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H36: Season Six Intermission - Happiness


While Daniel is off gallivanting around the world, back here in Philadelphia I continue to ponder.  Today’s show is a brief update on my latest thoughts about happiness, being a happiness consultant, the “gap” I sometimes perceive between Daniel and me, and thoughts about starting a whole new podcast.

Never a dull moment!

Happiness35: Daniel vs. Amy


I chose the title for today’s episode with hopes that you would think it was funny. (Did you?)

What I’m trying to do in this and the next three shows (C35, S35, P35) is to pick at Daniel a little bit, in search for an explanation of why I feel such a gap between the way I am and the way Daniel is – even though I don’t quite disagree with a word he says.

So far, I haven’t gotten to it.  But today’s show is my first stab, for what it’s worth.

We also touch on various topics along the way, including objective truth, black and white thinking, our similar and dissimilar goals, and being a ‘Denial Buster.’

Today Daniel said “Ultimately, the real objective answer comes from within… because we are all perfect deep inside, we all know the truth deep inside.”  I’m going to be pondering that one for a good long while.

Another thing he said was “Just test it for yourself!”

And for that I’ll give him an Amen.

Happiness34: Daniel on the True Self


In today’s show Daniel defines the True Self as: Who we really are as a person, the real honest core,  the essence of what makes us human, the part of us that is perfect, beneath all the traumas (all the hurt, wounds, rage, anger, frustrations, dissociation, fake happiness, projections, fantasies), the part that is connected to truth and knows truth.

When asked, How does one find one’s true self?  he said: Be as honest with yourself as you possibly can be.

Kinda really simple, and kinda really really really hard.

Daniel also lists several things you can do to connect with your true self (apparently the same thing as “self-therapy,” I realized today). If you want to see some of those ideas in black and white, here is an essay Daniel wrote on the subject.

I also recommend his little book on self-therapy (written with his best friend Fred, who I can testify is also a rare (and delightful) soul.) Even though it’s only 44 pages, I recommend taking a year to read it, because it’s not the reading that matters – it’s the actual doing that makes the difference.

So many people claim to know the secrets to being “happy, healthy and wise.” From where I’m sitting, it seems the only place you’ll ever really find those secrets are buried deep inside you.

So how ’bout go on in there, pull up a comfy chair with yourself, and stay awhile.


Happiness33: Daniel on Happiness


Welcome to Season Six!

As you might recall, Season Six is dedicated to hearing the truth according to Daniel Mackler. Why? Because I said so. And I said so because I think he’s smart.

In today’s episode Daniel talks about why he’s really not at all into the idea of “happiness,” and thinks it’s a bit “ewww” that I call myself a “happiness consultant.”

He also touches on other things like addiction, success, dissociation, honesty and the true self.

One more note about the way we’re playing the “Season Six Game:”

After 12 Daniel-episodes (3 shows for each of WWA’s 4 threads), there will be a final interview on each thread, inspired by questions and comments from the audience.  As you’re listening to the next several conversations, please feel free to send me your criticisms, reactions and thoughts (via email or by posting a comment on and I’ll ask Daniel to respond to your feedback.

And in other news, did you notice that it’s almost spring?


Happiness32: Sister Sarah Asks Me Some Questions


Sarah asked me about composting, being the oldest of five, my favorite flowers, my childhood acting career, my latest projects… and other stuff, n stuff.

my family in 1979 ish

bleeding hearts in the garden at the river house

bleeding hearts in the garden at the river house (*love!*)





Amy as Peter Pan (1976)

Amy as Peter Pan (1976)

Amy as a parrot

Amy as "Some Dumb Parrot Thing" (1981)

the neverending (I hope) mural project

the never-ending (I hope) mural project

wintery wonderland

frozen rain barrel art

two of the sisters

somewhere along the side of the road in Mexico...

Happiness31: Veronica Asks Me Some Questions


Between friendly giggles, Veronica asked me some questions, like:

veronica lacerda arao


Why are you a happiness consultant, and what are the best and worst parts?
Where are all the places that you have lived?
How do you take care of yourself?
What’s your favorite kind of tea?

Lenine, a favorite Brazilian singer-songwriter of Veronica’s, sings the closing song called Paciência Acústico (or “Patience.”)  Veronica tells me it goes roughly like this:

Even when everything asks for a little more calm
Even when the body asks for a little more soul
Life doesn´t stop

When time goes fast and is on a hurry
I say not, I waste a time do a dance
Life is so rare

While everybody waits for a cure for evil
And the craziness pretends that everything is normal
I pretend having patience

The world keeps turning always faster
We wait from the world and the world waits from us
A little more patience

Is it time that we are missing to understand?
Will we have this time to waste?
And who wants to know?
Life is so rare, too rare

Even when everything asks for a little more calm
Even when the body asks for a little more soul
I know, life doesn´t stop

Happiness30: My Honeymoon and Season Five


At the end of today’s show, Jake Snider sings:

We could live up on a mountain.
throw our wishes in a fountain,
I throw my best wishes on you.
If we can share it, I don’t care.
United states of Anywhere with you, with you…
Love don’t have a destination,
you’re my favorite location,
United states of anywhere with you.

And that’s how I’ve been feeling about myself these days. That’s right, I said it. True love.

Today I talk about where I’ve been hiding for the past few months, and lay out the red carpet for Season Five, the season in which you guys run the interviews.

Or sumthin!


Happiness28: the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear


On October 30, 2010 (“a date of no significance whatsoever”), Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held a rally for sanity and/or fear.  I went because my kids wanted to go, Jon and Stephen wanted me to go, and because I hoped it would make me laugh.  Beyond those fine accomplishments we also enjoyed a warm fall day in DC, ate a picnic, found food for thought, and got to wear our new WWA shirts all around town!

rally for sanity and/or fear

Chicks... or death? Ummmm Chicks please!

rally for sanity and/or fear

You come here often?

Thanks to The Wood Brothers for the musical chocolatey treat at the end of today’s show.

And thanks to all the funny people in the world.  I need you.


Happiness27: Retreats


“Although it can be embarrassing and painful, it is very healing to stop hiding from yourself.” ~Pema Chodron

“Since you have to live in your own skin, you might as well feel at home in it!” ~Kara Tennis

One of the fastest ways to stop hiding from yourself is to stop doing everything else and just stare at yourself for a while.  That’s the kind of retreat I’m talking about in today’s show, and Pema is right about the embarrassing and painful parts, I s’pose I should warn you.

But it can be sweet and tender too, like holding a brand new baby, or going on a simple quiet honeymoon.  A worthy way to pass some time.

And maybe it has a little something to do with happiness, and feeling at home in your own skin.

And I do trust that if at all possible, you plan to be in attendance at Ryan Tennis’s Album Release Party this Saturday night, so I shan’t nag you ’bout it.

“TTFN – Ta Ta for now!” ~Tigger

“xo” ~Amy

Happiness26:Redefining 'Family'


In that little box under his picture on facebook, Phil Crimmins says “Life is so fucking awesome!”  So of course I had to interview him (to the extent that the internet and skype gods would allow, which was unfortunately limited) to find out How come so you’re so goddam happy?!

Not surprisingly, the answer was in part “because I’ve been through hell….”

Phil talks about his quest for truth and healing (of both the inner and outer varieties), Aristotle, living in the present moment, leaving his family of origin and finding/creating a new family who love and support him in being who he truly is.

Come to think of it, that does sounds pretty fucking awesome.

You’ll hear Phil briefly refer to this study that suggests that therapy is up to 24 times more effective as a tool for happiness-boosting, than money is.  (As I’m sure you can imagine, I don’t believe a word of it!  Cuz let’s face it: without money, how ya gonna buy a Hummer!??!)  But go ahead, read the study if it makes you feel better.  Maybe there’s  something to it.


Today’s “closing hymn” is So Full by Jim Boggia.  Once when I saw Jim in concert he played one of those little kid rainbow-colored xylophones in a couple songs, which really made me like him.