By Your Thoughts – Highlighting Self-Care Books

By Your Thoughts –  Highlighting Self-Care Books
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About the Author

CJ Martin

CJ Martin

Most people know CJ Martin as the owner of CJ's Cafe in Bronte, but she is also a published poet, a humanitarian, and supporter of the Oakville Arts community.

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“By your thoughts you are daily, even hourly, buliding your life, you are carving your destiny” – Ruth Barrick Golden

In the inaugrual column of By Your Thoughts, I would like to introduce you, gentle readers, to a book called Happy For No Reason by Marci Schimoff. Marci is a New York Times bestselling author. In this book she has taken on the task of interviewing 100 people who are able to live with sustained happiness, and has written about what they do that allows them to be happy no matter what is going on.

One of the fundamental ideas was her realization that there is a continuum of happienss. On the far left is Unhappy – in this place, life is a bummer, you are anxious, you feel fatigued and low. Next to that is Happy for Bad Reasons – in this place people seek momentary highs which are ultimately detrimental, from addictive behaviours like alcohol, overeating, promiscuity, ‘retail therapy’. The happiness is so temporary it is hardly happiness at all. Next to that is the place where many of us probably live – Happy for Good Reason. In this place, people are happy because they have good relationships, success in our careers, financial security – we have healthy things we want. But. But if these external conditions change or are lost, our happiness goes too. We are relying on externals, and something in us knows there must be something more than this.

There is one more level: Happy for No Reason – a neurophysiological state of peace and well-being that is not dependant on external circumstances. You bring happiness to situations, you don’t try to get happiness from them.

We all know the line from the American Declaration of Independence that entitles people to Life, Liberty and the Pursiuit of Happiness. But what we don’t know is that in 1776, when the line was written, the word ‘pursue’ did not mean to chase after – it meant to practice that activity, to make it a habit.

So Marci looks at the people she calls the Happy 100, and describes the habits they cultivate that generate a state of happiness, no matter what circumstances they are living through. She breaks these categories down into what she calls the Pillars. These pillars are the habits in how we cultivate our mind, our heart, our body, our soul, our sense of living with inspired purpose, and cultivating nourishing relationships.

In each of these areas, she looks at what habits lead to a sense of contraction, and what leads to a sense of expansion. For example, in the Pillar of the Soul, she looks at how ‘constantly doing’ leads to a sense of contraction, while making time for stillness and medititaion expands us. In the Pillar of the Body, she looks at how feeling stressed, frowning, eating processed foods, ignoring the body’s signals, all lead to contraction, while eating fresh, whole foods, listening to what the body wants and needs, smiling, all lead to a sense of expansion.

It is an easy to read book, with many stories from the people on the Happy 100 list, which includes some recognizable names such as Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway, and Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love.

This book is available to read through any regular book-buying channel or the Oakville Public Library.

Namaste, gentle readers – I wish you Happy for No Reason.

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