Posted by: Leah | October 10, 2011

The Happiness Project

My Yom Kippur was delightful. Yep, you heard that right. Delightful. Of course, I was a tad hungry and thirsty but mostly caffeine deprived, but I delivered a speech on Kol Nidre night, which is a big thing. I mean Kol Nidre terrifies a hell out of me without delivering a speech add a speech to that and eeeeeeeeek! But I managed. It was not the best speech ever, but it was short and solid.

Here it comes, I would like to share it with you:

Every time we approach High Holy Days I can’t help but feel appreciation for what I have. Being born and raised in the former Soviet Union, I did not get to experience any traditions in my childhood. When religion stopped being banned, observing anything was still a struggle – because there were so few people who knew how to do things properly and because the level of anti-Semitism was very and is still very high.

I was raised with the idea, however, that doing the acts of kindness is not a linear thing. It is a circle, and one should not expect the act of kindness returned right away. Instead, the following happens: you help somebody in need, that person helps somebody else and when you need it most your kindness comes back to you making it a circle.

There have been many situations in my life, work and volunteer work where I got to experience this idea. Tonight I will illustrate it with a story I heard recently:

There was a room in the hospital for two people.  One of the patients was right by the window; the other one was not able to see the window at all. Both were very sick. Every single day one, who was not by the window asked the other one what he was able to see, what kind weather it was and if there was anything fun to report. The other guy told him long profound and sometimes funny stories describing everything in meticulous details. These stories were highlights of any given day.

Unfortunately, the patient by the window did not make it and died. When the other one was moved to his bed, he found out that he was actually facing a wall and not a noisy lively street. Moreover, he got to know that the patient who died was blind.

I would like to wish us all that we keep circles of kindness going in any situation.

G’mar Chatimah Tovah.

Then I had time to reflect and think what I would like to do next and what I need to bring back into my life, so I made a resolution of a project but I did not know which one, and then today (perfect timing) I started reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and I realized: RIGHT! This is what I need.

Not that I am unhappy. In fact, I am happy most of my time, but I think the quality of my happiness could be higher, my life can be more meaningful and in general there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

Here is the link to the book web site in case anyone is interested:

So, starting November 1 I am going to start my own happiness project, and I will concentrate on the areas of my life that bring  joy to my life and see if I need eliminate certain things that make me unhappy.

Prior to that I will answer these questions:

1. What makes me feel good?

2. What makes me feel unhappy?

3. In what ways I don’t feel right about my life?

4. Do I have atmosphere that inspires growth?

Then I will identify key areas I need to work on, and each month of a year will be spent focusing on one area.

How does that sound? Hopefully, I have been able if not inspire but at least make interested some of my readers in this project and ideas behind it.

Happy Monday and Canadian Thanksgiving and yes veggie cooking posts are coming!



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