Welcome to our first guest blog in our series called, “Your Boditude Lifestyle.” Each guest blogger will share insights into their own personal lifestyle.
We define The Boditude Lifestyle as;
“the way in which a person lives; choosing to focus on positivity, gratitude, & getting the absolute most out of every situation.”
Just as each person is unique, each Boditude lifestyle is unique. We hope that by sharing the lifestyles of experts and guest bloggers, we will help you to find your own Boditude lifestyle.
We are excited to welcome our first guest blogger, Jonah S.C Muskat-Brown. Jonah is a licensed/registered social worker from Toronto, Canada. He draws inspiration from a broad scope of sources and theorists and utilizes all to see the inherent worth in each individual.
Jonah is passionate about breaking down barriers between people and strives to inspire others to become their fullest selves possible, never settling for the lives others envision for them or limit them to. He is the author of “Unfolding Potential: A Jewish Journey of Self Development“, which traces the art of actualizing our potential. Jonah also gives back as a educator and facilitator for the National Jewish Counsel for Disabilities.
Though Boditude is not a religious organization, we do find lessons in many different faiths that provide insights into self-worth and how to live with gratitude for our lives, bodies, and everything in between. Jonah is an expert in what he studies and we are so grateful to him for sharing his thoughts with us. In his guest blog, Jonah shares a deeper look into how we perceive and can actualize happiness.
GUEST BLOGITUDE: Jonah S.C. Muskat-Brown, LMSW
Happiness, Thanksgiving, and Jacob and Esau
“To be happy does not mean that you have everything you want or everything you were promised. It means, simply, to have done what you were called on to do…”
– R. Jonathan Sacks
A teacher of mine once shared the idea that we are only depressed if we become depressed about our depression. I began wondering if the same could be said about our happiness. Because over the years I’ve come to appreciate that happiness is not conditional. If it were, our emotional state would forever depend on something outside of ourselves and beyond our control. By and large, happiness is an active choice we each make to view our lives in a particular way. It means that despite everything we may not tangibly possess, we can still feel a sense of wholesomeness.
When I teach happiness, I emphasize that we cannot, nor should ever, ignore painful or difficult experiences that we encounter (both as individuals and as collective communities or nations). To do so would be a denial of reality and an abandonment of hope that life could be made better. I teach, however, that we can experience wholesomeness if we instead focus on the goodness that we have within those circumstances. Can we appreciate the smartphone we own even though it may not be the latest? Can we enjoy a family dinner even if it isn’t dined in the most elegant of venues? To a large degree, our levels of happiness correlate to our internalization and expression of gratitude.
Perhaps ironically, a quick look through the National Retail Federation’s website reveals that we actually plan on increasing our purchases this Thanksgiving and Holiday Season. Over 160 million individuals are either determined to, or have considered, spending money on material goods during Thanksgiving weekend alone, with a 3.6-4% increase in retail sales over the November and December holidays as a whole. The one weekend dedicated to celebrating the goodness we each have has gradually transformed into a rat-race of price reductions and tactics of how to accumulate the most at the lowest price.
To be sustained, happiness must be lived. The pursuit of happiness will fail if we don’t take time away from our pursuit to live the happiness that we so eagerly continue to chase.
Perhaps nobody personifies this concept greater than Jacob and Esau in the latter half of the Book of Genesis. Already beginning in the womb, Jacob’s life was fraught with tension. He and Esau quarreled constantly. Fleeing Esau’s desire for murderous revenge, he marries, but is deceived on his wedding night. He works seven years to marry his beloved Rachel only to be betrayed by his father-in-law yet again and works an additional seven years thereafter. Finally taking leave with his established family, Jacob is informed that his brother is on his way to greet him with 400 men. He prepares for the worst and sends gifts to Esau in hopes of nullifying (or at least lessening) his brother’s presumed hatred. They meet and embrace, apparently free of any resentment, and go about their separate ways. But an interesting dialogue takes place. Esau, a man of means, rejects these gifts and tells Jacob to keep them for himself because he already has plenty of his own. But Jacob persists, proclaiming, “…I have everything.”
A skilled hunter, Esau’s happiness comes from his consumption of tangible goods. For Jacob, happiness lies beyond the race to accumulate. Instead of focusing on his difficult life and its host of betrayal and deceit, he chooses to focus on what he has and is eager to share that with others – even those who have abundantly more than he. And so too with us in the 21st Century. Happiness is a choice we can (and must) continuously make. Annually we set aside one weekend to celebrate our gratitude, but Thanksgiving is so much greater than a once-a-year occurrence.
Make the choice. Because only we can decide our happiness.
We’d like to thank Jonah for sharing his insights with us as our first guest blogger on Blogitude. Jonah S.C. can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be found here, on Linkedin.
If you’re interested in learning how you can become grateful for your body, life and everything in between, you’re in luck!
Boditude is back in session! Our next 2 weeks session begins on January 8th and is now on sale! This online session includes 15 days of learning, practicing, and applying positive psychology techniques and strategies to your own life. You will be introduced to a different topic each day that will contribute to enhancing your wellbeing, happiness, and positivity. Sign up today!