Happiness

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In Journey Into Power, Baron Baptiste writes, “Every single one of us is suffering from the same problem: we are not living from our authentic selves”

One might say that is true, at least to the audience reading his book and this blog – the importance of problems of the educated American middle and upper class seems to stem from a deep-rooted division between our daily choices and what we would like to choose instead. And certainly, most people I come into contact with seem to be suffering from this division.

But sometimes you run into someone who seems to have it all figured out. Whenever I encounter such a person, they seem to be right at home in their position in the universe they’ve carved for themselves. I saw one last night.

His name was Tommy Emmanual, an incredible Australian guitarist. Ryan and I went to his show last night, and, of course, were blown away by his skill. As unbelievable as he was as an instrumentalist, (I could get really carried away here if this were a music blog, but it’s a health blog – lucky you!) I was even more overcome by the level of happiness he exuded onstage. This guy obviously loves his life.

Two owners of yoga studios in town – Nicole Cyrille and Gillian St. Clair of Yoga Harmony and Steadfast and True Yoga, respectively – just radiate the same level of infectious happiness. My former boss at Tennesseans for Fair Taxation, Bill Howell, has the same enthusiasm for his work despite an atrocious political climate in our state that prevents him from really helping the taxpayers of Tennessee. “But God doesn’t call us to be successful,” he’ll tell you with a smile, “He calls us to be faithful.”

To be clear, except for Bill, I don’t know any of these people well. I’m confident that they also experience suffering just like the rest of us, but I can recognize that they have something special. After coming into contact with them, I leave feeling like I’m on fire, totally ready twirl from a telephone pole like Gene Kelly with a goofy grin on, or run up some steps singing the Eye of the Tiger in my head. Such is the affect of an individual’s happiness on a third party bystander.

As an amateur musician, yogi, and activist, I’m especially sensitive to the overflowing enthusiasm these people give away, but there are overarching lessons to be learned no matter what you love to do. In their own little worlds – Tommy with his guitar on stage and Nicole and Gillian in their studios, Bill in the legislature – they have this genuine bliss that seems to reach out to people on its own, inspiring us to develop our own talents, find our own little piece of heaven on earth, and encourage more people to go out and do the same.

On that note, I’m off to yoga. If you need me afterwards, check your local telephone pole.

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