A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up

A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up

by Linda Leaming

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Overview

In the West, we have everything we could possibly need or want—except for peace of mind.

So writes Linda Leaming, a harried American who traveled from Nashville, Tennessee, to the rugged Himalayan nation of Bhutan—sometimes called the happiest place on Earth—to teach English and unlearn her politicized and polarized, energetic and impatient way of life.

In Bhutan, if I have three things to do in a week, it’s considered busy. In the U.S., I have at least three things to do between breakfast and lunch.

After losing her luggage immediately upon arrival, Leaming realized that she also had emotional baggage—a tendency toward inaction, a touch of self-absorption, and a hundred other trite, stupid, embarrassing, and inconsequential things—that needed to get lost as well.

Pack up ideas and feelings that tie you down and send you lead-footed down the wrong path. Put them in a metaphorical suitcase and sling it over a metaphorical bridge in your mind. Let the river take them away.

Forced by circumstance and her rustic surroundings to embrace a simplified life, Leaming made room for more useful beliefs. The thin air and hard climbs of her mountainous commute put her deeply in touch with her breath, helping her find focus and appreciation. The archaic, glacially paced bureaucracy of a Bhutanese bank taught her to go with the flow—and take up knitting. The ancient ritual of drinking tea brought tranquility, friendship, and, eventually, a husband. Each day, and each adventure, in her adopted home brought new insights and understandings to take back to frantic America, where she now practices the art of "simulating Bhutan." This collection of stories, impressions, and suggestions is a little nudge, a push, a leg up into the rarefied air of paradise—of bright sunlight and beautiful views.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401946906
Publisher: Hay House Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2014
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,195,618
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

LINDA LEAMING is a writer whose work has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Mandala, Guardian UK, A Woman’s Asia (Travelers’ Tales), and many other publications. Eric Weiner included her in his bestseller The Geography of Bliss. Originally from Nashville, she has an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Arizona; and she regularly speaks about Bhutan at colleges, churches, seminars, and book groups. She is married to the renowned Bhutanese thangka painter Phurba Namgay. Find her at: www.lindaleaming.com and www.twitter.com/lindaleaming.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Calm Down 1

2 Lose Your Baggage 15

3 Learn to Breathe 27

4 Rusticate 35

5 Drink Tea 43

6 Kindness Will Save Us 53

7 It's Okay to Be Who You Are 65

8 Laugh in the Face of Death 75

9 Generosity Is Contagious 85

10 Walk in Sacred Places 95

11 Parent Yourself 105

12 You Are What You Eat 113

13 Move to the Middle in All Things 123

14 There Are No Accidents 133

15 Learn to Be Water 147

16 Don't Expect Everything to Always Work Out 157

17 Think about Death Five Times a Day 167

18 Simple Is Genius 179

19 Look for Magic 189

20 See the World with Your Heart 199

21 Check Your Ego 209

22 Wake Up 217

Acknowledgments 231

About the Author 233

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