Playing Nicely With Others

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With the first half of MY PERSONAL COMMANDMENTS in order (Breathe outside, Food is fuel, Sleep, Engage in physical contact, Monitor health, and Keep clothing simple) , I turned my attention outward.  What principles guided my behavior toward others and the world around me?  What were my underlying rules?  Gretchen (author of The Happiness Project) chose “Be polite and be fair.” to perch among her top twelve.  That sounded pleasantly civilized.

My dear children tease me about the recurring phrase written into my Parent’s Prayer for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, “Let us stand…and hold this moment.”  That needed to make it into the commandments.  And my mantra, “Float above it,” for when drama comes a-calling.  I would also include my business name, “Declare Order,” or the acronym, “DO.”

Further contemplation added my challenge of overcoming inertia to the list (Put One Foot in Front of the Other), as well as helping those whose abilities fall outside the Normal Distribution, or Bell Curve (Give a Voice).  The results are listed in #’s 7-12 below.  (As I have not attempted much in the way of research, any similarities to other such personal declarations, other than Gretchen’s, are purely coincidental.)


1.  Breathe Outside

2.  Food is Fuel

3.  Sleep

4.  Engage in Physical Contact

5.  Monitor Health

6.  Keep Clothing Simple

7.  Put One Foot in Front of the Other

8.  Float Above It

9.  Declare Order

10. Be Just

11. Give a Voice

12. Hold the Moment

I wonder if the list will change as my book club’s own Happiness Project gets underway in January?  My next personal challenge is to answer the questions in Gretchen’s “First Splendid Truth” and, perhaps, write my own.   What guidelines do you have for YOUR behavior?


The Twelve Commandments

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     Groundwork for my personal exploration of Gretchen Rubin’s, The Happiness Project, continues…

Today, I am faced with the task of identifying my PERSONAL COMMANDMENTS.  Gretchen created a list of twelve commandments to guide her behavior throughout project happiness and beyond (please refer to The Happiness Project Toolbox for more information).  Her first commandment, “Be Gretchen,” is not one I will be using – although, she is doing fairly well for herself and I may want to reconsider 😉

What are the principles that guide my behavior?  Hmmm…After a fair amount of mulling, I have determined 12 Commandments of my own.  Articulating these principles in the form of commandments will produce pride for those I generally adhere to, as well motivation to improve those I don’t.

This first half of the list acknowledges my physiological needs (that’s my B.S. in Psychology talkin’ folks).  I am first and foremost a living thing.  Gotta protect the vessel.


1.  Breathe outside.  Every day.  Even in the winter.  And not just for 32 seconds from the mini-van to automatic Big Box Store doors.

2.  Food is fuel.  Mac-n-cheese = the tank is empty.

3.  Sleep.  It does the body good.

4.  Engage in physical contact.  Snuggles from other humans. Preferably not strangers.

5.  Monitor health.  Homeostasis people.  Psychology BS again 🙂

6.  Keep clothing simple.  I rotate monthly.  Twelve items or so.  Not including work-out wear and accessories.

My first six commandments are declared!  Tomorrow, Commandments 7-12, “Playing Nicely With Others”…But first, a word from Calvin:

Defining, “Happy.”

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Yesterday’s post, “Taking on the Happiness Project,” explains how I came to take on Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project.  Gretchen attacked her project in a systematic fashion, then blogged and wrote a book about the experience.  Together with my book club, I have taken on Gretchen’s challenge of exploring happiness and have chosen to document the process as a way to hold me accountable.

Defining research

Gretchen began happiness analysis from the middle of a simple mid-life malaise.  She jumped in headfirst and actually researched happiness as a way to get started!  I am a little jealous (library addict that I am), because that part sounded like fun.  However, I don’t really have time for that!  By reading her monthly accounts, I hope to learn from her personal research and trust she left nary a cheerful stone unturned.

For the Facebook faithful, I would like to point out that the info section of my personal Facebook profile page (the part nobody reads entitled, “Favorite Quotations,”) had the following quotes long before I picked up this book:

“I’m of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved.”
~ Barbara Kingsolver

Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy.

adj. hap·pi·er, -est
3 : enjoying well-being and contentment

So you see, I have already given this “definition of happiness” topic some thought 🙂

Today I began where I always begin, with my dog-eared Merriam Webster Dictionary and spinal taped Roget’s College Thesaurus.  Yes, I use on-line versions of these references at times, but it didn’t feel like important research without guide words.  I know, I said I wasn’t going to do the research, but this baseline word check was a way to feel more connected to the process.  Because I remembered about the Facebook quotations section, I was able to skip Merriam’s definitions and flip straight to Roget.  It held a nice cross-section of options (fortunate, lucky, gay, contented, joyous, ecstatic, felicitous, apt, and glad) as it turned out.

Left it at apt for the day.  My book club is important to me and I do feel drawn to explore Gretchen’s “I am fortunate, but could tweak my attitude” angle.  In addition, the subtle power of attraction practice is intriguing.  So, continue to explore happiness I shall.  Aptly.  Even contentedly.  Not exactly ecstatically.

Next up…The Twelve Commandments

Taking on “The Happiness Project”


The 2012 Calendar

December 1st, 2011.  Time for new project!  My book club has decided to add discussions of The Happiness Project by, Gretchen Rubin, to our monthly meetings.  The book, organized in monthly chapters, chronicles one woman’s journey to define happiness for herself.  In Rubin’s words, the book “is an account of the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific research, and the tips from popular culture about how to be happier.”

After flipping through the book, I wondered how I could justify taking the time to learn and apply Gretchen’s ideas.  And was it reeeally necessary?  I was feeling  “glass 3/4-full” of late.  Would anyone in our group even plow through the entire year?  Or would enthusiasm wane?  As a certified teacher, I wondered about the contents of the start-up kit (free, btw!).  And whether I would feel inspired to volunteer with a larger group – say at the school, or local library?  Would ideas emerge I could apply with my organizing clients?

Curiosity piqued, I broadened my inquiries and…1.) Registered our little group on the website and took the quickie survey.,  2.) Followed “The Happiness Project” on selected social media sites., and 3.) E-mailed the author for a start-up kit.  After perusing about three chapters, I prepared to study January’s, “Boost Energy,” in more detail.  But, it’s only December.  Maybe it would be better to ease into this happiness analysis.   I’ll focus on projecting happy thoughts through the “Getting Started” section.  There are Twelve Commandments on page ten.  Sounds serious.

Next up…Define, “Happy.”