Where Is Your Happy Place?

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Book Review: 10 Steps To Finding Your Happy Place (And Staying There)

by Galen Pearl

Still Creek Press, Portland 97232

ISBN: 978-0-9858462-0-6

I’ve said it before, while introducing Galen in the wonderful guest post she wrote on this blog, that I see her as the original teacher – and I’ll say it again.  She does it so easily – and I do believe she can pick any situation in life and turn it into a learning point in the most beautiful way, encouraging action in a positive way.

Today I am absolutely blessed to review her book: 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There). When I received the book and held it in my hand, I knew in my heart that I am going to love it. Visit Galen’s blog and you’ll know exactly what I mean. In fact, I had often thought, while reading her posts, that there was a best-selling book in there. And happily, there is!

With her trademark story-telling prowess and welcome doses of humor throughout the book, Galen offers us a happiness template, sharing what she learned from her own experiences.

10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There)

by Galen Pearl

 
Suppose you had to answer the question “Do you want to be happy?” what would your answer be? Obviously (hopefully) “yes”. Unfortunately, most of us have no idea what will make us happy and when we do get around to thinking about it, we tend to postpone it to the future, and as Galen so aptly puts it, “hold our happiness hostage to some future circumstances” making it dependent on a series of events likely to happen in the future.

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way 
Thich Nhat Hanh

 
This book is a treasure that shows you how to cultivate happy habits that nurture self-awareness – because you see, happiness is an inside job! It is up to us to choose happiness and when we make it a habit, it is easy to arrive at your happy place and stay there. Galen hastens to add that “Happy Place is not a place of unrelenting inner sunshine” Rather, it is a place of refuge and spiritual sustenance, contented fulfillment.

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it 
George Moore

 
I loved Ken Wert’s and Sandra Pawula’s thoughts on the book under “Praise for 10 steps” and I’d add “un-put-downable”. I began reading with a smile – often laughing, crying a little, making notes – and when I finished the book, I just held it close to my heart, with a wonderful sense of peace.

The book is beautifully laid out with personal stories – Galen is a born story teller – perfect quotes that fit right in and complement the text. 
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few
Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi

Here are the chapters from the book: (These 10 steps are listed in the sidebar of Galen’s blog and her book follows the same pattern)

Step 1.Give yourself permission to be happy 

Chapter 1 urges us to dwell on what happiness means to us, identify what holds us back and give ourselves permission to be happy, followed by making the choices that will lead to our greatest happiness. Why would one NOT want to be happy when happiness means health, longevity, a stronger immune system, higher self-esteem and success among other things?

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  
Abraham Lincoln

 
Important tips:

1 .Learn to belly-breathe to release stress and relax
2. Smile

I loved the chapter “Power to choose” where Galen talks about what is in our spiritual wallet – a credit card with unlimited power over how we interpret circumstances and interact with them – the power of choice!

Step 2.Decide if you want to be right or happy
 
Learn to pick your battles. Being right is rewarding. Being happy, however tough on your ego, is nourishing to your spirit. And of course, everything is captivating when we look with an open mind. My favorite chapter in Step two is “Be Water”. Choosing happiness does not mean silencing our voice of truth. “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected”(George Washington)

Step 3.Give up the delusion of control
 
This begins with the beautiful Serenity prayer and describes, how, by developing the habit of letting go, we can understand why we hang on to our delusions. I loved how Galen wrote that children are God’s cure for this particular affliction! It is enough to control what we say and think, and have the courage to change the things we can.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself! Rumi

 
We can’t always control the circumstances we find ourselves in. But if we can let go of expectations and use the resources at hand, we can bloom where we’re planted. And if we can bloom where we’re planted, then wherever we’re planted will become our happy place.  

Step 4.Feel your feelings
 
I was thrilled to see this step opening with the lines of a song I love by Irene Cara “What a feeling”. Recognize, acknowledge, accept and own your feelings because by doing so, we give ourselves a chance to reduce our suffering rather than making the world responsible for our happiness. Change your thoughts, change your feelings. I loved the process Galen describes on Page 136.

Step 5.Make haste to be kind
 
Kindness, an easy habit to develop, with immediate benefits. This beautiful step talks about heart hospitality. And yes, you go through your day a little differently when you are actively seeking opportunities to be kind. Kindness pays. Pay it forward. Start with yourself.

Step 6.Judge not
 
Open your heart, open your mind. Every time we open our hearts and connect with another person, we connect to God. Stop complaining, criticizing. Share your joys, not annoyances. Release the resistance of “I have to” and enjoy happiness by switching to “I get to”. Family habits is a lovely sub-chapter here and worth practicing. I do.

Step 7.Practice Compassion 
 
Find ways to awaken compassion for ourselves and for others, for the whole world. Make it a habit.

My religion is kindness
The Dalai Lama

 
Step 8.Forgive Everyone
 
Related to step 3, Forgiveness is perhaps the most challenging practice. Galen describes how the main obstacle to forgiving others is forgiving ourselves – and how it is about the forgiver. Withholding it isolates us, fills us with fear, makes us judgmental. Quite like “drinking rat poison and hoping the rat will die” I loved the chapter “Dog is God Spelled backwards” which wonderfully illustrates this point. So forgive and be happy.

Step 9.Develop an attitude of gratitude
 
Appreciate every little thing. Every moment. Every day.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it
William Arthur Ward

 
Step 10.Be here now
 
Live in the present moment.

Our appointment with life takes place in the present moment 
Thich Nhat Hanh

 
And nicely rounded off by Step 11 – There’s no place like home!

See the natural progression? The purpose of this book is to help the reader develop joyful habits – hence the title 10 steps to finding your happy place (and staying there). The chapters are short and sweet.


I am glad to say that I literally read the book from beautiful cover to cover – and found the “Further Reading” suggestions very useful. In fact, I actually got some of those books right away.

To me, this book, in two words, is Delightfully Inspiring!

Galen says that she does not have all the answers, but when you read the book, you might disagree – because you WILL find some answers in this book. It is guaranteed to make you feel great.

Galen is a very special friend and I am grateful to her for sending me a review copy of this book, which will always have a place of pride on my “favorites” bookshelf, to read often. I am also excited to be introduced to A Course In Miracles by her, which is a gift to whoever “enrolls” and chooses to practice it.

Last but certainly not least is the gorgeous book cover!
 
I am proud to tell you that the proceeds from the sale of this fantastic book and associated speaking engagements will be donated to Edwards Center, a nonprofit organization providing residential and vocational services to adults with developmental disabilities. 

 

Galen Pearl’s stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and A Cup of Comfort anthologies, and her popular blog, 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There), attracts thousands of readers every month. Recently retired from teaching law, she regularly leads retreats and workshops on developing habits to grow a joyful spirit. A Southern girl transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she enjoys her five kids and two grandchildren, martial arts, her cabin in the mountains, and mahjong. Please visit Galen’s blog to be inspired on a regular basis: 

You can buy the book from your local independent bookseller, or online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Also available as an eBook from Kindle and Nook.

P.S.: If you’d like to know how the book came about, here’s a great interview with Galen on Angela’s blog at  Powered By Intuition

I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.
–Artur Rubinstein
So. Where is your happy place, dear friends?

Thank you for subscribing to my blog! Do consider leaving a comment – or just reply to this email! I’d love to know what you think.

Cheers!

Vidya

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18 Comments

  1. Harleena Singh

    October 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Beautifully written review Vidya!

    Congratulations once again Galen for the wonderful book that I’ve been reading about at so many places I visit. :)

    The way Vidya’s described it, it sure seems a book to be treasured, no wonder she went missing from the Blogosphere for a few days (Joking!)

    I guess happiness is a state of mind and if we want to be happy, we can…very little is actually needed to make us happy, though we really don’t realize this simple fact – isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Vidya Sury

      October 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you so much, Harleena. With a lovely book, it is so thrilling to write a review.

      Yes, Happiness is a choice, and a state of mind – you’re right!

      Hugs! When you read the book, let me know how you liked it!

  2. Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever

    October 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Galen is truly an inspiration. I am a course student also, so I often can relate to her writing. You are both beautiful!

    • Vidya Sury

      October 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you, Jodi – yes, Galen is truly inspiring. I am loving your blog posts, too. Hugs!

  3. Cathy | Treatment Talk

    October 11, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing Galen’s book. It does sound wonderful and so inspiring. It is definitely on my reading list! Take care Vidya.

    • Vidya Sury

      October 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      It is beautiful, Cathy! You’ll love it. Hugs, Vidya

  4. G Angela

    October 12, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I am happy to read vidya’s review ! very well written, and congrats to Galen once again, You are truly an inspiration, thanks for sharing !

    • Vidya Sury

      October 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Thank you, Angela. So good to see you here!

  5. Betsy at Zen Mama

    October 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I can’t agree more with everything you’ve written here! Wish I’d written it myself!! :) I’m in the process of reading Galen’s book, too. and I’m thrilled with it. Thank you, Galen, for being such an inspiration!! And thank you, Vidya, for writing such a great review.

    • Vidya Sury

      October 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      :-) Betsy, it is a gorgeous book! I am very keen to know your thoughts on it. Hugs!

  6. Emily Sovich

    October 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Great review! I love the idea that happiness is a place of internal refuge and spiritual sustenance. That seems very sustainable and — real.

    Thanks, Vidya!

    • Vidya Sury

      October 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      It is, Emily! And I think you live it on a daily basis. Hugs! :-)

  7. Unknown Mami

    October 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I struggle with being in the present. My mind wanders and before I know it, I’m somewhere else.

    Last night my happy place was in bed. I was so exhausted and instead of fighting it, I told my husband that I couldn’t stay awake and I went to bed at 7pm.

    • Vidya Sury

      October 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Claudya, possibly this is because you’re very very busy. You need some serious “you” time. I am so glad you went to bed at 7 pm…I do that sometimes and when I wake up in the morning, it is a glorious day again!

  8. carolynhughesthehurthealer

    October 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Brilliant review for what looks to be a brilliant book. Thanks Vidya!

  9. Hiten

    October 14, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Hi Vidya,

    This was a wonderful review of Galen’s book. Thank you for writing.

    Indeed, Galen has an amazing way of writing and takes us on the journey with her through her use of descriptive language. She does this wonderfully through her blog posts.

    Now a book by Galen? This is a real treat!

    I’m definitely going to be getting a copy of her book.

  10. Sandra /Always Well Within

    October 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    What an loving and amazing review, Vidya. Your whole heart shines through. Galen excels as a storyteller, doesn’t she? You can just glide through this book with the greatest of ease, yet you will be impacted in a very deep way. I enjoyed reading your review immensely. As always, what you write makes me smile!

  11. My Inner Chick

    October 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Step 1.Give yourself permission to be happy

    For me, this is a big one.

    Great Insight. Thank you xx