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The Source Of Happiness
August 15, 2007
Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #088, August 15, 2007
=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========
· The Source Of Happiness
· Dream Trips
· Walking the Labyrinth
Written by Noel McNaughton
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Midlife Wisdom for Men.
Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.
Midlife is often a time of confusion and discontent. During my midlife transition I lost interest in what I used to be passionate about, lost energy, lost focus, and lost confidence. I was even in a mild depression for about five years.
One mistake I didn't make, but I have seen a lot of other men make, was thinking that I could feel happy again if I could just buy the right 'thing'. Happiness comes from somewhere else.
Elizabeth and I are at the age where we are planning to travel more. In fact the statistics on baby boomers is that they are going to do a LOT of travelling over the next decade or so. I have joined a company that gives some of the best deals around on dream trips. Maybe you want to take one too. And maybe you can make some money at it when your friends take their dream trips.
There are about 1300 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take you about four minutes to read.
The Source Of Happiness
I think in our society we have made a mistake about where happiness comes from. Mother Teresa mentioned this one time when she was speaking in the United States. I don't remember the exact quote, but it was to the effect that she felt sorry for people in North America because we seemed to feel our lives are empty and meaningless. Perhaps she was sensing that we are spiritually bereft.
When we are young, maybe just married and setting up our household, we don't have much in the line of material wealth, even though we have a lot more than our parents had at our age. When we do get something new, say a new stereo, or a table saw for our shop, it does help us feel happier, or more fulfilled. We are getting our basic needs met. And every time we get more stuff, our lives feel a little better, until we have all our needs met.
But just because we have our needs met doesn't mean we stop buying stuff. We move from needs to comforts, and then to luxuries (a big 45-inch flat screen tv, for example), and without us realizing it, we are getting less happiness, or fulfilment per dollar spent than when we bought the last doodad.
there is no end to the happiness we can have. It just doesn't come from stuff.
Midlife is when this often seems to hit the hardest. We have been working hard in order to reach some point of success and wealth, thinking that will make us happy, and when we finally reach that point, we think "Is this all there is?".
The problem isn't that we had bad goals. We just didn't understand where happiness comes from.
The Source of Happiness
Anthony de Mello, in his lovely little book One Minute Wisdom, describes this scenario:
To the woman who complained that riches hadn't made her happy the Master said, "You speak as if luxury and comfort were ingredients of happiness; whereas all you need to be really happy, my dear, is something to be enthusiastic about."
So what are you enthusiastic about? Have you suddenly lost interest in your job, or business? What have you put off for a long time, thinking you will do it "someday"? Is now the time?
If you are not sure, and would like to do some exploring, you might want to try some of the exercises at Your Life Mission. A number of exercises there help you think through what you are really enthusiastic about. I suggest the Life Time Goal Setting exercise to start with. Scroll down till you find it.
"For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life - but there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." - Alfred D'souza
If you are thinking of taking a Dream Trip, (but why only one?), I have just joined a company that provides the best deals around.
Here is an example:
Foothills Golf Club, Scottsdale, Arizona. September 13th-16th. four days, three nights.
Not into golf? Here is another example:
The Village Inn and Spa, St. Lucia, Carribean. September 20-24. Five days, four night. All-inclusive resort, all drinks and meals included. Price: $360 per person, based on two people to a room.
You can get details at WorldVentures.com. Just click on the "Dream Trip" link at the top right.
In the past, I have used sites such as Travelocity and hotels.ca to find the best prices when booking air fares, rooms and so forth, but the search engine at WorldVentures.com is better than any other I've seen.
By the way, if you want to make a bit of extra cash, you can sign up for world ventures, and make commissions when your friends book through your site. Plus, after passing a not-too-difficult exam, you can become a travel agent, and get serious discounts for hotels, car rentals, etc.
Email me if you want more information about that side of it.
An elderly couple had dinner at another couple's house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen.
Walking the LabyrinthElizabeth and I lived in Vancouver from 1997 to 2002, and one of our Sunday rituals came to be walking a labyrinth. The labyrinth was a replica of the one found on the floor of the Cathedral at Chartres, France, and it was painted on the floor of the gymnasium at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Vancouver's West End.
The first time I walked it was the most dramatic for me. I was about fifty at the time, and it gave me an insight into life.
In a sense, the labyrinth for me was like life, in that it had twists and turns, but all the while I was heading toward the centre. It didn't matter what direction I was going, as long as I was walking intentionally.
When I first stepped into the Labyrinth's path, it looked as though the centre was pretty close, but as I walked, looking down to follow the narrow pathway, I suddenly found myself on the other side of the labyrinth, wondering how I got there. This experience repeated itself as I walked slowly along, following the many turns.
Time and again I was struck by the thought that even though at times I seemed to be heading away, if I stayed on the path, and kept moving intentionally, I would end up in the centre.
There may not be a labyrinth near you, but perhaps this little story will help you remember that as you travel on your journey, if you do it with clear intention, you will end up where you want to be. Of course the journey itself is the most important part!
You know I think building a theme-based website is ideal for people at midlife and beyond. You can have fun, and make some pretty serious money: How to build a successful site
Wouldn't it be great to work less and play more golf? I do not of a better way to earn a part-time income, than a simple information Web site. I encourage you to check out Live My Passion. You'll be amazed at how you can turn YOUR hobby into online income.
The Mankind Project The ManKind Project® offers trainings which support men in developing lives of integrity, accountability, and connection to feeling. Our trainings challenge men to develop their abilities as leaders, fathers, and elders as ways of offering their deepest gifts in service to the world.
The ManKind Project's New Warrior Training Adventure® is an intense, transformative men's initiation which invites men to forge a deep conscious connection between head and heart. The NWTA offers men a powerful, challenging opportunity to look at all aspects of their lives in a richly supportive environment.
Got your copy of Picking Up The Burning Feather yet? It will help you on your spiritual journey.
Just go to Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men , and follow the instructions.
I Need Your Questions and Feedback!
Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.
Just email your suggestions and/or questions to
. I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.
Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.
All the best, Noel
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