Last Sunday, ten brave souls got together to discuss CHAI’s book club selection for January: “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. With streaming hot cups of chai, we first discussed what had resonated for us from the book, but the discussion soon veered off what happiness meant to each of us personally.
As friend of mine put it as she read the “Manifesto” out loud before we got there : “Wow! I really like reading what people’s ideas of happiness are. It’s good for me to think about this.” As we talked, one member shared how she had a gratitude journal that she filled out daily in order to appreciate her life more fully. She also shared how she’d been on the Happiness Project’s website, surfing and downloading material to get ideas.
Another member spoke candidly about no longer wanting to feel like she was a never ending “to-do” list , as the mundane every day tasks of her daily life seemed to often overshadow her, while she just wanted time to be herself. One member of the group was a little bit skeptical about what all this meant – how could you just “will” yourself to be happier- while another mentioned that she was envious of people who seemed happier than herself, although she didn’t know quite why, as she didn’t see herself as an unhappy person.
I found myself saying out loud that I could not remember the last time I had a great big belly laugh, and that I wanted to feel like the world was not a bitter place. I also remembered how in my culture, showing too much happiness was considered showing off and worthy of bringing bad luck upon you, and the group talked about what happiness meant in relation to South Asian culture and immigration. I will also be sharing monthly blogs about how my own Happiness Project is going as I engage in my own Happiness Project.
Razia suggested at the end of Book Club that we get together in 6 month we revisit The Happiness Project at the June 23rd CHAI Book Club to see how we’ve all made changes to incorporate happiness into our lives. Even if you weren’t able to make the Book Club this past Sunday, please feel free to join us in June when we come back to talk about we’ve brought more happiness into our lives by using some strategies inspired from the book, and how our own little Happiness Project group helps us get inspired for 2013 !
The next CHAI Book Club will be on Sunday, March 24th, 2013 in Ellicott City, MD to discuss The Guru of Love by Samrat Upadhyay. Stay tuned on our listserve, Facebook, and Twitter for details.