A Joyous Peek Inside the World Happiness Fest
I was honored to attend the World Happiness Fest in scenic San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, with my mom, a couple of weeks ago. This Fest is a bé creation by Luis Gallardo, a friend from the IPEC coaching community.
Upon returning, I had friends ask me if I was happy, implying that by going to the Happiness Fest, I would return happy. I believe that no one can make another happy. My attendance at a Happiness Fest will not make me happy. Only I can make myself happy.
What this Fest did do for me, was quench my thirst for knowledge, my yearning to know what makes me happy, and how to find that common ground between my ego and my higher self. I met amazing people. I learned about the amazing work that is being achieved regarding happiness.
What is Happiness?
The hardest question one can ask is What is Happiness? There is no quick answer. Happiness is different for everyone. It is more than a feeling. It is so much more. Believe me, once you have a taste of it, you will know, and you will know how to get more.
Luis described happiness as a new paradigm of human development, which I love.
In my humble opinion, in the past, we have viewed happiness as something flaky, unattainable, or a pie in the sky type of attitude. I refuse to believe happiness is unattainable or something that cannot be taken seriously. Does happiness span the scales of logic, intuition, spirituality, science, and practicality? You bet ya! And that is what makes happiness as this umbrella of everything amazing, so exciting.
I am living my life to be happy and will continue to learn and grow and boost my happiness scale. Happiness to me is living life on my terms, doing what I enjoy for a career, using my gifts to serve and being healthy, at peace, financially prosperous, authentic, and honest. I could go on and on but these are the main components for me.
Emotions and Happiness
I attended a session at the Fest with Rosaria Cirillo, CCXP of Wow Now about Creating wow customer experiences. Rosaria previously presented a Tedx Talk: Happiness Driven Growth where she said that “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, what you do, and what you experience are in harmony.” This is my new favorite saying and I am going to continue saying it repeatedly. Thank you Rosaria.
In the session, Rosaria explained how our needs, and whether these needs are being met, aligned directly with our basic human emotions. For example, she showed how we feel happiness and love when our needs are met and sadness, fear, and anger when our needs are not met.
The following image is a more detailed look at the powerful information provided to us by Rosaria.
Although this session was targeted at customer service, I believe this information can be applied to both personal and professional experiences.
One of my favorite sessions I attended at the Fest was a lunch session with the remarkable Fiorella Velarde, a Psychologist from six seconds, a company specializing in emotional intelligence. Fiorella spoke about emotional intelligence and how this affects our happiness. I am going to take an assessment that shows where the perception of my emotional intelligence is compared to what is actual.
Practice and Happiness
On the first eve of the Fest, we participated in a public meditation in Parque Juarez in downtown San Miguel. It was beautiful hearing the volley between English and Spanish and all of us being one at that moment.
The next morning, we joined an early yoga session with the most amazing meditation and healing through music and sounds created by instruments I didn’t know existed. This yoga was a powerful start to the first day of the Happiness Fest. One of the musicians was Shingetsu Billy White, who I had the pleasure of meeting later during the Fest.
Creating extraordinary interactions
I attended a session with Mavis Tsai, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist/research scientist and Associate Director of University of Washington’s Center for Science of Social Connection. She has a Tedx Talk where she discusses this topic of creating extraordinary interactions as she did with our group at the Fest.
We began the session watching a beautiful video showing people from all walks of life and how if we only could see their hearts, we would think differently, we would judge less. We went around the room and said, “If you could see my heart you would see…” It was emotional and powerful to talk to complete strangers about what was on their hearts.
We answered the six questions Dr. Tsai refers to in her Tedx talk:
1. What is a strong value/conviction you have that you are willing to make sacrifices for?
2. What do you long for?
3. I pretend that…
4. If I had the courage, I would…
5. What’s a truth that feels scary or vulnerable to admit?
6. What do you appreciate about the person you’ve been sharing with?
I answered these questions with my mom, which was a special moment for us. We live miles apart and this conversation was one of the most meaningful ones we have had, just us, in a while.
The Language of a happy life
This was the last and my absolute favorite session of the entire Happiness Fest. Gloria spoke in Spanish and I listened through a headset to a translator.
Gloria Beléndez Ramírez, the founder of the beautiful venue where the Fest took place, the Villas Xichu, was such a beautiful and energetic woman. She was always smiling, laughing, and singing. She was vulnerable in sharing her story of illness. She reframed everything in a positive way and handed out cards where one word representing the virus could be reframed into another word representing the antidote. For example, when using the word “but”, we could instead say “and”.
Thank you Gloria for your positive energy and your hospitality throughout the event.
His Holiness, Khedrup Rinpoche, was speaking throughout the fest. He was gracious enough to speak to me in the Dharma Garden. Knowing myself, and my constantly racing mind and agenda, his words telling me to “Be in the present”, were much needed words of advice. Thank you.
Circle of Hands
On day one, all of us stood in a circle and connected our hands while meditating and listening to beautiful music. This was quite an emotional moment for me, feeling all of the energies I was connected to, releasing unneeded emotions, and sharing this trip of a lifetime with my mom.
Science and Happiness
Not long ago, I would not have imagined seeing these two words together in a sentence, science and happiness. The work that is taking place in the scientific realms of happiness is amazing and eye-opening.
There were several sessions discussing technology and happiness.
Gross National Happiness
The most interesting topic to me, however, was a discussion led by Saamdu Chetri about Gross National Happiness.
Gross National Happiness or GNH, is a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan. In 1972, the King of Bhutan stated that the Gross National Happiness was more important than the Gross Domestic Product. Hence, GNH came about, where there are four pillars, nine domains, a screening tool and a happiness index. I would love to be an ambassador of GNH locally and will keep you posted on my progress. To learn more about GNH and Saamdu, visit here.
Not only was I able to travel to the exquisite San Miguel de Allende, I was able to connect with many like-minded people, eat delicious foods, learn a wealth of information, relax, and leave with a revitalized hope of a happier future for us all.
Thank you Luis and the Happiness Fest.