Happiness – a luxury or a necessity?

Hello, dear ones,

Last Saturday I attended playwright Mary Stone Hanley’s The Name Game, a play that uses

Four women artists share the joy!

Four women artists share the joy!

comedy, spoken word, dance, and a touch of fantasy to pose the core questions of who are we and why are we here.

After the show I had the great pleasure of chatting with Mary, as well as my dear friends,  playwriting teacher and mentor Laura Zam, and painter/graphic artist Patrise Henkel. Don’t’ we look happy?! We were celebrating the success of a sister artist, and sharing in her happiness.

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately, especially as I continue my journey of healing my depression. But I’ve also been troubled lately by all the terrible events happening right now, hurting people all over the world: from the downed Malaysian airliner crushing the lives of passengers, crew, and people in the villages where it came down; unaccompanied children crossing our boarders, looking for refuge; civilians being killed in Gaza and Israel.

How can I be caring about my own happiness when there is so much suffering in the world? Isn’t that just being frivolous? Do you recognize some leftover _____ guilt? (fill in the blank, mine happens to be Catholic!)

Well here’s what I’m learning. I don’t do anyone any good when I’m not happy Happiness is an essential element of well-being, which Dictionary.com defines as “a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity.”

The traditional view is “Do, have, be.”  Do certain things so you can have certain things so you can be happy. But many of the newer spiritual teachers have turned that around to “Be, do, have.”  Be connected to your higher self, your Source, your inner happiness, so that you will be inspired to do certain things from that source, and then you will many things to enjoy.”  

Revered African American civil rights leader, philosopher, teacher Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I think “coming alive” is akin to “being happy.”

And Thomas Jefferson declared that “the pursuit of happiness” was as unalienable a right as life and liberty. (BTW, the rest of the committee did not change that phrase, even as other edits were made before agreeing on the final Declaration of Independence.)

So I’m grateful that I got to spend time with three other women artists and share in the happiness of Mary Stone Hanley. I’m actively seeking moments of happiness, ones that come from getting to know more and more who I am from deep within, and often sharing that with like-minded people. And I invite you to explore what some of those moments might be for you!

Love and blessings,



14 thoughts on “Happiness – a luxury or a necessity?

  1. As always, your thoughts and words are uplifting and encourage me to proceed positively in my own sphere, small as it may be here on this little island! You are such an awesome communicator and seeker of the higher road–thank you Terry!

    • thank yOu Felicity! I really appreciate your comment because of this blog for some reason was especially difficult to write. I kept feeling stuck and finally took some breaths and asked source , what do you want me to say in this blog? And finally it flowed!

  2. Steven Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks of areas of influence. He says a person shouldn’t worry about things outside of their area of influence – You can’t do anything about the war in Gaza – so don’t spend energy thinking about it. You can choose what to eat, when to go to bed, whether or not to call a friend or family member. So think about that. Spend your energy on things within your areas of influence…


    • Thanks Beth! The more folks we hear from the stronger the message. I had forgotten what Stephen Covey said about circle of influence. It makes so much sense. And for those of us who believe in the power of prayer, meaning claiming grace in a situation we can add that two actions that we are able to take.

  3. So well said Terry. When we take care of ourselves and nurture our happiness, we are better able to be compassionate and be of help to others or a cause when we are able or have the means to do so.

  4. Whew!…what an enormous challenge, this topic….so many books, poems, music on this subject. Yes, I believe happiness is a necessary part of our being, but not to be pursued. It’s more of a by product. Over the years, I have found that if I can do what I want without causing harm to myself or others, at the end of the day, I live by the Golden Rule, and I am happy.

  5. Wonderful, Terry! It’s always great to share creative joy with you and cheer on our colleagues. What a wonderful blog this is, inspiring, and getting some conversations going! Keep on Speaking Out!

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