Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Happiness Meditation

And this, from my dear friend, my wise friend, Fiamma Arditi,
Director, journalist at Senza Frontiere film festival:
The Chemical Reaction Within

“Happiness belongs to those who are easily contented.”
— Aristotle

Here’s a gentle reminder that Happiness is a state within us.  It is a chemical reaction based on where we put our focus, and from which perspective we choose to experience the world.

We are the ones who hold the key to lasting happiness. And we are the only ones who can deprive ourselves of the happiness that we all desire and deserve.

Sometimes, all it takes is a whisper of gratitude, to draw our focus back to our hearts and away from the discontentment and negativity that our minds are naturally attracted to.

This past Christmas, I took on the responsibility of cooking for our extended family. And when I was in the kitchen, preparing the food, I found my mind wandering off, thinking about negative things, thinking about things to complain about, thinking about certain people who made me upset.

I caught myself doing it, and was alarmed by the negative feeling it drew into my inner space.

And then I started to consciously redirect my attention towards being thankful. It was like a game.

As I was chopping vegetables, I would say –sometimes verbally- “I am so thankful that I have the resources to buy vegetables. I am so thankful for this knife, without it would be difficult to cut vegetables.” Standing at the sink, I would say, “I am so thankful that I have water. I am so thankful for this beautiful sink. It’s so useful and cool looking.”

Going to the fridge to get the ingredients for the next thing I was cooking, I’d say, “I am so thankful I have a fridge. I am so thankful for the fridge full of food.” Standing over the stove, “I am so thankful for this pot. I am so thankful for the beautiful gas stove, it has provided so much for our family’s needs. I love that it’s stainless steel and black.”

When I dropped something on the floor, as I picked it up, I would admire the beautiful wood floor, which we never take the time to appreciate, “I am so thankful for the wood floor, I love the red tint it reflects.” And as I am saying this, I would be reminded, “I am so thankful for this house. A house with all the characteristics we once dreamed about, and it became a reality. Thank you Universe for always watching out for my needs and always fulfilling my dreams.”.

This went on for some time.

At first, it felt fake and forceful, but slowly, the feeling of love and warmth over took me, and the whole experience of cooking became a dance with the flow of life; a pleasant experience; a meditation.

I became lost in the presence of that blissful hour, in the kitchen, lost in the abundance of each moment, with overflowing love.

It doesn’t take a lot to get you started on the path of being thankful.

Gratitude is the fast track to contentment, and contentment for our present life situation, contentment of this moment regardless of what is in front of us is the key to happiness. Simple.

Next time you find your mind wandering off to the land of discontentment, complaining, or negative thoughts, don’t give yourself a hard time. Instead, try the simple method above of giving thanks, to those things you are immediately interacting with.  ~ Fiamma Arditi


Anger Management, Part 2

The Deadly Sin of Anger - Jacques Callot

Raising your voice. Yelling. Screaming, even.  Threats. Put downs. Innuendo. Hurling insults. Bullying.

They may be effective shutting people up. They may put others in their place, all right. They may get you heard, maybe even listened to.

But they are only the booby prize, a weak facsimile of real, demonstrable strength.  Strength under pressure, strength with grace, strength of purpose, strength of character, strength to count on — that strength is quiet, focused.

The strong person needn’t react; the strong person considers, and acts only when and how it best suits her and her goals.

The strong person needn’t threaten; the strong person simply DOES.

The strong person needn’t announce;  the strong person simply DECIDES FOR HIMSELF when, if, how to take action.

The strong person needn’t justify or defend; the strong person simply ASSUMES the right to her own position and power.

The strong person needn’t harden into position or get stuck in “being right”; the strong person can afford to listen.  And to change his mind.  Even to admit to being wrong.

Because it is the coward who cannot face being wrong.  It is the coward who must be right, rather than get it right.

The truly strong welcome the opportunity to learn, to change, to grow stronger.  Not by digging in their heels and closing down to other views or others’ views.  The strong trust enough in their inner strength to be flexible, vulnerable and open to change.  And in so doing, their quiet strength triumphs.

Copyright © 2011 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.