When I started pulling together some ideas for this workshop, my daughter happened to be arriving home from classes. As she walked toward the kitchen, she casually asked me what I was up to. When I replied that I was designing a workshop on happiness, she said (without skipping a beat), "What do you know about that?" I had to admit she had a point. My mind flashed back to visiting my father at work, a college professor at Seattle University who, while at work, always had this engaging, upbeat manner, more like a beer route salesman than the dad I knew at home. Because quick wittedness runs in our family, I shot back, "Happiness isn't really about being happy." Now I was really in trouble, how do I explain that? Fortunately, she said she knew it to be true.
Thank God for the information highway with facts on happiness just a click away. I did not know that, apparently, the new face of happiness is Coke. Not the street drug, the drink. You will see by visiting their website that the main ingredient is happiness. According to the Coke website, modern science defines happiness "as the positive range of emotions that we feel when we are content and full of joy." They go on to explain that happiness is (according to a number of venerated thinkers) not a quest after all but a decision, a choice. We are then invited to not wait another moment, to choose happiness by "opening an ice cold Coca-Cola."
So what's a person to do? My daughter is pointing out an obvious truth, that I am not typically enjoying a positive range of emotions that I feel when content and full of joy. And I don't know too many (none) people that do, and if they do, I wonder what kind of meds they are on. Perhaps all I need is a Coke. I do have another idea, one that does not depend on temperament, fortune, or sugary beverages.
On February 28th, we will explore what it means to be happy, in part by identifying some essential sources of our unhappiness. The road map for this comes from the Five element Theory of Chinese Medicine and Dr. David Richo's book, The Five Things We cannot Change and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them." The purpose of this gathering is to reveal to ourselves what it is that we need to know to help us be, simply put, happier human beings.