Monday, September 5, 2016


Who doesn’t long for happiness?  

All of us do.

Some see happiness in the promise of a raise or in the winnings of the lottery. Some fancy a new wardrobe, others a shiny Tesla. Some visualize traveling to distant shores. Some dream of finding the perfect mate who will shower them with everlasting happiness.

Some do indeed reach their goal.

But how long did their happiness last?

Maybe higher costs sapped their raise? And the lottery funds? Were they gone within the year? A new wardrobe’s novelty is bound to fade in time, and so does the newness of a Tesla. Our travels to distant shores may bring us joy galore, but eventually we’ll be home again.

What then?

Maybe the perfect mate is the answer. Yet life is like a river, it keeps rolling along, keeps changing, is unpredictable. Can you maintain your happiness and make it last throughout the ups and downs of daily life?

The answer may lie in the essence of happiness.

Happiness is something personal. It is something that we ourselves create — that we plant and cherish deep within ourselves. We cannot find it in the outside world. Only when we enshrine it in our heart and soul can we be masters of our happiness and sustain it.

It may be an arduous task to rid our mind of all that is incompatible with happiness.  Feelings of hatred and revenge are its archenemy. Nor can we acquiesce to jealousy or being fraught with desire. Happiness withers when exposed to mean and petty thoughts, just as temper and impatience gnaw at its foundation.

When we have shed these odious burdens, happiness will quietly take root and blossom.

What then is happiness?

Happiness is being grateful for being alive, for appreciating what we have.  Happiness is being content with our lot, and accepting our friends and relations the way they are, with all their faults and all their blemishes—we have them too.

Happiness is accepting ourselves. When we do, we can love and accept anyone else.

Until next time,


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Beyond Gloom & Doom

Whenever I listen to the news or read the newspaper, gloom inundates my mind—nothing cheerful, nothing uplifting. News about terror, war and corruption, news about our causing alarming decimation of other species and momentous pollution of our planet, or about earthquakes, floods and fires. Man against man, man against beast, man against nature, and nature against man. Nothing but gloom and doom.

I reach for a piece of chocolate to chase away the blues and decide to walk to the store.

A neighbor waves a friendly Good Morning. A little boy holds the door for me—what kindness in one so young! The sky is blue. Overhead, a plane takes travelers to distant destinations. Below, flowers sparkle in the sunshine. My spirits lift with joy.

As always when I enter a grocery store, I marvel at the abundance of fruit and food. I grew up in war-torn Europe, when food was severely rationed. People were pitifully thin.

I remember my overwhelming amazement when I had my first American meal, succulent roast beef—more than a month’s ration—a baked potato, butter and corn. We did have potatoes—that’s what we lived on —but there was no butter or cream or anything else. For my first dessert in America I chose an orange—I vaguely recalled once having seen one. I knew nothing about ice cream.

Today I’m looking for an orchid for my brother. “Long lines,” I mention to the young woman in front of me. It is Saturday. “You’ve got only one item?” she asks, looking at my plant. “Do go ahead of me,” she offers.

I thank her for her kindness, but decline, seeing her little son. “I bet you’re eager too to get back into the sunshine,” I say. He smiles. We chat amicably about this and that and before we know it, we reach the checkout stand.

I walk home with a smile, glad to realize again that most individuals are kind, far kinder than the media realizes. I mentally survey my friends and acquaintances and find that they all have admirable traits: it may be kindness, joie de vivre or integrity, knowledge, special skills or a good sense of humor. It’s rare that I run into a person who’s devoid of a worthy trait.

It is NOT a world of gloom and doom, I conclude, but a world of infinite variety. And, gratifyingly, we are free to choose our focus and attitude. By doing so we create a world of our own making.

Until next time,