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JANUARY 25, 2003     PAGE TWO      
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                                                                          Lora's Desk

The Quest to Define Happiness. . .

                                                     "We look for depth in a well
                                              A pearl in its shell
                                                     A face behind a veil..."
                                                                      anabret

While I don't claim to have all the answers (about anything, really), I would like to share with you all a little exploration I've been doing over the last few weeks about that single elusive thing that each of us chases — happiness. Let's look at why we do it, when we're blind to it, when we sabotage our own efforts, and what it really is.

My thoughts took this flight in the first place because a friend who's starting to do well with weight loss doing low carb (she's been on the diet since January 5th), said to me, "You know, I'm going to finally be happy once I get this weight off..."

Well, hearing it put that way was something that stayed with me... "I'm going to be happy." It occurred to me that she was taking no joy in where she is today... no measure of happiness from her new success. She's considering each day as an investment; each day she's making a deposit which will someday accumulate into enough "points" in her life-account that she can make a withdrawal and finally "be happy."

I saw in her attitude much of me. I remembered the many times I'd felt that when I finally got it all "perfect", I too, would be happy. There was always one more acquisition I'd need before my home (or some room in my home) would be perfect. And that was when I could truly be happy with it. Or I'd need one more piece to make a collection "just right" and allow me to finally revel in it.

For most of us, we've managed to translate food into happiness too. Sometimes the eating of food was where our happiness would surely lie. And other times, we'd apparently be happy if we'd been able to abstain from food... for if we could reach some magical (and oft unrealistic) number on the scale, we'd be perfection and could therefore be happy.

The pursuit of happiness is one of the primary goals of all humans. This, along with life and liberty, was declared as an essential right in the US Declaration of Independence. Every religion and philosophy has offered its pathway to happiness.

Webster defines happiness as "Good luck; good fortune; prosperity," and "emotions experienced when in a state of well-being." But can Webster — or anyone — really define happiness?

The fact is, happiness is something we define for ourselves, isn't it? It's certainly not logical or quantifiable. Some people who seem to have nothing are very happy. And other people who seem to have everything are not. Happiness is indeed an emotion. Of course, so is sadness, love, hate, all the other feeling aspects of our lives, but only "love" surpasses "happiness" as the emotion considered most elusive; most mysterious.

It is my belief that happiness is not merely a life lived by accumulating moments of pleasure. On the contrary, happiness is a long lasting enduring enjoyment of life, it is being in love with living. Each of us creates the world we live in. A loving person lives in a loving world, a hostile person lives in a hostile world. And everyone you meet is in some way your mirror.

Happiness is all about personal growth so you might want to be prepared for some measure of change if it's a goal you long for. So, let's talk a little about goals...

If you stop and think about it, doesn't happiness seem to come from a steady progress toward meaningful goals? I believe this to be true. And these goals need to be specific and cover most of the important facets of your life. So think about setting definite goals in health (most of you are halfway there with this one now that you're low carb!), finances, relationships, work/career, and your own attitude.

But goals don't get met (or even worked at) without the tools you need to achieve them. So let's look at the most basic of tools that you'll need:

First, good health... you need to be physically able to meet the challenge of life, both physically and mentally. So put your overall health (not JUST weight loss) as a top priority.

Second, you'll need sufficient income to meet at least your basic needs. While money in the context of happiness seeking seems almost vulgar to speak of (for afterall, we all know money can't buy happiness), it is indeed a great tool in your quest. The basics of life still cost money, and a life with those basic needs not met is unlikely to yield any work toward personal happiness.

Then there's affection... be it from a romantic love, a dear friend, our families, even a pet. The sharing of affection is at the heart of our humanity. We need to give it; we need to receive it. C. S. Lewis said, "Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives."

Then there are what I think of as "anti-tools." Those things that work against us in our quest for happiness. These are the things that must be removed without mercy from our lives. They include envy, boredom, fatigue, draining relationships, loneliness, and a fear of the opinion of others. The last one might be the most damaging of all. For we are what we believe ourselves to be. And if we allow others to define us, we have no power; we have no happiness.

There are times when we are our own saboteur. Times when you have to question why you won't allow yourself to feel happiness when all other things are in place. I believe this is either a fear that it will be snatched away and leave us hurting, or that we feel unworthy of happiness.

If either is the case, I want you to remember that the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they simply make the most of everything that comes their way. Therefore, happiness waits for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have searched, and those who have tried; for only they can truly appreciate the importance of the good that touches their lives.

So maybe we can all begin taking these steps... I'll close this with another line from C.S. Lewis: "With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere."

                                                                             Lora



Greenbeanz

Atkins Crunchers Atkins Crunchers:
Finally, a low carb chip that tastes good! The new Atkins Crunchers have between 4 and 5 Net Impact Carbs per bag, but they're worth it! Atkins Crunchers make a great snack and are perfect for scooping up your favorite low carb dip. Or they taste great straight from the bag!

They're on special this week for
$2.29 per bag, or $24.99 for 12. Choose from Original, Sour Cream and Onion, BBQ, or Nacho Cheese. Order them now!

Judy's Sugar-Free Caramels:
Judy's Sugar-free caramels taste so good that most everyone that tries them buys a lot more of them!

Judy's Sugar-free caramels To to make it easier for you to do that, we're having a quantity discount sale on the 6.5 oz bags of caramels! This applies to the vanilla caramels, pecan caramels, triple-treat caramels, almond caramels, chocolate caramels, mixed caramels, and rocky road caramels.

Buy 1 bag for $5.69, 5 bags for $25.95, or 10 bags for $50.00! Mix and match flavors! Order them now!
Joe Bread Joe Bread:
With less than 3 grams per slice, you can use Joe Bread to put variety back into your diet! Treat yourself to a sandwich, or a nice juicy cheeseburger using Joe Bread.

It's on special right now for
$6.79 per loaf! And it is shelf-stable until you open it, so we can ship it to you inexpensively! Order it now!


       

 
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