When was the last time you had a real conversation about happiness? If you're like most of us, you want to be happier but don’t often say so out loud. Oh, it might come up in casual conversation from time to time. But do you know what happiness actually is? And how much time do you spend exploring how to get there?
Full Heart Living: Conversations with the Happiest People I Know is the true story of one shrink's quest to discover the truth about happiness. Prompted by the loss of my dream job, I felt compelled to find truly happy people and ask them how they got that way.
From them I discovered the four deliberate choices they make every day to make happiness their reality:
1. Connecting with themselves
2. Creating and maintaining community
3. Playing with abandon
4. Giving back to others
These four intentional actions form the basis of Full Heart Living.
What amazes me to this day is how these actions reinforce one another and create a ripple effect. The more engaged we are with our passions, the more connected we become with ourselves. In turn, this leads to better relationships with others, which naturally flows into contributing to our communities.
Full Heart Living is filled with stories of despair and hope, fear and courage, rejection and triumph. Each chapter includes a summary of key points and concludes with helpful happiness-inducing activities.
One of the book’s subjects, Jenn, was once near destitute. A medical condition caused her to live on the edge of poverty. Desperate, she invited all her friends to her apartment to sell her belongings.
Over the course of one life-changing weekend, she poured her heart out as almost 100 people showed up. “I got to sit down with each one of them and tell my story. Then they felt free to tell their story. And we connected.”
By telling them the truth about her illness and her predicament, Jenn freed her listeners to share what was really going on with them. Her being vulnerable allowed others to lower their guard and talk about things that we rarely talk about: our failures, our low points, our bad decisions.
The weekend of her estate sale, Jenn’s life took a huge turn for the better. As she puts it, “I saw this sense of community, and it’s carried on since then. It’s such a part of my happiness. Putting the truth out there helps connect you to other people.”
You’ll read more about Jenn and other inspiring stories of connecting to oneself and others, embracing your passions, and giving back in Full Heart Living.
But beware. Without warning, you, too, may find yourself having conversations about happiness—at least, I hope so!
These fine Minnesota retailers now carry Full Heart Living:
Sweeney Todd's Salon
Fair Trade Books
Barnes and Noble Galleria
Barnes and Noble Calhoun
Barnes and Noble Shelby Township, Michigan
Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC
Read a Full Heart Living excerpt.
The accompanying Full Heart Living workbook can be downloaded for free here.
Narrated by yours truly, the audio version is available at audible.
You'll even find Full Heart Living on Goodreads!