How to learn to be happy with what happens.
Participants: FremyCesar (Haiti), JohnEngle (Haiti), SheilaIsakson (USA), HannahHimanPessah? (Israel), JessieHsian? (Taiwan), ThomasFBerger? (Germany), GailWest? (Taiwan), AgnetaSetterwall (Sweden), PeggyHolman (USA), GabrieleBurkhardt? (Germany), MichaelPannwitz? (Germany), MikkSarv (Estonia).
Summary of the meeting:
The topic originated from the likeness of the words happen and happy.
Sheila (USA) mentioned the impact of assumptions to happiness. One tends to hold on to what one is assuming.
John (Haiti) raised the point: could one become happy when violence happens? Violence is a sign that someone is holding firmly to their assumptions and aren’t capable of letting go.
Agneta (Sweden) turned us to discuss disappointment. One should compost one’s disappointments until it is processed to become happy soil for new hope. It’s griefwork.
Fremy (Haiti) refered to four principles, which help to decide how to guide oneself and how to handle the disappointment. He also mentioned the slogan in Haiti: Jan li pase li pase, JPP – whatever happens is what happens. It is usually said about street demonstrations and violence in Haiti and one has to be careful when presenting the principle “whatever happens is the right thing.”
Mikk (Estonia): how to learn to cope with situations like this? Are there some good practices of how to process disappointment?
Gail (Taiwan): happiness is a high state, with celebrations and balloons. What we are here talking about is not about happiness, it is how to get to zero state, to peace, to balance.
Peggy (USA): expectations, when they are not fulfilled, create irritation.
Fremy: sometimes I am disappointed with my own disappointment. Expectations are too high. You have to realize that there are very different realities, you should train to develop a flexible spirit inside; other people's reality isn’t necessarily like yours.
Thomas (Germany): The steps between happen and happiness could be understanding, accepting, agreeing, finding peace with the situation.
Peggy: happening is more about doing, happiness is a state of being. Happiness is related to hope, happening to expectations. Hope is like breathing, aspiration and inspiration.
Mikk: in the Estonian language expectation and hope are the same word, lootus, which is related to the similar words for story and creation in our langugage. Both hope and expectation are sources for new stories, which shape and create new realities.
Gail: the sources of unhappiness after facilitating OS could be embarrassment, anger, vulnerability, fear. Unhappiness has a lot to do with one's vulnerability. In Taiwan we say: one looses face.
Agneta: Peace negotiator from Sweden, Mr. Hans Blix said: "The noble art of loosing face will one day save the human race."
Hannah (Israel): My way to be prepared for disappointment before facilitating OS is to share the responsibility, not to feel responsible for the outcome, to discuss beforehand with the sponsors, to share the fears, to work with the worse possible scenarios. It creates multiple stories to be prepared for whatever comes out. Be responsible to a group, not for a group.
- To learn to be happy with what happens requires:
- spaciousness and love,
- readiness to loose one's face, expectations and importance,
- to be totally present at every moment.
- Becoming spacious happens through the practice of peace and love and through expanding one's now.
- Take more time before facilitating OS, think backward and forward at least one thousand years, like the First Nations in Canadian West Coast are teaching...
The topic will be discussed further in the Practice of Peace meeting, November 2003 in Seattle.
- I think that the context matters a lot! WHO should be happy with what happens WHERE? Are we speaking of the consultant beeing happy after an OST meeting? (in this case I would prefer other words - he/she must "let go", or like Gail said have peace and balance. Why should he/she be always "happy"?). Or are we talking about the participants in an OST (including the sponsor). Of course they should not and will not be always happy - and that is their right, of course. Or are we thinking about being always happy in this crazy (open space?) world? Finnally, I think there is a difference between "being" happy or not and what one fells at a certain moment. For instance, one can be irritated with something and still be quite happy. -- ArturSilva
- There is a beautiful song from Mari people, they live in the coasts of Volga river. It tells, that the happiness is most normal human condition:
- What should be whiter than white?
- White mother goose is whiter than white.
- What is more red than red?
- The first morning sun ray in the dip of the condensed water on grass is more red than red.
- What is happier than happiness?
- The days we have lived through are happier than happiness...
- I assume, that something like this should have been on the background of the similarity of the English words happening and happiness.
- The same is said by RUmi with his poem the Guesthouse:
- The Guest House
- This being human is a guest house.
- Every morning a new arrival.
- A joy, a depression, a meanness,
- some momentary awareness comes
- as an unexpected visitor.
- Welcome and entertain them all!
- Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
- Tho violently sweep your house
- empty of its furniture,
- still, treat each guest honorably.
- He may be clearing you out
- for some new delight.
- The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
- meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
- Be grateful for whatever comes.
- because each has been sent
- as a guide from beyond.
- -- Jelaluddin Rumi,
- translation by Coleman Barks, from http://www.gratefulness.org/poetry/guest_house.htm
- In English the principle is Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Notice that this does not say it's the right thing nor a good thing, only that it's the only thing that could have. To me, this means that if violence comes, it's because that's what the people created. Would I be happy with violence? As a participant, no, probably not, even if I'd done everything in my power to prevent it (even if I tried to do this without controlling). As a facilitator, wow; That's a hard one. I suppose it comes down to trusting the people to do what's best for them. Maybe violence is the only response they know about at this moment and that's what they have to do. The learning other ways might come from the way I facilitate, but it might come from their own learning at another time/place. --TedErnst
- I often explain that Whatever happens is the only thing that could have means that what happened was mathematically most likely, because it actually happened... but that this is quite different from being what we wanted or expected. We don't always have all the data to expect exactly what is coming down the pike. I like the bit Hannah says about sharing responsibility and not taking on specific outcomes as my personal responsibility. --MichaelHerman
- I find interesting that both Ted and Michael had a "defensive position" - no it's not neceseraly "right" on one hand and a mathematical explanation on the other. Even with all these "preventions" I still have many doubts about the wording of this "principle" - especially when it is used as a general law of the world (or of Spirit). I wonder if, as Fremy reported, the Haitians don't have it right in the first place. "Whatever happens is what happens". Full stop. No need for further explanations or justifications. If have tried a similar thing and it worked ok. Try it next time, Fremy, and let me know the results... ArturSilva