Monday, September 23, 2019

Workshop Curriculum

How to Do Happy Better
Oct. 1st 2019 6-8pm
Hamilton High School

If you missed it ...
1. there are several sessions coming up in Feb. 2020...
2. Audio curriculum in audio -
3. the text outline is below.

Workshop Curriculum - available in audio soon.

Hi. My name is David L White.

A bit about me briefly. The Muse sometimes wakes me at night and may distract me during the day. I write it down and speak it out. Besides Do Happy Better, I've written a couple short volumes of poetry and two books titled Drive Time; real people vignettes from my day job. I'm working on a third, The Beautiful Route, and will release audio bits on SoundCloud as they are completed. I hope to get this third finished in 2019. I am married 31 years to a teacher of Spanish, live in Milwaukee, dabble in watercolor and guitar. I have been interested in healing modalities and am launching . There's a set of links to my online presence at:

Thanks for coming.

Does everyone have paper and pencil or pen?

How. To. Do. Happy. Better.

I could have named it:
How To Do Unhappy Less Often.

Anyway ...

We hope to define some terms.
We will write. Some of us may share aloud. Or not.
We will write more. I'll set a timer.
We may, some of us, stare at the walls, or ceiling. Perfect.

I hope to present a couple writing prompts, memory exercises, quotations, observations and a poem about a journey.

I'd like to check some assumptions before we begin in case we need to wiggle in one direction or another.

LIST - Two minute timer
#1 What do you expect to get from this session?
#2 What do you expect to give?

Time for sharing. I'll start.

I would like you to be able to increase positive attention to and for yourself.

You share ....

Okay ....

How to Do Happy Better
Happy is the bait. Better is the hook. And Do is How you reel it into your bucket.

My observation about the $11 billion self-help industry is that most consumers really do not become the creators that the authors encourage. They may buy a book. It doesn't work by itself. They buy another one.

In most, if not all, of the self-help books I’ve read, the author invites or insists that the reader make a list. At the very least sit down and write a list.

At the very first, it is not about the writing. Some of it is about the sitting down. Taking time out for oneself is critical. And it’s the first thing to do.

So, I have been saying write your own book. It seems to me, that the people I said that to, think the process is done, the product is in hand. They wonder how to market, or how to get an agent for book signings, or how to be on the radio, or basically, how to sell books. It's not that kind of book. And the book is not yet written.

In the session there will be writing prompts and exercises for those who need a little help getting started. This is a self-help book that you will write for yourself using notes that you assemble. It will be a compilation, a compendium, or a collection of notes you’ve made regarding your wonderful life.

As with so many books, the authors share the works of others indicating that so-and-so had a case study, and so-and-so had a quotation, and the other person had a book that said this about that.

This takes some of the burden off you. You do not have to produce everything. You may wish to compile the beautiful things from your own life. Quotations, authors, uplifting moments, inspiring people, music, whatever makes you happy. This is a book about you and happy. Collect those things.

Yes. I have said write your own book. I will back up a little bit and even define what how I think writing goes.

Writing is drafting and editing. Get it out and clean it up - over and over. I’ve been saying that for years and it finally occurred to me that there is something that comes before drafting and editing. What, you ask?

Exactly. Curiosity itself. It is the asking of the question. And it is the organization of the answer. Ask and answer. Call and response.

If it is your book, for you, you don't have to do a lot of organization or editing. You can use code words, acronyms, have your own language. You can write upside down. You can write in the margins, sketches, doodles, to do lists. You can do anything. The point is the contemplation, the pondering, and the meditation that goes in to paying attention to yourself in the first place.

Memory Exercise - 10 minutes
One: list of the self-help books you have read, or you owned, or you mean to read or reread.

Here's a short list of self-help books as a reminder.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon hill

The Road Less Traveled by MD. Scott Peck

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Two: List the takeaways from those books that you have incorporated into your life. What do you practice because it seemed like a good idea and you started doing it?

You do not necessarily have to list what practice came from what book. At this point it doesn’t matter to me.


I think it’s important to define how to do happy better. How is important. An alternate question might be why.

HAPPY can be extended to mean peace and joy. Happy could be extended to mean invigoration and exhilaration. It can be those things that take you into flow time. It doesn't matter exactly what you’re doing but it is lovely wonderful and time has stopped.

It’s important to take a look at how BETTER can be viewed. Let's remember that it is America where culture and capitalism have trained us to consume. We have been taught that bigger is better, faster is better, more is better… But ... only better is better and only you know what that is for you. And so when you are thinking of better… put those things on your list.

And then there is the DO that appears in the title. What are you doing? What are you doing that helps you? What do you do that puts obstacles in your way? What do you do that allows others to get you off track? The doing is important and I might add that that leads us into the idea and definition of practice.

Most of us probably think that practice is something separate from everything else. We practice the saxophone or basketball. I want to expand the definition to include whatever we do. Practice is repetition. Those things we repeat more often get more deeply ingrained. So practice could be a negative mechanism.

15 minute keyword sketch

Take a piece of paper and make a three column list. Date it somewhere on the top.

Write YES on the top of the left column.
Write NO on the top of the middle column.
Write MAYBE in the middle of the middle column.
Yes, I want. No, I do not want. Maybe is maybe later.

Write KEEP on top of the far right column It's for items you already have that you wish to keep.

When we think of what we want we generally add things that we don’t have forgetting that we already have plenty and we may not like it taken away from us. This is a doorway into gratitude. And gratitude is a large luxurious place. It is good to remember these things you right on your list.


What do you want specifically? Make a sheet and date it.

What do you want from relationships?
What do you want from community?
What do you want mentally?
What do you want emotionally?
What do you want spiritually?

The question WHY might have some interest from time to time.


The Artists Way by Julia Camaron
Any of several books by Natalie Goldberg; Wild Mind comes to mind.
Just Write It is a Meetup group in Milwaukee;

There are people in that group that are writing autobiographies,  memoirs, fiction, screenplays, scripts, or comics. They meet once a week for a couple of hours in a couple different locations. The session is 40 minutes of writing and 10 minutes of social interaction. Rinse and repeat.

Schedule time for yourself. My tool is writing, daydreaming, sketching, mind mapping and to do lists. Occasionally get things get done.

Mind mapping? Visual diagrams.

EXERCISE - 15 minutes
Star map constellation.

The point of the exercise is to build you a shape that will become your personal icon. Or one of your personal icons. The exercise is to take a blank piece of paper and make relatively random dots in a large portion of the page. The dots can be bigger or smaller. They represent stars in the sky. And once you have finished the dots you can turn the paper around and around and around there is no top or bottom at this point. And then you can look for a shape by connecting straight lines.

Think of a keyword that represents something important in your life. Now, name the star points.

And now you have a personal constellation. It can be your secret. Tape it up on the wall etc. And when people ask you about it you can say it’s a postcard from home. You could also think up something more clever than that.

Asking experts is fine. It is highly recommended. But they don’t know everything. You have to assimilate their input and find out what value it has for you. For you.

Happy Exercise
List things that were fun as a kid.
What have in not done in way too long?

Five minutes

The Milwaukee Recreation catalog indicated that there would be a guided meditation. I think I will write read one of my poems instead.


Alice Moon Walk

The journey of a thousand miles
Begins ... Continues ... Detours
... Sidesteps the exotic adventure

When I remember the countless
Midnight bare footsteps over
The linoleum kitchen floor
To the window over the sink
I may have been to the
Moon and back
Over twenty two years

We might be temporarily fooled
By the glossy, seductive,
Well-produced brochure
Advertising the thousand miles

The journey sounds like a fresh start
To somewhere new. Just do it. Go see.

The journey of a thousand miles
Imagines itself a spatial journey
Yet, if you have come far enough

To recognize this mesmerizing vista,
You have already been gone
A very long time

Your journey is folded in your pocket
A well worn map and laundry
list, to do, to do, to do

Pace your self
Massage your feet
Alice awaits


David L White January 22 2017
1:45 am


Questions and observations at the end. Sharing. How was it for you? Would you come back? Would you find a study buddy to go out and have coffee and be alone together? Are you moved to pay more attention to yourself? Do you have some light on now about you and doing happy better?


"The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Castaneda

"It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at." Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

"Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon or too late. You don’t have to like it… It’s just easier if you do." - Byron Katie

"Find out for yourself what are the possessions and ideals that you do not desire. By knowing what you do not want, by elimination, you will unburden the mind, and only then will it understand the essential which is ever there." Jiddu Krishnamurthi

"Make a list of what is really important to you. Embody it." - John Kabat-Zinn

"Do whatever brings you life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"There is a secret for greater self control, the science points to one thing: the power of paying attention." - Kelly McGonagle

"Things are as they are. Looking out into The Universe at night, we make no comparison between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations." - Alan Watts

"The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but the process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself a new. Seek therefore, not to find out who you are, but seek to determine who you want to be." Neil Donald Walsh

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” - Woody Allen.

It may not be the percentage. It may not be the success. You are already showing up somewhere. Just like in real estate: Location. Location. Location. So, ask yourself, where are you consistently showing up? Are there too many places unrelated to your success?

Speaking of showing up thank you for showing up here. If you are attending the actual session please tell the powers that be in your exit survey. You’d like to do this again, right? I would. Thank you once again. Happy trails. Let's go do happy better.

ArtWords Audio

Part 2 @ 10 minutes ͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏     ­͏...