10% Happier

I am living an amazing life. Oh sure, I have my ups-and-downs, who doesn’t? That’s the nature of existence; living.

My viewpoint? I am an optimist operating in an indubitably real world, so I tend to observe, sense, and ponder my surroundings as if I were the director of a multi-camera film-shoot looking through each lens, weighing each point-of-view for the most accurate depiction of the story. I seek to understand all angles of a scene, and then I top that off with a little KB-spice, which I like to call “partly-sunny.” Do I always get it right? You-betcha. Wink.

I do my best to check my judgement-gut at the door, which is easier to do if I’m not emotionally intertwined, but those pesky emotions can still get the best of me when I least expect it. I suppose that’s what makes living in an unquestionably real world indubitable. We all have our own set of feelings and beliefs…sometimes they work to our benefit, and sometimes they simply get us in trouble.

Trouble - Kathleen Blackwell - Photography by Mark Guerra / Styling by Leah Moon Trouble - Kathleen Blackwell - Photography by Mark Guerra / Styling by Leah Moon

One such judgement that I have carried with me for much of my life is that I’ve had a tendency to frown upon meditation, labeling it as “fru-fru,” or for “those people” who don’t seem to have much else on their plate. Meditation seemed silly to me, lacking of inward and outward passion, and in response to hearing others wax poetic on meditation, I typically found myself thinking, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

So, when I ran across a book, titled 10% Happier, I wondered…could I be 10% happier? Was it possible I was missing out on one of the richest gems of life by proclaiming meditation as wasteful? And…what kind of ignorance was I harboring against the age-old practice of meditation [wisdom]? And maybe, more importantly, why was I resisting it?

Then, as I was learning about the benefit of putting space between my thoughts and actions from my voice teacher, Dot Todman (C.O.R.E. Vocal Power), I gave myself permission to let go, open up, and explore. I became increasingly interested in understanding the art of meditation, as well as being mindful of my thoughts, rather than reactionary, or worse yet, self-righteous.

10% Happier was staring me right in the face. Literally. The book was on my kitchen counter. Then it moved to the bedside table. I picked it up, held it. I glanced at the cover, opened the inside flap, read the marketing blurbs, and then I put it back down. I picked it back up, perused the Author bio…loved the fact that he was a reporter, a journalist [because that made me love-hate the book even more]. I pondered its authenticity [was it paid-for marketing], and then I decided to give it a whirl.

Page one grabbed my attention from the get-go. This was way more than a book about meditation, this was a book that spoke to me and addressed my own inner critic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story by Dan Harris (Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America Weekend Edition), who etched his journey from a meditation non-believer (labeling it “fru-fru”) to a practicing meditation believer (meditation is fruitful).

Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists.

After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.

10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives. Amazon Review

KB - 10% Happier! KB - 10% Happier!

I savored each word, and Harris did a stellar job at debunking the “granola-eating, sandal-wearing” myth of what many of us might think when we hear the word meditation. Harris is truly a gifted writer, and I highly recommend 10% Happier to anyone skeptical of meditation. At the least, Harris provides a riveting insight to what it’s like to be a journalist on the frontline of life—100% heroic—as he paints a backdrop to what brought him to emotionally and intelligently understand what mindful meditation is all about. It’s a win-win read.