Video 1

Module #11. Happiness and Radical Living
Video One: Waking Up to Happiness

In 2016, I discovered something very important that, while it was staring me in the face for a long time, hadn’t before clicked in my mind. Consequently, it hadn’t been something I had given much emphasis to in my workshops up to that point anyway. What I hadn’t seen was how intimately Radical Forgiveness is
intertwined with the achievement of happiness.

It was while I was doing a workshop in the Ukraine in which the audience of around 200 were mostly in the age group 25 – 35. The organizer and co-facilitator with me was a wonderful woman whose name was Alla Klymenko. She is well known in Ukraine for her workshops on happiness and had asked me to come and
teach Radical Forgiveness to those who follow her. (She regularly attracts audiences of around 600 to 700 people.)
It was the way these young people reacted to Radical Forgiveness that brought it home to me just how important forgiveness truly is to happiness. They were hungry for and enthusiastic about Radical Forgiveness because they knew that they would never find true happiness if they were holding onto grievances and
always blaming others when things weren’t going their way.

Alla had taken my 10-day training in Moscow the year before so she had told them all about Radical Forgiveness and how it could be woven into their pursuit of happiness, and that it was a form of forgiveness that got results fast.

I realized that up to this point, I had positioned Radical Forgiveness as being something you did primarily for your health. For your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing I should say. All of which is important to feeling happy, of course.

But looking back, I guess my focus on healing was because Radical Forgiveness had evolved out of a need to help people with or at risk of getting cancer overcome their characteristic resistance to forgiveness by making it quick and easy for them to do.

Since that’s how Radical Forgiveness began, it was natural that we would continue to pitch it as an amazing healing modality and the solution to any sort of problem in life which has an emotional component to it.

Which it is of course, and a very powerful one at that.
That said, we have always maintained that one would be happier once having done the forgiveness work.

But still, having put the focus primarily on healing, which tends by definition to be oriented to the past, blinded me to the idea that it is also a recipe for happiness per se and a powerful training for creating a life full of happiness and peace whether you have things to heal or not.

Furthermore, focusing on happiness orients it more towards the future and how we approach life going forward, no matter what had happened in the past.

When you market yourself as a Radical Living Master Coach, putting an emphasis on using The Radical Living Strategies to achieve happiness, you will attract a different crowd of people than just those with a particular forgiveness issue, and most probably a younger crowd at that.

Our existing demographic for Radical Forgiveness has been 85% women aged 45 and above. Now, market research is showing that mindfulness and happiness are the two things that are currently attracting the millennials.

My experience in Ukraine taught me that the younger generation is all about how to create a future for themselves that does not hark back to what has been established as the way things should be but reflects their own vision of what life should offer. They want tools that clear a path to a life that is meaningful and fulfilling, and they saw that the philosophy and practice of Radical Forgiveness offered that opportunity.

Let’s face it; forgiveness per se has never really been very popular. In most people’s minds, it got lumped in with things like the need to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more and so on.

Sensible, but boring and just as difficult to do all those other things. It’s hard to maintain genuine enthusiasm for it and is easily put aside when things get difficult. And there’s very little support from society for it. Victims hold sway 90% of the time. And not enough people know the difference between Radical Forgiveness and
the ordinary kind, so the perceptions still haven’t changed a whole lot — yet, anyway.

Happiness, on the other hand, is totally different. Even if we don’t quite know what it is, and it’s very tricky to define and even more difficult to measure, we most certainly want it. Everyone dreams of having a happy life, and we all do our very best to organize life with happiness in mind.

But, what the heck is happiness? What does it mean to live a happy life? It is certainly an idea that’s hard to pin down. Since happiness is purely subjective, it’s almost impossible to define or to measure it.
All we can do is come up with a bunch of words that point to it. Words like: joyful, contented, blissful, elated, exhilarated, ecstatic, euphoric, optimistic, gleeful, jubilant, lighthearted, satisfied, fulfilled, and so on.

Conversely, words that indicate our lack of happiness are despair, displeasure, dissatisfaction, gloom, melancholy, misery, depression, pessimism, pain, sadness, grief, anger, and sorrow.

Then there’s the money factor. Engrained in the minds of most people there is a strong link between money and happiness. “I’d be a lot happier if I had more money.” Isn’t that what people say? But research tells us otherwise.

At best, they say, only 10% of happiness is attributable to wealth and ownership of stuff beyond that which we actually need, like a roof over our heads, warmth, and adequate food.

Apparently, our upbringing and how we were parented accounts for another 40%, though I don’t know quite how they arrived at that number and what were the factors in their upbringing that determined their level of happiness in adult life.

I can only assume they are taking into account things like withholding of love, verbal and mental abuse, demand for perfection, inordinately high expectations, and so on. These are the things that could easily create the kind of blocks to happiness that would last a lifetime, assuming they don’t get healed through Radical Forgiveness.

The remaining 50% is said to depend on our world view, our beliefs and attitudes, and how we process our emotions. That’s the bit that I’m most interested in because that’s the part that is most easily transformed when one adopts the Radical Forgiveness philosophy. Strangely enough, even our relationships to money can be transformed since most of our blocks around money are emotional in nature and can be easily adjusted.

The Dalai Lama famously said, “To seek happiness is the purpose of life.” While the advertising industry promises to give us everything we need to be happy, he gently tells us that happiness has nothing much to do with any of that. That only leads to pseudo happiness, and it is short lived. True happiness is an inside job.

But here’s what is so exciting for us. When you read his book, The Art of Happiness and note his prescription for what he says will lead you to genuine happiness, you realize it is no different from what Radical Forgiveness prescribes. It’s not far off ‘word-for-word’ the same. There’s no difference.

So, don’t be in the least bit hesitant about pitching your work as leading to genuine happiness in life. And, you can justifiably quote the Dalai Lama on that since there is no greater authority on happiness than His Holiness.

In the next video, we’ll look at happiness as being a function of where at any one time you find yourself on a continuum with bliss at one end and despair at the other.

We’ll see you there.