Category Archives: Video

The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude

This month, I have decided to commit to changing one small thing in my life…for the next 28 days I focus on being grateful and showing gratitude. The idea was inspired by the video above. I stumbled across it one day while browsing around on the net.  The title contained words that I immediately connected with…Science…Happiness…Experiment…and Gratitude.  I figured I could give 7 minutes of my life to see what an experiment in gratitude actually looked like.  What I witnessed was video of individuals engaged in the simple act of showing gratitude.  However, what was even more inspiring was the immediate effect the act seemed to have on their lives.  They smiled. They laughed. They cried. They experienced what seemed to me to be a rush of love and joy by simply connecting with another human being in a celebration of gratitude.  That’s all it took for me to realize that I also wanted to experiment with gratitude.

Like many people, I’ve been reminded to be thankful for the blessings in my life.  I must admit that sometimes the pressures, frustrations, and disappointments in my life make it very difficult to say, “Thank you.”  More often, I find myself asking, “why” during those moments.  I often forget or take for granted those parts of our world for which I should be grateful, and, as a result, my world can seem bleak and disconnected from things like…happiness, passion, joy, beauty, and love.

For the next 28 days I am committing myself to the work of being grateful.  However, I want to go beyond merely acknowledging the wonderful parts of my life.  While this is important, I don’t feel that it would represent a true 428 Days experiment.  I want to do more.  I want to find ways to rediscover those parts of my life that I have forgotten; those relationships, passions, and ideas that, for whatever reason, I have taken for granted.  I also want to go beyond simply being grateful.  I want to celebrate the blessings in my world by showing gratitude. Like the people in the video, I want to look for opportunities to share my gratefulness with others in ways that go beyond a polite thank you.  This will be the true challenge for the next 28 days.  However, it is also the part I am most excited about experiencing!

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The Macho Side of Beautiful

I made an interesting observation today. I have been participating in my 428 Days See Beautiful challenge for 17 days now. I have told lots of people about the idea. I chatted with friends over meals. I’ve discussed the impact of seeing more beautiful with folks on Facebook. I’ve even handed out some inspiring See Beautiful swag to people I’ve connected with in the community. Nothing too surprising there. Here’s the interesting part: By and large, most of these people who I have interacted with about Seeing Beautiful…are women. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had one extended conversation about the project with a man.
The tough questions that I am now facing are: Why is this happening? Am I avoiding interactions with men about the See Beautiful campaign? Is there a part of me that feels that it would be inappropriate to give another man a See Beautiful bumper sticker? I’ve really been wrestling with these questions. I believe that I have answers for most of them. I just don’t like the answers I’m getting.
The past 17 days have been inspiring, revitalizing, and just plain fun. I can’t imagine that any human being would not benefit from seeing and sharing more beautiful with the world. And yet, there is a part of me that feels that as a man I am not supposed to reveal this part of myself to the world. I am not sure when I learned this lesson. All I know is that I learned it and I learned it well.
My wife posted this short video on her Facebook page last night. I watched it and immediately connected it to my dilemma. As a father, teacher, and community member, I want the boys and men that I care about to truly experience and appreciate the parts of our world that are beautiful. In order to nurture this idea, I need to really consider some of the lessons I learned about being a man in this world. Likewise, I need to think about the lessons that I may be unconsciously teaching my own son (and daughter) about being male. Truth be told, I’m truly challenged with this one. I guess some lucky guy will be getting a See Beautiful bumper sticker!

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A simple video with a wonderful message. Sometimes we aren’t aware of the beautiful acts that shape our world. However, at times there’s a hint if we know where to look.

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