M. J. Ryan is the founder and long time publisher of Conari Press, and the author of three very insightful volumes: The Giving Heart: Unlocking the Transformative Power of Generosity in Your Life, Attitudes of Gratitude in Love: Creating More Joy in Your Relationship, and The Power of Patience: How to Slow the Rush and Enjoy More Happiness, Success and Peace of Mind Every Day, as well as The Power of Patience: How This Old-Fashioned Virtue Can Improve Your Life. In this salutary work, she takes on a subject that is a part of everyone's personal agenda and yet seems to prove a stumbling block to so many.
Ryan is convinced that happiness is a feeling of lightness and well-being that can be achieved through mind-training, "the creation of new habits of thought that in turn generate positive feelings." The problem is that we all have our own habit energies, as Buddhists call them, that interfere with our natural ability to tap into contentment in our lives.
Ryan deals with some of these happiness hindrances including discontent, envy, negative self-talk, grudges, worry, expectations, regret and perfectionism. At the same time, she recommends that we make positive use out of thinking optimistically, reveling in life's simple things, finding ways to enjoy work, making peace with money, practicing gratefulness, and accepting the duty of delight. Ryan also presents twenty-two happiness boosters that can be practiced throughout the week. The book contains many fine quotations on happiness. Here are a few:
"Happiness is the grand mistress of ceremonies in the dance of life, impels us through all its mazes and meanderings, but leads none of us by the same route."
——Charles Caleb Colton
"Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing."
——William Butler Yeats
"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness."