If you had to pick just one thing?


People ask me all the time what the secret to happiness is. “If you had to pick just one thing,” they wonder, “what would be the most important thing for leading a happy life?”

Ten years ago, I would have told you a regular gratitude practice was the most important thing—and while that is still my favorite instant happiness booster, my answer has changed. I believe the most important thing for happiness is living truthfully. Here’s the specific advice I recently gave my kids:

Live with total integrity. Be transparent, honest, and authentic. Do not ever waiver from this; white lies and false smiles quickly snowball into a life lived out of alignment. It is better to be yourself and risk having people not like you than to suffer the stress and tension that comes from pretending to be someone you’re not, or professing to like something that you don’t. I promise you: Pretending will rob you of joy.

I’ve spent the better part of my life as a people-pleaser, trying to meet other people’s expectations, trying to keep everyone happy and liking me. But when we are trying to please others, we are usually out of sync with our own wants and needs. It’s not that it’s bad to be thinking of others. It’s that pleasing others is not the same as helping others.

~ Christine Carter, Ph.D.  

Don’t miss the rest of her great post here: Why It Doesn’t Pay to be a People Pleaser


Come on people. It’s this simple.


Source: swiss-miss.com

The most important decision of your life


He wants to write a book about “the most important decision of your life,” which he considers choosing to be happy every day. We are programmed to look for what’s wrong to fend off danger, he says, but instead we should decide that life is too short to live in a “suffering state.” He wants people to tell themselves, “I’m going to find a way to find creativity and gratitude or growth or joy in every moment.”

– Alexandra Wolfe, Tony Robbins Faces His Fears

Source: Ruby Wax Quote – Thank you Steve Layman.

The Wisdom of Crowds



  • Source: NY Times Magazine (July 17, 2016)
  • Post Title taken from James Surowiecki’s Book: The Wisdom of Crowds
  • Post inspiration: Vera Meum – “Why does the sound of rain gently tapping on the roof and windows instantly relieve stress? It is a reminder of survival, an appreciation for being safe, dry, and warm, the most basic of needs. Therein lies a secret to contentment; to remind ourselves regularly of the satisfaction of our basic needs, to appreciate another moment of survival, and forget the extraneous factors that cause us undue stress.”

Riding Metro North. With Curious Dog.

5:40 am train.
Metro North south to Grand Central.
Need to buy a ticket.
I look down the long platform. Four minutes to scheduled arrival. Gotta go.

He’s 25 yards up.
His right foot is lame. His gait is slow. Handicapped.
I close in on him.
He’s in his late teens.
Baseball cap.
Backpack slung over his right shoulder.

He stops and turns to stare at the billboard.
His chest is rising up and down – giggling.
It’s an ad for a Broadway play based on the 2003 best selling novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
I remember the book. And smile.
I take one last look as I pass him. His head leans on his right shoulder as he takes in the poster, playing back chapter by chapter.

I buy my ticket. The train approaches and I look for him. He’s the last to get on, the conductor urges him in. [Read more…]

Riding Metro North. In the Groove.

Portrait of artist Goran Kosanovic holding his painting on foil by Dragan Todorović

5:57 am train.
Metro North south to Grand Central.
New day. Another Monday.
A slow pan over the prior week, and weekend.
Work. Read. Eat. Toilet. Sleep. (Some). Do over.
And, now, same track, same rails, same destination.
And I sit basking in It.

It’s a Mid Term self evaluation.
The Grade: Content.
Work. Read. Eat. Toilet. Sleep (Some). Do Over.
And content with that.
I shift in my seat, close my eyes and contemplate that.

And then,
Here it comes: [Read more…]

And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn…

the most important°

And then one student said that happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer, a night so hot you can’t even wear a tee-shirt and you sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them, although try to sleep is probably more accurate. And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the heat finally breaks and the night turns into cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you’re almost chilly, and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it’s that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we have to pull what’s warm – whether it’s something or someone – toward us, that feeling we get when we do that, that feeling of being safe in the world and ready for sleep, that’s happiness.

– Paul Schmidtberger, Design Flaws of the Human Condition

Source: Quote – Petrichour. Artwork: the most important° by Kerstin Kuntze

Flying West. Up, and Back.

Adriane Ayme

Like Kafka in his Letters to Milena, I’m trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something I only feel in my bones and which can only be experienced in those bones.

Yet, I will try, and yes, here it is again. Deep in the marrow of those same bones.  It builds.

A sabbatical. From hands balled in fists, squeezing the reins, to ceding it all to a clean-cut pilot, his Aviator Hat tilted ever so slightly to the right: “Thank you Sir for flying with American.”

My head leans on the cool aluminum skin of the 450 ton albatross.  500 mph, and standing still. The only sign of Man, the long white breath of an earlier bird, and us, seven miles up.

Down, way down are the Badlands. The salt flats. The arid plains.  The snow capped peaks.


The immensity of It.  The insignificance of Me.

It’s inexplicable. That soft pull.  The freeing of the twisted, braided cords.  Release. [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly.


And did you feel it, in your heart,
how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

~ Mary Oliver, from “Swan,” Swan: Poems and Prose Poems.


  • Poem: Thank you The Vale of Soul Making. Be sure to check out his excellent WordPress blog.
  • Photo:  “Close your eyes” by Sergei Sukhovey via The Sensual Starfish
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly child, lightly.


She held tightly to his waist again on the way back. It was too loud for either of them to say anything, for which she was grateful, no decisions to be made, nothing to worry over, only the palm trees and tin roofs spinning out behind her, the wind whipping her hair across the face and the warm body close to hers; this moment then the next. Happiness began to burble in the base of her spine and rise, giddily, up her body. So this was what it was like: the present moment. She felt it like a revelation.

And wasn’t this what she’d been after – the lightness that came galloping through, grabbing you by the waist and hauling you along with it? How could you not surrender yourself to it, even if you knew you’d end up sitting bruised in the dirt? She supposed there must be another way to experience that breathless rush of being alive – something inward, perhaps? – but she didn’t know what it was or how to get there on her own.


  • Photo: Etsy by Glennis Siverson
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
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