Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

in the valley of happiness+

“How can one know better or beauty or appreciation or love unless one has known profound sadness?”

I write this in response to the pain and suffering I see herein on many posts.

One cannot live life without knowing there is only two choices that govern all choices: One can chose to be happy or one can chose to be unhappy. Choose!!!

Once one chooses life becomes a creation for you. Like breathing our happiness others will get a sniff of it passing by and unknowingly be attracted to happiness.

The greatest novels were written around the themes of sadness or suffering or pain and the greatest novelists allowed us the space to find along with them the way through, the way around, the recognition, and I know I am repeating myself here, of the “fallibility” of human nature.

Even the best self help books and the best psychologists and psychiatrists in the world collectively are still overwhelmed by this human conundrum.

My advice and I am not afraid to give it is to choose to be happy or not.

Living a life that is clothed in ambient happiness may not guarantee happy days or happy moments or happy encounters but knowing and believing that you chose to be a happy person will lead you to make choices based on your own personal wall of memories.

What do you think?

Kind Regards,

Michael {who is currently going through tremendous suffering and chose to be a happy person trying to see the whole affair through the happy lens of my own personal perspective. Easy? Hell no!!! But it is worth it. I feel it. I sense it. In some unexplainable way I am seeing things I have been looking at most of my life as if for the first time.}

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January 15, 2008 - Posted by | health, life, love, Parents and Children, personal | , , , , , , , ,

25 Comments »

  1. “Living a life that is clothed in ambient happiness may not guarantee happy days or happy moments or happy encounters but knowing and believing that you chose to be a happy person will lead you to make choices based on your own personal wall of memories.”

    Well…you would like Viktor Frankl…

    Happiness doesn’t imply it’s all good.
    It just means whatever happens happens and you are cool with it…you can maintain, so to speak.

    Comment by 15tracks | January 16, 2008

  2. Michael, I agree that it is a choice between happiness or not. It’s just a harder choice when life is dealing things that try to suck the happiness out of you, but, no matter what the brickbats and barriers thrown our way, choosing to be happy has to be our first, and best defence. As always, a great picture. It reminds me of when I was in Tromso, 600 miles north of the arctic circle in Norway. i used to take the cable car to the top of the mountain and sit for hours gazing at the stupendous landscapes below me, breathing the crystal clear air. I always felt regenerated when I returned to “the fray”

    Comment by kevmoore | January 16, 2008

  3. A wonderful write, Michael. Thank you.

    Comment by shelleymhouse | January 16, 2008

  4. Yes is is a wonderful write, Michael.Though then of course we would need to define just what exactly happiness is. I have lupus. Some days are difficult for me physically. Not just days but weeks. Still, I can be happy just reading and writing, meaning being in the present moment…These small things give me joy. They always have…

    Comment by psychscribe | January 16, 2008

  5. @ 15Tracks.
    Viktor Frankl was born in Vienna on March 26, 1905. My birth date is March 26th, 1955. {I am still reading about him so will be back}

    @Kev Rather than defense I like to see it as a Darwinian type of choice like a natural thing to do. The fittest choose by instinct to be happy and I also believe it can be learned. The point is I tend toward simplicity in extracting from the complex. Although what I simplify is always just a slice of the whole it is a creation. That creation is an enabler that allows me to continue. Don’t get me wrong man I have lived in my view five mens lifetimes and that has taken a toll on me; however if it had not been for some internal propensity towards happiness even though I may have been on the verge of losing my mind and even suicidal, I truly believe in this powerful mantra for modern humanity where the historical mantras of Buddha or Gandhi or Jesus or others have offered up to humanity with humility their views. I am just an ordinary bloke who seems to have tapped into a void one day and often where I get these insights that seem to keep me alive and learning all the time. But I am a compassionate man and feel for all suffering and pain and for me it is most frustrating that this is the natural order of things that we must all go through to learn, to understand better, to be more aware and most importantly to have our minds opened up to the power of creation we humans seem to be capable of, and remains a mystery as well.

    @ Shelly. Your welcome Shelly. Is it wonderful because it struck a chord with you? Or did it move you in one way or another? You don’t have to answer because I sense there is something there behind the comment.

    Lovingly to all,

    Michael

    Comment by Michael Pokocky | January 16, 2008

  6. The matter of choice is what excites me about what you said Michael. To the extent we believe that we can choose our experience of life, we can. This is always vastly easier for me when I feel comfortable with things as they are. Other times, unfortunate times, well, I sometimes put the smile on and can watch it warm me all the way down to my toes. Sometimes.

    Comment by Susan Cornelis | January 16, 2008

  7. Glad this thread moved you to write Susan. You will see the comment by 15Tracks which I just finished reading on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl
    and here is who he is,
    Viktor Emil Frankl, M.D., Ph.D., (March 26, 1905 – September 2, 1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy and Existential Analysis, the “Third Viennese School” of psychotherapy. His book Man’s Search for Meaning (first published in 1946) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus a reason to continue living. He was one of the key figures in existential therapy.

    I guess when I wrote “How can one know better or beauty or appreciation or love unless one has known profound sadness,” sort of makes this theme of one of my manuscripts an appropriate one because it is a book about when extraordianry things happen to ordinary people and how we find a “reason to continue living.”

    Well I am truly surprised at this revelation.

    Comment by Michael | January 16, 2008

  8. Fantastic blog entry Micheal, awesome photograph too.

    You’ve put raw feelings into words, and I agree about the novels/stories, I love a good tragic story yet in everyday circumstances we tend to ignore the pain and grief and try to keep wearing that happy face on the surface, which eventually takes it toll. So what you’ve said is a much better alternative. 🙂

    Comment by supersizeme | January 16, 2008

  9. I choose to be happy!! It’s so true what you say Micheal!! Sometimes it’s so difficult to be happy, but being unhappy won’t help much, right? I always try to be happy, and I write to talk about my sad experiences and to make them alive in my words and get them out of my life. In that way I feel better. I also laugh a lot, since I was a kid, and my friends say my laughter is contagious so it’s really cool ’cause when I laugh they laugh too!! I try to keep my sadness for my writings ’cause there is no use to be sad in life, all day long, it only ruins the rest of things you do. Of course, there are days when no smile can be shown on your face but “after the storm the sun shines”… those days won’t last forever, I like thinking that better days shall come!!

    “The greatest novels were written around the themes of sadness or suffering or pain” Totally agree with you. I can still remember the sadness and suffering in “100 years of solitude” by Gabriel García Marquez… and in Papá Goriot by Honoré de Balzac all the suffering and pain of a father who gives everything away for her daughters but still lingers on me this quote “It is not happier the one who has more but the one who needs less”. Small things in life can makes us happy!! We just got to open our hearts and minds!!

    Love!

    Mary

    Comment by Mary | January 16, 2008

  10. Mistake!… HIS daughters****

    Comment by Mary | January 16, 2008

  11. Important post, Michael…could be also a theme…

    Man search for meaning is probably one of the most important and interesting searches there are… and I think your post is about that, no?

    But I’m afraid I’m more a Trackl man than a Michael man: I wish it was that simple: you choose to be happy… Trackl seems very, very zen, in exchange, practically (and I wish Susan and other’s who are very good with oriental philosophies and religions tell me if I’m wrong) the zen buddhist say the same thing: you have to ACCEPT everything as it comes to you, you cannot choose only the good parts; everything, life and death, hapiness & suffering are a whole you have to accept gratefully (or just to accept…some thing are hard to be grateful for…)

    And that’s an extraordinary coincidence, Trackl and you! And, you know something? the photo is exactly – but exactly! – as Sherbrooke panorama viewed from Mont Bellevue…

    Comment by iondanu | January 16, 2008

  12. Great entry, Michael1 And how good to see again one of your photos… I love the tiny red stain “floating” among the white and blue immensity… great contrast… like always, in paintings or photographs, a tiny “detail”, put at the right place and in the right colour, can make the whole!
    We have such a blue sky here too, but the rest is quite different!
    It is difficult to comment your text, it is such a big theme, and as soon as I want to say something, the contrary seems to be true too… Generally I would say, I am not sure that it is a question of choice, or at least it may depend from the person. Now I am really happy in my life, but it is not the result of a choice. It is clearly the result of the circumstances and my way of dealing with them. Before that, I was extremely unhappy, many many years, and long before that, many many other years, and I really doubt that it was a question of a choice. I simply had no chance to change it. I tried hard, even trying to make that choice to be happy, but it simply didn´t work. Too many negative parameters and circumstances were coinciding to allow me to put an end to my unhappiness. I really was in a black hole, and like the black ones of Physics in the Universe, it just sucked all my energy away… and the energy of all the people around me who loved me!

    Comment by Miki | January 16, 2008

  13. Mary: great to meet somebody here who has read “Le père Goriot”!!! I am amazed! Why is it that you know him, is Balzac well-known in Argentina, is he a part of the literature program at schools, or…?
    I had Balzac at school in France, when I was about 17 years old… and never read him again since… I don´t remember much… but your comment makes me curious, perhaps should I read him again!
    Anyway great comment… Ia m not sure though if i agree with Papa Goriot, although i totally agree with you, that small things can make us so happy! They make me so happy, but honestly, I wished I had millions of these small things everyday, and I don´t believe I would be less happy than having only some of them!!! I guess I am greedy…

    Comment by Miki | January 16, 2008

  14. @ Danu. I don’t buy into anything unless it has come to my mind from a place outside of myself. So when I say choose to be happy or choose not to be happy then what I am delivering is exactly what was dictated to me. What I say is so short and to the point that some people will think I am kidding but I know I am not.

    Take the photo as another example. It is at Mont Tremblant and notice the green sign in the upper right corner. The arrow could mean choose happiness and the diamond could mean not to choose happiness. In skiing the arrow means to go in the direction it points to and the Diamond is the expert skill level required to navigate down that slope.

    Another example of Choice: just look at the conversation happening here all the way from Frankl to Balzac and back again to one’s personal narrative. Amazing considering that this post I wrote was dictated to me and unedited and the responses are helping me at this very moment to come out of the deepest depressions I have ever been in and see a {new clarity}.

    Amazing!!!
    Serendipity!!!?
    Coincidence!!!?
    Probability!!!?
    Madness!!!?
    or the Mystery of the Act of Creation!!!?

    Comment by Michael | January 16, 2008

  15. On the other hand I have no idea what I am talking about. Tah Dah!!!!

    {Who knows?}

    Comment by Michael | January 16, 2008

  16. Miki! I’m reading Papá Goriot ’cause of my dad… he is a great admirer of Balzac, dady loves his writings and I’m starting to love it too!! I love the way he describes feelings, people, places… it’s amazing.
    Miki, I also wish I had millions of small things everyday so as to be happier! Unfortunately, the sad things in this world are more than the happy ones, we’ve got to learn to deal with them, I guess.

    Comment by Bird in Love | January 16, 2008

  17. Hola again mi pajarito! Have you got my mail from today, am I using the right email address? I am a little bit lost…
    You and your Dad make me really curious! I think I will give Papa Goriot a new go!!! But well, i guess I will have to wait to go to France to get it, I doubt I can find it in French here…
    Mary, I am sure that we all can increase the amount of little things which make your everyday life happier! At least i will do my possible!!!

    Comment by Miki | January 16, 2008

  18. Hello Miki!! Yes I got your mail and I also answered it back 🙂
    My dad makes people curious, he is so intelligent!!
    Me too! I’m doing my best to increase the little things that make me happy! But also not keeping them for myself, trying to give them to others to make them happy!

    Comment by Mary | January 17, 2008

  19. THE World Database of Happiness, in Rotterdam, collects all the available information about what makes people happy and why. According to the research, married, extroverted optimists are happier than single, pessimistic introverts, and Republicans are happier than Democrats. Nurses enjoy life more than bankers, and it helps to be religious, sexually active and a college graduate with a short commute to work. The wealthy experience more mirth than the poor, but not much. Most people say they are happy, but perhaps that is because they are expected to be.
    [Read more: http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10529960

    Comment by Michael | January 17, 2008

  20. When it comes to hapiness (there was a film with this title! awesome!) I think a lot of us are totally sincere (with ourselves and others…) or, a possibility, the notion of happiness is very confuse and different from a person to another…

    In my opinion, for now, there are only moments of happiness, short bouts of what we usually call “happiness”…

    Comment by iondanu | January 18, 2008

  21. Such a peculiar topic it makes me wonder about the origin of the idea of happiness. I mean there must be a historical time line of sorts that can lead us back to the origins of the awareness of either being happy or not.

    If I imagine the human species when life was simple: survival. When there was no language. No communication between each other than grunts and screams.

    Thinking about this leads me to see that the invention of language and then the printing press and lets bring it up to today with universal technological innovation, then I see {happiness} as just a word to describe a bored bunch of beings on this planet, through no fault of their own and who are subject to the expense of superior wealth and governance and corruption, have nothing left to say other than they are unhappy.

    Such an interesting topic when my reason for posting it was purely a reaction to the various posts and comments here and I was projecting as well my current daily unhappiness while standing as firm as I can on the choice I made to be happy even if what life was throwing at me was making my life very unhappy.

    Does this make any sense?

    I also feel that {will} has a great influence on my day and coping with unhappy things and feelings as well. The will to chose to be happy regardless of anything trying to bring me down.

    It really is a damn hard thing to do let me tell you and I am struggling very hard to exert my will and the price I pay is high.

    Which reminds me to say I thank God and feel gratitude to be amongst friends who I feel truly do care and at this moment in my life Cafe Crem is a life line for me which I hold on to with all my will to keep from losing my grip on happiness.

    Just knowing this and feeling this incredible gratitude about all of you is appreciated in a way that is unimaginable to any of you unless you know exactly what I am going through.

    Kindest & Thank You {friends},
    Michael

    Comment by Michael | January 18, 2008

  22. Well, Danu I must disagree. I have spent most of my life in a state of mind and heart where I, like you, thought that happiness as a state doesn´t exist, only short moments of happiness.
    But I know better now. Happiness does exist as a continuous state, with short moments of unhappiness. I hope with all my heart that you will know it too, one day…

    Comment by Miki | January 18, 2008

  23. Great comment Michael, thank you for your trust.

    Comment by Miki | January 18, 2008

  24. Thanks, miki, for giving me hope and thanks Michael for the same and for giving us the opportunity to talk about all this…

    Comment by iondanu | January 19, 2008

  25. Yeah this was really an eye opener Danu!!!

    Comment by Michael | January 19, 2008


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