inspiration for your journey

Celebrate your life

Bring your unique gifts to the world

Now is your time to:

Know what you really, really want

“Tell me, what is it you plan to
do with your one wild
and precious life?”

Mary Oliver-The Summer Day

You can choose to stay stuck, frustrated, and stressed, or you can move forward now toward the life of your dreams.

Not some day.

Now.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever has happened to you in the past, you still have a choice about how to live your life from now onward. Much may have been taken from you, but much remains. You can:

  • Make a new path for your life.
  • Do one small thing differently.
  • Understand your old stories in new ways.
  • Examine and reinterpret your old life story compassionately.
  • Use your old life story as fuel for your new stories.
  • Decide to tell yourself new stories and sing new songs.
  • Transform your life and the way you think about yourself.

Only you can make the choice, but you can make it NOW. There are many paths and many tools you can use to move yourself from difficulty to progress.

Five Tools for Transforming Your Life

Many methods are readily available for changing your life “for good.” Some of the most accessible are Writing, Reading, Retreats, Group Support, and Mentoring/Coaching. Feel free to Contact me for further information.

1. Writing: One Way to Listen to Your Deepest Self

So the dog just threw up on the couch, the smoke alarm went off when the pancakes burned, and you were late for work because you couldn’t find your best shoes. After that, things went downhill, and it was a thoroughly awful day.

But imagine having a warm, compassionate, confidential friend that serves as coach, therapist, and confidant-available any time of night or day.

How?

It’s simple, just pick up a pen and some paper (or computer) and coach yourself through the rough times. Just begin anywhere with any thought or feeling, and your life can begin to unfold itself in a new way.

An important tool for creating the life of your dreams lies at your finger tips. Throughout the ages, writing and journaling have provided countless thousands of people with inspiration, help, hope, clarity, and the ability to move forward with their lives despite challenges and obstacles.

I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted,
when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card,
when nothing has seemed worth enduring
for another five minutes…and
somehow the activity of writing
changes everything.

Joyce Carol Oates

Or what about the days that flow like golden sunlight? The days that warm your heart and fill you with joy? Writing is one way to capture that happiness forever, to have it always available to you.

Writers and journal-keepers often carve out paths for themselves with their words. By exploring various possibilities in writing, you can essentially carve out a path in front of you to follow. You can make the imagined become real.

“I didn’t know that if you want to write, you must follow your desire
to write. And that your writing will help you unravel the knots
in your heart. I didn’t know that you could write simply
to take care of yourself, even if you have no desire
to publish your work. I didn’t know that if you want to become a writer,
eventually you’ll learn through writing-and only through writing-
all you need to know about your craft. And that while you’re learning,
you’re engaging in soul-satisfying, deeply nurturing labor.

Louise DeSalvo-Writing as a Way of Healing

Remember, there’s no wrong way to keep a notebook or journal. Whatever works for you is what works.

And if you’re not into writing, try talking into a tape recorder, using voice-recognition programs, or making a video journal. You might ask a friend to interview you on audio or video tape to bring out your unrealized hidden depths. It’s a great technique, and you may surprise yourself!

“All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story
or tell a story about them…”

Isak Dinesen

Writing can help you to:

Get and stay centered

Keep track of things

Structure and organize your time

Coach yourself through major and minor crises

Learn from your past

Plan for your future

Rehearse conversations and strategies

Practice “what ifs” by looking at possible consequences

Rebuild your self-esteem

Grieve your losses, wounds, and betrayals

Examine patterns in past and present relationships

Determine what you really, really want in life

Understand, accept, and value yourself just as you are

Make needed changes in your life

Discharge tension and emotion in a healthy way

Let go of bitterness and resentment

Heal the hurts and write a new life for yourself

2. Reading: Following the Path

Whatever the path you tread, the way is known and well-traveled. Whatever the challenges you face, others have gone before you, have faced the same obstacles, and have left their clues and insights in your local library.

Life stories-whether fiction, poetry, non-fiction, memoir, biography, autobiography, or science fiction-can teach you about the rocks in your path, the apparent obstacles (which may only be stepping-stones in disguise), the tests and trials, and the rewards. The stories contained in movies, plays, and all art forms can give you new options and vistas.

You’ll travel in the company of those who go with you, with those who have gone before you. There can be a great comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

Find a story that inspires you and follow the thread to that writer’s inspiration. Trace the thread back and back and back as far as you like.

“…we have not even to risk the adventure alone;
for the heroes of all time have gone before us;
the labyrinth is thoroughly known;
we have only to follow the thread
of the hero-path…”

Joseph Campbell-Hero With a Thousand Faces

3. Retreats: Re-newing and Re-Visioning

There’s nothing like a change of scenery and a time set aside for quiet and contemplation, a change of pace and place. You can return to your daily life refreshed and renewed.

It’s a well-known phenomenon, that leaping forward into the future is more effective after a few steps backward to gather momentum. It’s important to honor your own rhythms of retreating and advancing.

You may want to join with others who are also seeking clarity and guidance. A writing or contemplative retreat may be what you need to gain perspective on your life. Hundreds of weekend (or longer) opportunities abound.

Or you may want to create your own personal silent retreat away or even at home. How you seek clarity is up to you. What’s important is to give yourself time and quiet to “let things settle.”

“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.”

Lao Tse

4. Group Support: Strength, Hope, and Belonging

There’s nothing like a strong, supportive group of like minds to inspire you and encourage you as you move forward with your life in a positive way. You may want to find or start a group that meets regularly.

And, thanks to the new telephone technology, groups of people from all over the world can now talk on one bridge line and enjoy the intimacy and life-changing energy of transformative community without leaving home. attend the group in your pajamas, if you like.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing
that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

5. Mentoring / Life Coaching

At some point, you decide to “just move forward” with your life.

Is it time to call in the reinforcements? Mentors and life coaches have access to what has been called “the biological library.” They trace their heritage back to ancient wisdom and to the world’s greatest thinkers: scientists, philosophers, writers, theologians, and psychologists.

Coaching can help you focus on the business at hand and the future, rather than keeping you mired in your past. Your past can be “mined” for the raw materials of “the alchemical process” to forge your future.

Maybe you’re in the initial stages of “gathering the lead,” or maybe you’ve progressed to the exciting and often chaotic stage of “positive disintegration.”

Wherever you are in the process, it helps to see the big picture from a larger perspective. Remember that the “hours of lead” come before the “hours of gold.”

A coach/mentor can help you get mobilized and start moving toward the life you were meant to live. You’ll have individual support and accountability. You can get control of procrastination and the paralysis of unreasonable fear.

You learn to become the “author” of your own life, instead of playing bit parts in other people’s dramas. Show them you’re having the time of your life! Happiness is a worthy goal, and it can be pursued through both art and science. Happy exploring!