Have No Fear! We’re Ringing in the New Year With Poetry Far and Near

January 7, 2010 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Low Density Lifestyle

New Year 1To start the New Year, I thought it would be a nice and very Low Density Lifestyle thing to do to usher it in with poetry.

We first heard from poet David Tucker, and then the next day we heard from Susan Jefts.

Today I offer a collection of poets who offer poems for the new year.

These are poems of optimism and hope. And that’s the best way to ring in the new year – to be full of optimism and hope.

First up is poet Kim Addonizio with her poem “New Year’s Day,” in which she finds a blessing where few would think to look for it:

the coldToday I want
to resolve nothing.

I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold

blessing of the rain,
and lift my face to it.

Next up is poet Margaret Avison with her deftly written “New Year’s Poem,” in which she finds a new appreciation for home and her own space:

Gentle and just pleasure
It is, being human, to have won from space
This unchill, habitable interior
Which mirrors quietly the light
Of the snow, and the new year.

Next we have poet Philip Appleman, who finds beauty in an unlikely event in “To the Garbage Collectors in Bloomington, Indiana, the First Pickup of the New Year”:

garbagemenO garbage men,
the New Year greets you like the Old;
after this first run you too may rest
in beds like great warm aproned laps
and know that people everywhere have faith:
putting from them all things of this world,
they confidently bide your second coming.

And last, we have poet Susan Elizabeth Howe’s poem about New Year’s optimism undeterred by some bad news from a fortune cookie. Here’s an excerpt from “Your Luck Is About to Change”:

Ominous inscrutable Chinese news
to get just before Christmas,
considering my reasonable health,
marriage spicy as moo-goo-gai-pan,
career running like a not-too-old Chevrolet.
Not bad, considering what can go wrong:
the bony finger of Uncle Sam
might point out my husband,
my own national guard,
and set him in Afghanistan;
my boss could take a personal interest;
the pain in my left knee could spread to my right.
Still, as the old year tips into the new,
I insist on the infant hope, gooing and kicking
his legs in the air. I won’t give in…

The Poetic Nature of Life

January 6, 2010 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Low Density Lifestyle

1happy-new-yearYesterday’s article, Onto a New Year, was the first of the new year. I said in the article how I wanted to start the new year off in a Low Density Lifestyle kind of way, by featuring poetry all week long.

In yesterday’s article, I featured poetry by David Tucker. Today’s article brings a new guest poet, Susan Jefts.

Susan Jefts

Susan Jefts

You may remember Susan from a few weeks ago, when she guest wrote the article, Life is Poetry.

Susan is back today with some poetry to help get us in a Low Density Lifestyle mood, to help us feel lighter of mind, body and spirit.

And if we were to have any type of New Year’s resolutions, that should be it – to feel lighter.

And so, without further ado, here are some poems, by Susan Jefts.

BARDO* OVER THE HUDSON

Words. Born out of vibrating air
at West 26th street, air of myth and poetry.
Words. Some danced patterns for me outside
on the sidewalk as I headed toward midtown.
Words. I ran into more the next day
below the Columbus statue in Central Park,
arranging themselves on purple pansies that
startled me out of any remaining winter.
Words, hanging languidly outside the window
at Café Europa, their fairy bodies hovering
between creme brulée and Carnegie Hall.

Words, at the wide throat of the Hudson
as my train rambles northward. These words
flicker like unborn fireflies unversed
in the art of direction, or rhythm, or sound.
They are the ones I want.
These in between words, lingering low in that
bardo like place, the sacred gap the mystics so honor.
Here, that place floats on smoky mist over the Hudson.
Air between Gotham and Lake Tear of the Clouds,
life receiving and life giving,
Between being and becoming,
the word, the image,
Poetry.

*Bardo: a word of Eastern origin describing the continuous state of oscillation between certainty and uncertainty, bewilderment and insight, that characterizes all of life, a state that by its nature creates gaps, spaces in which profound chances and opportunities for transformation are continuously flowering – if they can be seen and seized.
Tricycle Magazine, winter 2001

painting night owl 2008(1)_35980NIGHT FLIGHT IN VERMONT

I am looking for poems tonight.
I’ve just pulled one from this leather couch
and another has risen from my jasmine tea.
There is at least one written along the white ridge
of the mountain visible from the window
and another along its gradual southern slope.
I think about the one I can’t see
where the mountain meets the valley
and the valley, the village,
or perhaps it’s a river and
the wild moan of the trees. The gasp
of the night owl on her flight
through the black and ash pattern of the forest
under the broken light of the moon
that leads to an open field,
a small lit farm and the rise of a hill.
Winter appears there as in a Chagall,
blue horses in the field rise up, float with candles
in the heavens, drift back down to the river -
river sacred swirling myth that flows from
the once golden valley, from the mountain
that sits like a chapel, reflected light
and a pinnacle of breath.

WHAT REMAINS

Late afternoon

two days after Christmas

snow has fallen.

A carol sounds from the kitchen:

Greensleeves.

The carol stays with me

and Christmas drifts further away.

What remains is this.

Silence after snow,

long blue shadows,

a white farmhouse

and not far off,

a stand of evergreens.

BEFORE COFFEE

I don’t know how to put together

the world again, I can’t stop

the February rain. But I know

these few moments this morning -

before thought

before coffee,

when words are starlings

flitting in and out of my mind

and all I know is this space inside

that feels a little

like God – nothing to fill,

nothing to say,

just this pause

this place

before poetry.

BASESnowDragonsAT THE RUBIN MUSEUM

The Bon people of the Himalayas believe a little imbalance is a good thing and portray this in their art. Everything is a little off, on purpose, and everything is needed and everything is good.

Snow dragons above

lotus to the left

mandala in the middle.

Always

unity and blossoming mind.

Snow dragon says

wrath and fire

peace inside.

The yin and the yang

the four directions

the wrathful one and the protector.

Fear and love

all inside the lotus.

Onto a New Year

January 5, 2010 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Low Density Lifestyle

HappyNewYearHappy New Year! And may it be a Low Density Lifestyle year, all year long.

I want to start the year in a nice way. No, I won’t be talking about New Year’s resolutions. That you see written and talked about all over the place, so I won’t bore you with that kind of thing.

Instead, I want to start the year off right, in a Low Density Lifestyle kind of way. For this entire week, before I begin writing on a specific series, which I will do next week, I will feature poetry.

Life is Poetry – poetry can make us feel lighter of body, mind and spirit, and often can speak to our soul. It talks to us in ways that prose often cannot, in rhythms and cadences that can reverberate and resonate with our deepest longings.

It can also help us be more in touch with the innate low density nature we all carry within. It is this instinct that propels us forward in life; it is a natural drive we all have, one that desires happiness, love, joy and peace.

Unfortunately, it gets muddied up and lost. And it is poetry that can help us find it.

And so, each day of this week we’ll hear from a different poet.

david tucker

David Tucker

Today’s poet is David Tucker. I’ll let David tell you about himself:

“I am a poet who lives in Vermont where I struggle to dig from the rock of mundanity formed by the details and disappointments of life the images that will startle us and remind us how we are connected to each other and to all the universe.”

Here are some poems of David’s, to help us ring in the New Year and put us in a Low Density Lifestyle frame of mind.

David’s email address is davidshawnee@mac.com.

To Learn How to Love

It is so beautiful,
this life,
the sun,
Vermont,
evening creeping in
over the Green Mountains.

It is light,
sweet,
so beautiful,
this life,
that we are given
that we might
learn how to love.

A simple lesson
I cannot catch.
A lovely butterfly
too light and quick.
For weeks now
I grab
and cannot hold
how beautiful,
how sweet,
how light
is this life
we learn
how to love.

As the Morning Glory
buckles into the night
I crumple into
fear,
anger,
darkness.
I think
I may die soon.
I think
How quickly it passes.
I think
What have I accomplished?
I think
It is not fair.
I have forgotten.
I came here
to learn how to love
and
in the evening light,
in the sweet approach of night,
I remember,
this minute
is enough,
to love
is what I came to learn.
It is enough.

Sabbath,
For Catherine

I woke this morning
paused
only a minute,
ate a tiny slice of peace,
sipped a thimble of light,
jumped up
and put on
my harness,
walked to the field,
head down,
up to the plow,
snapped on the line,
flexed my thighs
and prepared to pull.

Then stopped,
staring at the clods
and broken sod.
What, oh Creator
do you have planned
for me
today?
Pulling this plow
is my idea.

I looked up,
unsnapped the line
and
suddenly
the air was full
of butterflys,
cobalt blue wings
with
eyes as gold
as daffodils.
I broke up
the plow and made a drum.
We danced,
stepping and leaping
on the hard ground,
broke it into velvet loam.
Ready
to receive
the seed.

Meditation

You cannot trap

the sunshine

or

capture love

Maybe

for a minute

or a night

but

time

always shows up

cuts their chains

and

they escape

into the hills

Relax

stop pushing

let it go

let it all go

There is a trap door

in the top

of every second

Lift

Enter

The Gods will pour

cups of quiet

tap the drum of peace

fish diamonds from your soul

and

kiss the scales

off your eyes

till

you see

this is the only place

your enemy

time

cannot enter

to steal

your sunshine

and

your love.

Living the Good Life, and the Idle Life

December 10, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Low Density Lifestyle

Tom Hodgkinson

Tom Hodgkinson

I continue on with this series What Would a Low Density Lifestyle World Look Like? with an interesting take on living a relaxed, very Low Density Lifestyle life, courtesy of English journalist Tom Hodgkinson.

This is an interview that comes courtesy of the website Good. Good is a collaboration of individuals, businesses and nonprofits pushing the world forward.

Tom Hodgkinson runs the website The Idler and is an advocate of the good life as the idle life. He thinks the way to happiness is to be a loafer.

Tom Hodgkinson’s books sometimes end up in bookstores’ self-help sections. That would make How to Be Idle and The Freedom Manifesto the only books to advocate dropping out of consumer society, ditching urban life, anarchy, bread baking, beer drinking, and generally living like it’s the Middle Ages. As co-founder and editor of The Idler magazine, Hodgkinson champions laziness, hedonism, thrift and a freewheeling DIY approach to life. Let him tell it, and it’s the key to a more ecologically sound future.

GOOD: You’re a known critic of consumer society, so tell us: what have you purchased yourself, lately?

Tom Hodgkinson: I try not to buy anything beyond beer, bacon, and books. Generally, though, I find that the older, the better. I did buy a painted pine bookcase recently from the local antique shop, which is very useful and beautiful.

Good: What’s your take on the global financial crisis?

T.H.: I am feeling very cheerful, to the point of smugness, about it. As someone who has no shares, no stocks, no bonds, no insurance policies, no pensions, and no money, I am feeling very safe. Money is for spending, not saving. I think average people should respond with great joy. At last, what businessmen used to call the “real world” has been exposed as imaginary. Perhaps what businessmen used to call a dream world—poetry, nature, God, the spirit, music, contemplation, books and good conversation—will now be seen as the “real world.”

Good: Just after the first major government bank bailouts were announced, you wrote that all that money would be better spent giving everyone an acre of land. What would we do with it?

how to be idleT.H.: With just an acre of land a family of five or six can provide a huge amount of their food needs. You can keep animals and grow fruit and vegetables. This was the thinking behind Distributism, a political idea of the 1920s put about by Catholic intellectuals such as G. K. Chesterton. They saw a return to a medieval-style system where families combined smallholding with another source of income. Smallholding is enjoyable, useful, reconnects you with nature, is therapeutic, keeps you fit and healthy and is enormously satisfying. The quality of the produce is far higher than the products of the industrialized food system. You can also do more or less of it as circumstances change. A large garden in the city, or even a terrace, can be used to grow delicious food.

Good: Yes, you’ve written quite a bit in praise of the Middle Ages—in fact, you argue they were sort of a golden age of social justice and sustainability. Really? That’s not how most people think of them.

T.H.: We have been taught the negative version of the Middle Ages by the people who replaced them, the Puritans and Protestants. If you want to replace an existing system with your new system, then you need to besmirch the previous system. The idea we carry around in our minds of the Middle Ages is a ridiculous caricature. Just think about the beauty of the cathedrals—are they really a product of the Dark Ages? They outstrip the Empire State Building in terms of beauty by a million miles. The medieval economic system, interestingly, was against lending money at interest and it was for fixed prices. You were not allowed to undercut your fellow worker or manufacturer. In a sense the system was opposite to ours: It valued community over individuality, and precisely guarded against the kind of collapse that unrestrained competition has led to.

Good: To turn to modern times for a moment, what do you think of the whole “sustainability” trend?

T.H.: Three years ago, business hated anything “green.” Then they realized that it was simply a new market, and therefore great news. What sustainability really means is growing your own vegetables. It means wood not plastic, composting toilets, chickens in the yard. It means fun and a different kind of life—not just swapping one brand for another.

Good: In The Freedom Manifesto, you urge readers to “stop consuming and start producing.” What’s that mean?

freedom manifestoT.H.: In practical terms it means rediscovering our ability to make things, like bread, jam and clothes. Instead of buying everything, grow stuff, make stuff—rediscover the lost arts of husbandry. When you cut down your need for money in this way, you cut down your need for work, leading to more idleness all round. Look at Cuba today. Look at the U.K. during the Second World War. You can supply for yourself a lot more of the things that you need.

Good: But Cuba is dirt poor. Is that what you’re advocating?

T.H.: I just want to say that living on modest means is not necessarily a bad thing. Thrift can be creative. I don’t really care whether people are rich or poor: the thing really is your approach to life. I just happen to think that promoting the idea of being rich is ridiculous, because only a few people can be rich, whereas many can live on modest incomes. So to me it makes a lot of practical sense to promote, not poverty, exactly, but the ability to live well on small incomes.

Good: Is that what you mean in The Freedom Manifesto, when you urge readers to “Reject Career”? Do you think people should give up work and all the ambition that goes with it?

T.H.: It is not so much work per se that I am against, but rather work for someone else and work that you don’t enjoy. I work quite hard, about four hours a day, but I do things that I enjoy. How can we reclaim work for ourselves, and make it something joyful and creative? As for aspirations, I think that to aspire to real freedom in everyday life should replace the aspiration to make a lot of money.

Good: A final question, and an important one: you’ve suggested that people should buy ukuleles. Um, why?

T.H.: I don’t really believe that anyone should do anything. But having said that, I personally have derived a huge amount of pleasure from learning the uke. They are better than iPods. I play Woody Guthrie songs and the Beatles. Kids can play it, and it’s elegant for the ladies: think Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. They are very cheap and very portable, and they’ve got that fun-loving Hawaiian vibe. You can have one on your desk and practice while waiting for large downloads. Try it: Take a uke to work.

Tom Hodgkinson’s most recent book, The Freedom Manifesto, is available from Harper Perennial. His website is http://idler.co.uk/.

The website Good is located at http://www.good.is/

Doing What You Love Means Doing the Dance of Life

To do what you love means to feel deep down in your bones a calling.

It’s the calling of nature’s muse, saying to you, You are meant to live your life in the way that is most meaningful to you.

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily come easy, or come to you automatically. For some people it’s a process, a path that you walk down for many years, until it at last comes to you.

For others, it comes in a flash, and they know immediately what it is that they want to do.

Either way, the key is to partake in the Dance of Life, to embrace life and not be afraid to fail. There are many follies and foibles along the way to discover what it is that you love to do, yet the only way to get there is to not be afraid to try – and fail.

The Dance of Life

The Dance of Life

Life is a dance. And when you feel the resonance of the pulse and rhythms that the dance of life can send through your body, you will have arrived, and there will be no turning back, because: Why will you want to go back to the mundane when you have tasted the fruits of the tree?

When you take part in the dance of life, you feel more happy, more fulfilled, more energized, more healthy, and more in synch with who you are. And that’s because you are living a Low Density Lifestyle.

The above video is a dance that took place at a train station in Liverpool earlier in 2009.  The video below it is reactions of some of the people who witnessed the dance.

When you watch it, you’ll feel your body come alive, you’ll feel the passions and the energy of that exact moment. That’s when you know that you are feeling the pulse of life rush through your veins.  You feel very vibrant when you are in that state.

Remember that feeling and carry it with you everywhere you go, because that’s the same feeling you feel when you are doing what you love.

It’s called the flow state, when you feel fully in the flow and connected with everything around.

And it’s how you feel when you’re living a Low Density Lifestyle.

Do What You Love: The Art of Following Your Bliss

August 25, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Do What You Love

An important ingredient to living a Low Density Lifestyle is doing work that you find meaningful and is an expression of who you are.

This is called Doing What You Love.

This is the subject of this series – the ability to, as Joseph Campbell put it, “Follow Your Bliss.”

Campbell was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.”

This is what Joseph Campbell had to say:

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

“What is it that makes you happy? 
Stay with it, no matter what people tell you.

This is what I call, ‘Following Your Bliss.’

If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you. 
And the life that you ought to be living,
 is the one you ARE living.
 Wherever you are, if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, 
that lives within you, all the time.

When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open doors for you. 
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open 
where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

And so the question to you is: Are you following your bliss? Are you doing what you love?

And if not, what is holding you back?

2009-follow-your-bliss1The truth be told, it is fear that holds us back from doing what we love.

But it can be overcome. The first step is to ask yourself: if I could do anything, what would that be?

You may not have an answer right away, and that’s alright, because we are not programmed to think that way.

We are programmed to think that we need to make a living, and that we should make the most pragmatic choice in that regard.

But instead, what if we follow our bliss? As Joseph Campbell says, doors will open for you where you didn’t know they would be.

Which is a tremendous thing, because when you do what you love and follow your bliss, you will be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.

And you will be living a Low Density Lifestyle.


Happiness is…Being a Free Spirit

August 7, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness, Low Density Lifestyle

I end this series on Happiness – and I also begin a two week summer hiatus (I’m off to do some Low Density Lifestyle living) – with the above incredible time lapse video that captures the spirit of living a Low Density Lifestyle.

Christoph Rehage walking in China

Christoph Rehage walking in China

The video is about being FREE – which stands for Flow, Relax, and Effortless Effort – and about finding happiness by being a free spirit.

Now, this is not the way you have to live in order to live a Low Density Lifestyle. It is just this person’s way. It works for him, while what works for you is your choice.

The video is about Christoph Rehage and his one-year walk on foot through China, covering 4646 km, or roughly 2900 miles. He calls it The Longest Way. But the video doesn’t give a linear progression as much as a time lapse progression of the growth of Christoph’s beard.

Once you watch it you’ll see what I mean. And hopefully it will inspire you to freespirit_graphic1begin your own journey into finding how you can live a Low Density Lifestyle.

Here are some particulars of the journey and video, taken from the Christoph Rehage’s notes:

It took place from November 9th 2007 – November 13th 2008
one year on foot – 4646km through China
unlimited beard & hair growth
thelongestway.com [my note: the website may or may not be working right now]
musical score by the kingpins (myspace.com/theoneandonlykingpins) and zhu fengbo

And here is some additional info that Christoph Rehage supplies:

- I never finished my original goal of walking to Germany. Instead, I walked for a year and roughly 4500km, passed the desert of Gobi, and then decided to stop walking for now.

china_map1- All of the distance from Beijing to Ürümqi has been completed solely on foot, straight good old walking. There are instances where you can see me in the video sitting on a plane or riding a boat, but those are during breaks I had to take from walking, either to sort out bureaucracy issues or to take care of some personal things.

- I had been planning this trip for over a year before I even started, and getting as far as I got was an experience for which I am very grateful.

- Obtaining the necessary visa for a trip like this was not very easy, hence I had to go back to Beijing a few times to resolve some issues.

- The songs I used in the video are 1) Zhu Fengbo – “Olive Tree” and 2) The Kingpins – “L’aventurier” – visit the Kingpins website if you want to know more, they are very cool I think.

- This is not a strict “1 pic a day” video, because I wanted to make it a bit more alive by adding some additional movement. Sometimes during the film you would follow me turn around, or something would happen in the background. I tried to capture these moments to make the video more interesting.

- The core of this project is in fact my website www.thelongestway.com where I have posted my extensive travel diary, starting from day 1 (Nov 9th 2007) and describing every single day until the end one year later.

One last note: if you read our Summer Hours, you’ll know that for the summer we are publishing articles one less day a week, 4 days instead of our usual 5 days.

But this time around, when we see you again with the next article on this upcoming Tuesday, this will be the last article for two weeks because we will be on summer hiatus until Tuesday Aug. 25.

Until then, enjoy!

Why Are So Many People Unhappy?

August 6, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

technologyThis is such an amazing age, and we have so much to be grateful for.

Technology has come so far so fast that we now have things available to us that 50 years ago would have seemed like the pipedream of a science fiction writer.

Because of that, shouldn’t we be walking around in a state of ecstatic happiness?

And shouldn’t this entire series that I’ve been writing on Happiness be second nature to everyone reading it?unhappy-smiley

Yet, most people are thoroughly unhappy. They take for granted everything we have available to us, and show no sense of gratitude or humility for it.

In the above video, comedian Louis CK, appearing on Conan O’Brien’s show a few months ago, put everything in perspective with his rant, “Everything is Amazing, Nobody is Happy.” He hit the nail on the head.

Indeed, if we live our lives in awe and reverence, and appreciate the amazing quality of life, there is no way that we could ever be unhappy.

paul-simon-shrunkThese are the days of miracle and wonder, as Paul Simon sang in his song, The Boy in the Bubble:

These are the days of miracle and wonder,
This is the long distance call,
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all o-yeah,
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky,
These are the days of miracle and wonder.

Granted, the technological changes in the last 20 – 30 years have made life move at a faster pace. But that of and by itself shouldn’t create unhappiness.

All we need to do to deal with it is to center ourselves, stay calm, and just be more self-aware. In other words, if we live a Low Density Lifestyle, there would be no problem whatsoever.

Happiness would then be automatic.

And then we could say that everything is amazing and everybody is happy.

The Happiest Man in New York

August 5, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

Yesterday’s article, Making Other People Will Make You Happy, discussed how you can find your own happiness by making others happy.

You can call this being in service to others. When you are in service to others and genuinely care about helping others, especially those in need, you feel a deep sense of love and happiness – all because of your selfless act.

Today I want to tell you about one such man, who truly is an inspiration to us all. His name is Jorge Munoz and he lives in Queens, NY.

Jorge Munoz in the kitchen

Jorge Munoz in the kitchen

Jorge is a 46 year old school bus driver who makes $700 a week in salary, and spends half that amount every week cooking, packing and giving free, hot meals to hungry people every day under a subway stop. Having done it for a few years now, he estimates that he has given away some 70,000 meals in total.

Munoz says he found his passion and path in service after choosing to stop turning his cheek to a growing problem – hunger and homelessness – so prevalent in his neighborhood, and so many other communities across America.

Munoz says the idea came to him one day, when waiting to pick up his students at a routine school bus stop. “I saw people throwing away food at a food factory,” he says adamantly, “I thought, why are they throwing that away? I can give those to the hungry people I see on the street everyday.”

He asked if he could pick up the perfectly fresh food and take it to the hungry strangers he’s seen everyday. Strangers whose faces became so familiar.

Munoz says, the inspiration came from, “God and my Mom. Since I was little, my mom teach me to share, and that’s what we’re doing here.” Although Munoz isn’t getting paid for this second job (remember, he actually has to use own money to do this), he is happy to be in service.

Just by the tone in his voice, you can feel his passion for compassion. His eagerness to serve brings him joy. He says he’s happy to have a paying job, so he can continue doing this. “You have to see their smiles, on their faces. When they smile, I always say that’s how I get paid.”

Every night for the past four years, Munoz comes home from work, takes a quick coffee break, then heads out to diligently collect food donations from the community and then shop for more groceries. He heads home to meet a team, consisting of his mother, sister, 5-year-old nephew and a friend.

Together, they multiply whatever they’re having for dinner into 120 to 140 home cooked meals, carefully packed with love and care in his tiny kitchen, in his shoe-box size flat. His living room looks more like a pantry, filled with fresh food, parceled out, and ready to be cooked. There are even bags of clothes and blankets, cleaned and ready to be given out.

His stove isn’t fully operating anymore because it’s been overused to cook food in bulk. Because the stove is broken, he carries huge restaurant sized vats of food up to his sister’s apartment to cook– just so he can make his daily deadline. “They depend on me,” says Munoz. Even with an injured back, he never once complains about the love and labor he puts into his daily routine of service.

Jorge Munoz feeding people

Jorge Munoz feeding people

When Munoz first doing this 4 years ago, he says there were only 8 people. Then there were 24, and today, the crowd has grown to nearly 150 people because of the down economy.

When Munoz’s truck pulls up, the melancholy, stoic, troubled looks on the faces brighten and then break out into smiles.

“The smiles on their faces, when see they got something to eat….aaaaah, We’re feeding more than a hundred people,” Munoz says passionately. “If you change the life of one guy, that’s enough.”

If you watch the above video, you’ll learn more about Jorge Munoz, the man who is one of the happiest people in New York City. You can also learn more about his work by going to www.AnAngelinQueens.org

So if you want to find true happiness, consider this: what am I doing to help others be happy, and what am I doing to be in service to others?

One last note: I first read about Jorge Munoz in an article by Toan Lam, who has a website called www.goinspirego.com, which is dedicated to helping to inspire people to help others.

Making Other People Happy Will Make You Happy

August 4, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

Shiny happy people

Shiny happy people

The Happiness series continues this week (for its final week) with a look at a very basic truth, a truth that stems from the question that I asked with the very first article in this series.

The question was: Are you happy?

Every article since in this Happiness series has played on that question.

The article on the country of Bhutan told you about a nation that put the happiness of its citizens as its number one priority in terms of formulating laws.

And the article on Happiness and Your Job discussed an important ingredient to happiness: the kind of work you do. It’s so true that if you’re not doing work that you enjoy, then it’s much harder to feel happy.

The basic truth then is this: You can make yourself happy by making other people happy…make-people-happy

…And one of the best ways to make other people is to be happy yourself.

But how do you know if you’re making other people happy? What are some signs?

Well, check out the below list and see if the following statements are true for you:

* Do people seem to feel comfortable confiding in you?
* Do people follow your recommendations?
* Are you a source of material comfort or security for someone else?
* Do people whom you’ve introduced often go on to have a
continuing relationship?
* Do people seem to drift toward you? Join a conversation that
you’re having, sit down next to you at a meeting?
* Are you providing opportunities for other people – job leads,
blind dates, contacts in a new city?
* Do people whom you hardly remember go out of their way to
greet you warmly? Say, an intern who worked in your office three
years ago, or a former student?
* Do people seem to want to connect with you — by making plans
or by emailing, calling, or texting?
* Do people seem energized by you? Do they smile and laugh in
your presence?

Notice some items that are not on the list:

* Do people remember your birthday?
* Do people give you presents (say, for Mothers’ Day, or in
recognition of an important milestone)?
* Do people express appreciation and gratitude for your efforts?

Even if you’re making people happy, they don’t always respond by making these gestures. (Which can be annoying.)

smile-signAnd so, if you want to find happiness for yourself, consider if you’re helping others be happy.

Because if you are making others happy, your life is a true gift, both to yourself and to others.

I think it’s a lot easier for most people to make other people unhappy. It takes much more work to make people happy. Because to do so means you have to live your life conscientiously and with a certain degree of mindfulness and self-realization.

And you have to be living a Low Density Lifestyle.

But it’s not hard to do. You too can be happy and at the same time make other people happy.

I finish today’s article by leaving you with this question: Are you happy? Do you make other people happy?

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