My singing at the start of the promo video probably wasn’t enough to convince people to attend my ‘Happiness – An Inside Job’ seminar hosted by Michele Jones at The Shipquay Natural Health Clinic in Derry on the evening of Tuesday 22nd November. Although the song itself was a spontaneous response to me fluffing my lines it just seemed right to include it as part of my first venture into YouTube and social media marketing. You can let me know what you really think!
The seven women who attended had travelled from as far away as Ballymena, Moville, Omagh and Castledawson, with curiosity as their primary reason for attending. Some were there to explore how they may be assisted in their professional roles while others wanted something to bolster and develop their long term happiness and peace of mind.
My intention was for us to create an environment where we would feel relaxed enough to meander through some of the philosophical and practical lessons in being happy. It was a blessing to be with a group who were open to these ideas and confident enough to examine their thinking and emotional responses to everyday events. We had some fun too and there was a roar of laughter when we discussed our responses to doing something for someone else and them not showing gratitude – the guy (or girl as I was reminded) who doesn’t wave when you let him (her) out at a junction. The air was blue in describing what people thought when this or other similar events occurred.
Eyebrows were raised and lots of reflective thinking followed our discussion of the short and medium term consequences of how we respond to others actions towards us. The significance of expectations on our wellbeing came as a real surprise to everyone and each described how it shone a different light on several significant events in their lives.
Gratitude as a foundation of happiness was also a cause for some laughter as we explored what and who we could be grateful for. The link between others doing for us and being happy was teased out to examine the idea that if we are only happy when we get what we want then we are imprisoning ourselves to fortune. We reflected on the notion that
Happiness is NOT getting what YOU want – it’s WANTING what you HAVE
and considered what we may be taking for granted in our lives – life itself!, friendships, family, emotional, psychological and physical health, our career, possessions and material wealth, time etc. The practice of gratitude is directly linked to increased wellbeing for individuals and has an enhancing influence on their friends and family who have a more positive experience while with the grateful individual.
Seeing ourselves as others see us can be quite daunting if we approach it from a fault finding perspective so everyone was pleasantly surprised by the outcome from an affirmations exercise that encouraged genuine noticing of each person’s strengths, talents, resourcefulness, resilience and gifts as they described a day in their life. The feedback to each person was animated with laughter and movement and all reported back feeling appreciated in a meaningful way for what they do each day ‘as normal’. Take notice of what you do and examine what you must have in place to make everything happen. While it’s always nice to have others notice our efforts noticing to ourselves is a gift available every day. In the morning while brushing your teeth note three things you are proud of in yourself. In the evening before bed write down three things you achieved that day.
The seminar ended with a guided meditation focussing on wellbeing, peacefulness and an awareness of self and mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention in the present moment and acknowledging all that is without passing judgement on it as positive or negative an orientation characterised by curiosity, openness, and acceptance. This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality and improves choice making and understanding. The evening itself was great success and everyone left with something of real benefit and lots to think and talk about.
Thank you everyone who attended for helping me to consider again the lessons of the seminar and to reflect on my facilitation style and the seminar content.