Secrets For A Happier Life July 9, 2014

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices

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Adventure for happiness



Michael D Selzer DDS


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“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland


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3- 12-2014 

Walking in the rain for happiness 



Stringing moments for happiness



Adventure for happiness

This sound–this color
July 9, 2014
 Dear Michael,   


Most of the time we can group whatever we are doing into two categories.  Routine everyday repetitive stuff or adventure.  For many of us as we grow older the amount of adventure decreases as the everyday repetitive stuff increases.  We find that we have to go on more and more vacations to regain the feeling and spirit of adventure.  


But as a kid it was the routine: one adventure after the other.


I invite you to continue reading below and hope you enjoy this string of moments below.


Michael Selzer DDS  

Quick Changes
I loved going to the bakery.  It was one of those shops where the name fully described what was inside.  In the bakery you found baked goods, breads, cookies, cakes and oddly enough not a baked product but ice cream.  I guess I loved almost everything from that bakery.  It was the Bellerose Bakery on Union Turnpike in you guessed it Bellerose.


But the best thing to me was the jelly donuts with real jelly on the inside and lots of it. It was the best jelly and at that time the only type of filling for a donut. It was raspberry and I just realized that is why raspberry is my favorite.


Sunday mornings for what seemed like forever, but was probably not that often, it was my job; why call it a “job” at that time it was anadventure.  I would go to three stores.  This began with the corner candy store luncheonette where I bought the Sunday paper.  It was the Tribune not the Times.  I think that was for something my dad called more liberal but I had no idea what that was about.  Anyway I didn’t care as long as it had comics in full color (which the Times did not).


Next I went to the bakery and bought bagels, bialys, hard rolls with poppy seeds and of course some jelly donuts.


Small Moments Of Happiness
The bakery had two fascinating machines that captured my full attention every time I went there.  One was a bread slicer which sliced through the bread; but the interesting part was watching as the entire sliced bread was lifted up turned on its end, balanced in one hand as a bag was placed over it from the top. Every now and the then if the tip of the bread happened to be sliced very thinly it would get blown off the top of the up-ended bread.  


The other was a machine that threw string around a cake box to tie it shut. I just could not figure out how it threw the sting around without getting all tangled up. 


We kept the pieces of string in a ball along with another ball of used tin foil and stack of paper bags.  Everything was used as much as possible. I had not thought of it but it was an adventure of ingenuity to use something a second or third time rather than just buy something new or not have it at all.


One of my favorites was using an old broomstick as a stickball bat rather than a new one.  The broomstick was thinner and more difficult to hit the ball but it just made the game more fun.


Then to the small deli where I would get some cream cheese and lox.  Again I was fascinated watching the paper thin slices of lox being hand cut off a big slab of salmon.  I made a game out of watching for the longest piece that could be cut without tearing.


I think it was the jelly donuts and the comics that gave me the motivation.  It was always an adventure in that I was not a really big muscular kid and between the Sunday paper, the baked goodsand the cream cheese it was a load to carry home.  I remember in the luncheonette they sold both Pency Pinky and Spalding soft pink balls that we played stoop ball, hit the penny and absolutely handball and stickball with… but that story will have to wait. Anyway sometimes I was allowed to buy one of the pink balls they were a quarter as was a quart of milk; more on that too.


This group of stores was on the other side of Union Turnpike a two lane road way in each direction with a middle island and a traffic light at the corner and the bus stop where my dad caught the bus for a 20 minute ride to the subway station and then another 45 minute ride to downtown or where every it was he worked.  Actually it was in the Wall Street area.


Imagine traveling over an hour up and back to work every day 5 days a week forever or maybe just 20+ years from this area and who knows how many more from Brooklyn before we moved to Bellerose.



A puppy’s perspective                              Austen at table


If I could have trained my dog Brownie, the best dog in the world, to carry the paper it would have been easier but the paper probably weighed more that she did.  Home with the goods and it was a great Sunday morning.  After the cream cheese was finished I would open the wrapper all the way and put it on top of a piece of newspaper andwatch Brownie lick all the drops and smears until it was squeaky clean.


She would just sit there watching us eat very patiently, I think she got that from my dad, and then when it was her turn she had a great time.  She would place one paw on the edge of the wrapper so that her tongue didn’t push it away as she licked it.  I remember sitting on the high backed yellow print chair in the living room and looking at the comics.  I just looked at the pictures and made believe that I could read the words.  I don’t remember when I started to be able to read but it was certainly after the first of these Sunday morning trips to the stores.


One of the main differences of routine and adventure is the amount of attention we pay to the details of what is happening.  When we are on vacation we are away from the routine, where weknow pretty much what is going to be happening one moment after the other; and thereby tend to lose interest in the details along with the loss of that sense of adventure.


On vacation the routine is dropped and we are spontaneously more attentive to the details of each moment.  As kids there is less routine and less years of the same routine so each moment has more adventure.


One way to add attention to details and thereby adventure is to single out something to be more mindful of.  This slows you down without actually slowing you down from what you are doing.  For one day or one week each notice one of the following as often as you can:  sounds, sights, smells, tastes, feeling/sensations or thoughts.  Begin right now.  Just notice whatever sounds you are hearing.


Try it for an hour, remind yourself to notice sounds.  Notice a sound and then let it go.  A while later notice another sound and let it go.  After a week switch to one of the other senses listed above.  As you go on a “sense” adventure it gradually turns into a life full of adventure.



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