The Light Life and Happiness Noir

The Light Life and Happiness Noir

Happiness Noir came about after working with clients who were suffering, but had strikes against them beyond what they could help or control. They were female, in a male world.  They were fiscally disadvantaged (not all, but most) compared to the rest of the world. They were being diagnosed with mental illnesses, when really, what they battled was trauma and domestic violence and grief. It changed the meaning of happiness for me. After two decades of moving through the evolution of the positive psychology movement, nothing more profoundly affected me than to both survive trauma then work with those who were surviving domestic trauma.  Noir Defined  Noir is the darker side of our human emotions, in this context. The opposite of the light life, as I wrote it. The yin to the yang. The balance between seeing the world through rose colored glasses versus seeing the world through a scarred heart.  Not all that is good is light and love. It’s not all darkness and shadows either. There is a balance in our world. To live a full whole life, we inevitably must embrace both sides.  I wrote The Light Life for a year or two so wanted to dedicate the next year to that shadow self. The positive psychology 2.0 as described by the evolution of the field includes the balance.  We can’t be afraid of the fear, the sadness, the confussion that often times happens in lieu of the true joy we strive for.  Embrace the darkness When we can comfortably sit with our emotions we have a command over them. We can regulate back to a...
The Light Life as an Artisan Human 

The Light Life as an Artisan Human 

Artisan humans live in poetic motion. To live well, we don’t have to be happy, but we do have to want to be happy enough. Most of the time. The satisfaction is in the nuance of what ‘happy’ looks like for each of us individually.  It will not be the same for everyone.  There are some people who have everything. Beauty, wealth, solid connections, abundance, advantages and love ~ but they focus on the one thing that crushed them. They are never happy. Then, there are those who have none of that, yet somehow, find contentment in the simple life, in the pursuit of an artful life.    Artisan Life  Helena Bonham Carter said, “I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.” It’s not about anyone else’s approval. It is for the internal processing of life for the individual.  Living well is an art form When we can see ourselves as part of the world, and not detached from life events; we are in flow with the pulse of the planet. When we can feel compassion, empathy, and a need to understand our own emotional attachment to our opinions, we are artfully living well.  To detach with critical opinion or dissect an event with misunderstanding of that thing, we become less...
The Light Life and Happiness Noir

The Light Life Circle of Fire 

The circle of fire symbolizes so many things in our human history. It could be the circle of life or perhaps the enso, a symbol that indicates that the mind is free for the body to create. Some even say the earth itself was made in a ring of fire.  What fuels our fire, to keep us going or complete our journey?  Human development across the lifespan, when we are blessed (lucky?) to have a full life span into old age, is one organic compilation of the art of being human in a world with 8.7 million species.  Circles of light  When we experience something, that thing always has a beginning, middle and end. The great written works emulate this pattern. Every moment of a decision made, is the beginning of a new adventure. It could be something as simple as how we break our fast or as complicated as how we survive a traumatic event.  When we hold onto the light of discovery, taking the novelty of a thing full circle, we grow as a person. No matter the experience, we can learn, expand and grow in our knowledge of the world. Be it school, careers, relationships, crafts or talents, we are always learning about life itself.  Some of it is overtly obvious, such as a tangible gift while other experiences are not so obvious, such as our morals, spiritual or value driven decisions. Would we tolerate an intolerable act by someone? Most of us would not, yet, there are some who will be thrilled with the moral corruptness of an act against our fellow beings.  Ring of...
The Light Life Reignite

The Light Life Reignite

She reignites the fire to light the path on a new adventure. People have to take time away from their daily “normal” in order to hit the reset button. They have to give themselves space and time to replenish their interest in their lives as a whole.  We’re all talking about this. Everyone is on board with creating a best life full of purpose and meaning, while bubbling with joy. Real joy or synthetic joy, as long as the world at large only sees our happiness while buying into this notion that we somehow have to be taught how to feel. Reigniting Passion  I think that all of those things are good, as far as goals go, but they can also be quite bad for us. Are we burning up from exhaustion from always having to be happy? Are we on fire with fury at the very idea that it’s not always the good folks who win at this game called life? There are people in this world who study others only enough to manipulate them into being on ‘the tribe’ or ‘team’.  Reigniting our passion for our own interests can help balance out this incessant need to be all things at all times. Instead, we can find our quiet, inner joy filled desire to create a life of poetry.  When we have a passion for something, all the other something’s fade into the background. Those of us living in the world of social media, have invited the constant overflow that drowns out our own thoughts. Focus on the flame When we turn off the noise, the world quiets...
The Light Life and Happiness Noir

The Light Life Went Dark

The Light Life went dark for a while. I had to pull back from writing in order to remember why I was writing in the first place. If I use the terms “purpose” or “meaning” or even, “grit and resilience” anymore, it’ll feel so very insincere. People today are calling out for us to tone it down with the pushing of our “positive thinking” in a year of so much sorrow. Are we tone deaf to their needs? Are we listening to these advocates of sorrow? Some folks in our profession are offended that our audience isn’t responding as favorably to their production of research based pop-culture books; while others are in deed listening to the nuances of the times. People want to feel their sorrow without feeling guilty for not being gritty enough or resilient enough. They want to be vulnerable, but they also want to be heard without being verbally abused on social media or in their workplaces. We can see in the dark When we sit in total darkness, the human eye can and does adjust so that we can in fact see … something. The same can be true for our ‘positive psychology’. We have to adjust our sails to include that toned down enthusiasm. We can work on developing more empathy and less preachy in our delivery. We can cultivate kindness without dismissing the validation of anger that people need to feel, to heal. Instead of asking (telling?) people to build up a resilience to pain; perhaps we can instead, teach them how to sit in the pain without being afraid of it? Some...
The Light Life and Happiness Noir

The Light Life Dims Once in a While

The Light life dims once in a while. The same is true for our emotional health. Imagine you walk into an art studio to see a dim light from a single flickering candle. Around it are 13 artists, each learning how to capture the light on canvas with paint. You will see 13 different, unique interpretations of the candle. Some see the absence of light while others only see the burning flame, holding off the darkness. For some, the end result is literal in how they captured the image of the candle. Others may skew the image to reflect a more symbolic understanding of the dance between light and dark. This is true of life. We see the interpretation of all things from a uniquely crafted lens. No one view is right or wrong. It just is. Some of us see the darkness first, then learn to appreciate the brightness of the flame. Others see the flickering flame, then as the painting expands, they learn how to appreciate the compliment of the dark. Flames dim and so do we We can’t burn bright all the time. Humans are not meant to experience life as bright shinning lights, only being in the light. The darkness provides value that the light can’t give. The same is true for the emotional health of the ever evolving human across our lifespan. In grief, we learn what love is In love, we more profoundly feel the pain of loss In sadness, we strive for joy In surviving trauma, we work toward contentment and peace When there is a discussion about the value or importance...