[Click here to review this week's Bliss Initiatives.]
When I selected the book "This is Your Brain on Joy" by Dr. Earl Henslin I did so for two reasons. First, I just liked the way it sounds. I always liked the "This is your brain on drugs" public service announcement and the title made me think of that, except this is the good version!
Secondly, when I did my random google searches on "JOY" this book kept popping up so I decided the universe was telling me something.
When I read a synopsis of the book I became a little concerned with the VERY Christian slant. Although I grew up catholic and have had some experience in an evangelical church I am not very religious and I wasn't intending for my Bliss pursuit to be particularly spiritual in nature. Funny thing is however, when ever joy is pondered, particularly by people far wiser then me, there seems to be a natural tendency towards the spiritual. Part of being human is to feel and seek out joy so it is no surprise that it is so often a part of spiritual messages. It seems absurd that I was thinking that there is a secular kind of joy and that would be the one I with which I would concern myself. Turns out JOY is JOY is JOY and while Dr. Henslin's book does have a specific message for Christians there is plenty of great information that is applicable no matter your faith or lack there of for that matter!
I went ahead and Kindled the book and have been very satisfied with the content. (I totally adore the instant gratification a Kindle provides but truthfully this book, with all its cool graphs and pictures would be better in standard book form.) One of the main themes Earl (Yes his name IS Earl, and since he introduced himself that way to me - more about that in a minute - I feel I can call him that!) puts forth in the book is compassion. At only 16% of the way through the book (according to my Kindle) I am clear that all brains are not created equal in terms of the capacity to feel joy. This fact, supported by some serious brain science is outlined in the book. Strategies for fixing an injured or joy impaired brain aside, compassion for those who have a brain dysfunction is as simple as compassion for someone with a broken leg once a diagnosis can be made. With more then 80% of the book to go, I'm sure I'll have a lot more to share. I am particularly looking forward to reading about the "joy boosters" he promises later in the book.
On a moxiful lark, as I was preparing for this week, I decided to people search Dr. Henslin on facebook and what do you know, he was there. There is also a page devoted to his book with several discussion topics. I thought, "That's pretty cool!" and I immediately joined the book group. Then I thought he personally might be interested in my project so I sent him a little note and he was kind enough respond, telling me "My name IS Earl :) " and thanking me for using his book. I felt a total surge of Joy when I reached out - a type of Moxie I readily and easily employed back in my cold calling sales days but have used very little of lately. Then when Earl also left a little comment on the blog I was beside myself -- actual bliss. I was reaching out to my very own JOY celebrity and he actually responded! I don't know about you but I often think that someone noteable, famous or somehow rated (by my fallacious rekoning) as more important then me, would never have the time of day for me. It was really fun and JOY affirming to realize that this is not the case!
Next Post: Some Field Work
My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise