Tag Archive: Happiness


Light on a Darkened Path

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Maya Angelou spoke of the tenacious human spirit in her poem And Still I Rise. Viktor Frankl wrote about a choice of attitude in stories about his experience in a concentration camp. Malala Yousafzai speaks about the importance of our voices when others attempt to silence them. Mother Theresa’s actions spoke louder than her words. There are multiple examples, historical and current, that bring light in times when you perceive a gathering darkness.

imageDouglas Abrams’ book, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, contains dialogues between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The wisdom shared in the dialogues from one man who lost his country when exiled from Tibet and the other who was the chairman of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, is sagacious, healing, and empowering. Here are ten quotes from the book:

“As one of the seven billion human beings, I believe everyone has the responsibility to develop a happier world. We need, ultimately, to have a greater concern for others’ well-being. In other words, kindness or compassion, which is lacking now. We must pay more attention to our inner values. We must look inside.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

“Too much self-centered thinking is the source of suffering. A compassionate concern for others’ well-being is the source of happiness.” Dalai Lama

“Then after 1959, when I left Tibet, I started thinking, These people are just like me, same human being. If we think we are something special or not special enough, then fear, nervousness, stress, and anxiety arise. We are the same.” Dalai Lama

“Too much fear brings frustration. Too much frustration brings anger. So that’s the psychology, the system of mind, of emotion, which creates a chain reaction. With a self-centered attitude, you become distanced from others, then distrust, then feel insecure, then fear, then anxiety, then frustration, then anger, then violence.” Dalai Lama

“If you really feel a sense of concern for the well-being of others, then trust will come. That’s the basis of friendship.” Dali Lama

“…the more we heal our own pain, the more we can turn to the pain of others. But in a surprising way, what the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama were saying is that the way we heal our own pain is actually by turning to the pain of others. It is a virtuous cycle. The more we turn toward others, the more joy we experience, and the more joy we experience, the more we can bring joy to others.” Douglas Abrams

“But this being on earth is a time for us to learn to be good, to learn to be more loving, to learn to be more compassionate. And you learn, not theoretically, you learn when something happens that tests you.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

“If we can have compassion for ourselves, and acknowledge how we feel afraid, hurt, or threatened, we can have compassion for others—possibly even for those who have evoked our anger.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

“The way through the sadness and grief that comes from great loss is to use it as motivation and to generate a deeper sense of purpose.” Dalai Lama

“You show your humanity by how you see yourself not as apart from others but from your connection to others.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Our collaborative purpose at SUNY Plattsburgh is focused on the success of our students. Doing this well during rancorous times in our country will take a mindful approach to modeling in words and actions. I wish each of you peace, purpose, and joy as we continue to create a caring community and world together.

 

Bonus: Maya Angelou shares the importance of words we speak in this 1 minute 27 second video.

EHHS Shared Values Highlighted
• Respect and Empathy
• Lifelong Learning/Growth
• Inclusion/Culturally Responsive
• Social Justice
• Broad Minded

References:

Abrams, D.C. (2016). The book of joy: Lasting happiness in a changing world. New York: Avery.

Light image (n.d.) Retrieved November 13, 2016 from: http://www.rabbisacks.org/the-road-less-travelled-published-in-the-islamic-monthly/

Book of Joy image(n.d.) Retrieved October 30, 2016 from: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Joy-Lasting-Happiness-Changing/dp/0399185046/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477839575&sr=8-1&keywords=The+book+of+joy

Passion Yeats

Linking our mission of preparing students for academic, professional and personal success with our passion to do this work provides an amazing sense of purpose.  At the EHHS Community Gathering, our mission was examined along with perception, perspectives, multicultural competencies, conflict management, wellbeing, and passion.  We examined results from a study by Delaney, Johnson, Johnson, and Treslan (2010) entitled Students’ Perceptions of Effective Teaching in Higher EducationRegardless of face-to-face or online format, students said the most effective teachers were identified as being respectful, knowledgeable, approachable, engaging, communicative, organized, responsive, professional, and humorous.  It was rewarding to see that the majority of these characteristics are linked to our shared values and previous group work on reflective practice.

The passion for what we do and the effectiveness of our purpose deepen when mindful steps to promoting wellbeing are taken.  Better approaches to conflict management were presented and Information from Gallup on wellbeing was shared.  I asked you to imagine how the learning/work environment would feel and what we could accomplish if students and faculty were all happy.  To punctuate the moment, I shared a video that was made by Howard University students to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCD4gBNOD28

Building on the positive energy from the video, faculty member were asked to write answers to three questions about passion and then to discuss answers with other members of their program/department; a special thank you to the Counselor Education faculty (and a few guests) for embracing the spirit of happiness by dancing at the beginning of our group activity.  The positive energy in the room was incredible.   Below, everyone’s answers have been organized into common themes for each question.

What drove your passion for getting into your field?

  • Having an impact; helping people; making a difference
  • Caring for others
  • A Teacher (two were inspired to be better than bad teachers they had)
  • Experienced care from someone in chosen profession
  • Passion for children
  • Family influence
  • Life-long learning
  • Childhood dream

What drives your passion in your current position?

  • Seeing/helping students learn; grow; be successful;
  • Learning from or working with colleagues; collaboration;
  • Scalability (teaching a few who will have a positive influence on many)
  • Create positive change in students/clients
  • Strengthen profession
  • Share love of learning
  • Fulfilling a childhood dream

How will you best use your passion for the growth of our students?

  • Model it (sharing own excitement, encourage, engage, inspire)
  • Reflect/improve my teaching/ effective teaching
  • Nurture and challenge
  • Listen/be accessible
  •  Develop relationship/community
  • Respect students
  • Respond with care/caring

The responses above provide give a peek into the depth and breadth of foundational perspectives that created and drive the passion of professors in the EHHS Division.  The topics we addressed during the EHHS Community Gathering, if embraced fully, will allow us to create a dynamic and fulfilling learning and work environment where we can achieve our mission/purpose with passion.

Image (2010). Retrieved February 2, 2014 from: http://picturespost.blogspot.com/2010/12/incredible-fire-art.html

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