Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

We have reasons to be sad, but happiness cannot be pinned down, explains poet Naomi Shihab Nye

February 6, 2017

So Much Happiness is a beautiful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye (1952) from the same collection of selected poems, Words Under the Words, mentioned in the previous entry on her poem, Kindness.

naomi-shihab-nyeIn this video, Naomi explains how some poems are given to her, when she listens. The first poem, on happiness, came after she and her husband were married. The second poem, on kindness, came after an unsettling event took place on their honeymoon. They had been robbed while traveling on a bus in South America and lost everything. After she wrote the poem, help came in unexpected ways.*

Having both poems read by the poet in this grouping is special! Thanks to Pamela Robertson-Pearce who filmed Naomi Shihab Nye during her visit to the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in 2006, and to Neil Astley who posted the video for Bloodaxe Books.

One of Naomi’s favorite poets, and mine too, is William Stafford. He said this about her poetry: “In the current literary scene one of the most heartening influences is the work of Naomi Shihab Nye. Her poems combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insights. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life.”

So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records . . .

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye

*Read more about that incident in Spirituality&Health: The Incomparable Naomi Shihab Nye on Kindness.

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A mysterious bird in this Wallace Stevens poem teaches us the wonder of just being our self

July 16, 2014

Of Mere Being

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

Wallace Stevens

The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play

William Stafford in his poem, Just Thinking, also appreciates the value “of just being there.”

Canadian poet P.K. Page describes a phantom bird in This Heavy Craft.

Meditation for Students: Results of the David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time/TM Program in San Francisco Schools

December 24, 2011

David Lynch Foundation Event in San Francisco: Meditation for Students

The David Lynch Foundation held a benefit gala in San Francisco on June 1 at the Legion of Honor, to showcase the successes of a five-year project to bring the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique to students in inner-city San Francisco schools. In this video, you will hear James Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School talk about the unprecedented academic achievements of his meditating students; iconic filmmaker David Lynch talk about the inspiring work of his foundation among at-risk populations; and Dr. Norman Rosenthal, internationally renowned psychiatrist and NY Times bestselling author, discuss the amazing results of scientific research on the TM technique. See other featured past events posted on the David Lynch Foundation website. To hear more about the David Lynch Foundation and it’s programs, please visit: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

Uploaded by on Jul 7, 2011.

See selected highlights of Inspiring results from the TM-Quiet Time Program in the San Francisco Unified School District.

Obstacle Illusions: Transforming Adversity into Success by Stephen J. Hopson

February 16, 2011

If you enjoy reading inspiring true life stories, Obstacle Illusions: Transforming Adversity into Success is for you. And if you’re a journalist, here’s an amazing human-interest story you may want to cover!

Born profoundly deaf, Stephen J. Hopson didn’t let that stand in the way of fulfilling his dreams. His mother taught him to speak at home and sent him to public school. He attended college and got his first job working in a bank. He eventually left this secure position to further his career as an award-winning Wall Street stockbroker.

At five years old, he told his parents he would become a pilot and was dismissed as being foolish, but as an adult he made aviation history by becoming the world’s first deaf instrument-rated pilot.

Stephen credits his grade 5 teacher for transforming his young life, which gave him the confidence to do anything he set his mind on. “One of the stories includes the three words that forever changed my life as a skinny, bucktoothed kid who wore monstrous hearing aids, and although appeared happy-go-lucky on the outside, had low self-esteem because I was having a very difficult time in school.”

As you will see, Stephen is a risk-taker. A personal experience made him realize that his real purpose and passion at this stage of his life was to become a global transformational speaker and author. In the late 1990’s, he left his lucrative Wall Street job, and after learning how to fly, decided to go back to college. He graduated from MUM in 2010 and continued writing his life story.

Because he wanted to inspire others to overcome their shortcomings, usually imaginary, the way Stephen had experienced his life; he turned his life’s journey into a book entitled, Obstacle Illusions: Transforming Adversity into Success. Through his writings and speeches Stephen is inspiring thousands of people worldwide to believe in themselves and achieve the impossible.

His book contains 25 stories from his life and the lessons he learned from them. Each chapter ends with exercises that ask readers to reflect on their own lives and see beyond their obstacles. His publisher says this is the greatest self-help book ever. “I absolutely recommend it to anyone needing inspiration to get back in the game and win big time!” Read a sample, Chapter 11, from Obstacle Illusions: Harry the Arrogant Bank Boss.

Obstacle Illusions is available from 1st World Publishing, on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and can also be ordered from Stephen’s website. Mr. Hopson will host a book signing at Revelations in Fairfield on Saturday, March 5, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Besides in-person interviews, Stephen can also communicate using online video relay services where he and the interviewer speak on the phone while a live operator signs to him on his laptop in real time. Let me know if you’d like to speak with Stephen and I’d be happy to arrange an interview for you. Visit Stephen’s website for more information and a video: http://www.sjhopson.com/.

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Amazon Book Review: Learning Life’s Lessons posted by Famous in Fairfield

I enjoyed reading Stephen Hopson’s book Obstacle Illusions: Transforming Adversity into Success. He comes across as a very sincere hard-working risk-taker who wants to keep changing and evolving, learning from each experience—something that hopefully will inspire others to do the same and get out of the rut they’ve allowed themselves to wallow in. Stephen’s transparency will allow readers to see themselves more clearly.

I mention this because Stephen innocently shares his realizations of all that happened to him in his life. He sees it was all for him, and not to him; he’s not a victim. Those incidents and people allowed him to learn, grow, and evolve as a human being. They were there to help him fulfill his life’s ambitions, whether he knew it or not at the time.

Read the book in chronological order. If you don’t you could be missing out on a very special experience. The last chapter is very powerful. It’s the climax of the book. I was literally shaking with excitement as tears were rolling down my cheeks. Even though this chapter is out of chronology, Mr. Hopson was wise to have placed it at the end of the book.

Stephen’s story also demonstrates the power of gratitude when we lovingly, unselfishly want to thank those for whom we are grateful. Events move in our favor to fulfill such a pure desire in ways we never would have imagined, bringing great joy to everyone involved.

Enjoy reading Obstacle Illusions. I know I did!

Visit Stephen’s website for more information and a video: http://www.sjhopson.com/.

Link to order book: http://amzn.to/Obstacle_Illusions

Read this great book review by someone who’s known Stephen from some time—life coach and author, Corinne Edwards.

Here’s a fun Interview with Stephen Hopson posted on The Speaker Point.

Recent posts: Exciting video promo for Stephen Hopson’s book Obstacle Illusions”, Listen to Stephen Hopson on Speaking Freely, KMCD Spotlights Stephen Hopson and his book “Obstacle Illusions”, and Stephen Hopson holds book signing at Revelations for “Obstacle Illusions”.

Russell Simmons Speaks to Homeless Men About Transcendental Meditation and Inner Happiness

May 13, 2010

Harlem Renaissance

May 12 2010, 8:00 AM ET

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz

russell2.jpgRussell Simmons has a knack for bringing underground urban culture into the mainstream. During the mid-1980s, as co-founder of the Def Jam record label, he helped launch the first hip hop megastars–LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Run-DMC, and The Beastie Boys. A few years later, he created the clothing label Phat Farm, turning street wear into runway fashion. His Def Poetry television series brought local slam poets into the national spotlight on HBO.

Along the way, Simmons has been helping everyday urban residents make their voices heard through the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, an organization that teaches inner city youth about financial credit and political involvement. Last August, Simmons turned his attention to homeless men in Harlem, a particularly invisible and powerless population. But instead of teaching these men how to speak out or take action, Simmons offered them inner peace through Transcendental Meditation.

“You’re alive for a simple reason, and that’s to be happy,” Simmons told a rapt audience at Ready, Willing, and Able, a program that helps homeless men find jobs and housing. The program recently added meditation to its toolbox, through funding from the David Lynch Foundation, and brought Simmons in to help inspire the men to learn. Simmons himself has been meditating for years, and he told The Atlantic about his efforts to bring stillness to New York City’s most restless population.


Meditation doesn’t seem to be a basic need like food or shelter. Why should homeless men learn to meditate?

Well, food and shelter are pretty good, too. But right up there with food and shelter is peace of mind. There are many roads to peace of mind. But some roads have so much proof that you know you’re definitely on your way. Transcendental Meditation has really got so much research, so many examples, so many people who have become calmer and more peaceful–even enlightened. It’s hard to get around how valuable meditation can be.

How is meditation different from religious faith? I’d imagine a lot of these men grew up with prayer in their lives.

Praying can be a good aid to promoting presence, but praying for something you don’t have doesn’t always create stillness. In the Yoga Sutras, it says Yogash chita vritti nirodha [“Meditation is the individual discipline that leads to the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”]. You can go to church and listen to a preacher who will remind you that Jesus Christ said to be still. Consciousness comes from lots of different sources.

But when you meditate, the noise is gone and there’s only bliss. Pure happiness. Look, it’s all good. But when people say meditation is a direct route, I believe they’ve got something. My own meditation is the best part of my day, like a mini-vacation. People fly away somewhere on vacation and they drink and create more stress. I sit in my room and release lots of stress. I like that better.

When you spoke to the men at Ready, Willing, and Able, you emphasized the importance of happiness. Why do homeless people need to hear this message?

Because these are people who have been made to feel that they’re less than, or their chances for happiness should be less than. They’re never going to change their situation until they find happiness within. I believe that happy, hard-working, spiritual people are really attractive and draw good things toward themselves.

What do you think causes homelessness in the first place?

I can’t give a simple answer to that. But it’s certainly the poverty mindset that is the greatest problem for so many homeless people. Meditation gives you a rich mindset, a mindset that makes you happy with what you have. There can be a happy person living in a shanty house. Even if he has nothing, inside he feels like he has everything.

And there can be an unhappy person living in a penthouse. The other day, I spoke to a billionaire’s son who’s running a big company. He told me he goes to India and sees all that poverty and feels guilty that he’s so rich and so unhappy. He really thinks that ’cause he got shit he should be happy! I told him he’s got nothing to feel guilty about.

Have the men told you specific stories about how meditation has helped them?

I’ve heard good ones. One guy who used to be homeless learned TM and immediately had an experience of “I am That, you are That, all this is nothing but That.” People in yoga studios try to achieve that experience and pass around books about it, but this guy got it after a month! So it’s pretty amazing that these people now have a way to transcend. Certainly meditation has got to be the number one thing that I can give someone.

Russell Simmons Speaks to Homeless Men About Meditation

The entertainment mogul tells participants in the Ready, Willing, and Able program how to find inner happiness. Click here and scroll down to the bottom of article to see this video.


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