Hello, and welcome to the "Happiness Tips" newsletter. In addition to a helpful tip for increasing your happiness, you can find out where I'll be signing books, and how to contact me, along with "Happiness Tips from Tina" in every month's newsletter. Please remember to add tina.tinatessina.com to your "acceptable" list, especially if you're on AOL.
Newsletter Dated: 7/5/2005 11:04:44 AM
Subject: Happiness Tips from Tina: The Meaning of Life
For those of you in the US, I hope you had a great Independence Day, and Happy Birthday, America! May we have peace in this new year. Welcome to our new subscribers, I love hearing from all of you, and I've printed your e-mail responses at the bottom of this newsletter. I welcome all suggestions for topics. To make sure your spam system doesn’t reject this newsletter, please add tinatessina@Compuserve.com to your list of acceptable e-mail. To unsubscribe, see below.
Happiness Tip: The Meaning of Life
A seeker goes to Nepal and climbs into the Himalayas to find a teacher, a guru he’s heard about. After months of searching and struggle, he finds the famous man, and asks his burning question: “What is the meaning of life?”
“The meaning of life is a bridge,” replies the wise man.
The seeker is incensed. “Wait a minute, what kind of dumb answer is that? I struggled and fought to get here, and that’s all you have to say? A bridge? That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard!”
The guru blinked, looked at him and said, “You mean......it’s not a bridge?”
Most of my clients come to me, not searching for the meaning of life, but focused on some crisis in their lives: a relationship disaster, marriage or family problems, lack of direction and motivation, some huge loss for which they’re grieving, an emotional problem such as anxiety or depression, or perhaps even for help in recovering from an addiction. The first thing we do is sort through the crisis, handle immediate problems, and get everything settled down, then we embark on an extended process of figuring out how the problem happened and what must change to keep it from happening again. Once those things are handled, there's a period of bliss or euphoria, when life is working for the first time, they feel successful, calmer, more in charge. Most clients leave at this time.
Then, frequently, they come back asking "Now that I'm in charge of myself, and have a lot of extra energy, because life is a lot easier and my relationships are working, it feels like I'm missing something -- what am I doing here?”
This begins a spiritual search for meaning, which I've written about in a couple of books -- The Real 13th Step, and The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty.
People for whom the basics of life are already established need more: they need a sense of meaning and a higher purpose than just survival. Once self-confidence and self-esteem are established, you’ll need a challenge to feel satisfied, a way to express your uniqueness and individuality to yourself, to friends, and to the world.
But if your life's purpose is not evident to you already, how do you find out what it is? Where does a sense of purpose come from? It comes from within you, and is not imposed or chosen from outside. Your purpose may be your livelihood, or it may have nothing to do with how you make a living. Your purpose may be a simple one, like making a good, healthy life for yourself and your children, or it may be more dramatic, and based on what you learned by healing your own childhood experience. Many people know that inner purpose has the power to transform anxiety, anger, fear and rage into powerful, life-affirming action:
Dr. Bernie Siegel, a cancer specialist, was discouraged and frustrated about the lack of success of medicine against cancer. He challenged the focus of the medical establishment by looking at patients who had experienced "miracle cures" and "spontaneous remissions." Although he was ridiculed by his peers, he persevered, and out of it he developed a new way of enlisting the patient’s own healing capability, outlined in his book, Love, Medicine and Miracles.
Cleve Jones turned his rage, bitterness and grief about AIDS into the Names Project Memorial Quilt, which has helped people throughout the world express, heal and understand the grief resulting from this tragic epidemic.
After her thirteen -year -old daughter was killed by a drunken driver, Candy Lightner used the power of her grief and rage to found Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), to combat the problem and prevent the senseless deaths of other children.
Sojourner Truth, an African-American and former slave, was instrumental in developing the Underground Railway to guide slaves to freedom before and during the American Civil War.
Ron Kovic, paralyzed from the waist down as a soldier in Vietnam, turned first to alcoholism, but then recovered and channeled his resentment and rage into anti-war protest, and later wrote the best selling book and Oscar-winning movie script, Born on the Fourth of July.
A life purpose gives you the means to control your destiny, no matter what the force of the hardships you have incurred. Most of the world’s spiritual thinkers have said that the wisdom guiding each of us is available if we just listen and trust what we hear. You may already be having many ideas but not be trusting them or taking them seriously. Perhaps when you get an idea what your "job on earth", or life's purpose is, you are too distrustful of yourself, (I can’t do that) or too hopeless and helpless to believe it or act on it. Your purpose may make itself clear to you in one instant flash, or gradually, as if you are following clues, one at a time. Whether you get it all at once or a piece at a time, it will still take work and experience to bring it about. Inner wisdom is not rational or practical in nature, but more intuitive and spiritual. It can provide a way to see the big picture, or a more detached and objective viewpoint of the issues and problems of life. Each new idea must be tested through practical use, to see how it works. Step by step, using both intuitive wisdom and clear thinking, you can bring your inner motivation to the surface and use it to create what you want. Your combination of inspiration expressed through action becomes the bridge to the meaning of your own life. (From It Ends with You)
© 2005 Tina B. Tessina
I hope you’re enjoying my "Psychology Smarts" column in First for Women magazine, I’ve enjoyed answering readers’ questions.
I’m quoted in the July 2005 issue of Fitness Magazine article, "How to Break Up With Anyone"
"Dating Guidelines for Single Parents" excerpted from the UG to Dating Again is now online at News For Parents website http://www.newsforparents.org/expert_dating_single_parents.html
My article, "Sex and a Sense of Humor" is now featured on SheKnows.com http://sheknows.com/about/look/5604.htm
My article, “Disfunctional Internal Relationship” is viewable at
You can find me on the Internet, as the "Dating Doctor" on www.couplescompany.com, "Dr. Romance" on Yahoo!Personals at http://personals.yahoo.com/us/static/content_date, a designated Marriage Expert for Redbook Institute and I'll also answer your questions at http://www.tinatessina.com.
Catch my radio show on the web: "The Psyche Deli: delectable tidbits for the subconscious" on the Leisure Talk Radio Network at www.leisuretalk.net every 12, 4, and 8 a.m. & p.m. EDT. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For more information: www.tinatessina.com
Through my website, you can get CE credits online based on my books: It Ends With You; How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free and The Real 13th Step To sign up for classes or browse my books, visit www.tinatessina.com.
I welcome your feedback and support, please contact me at email@example.com.
Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Re: Into Every Life
Tina..thank you as always you shed new light on my seeming problems.....you are a great help...thank you so much for everything
You’re welcome, Greg – I like your use of the word “seeming”
I loved this message. I really do know I can get through anything and everything is temporary...I wonder who taught me that????
Glad you’re still doing so well.
a quickie to say how much I enjoyed this mail. Your use of analogy makes grasping concepts much easier, and helps keep it light also.
It is all too easy to get bogged down in the serious work of our personal growth. A little laughter and some smiles along the way help to leaven the heavy dough of all that hard slog!!
Thanks Mel, I can hear your beautiful, Irish laugh now!
Friend Jim sent me this very appropriate story after reading “Into Every Life”
While driving in Pennsylvania, a family caught up to an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign... "Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust."
Why not genuinely look forward to the next obstacle? Sure it smells, but the flavor of life, er, variety, er sounds familiar. I loved this article, my choice is not to ignore but to look forward to the next challenge. What we don't die from ... I look foward to reading more of your material.
Many thanks, Mark; This month’s newsletter sounds just right for you.
I'm way behind in reading my e-mail, but I do recognize that I was supposed to read your June newsletter today. You see, I've been going through quite the rough patch for several months now. My metaphorical representation is that of rain - and I will remain "Thirsty for the Rain", because it is from the rain in my life that I learn how to better move forward. Thanks for the reminder to reach down, pull myself up by my own bootstraps, lift my head high and smile... and carry on.
I'd like your permission (with due recognition, of course) to post your article on a website where I am a manager. If you'd like to check it out first, here is the link: http://groups.msn.com/LastingImpressions/welcome.msnw
Of course you can post it, Tami, and thank you. I know you’ll honor my copyright and refer to this newsletter or my website.