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Pamela Gerloff, Ed.D., is the editor
of More Than Money Journal.
world is not only possible,
she is on her way.
And on a quiet day, if you really listen,
you can hear her breathing."
once, when I was a kid, I came upon my mother laughing.
She was sitting at the kitchen table with the newspaper
and just laughing. Right there in the kitchen with no one
else but herself. I asked what she was laughing at and she
handed me the
comic strip she had just read.
I looked at the cartoon, the punch line of which was Lucy,
ecstatically happy, saying something about how she was afraid
she might die of "heart-pop." My face must have looked as
blank as I felt, because my mother stopped and looked at
me and said, "Oh. Maybe you've never felt that way."
was probably the first moment in my life when I apprehended
that adults had rich interior lives of which children can
be completely unaware. Suddenly I saw my mother as not just
my mother but as someone who had her own experiences in
life, independent from me, full of profound and complex
emotions. It was as if a window of perception had opened.
I wondered what might have made her so happy that she had
thought she might die of heart-pop. I wondered what might
make me feel that way someday.
the doors of perception open, a new kind of listening emerges.
And that's when you can "hear her breathing," the new world
that is on her way.
world today is racked with trauma, pain, and suffering,
and sometimes it can be hard to hear the quieter, subtler
sounds that play beneath the surface. Yet, in every moment
of today, somewhere in the world a child is laughing, a
young mother is bursting with heart-pop, an old man is sitting
in silent contentment, and teenagers are engaging in exuberant
activity. It's true in our own individual lives as well.
Whatever our mood of the moment, happiness is there, breathing
beneath the surface, waiting for us to listen and to hear.
there is something new emerging in our culture. It is a
growing recognition that despite our economic and material
gains, we haven't become a happier society. An increasing
body of research tells us what some of us have known intuitively
and what others have learned from experience: More money,
in itself, does not make us happier. In fact, it can, and
often does, lead to increased alienation, depression, and
do we do about that? In an increasingly affluent society,
how do we provide our children and grandchildren with what
they will need to be happy? How do we create happiness for
ourselves and for our world? Can happiness be chosen? Nurtured?
Taught? Even more fundamentally: Why concern ourselves with
happiness at all?
reason, I believe, is very simple: As philosopher Ludwig
The world of those who are happy is
different from the world of those who are not.
difference makes a difference.
you noticed it? When people are profoundly happy they naturally
want to share their happiness with others. They are kinder
and more considerate. They're more generous and giving.
They notice what is positive and good, and that very noticing
calls forth the good in themselves and others. When people
are genuinely happy, they don't want to harm another. They
don't want to create pain or separation. Because they are
happy, they want others to be happy too. Because they are
understanding has important implications as we examine the
intersection of money and happiness. To me, suggests that
the quest for personal happiness is connected in significant
ways to our collective happiness. It also points us toward
a newer world of happiness emerging, if we will let it come.
how unhappy we may have been or may be at any given time
in our lives, we have all had at least one moment of genuine
happiness, when our heart filled up and over with what is
great and good inside us. And (or) we have all been around
others when they were experiencing such a moment.
it takes is a single moment show us the way.
my mother's experience heart-pop, like the insights and
understandings of the people on these pages, the moments
of our own and others' experience can become doorways new
perception, heralding the coming of a world that is not
only possible, but is on her way.
if we listen, really listen, we might just hear her breathing.
The views expressed in
More Than Money Journal
are not necessarily those of More Than Money. We encourage
and support respectful dialogue among people of diverse
viewpoints. In each journal issue, we provide a range of
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