Happiness A-Z

We all know that a book can’t guarantee happiness, however Louise Baxter Harmon’s new book “Happiness A-Z: The Gleeful Guide to Finding and Following Your Bliss” does a great job reminding you of reasons to be happy.

Just as the title implies, “Happiness A-Z” is comprised of alphabetical chapters and each letter begins a word associated with happiness. For example “B” is represented with the chapter “Bliss” and “O” is “Open-Minded”. Then the chapter begins with an introduction by the author about why the word is significant with happiness, what it means to her, and other associations. What follows after that is a great variety of quotes from different sources that play off that theme to inspire. Not to get picky, but “R” doesn’t stand for Rebecca OR rum, so I’m not entirely sure we can call this a “definitive” list. For those of you playing along at home, “R” is represented with “Relax”. Relax? Without rum? I suppose anything is possible.

I was given permission to excerpt a portion of the book that I enjoyed. I choose the introduction to “Joy”. The amusing part is that a large portion of her intro features some writing by Mark Nepo (who you may remember was featured on the site back in 2013). So this is kind of an excerpt, featuring an excerpt. I just loved Harmon’s description of joy and then the Nepo just sealed the deal.

Joy: This Lovely Lightness of Being

Joy is an emotion that bubbles up inside you, an irresistible sensation of happiness that comes upon you unawares. When you hear people talk about this blissful experience, they frequently speak of being filled with joy. I really love the idea of us all being vessels for this feeling of felicity. May our cups runneth over with this lovely lightness of being. Mark Nepo, who happens to be Oprah Winfrey’s favorite inspirational writer, has a unique perspective on joy that is utterly fascinating:

Often, what keeps us from joy is the menacing assumption that life is happening other than where we are. So we are always leaving, running from or running to.
What keeps us from joy, then, is often not being where we are and not valuing what is before us.
While happiness is a fleeting mood, joy is larger and more lasting than any one feeling. If each feeling is a wave of emotion, then joy is the ocean that holds all feelings.