The Stairway to Happiness by Vernon Sankey

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Vernon Sankey and I met on a Baltic cruise – to be more exact, Vernon and his wife were on the sun deck lounging next to my husband and I while listening to the splash of those in the pool and the rather lively music preceding lunch or dinner – on cruises there’s always another meal about to be served! The four of us had a wonderful time exploring various places around the Baltic Sea, sharing meals together and gazing across the water at the ever changing landscape.

I was delighted to discover recently that Vernon has written a book – The Stairway to Happiness. The book presents a critical look at what happiness is, the levels of intensity that can be attained and the techniques to achieve happiness. Vernon explained that the book combines philosophy, cognitive psychology and spirituality to provide practical guidance so that readers can live a more successful, harmonious and happy life. What an exciting premise!

Me: Why this book and why now?

Vernon Sankey: The material in the book and the advice given, processes suggested, and examples shown have all been extensively used in my years of coaching and guiding others. They have provided many people with a way of dealing with and promoting whatever opportunities they have found and whatever difficulties and stresses they have had to confront.

I decided to write this book now because family and friends have encouraged me to do so. Last year I had some health issues which gave me some concentrated time. So it was all done in about 8 months. I then had to learn how to get a book edited, published and printed and that took another 6 months!

Is there a unifying theme for The Stairway to Happiness?

The unifying them of The Stairway is to enable people to understand the ‘secrets of living a successful and happy life’ hence the subtitle of the book.

What does it mean to you to know that your ideas are ‘out there’ for others to share?

My purpose is to help people. This book is a small step in that direction. It means a great deal to me to have these ideas ‘out there’ in the hope that as many people as possible can benefit and enjoy the happiness that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy.

Looking back, how might the concepts in The Stairway to Happiness have changed your life if you’d adopted them sooner?

I have been living with these concepts and ideas for many, many years and they have moulded my life. I am learning all the time and constantly updating my knowledge and myself. It is a wonderful experience on a journey of discovery. Finding true authenticity is a key: this is only found when what you think, what you say and what you do are in perfect harmony, whatever situation you find yourself in.

Can you briefly explain the notion of a stairway as it relates to happiness?

The framework of this book is in the form of a stairway which takes the reader from the simplest and shallowest form of happiness, ‘instant gratification’, to the deepest ‘the happiness of harmony.’ Happiness is a very nebulous term and tends to be so broad as to be meaningless. I have tried to categorise it and give it substance.

The most encouraging aspect of writing this book, and what sustained me and made it a joy to do, was the knowledge that these techniques work. I use them all the time myself. My children use them and they are applying the appropriate techniques to their children too. They are a guide for our lives.

Thank you, Vernon. We all need more happiness in our lives! I wish you great success.

The Stairway to Happiness by Vernon Sankey

The Stairway to Happiness examines what happiness really is. It explores the different levels of happiness that can be attained and the techniques that can be applied to achieve happiness for oneself, one’s loved ones and other people.

“an inspiring and yet practical book” ~~ Reverend Tina Molyneux, Associate Priest of the Church of England

“The Stairway to Happiness is a fascinating, stimulating and inspiring piece of work. I read it all the way through until I finished it at 2 am!” ~~ Martin Hatcher, Former Executive Chairman, Scansource Communications Limited and MTV Telecoms

“The Stairway’s five steps make intuitive sense and the examples from daily life enable the lessons to be put into practice more easily.” ~~ Lynn Paine, John G McLean Professor and Senior Associate Dean for International Development at Harvard Business School

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

An ideal to live by

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Age must be making me more philosophical – or perhaps it’s the writing I do with the focus it brings on characters’ emotions, motivations, joys, and disappointments. A number of years ago, I clipped a portion of an article from the Globe and Mail written by Gordon Pitts. Mr. Pitts had interviewed Marilyn Carson Nelson who was then Chair of Carlson Cos. Inc. a hospitality-travel business that included Radisson hotels and Carlson Wagonlit Travel. (One of her daughters has subsequently taken on that position.)

The question that captured my attention was Ms. Nelson’s quote:

Every day should be a day I can sign my name to. We should live as a kind of artist because that may be the last day.

Mr. Pitts asked Ms. Nelson to explain and included her response in the interview.

“Our third child was a daughter, Juliet. She was beautiful, vivacious with that wonderful free spirit that comes from being a middle child. She was the one who would call in the morning and say, ‘Have you seen the sun rise?’

She had gone off to college and she was in an automobile accident. She was in the back seat, didn’t have a seatbelt on, and was thrown out of the car.

It’s impossible to put words around the loss of a child. My husband and I tried to make sense of it – and of course, you can’t. But you decide every day, ‘Are you going to get up, or are you going to put the pillow over your head? Of course there are many reasons to get up, but it is so hard to try, in any way, to force yourself to go on. Then we began to realize it was, in part, about time.

We spend our lives thinking about when – when our children grow up, when they graduate, when they’re married. And it is wonderful – we are preparing.

But this wonderful gift is today. She didn’t know she would not come back from college. I don’t know whether I’ll get home tonight. But I know I have this moment – and the time we have is the time being.

So my husband and I decided on a philosophy that if today were the last day of my life, would I be able to sign my name to it? Would I say I lived up to my own expectations of myself? Did I live with integrity? Did I apply my talents? Did I love my neighbour? Did I forgive?

Those are the things that each of us really wants to do, but we don’t always take stock at the end of the day and start again tomorrow. We should make a bit of a work of art of the time we are given.”

I’m glad I found this piece again and can share it with you. Hopefully, I can bring this philosophy into my day-to-day living.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

If by Rudyard Kipling

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Long ago my father wrote out this well-known poem by Rudyard Kipling. My father died quite young at 58. I don’t have many things written in his hand, nor can I ask him why the poem was so important. But I can repeat it here – offering it up as inspiration for any in need of such and in memory of my beloved father.

I wonder if the poem helped him through a particular time in his life. One analysis suggests it offers “various ways in which the reader can rise above adversity that will almost certainly be thrown one’s way” at some point in one’s life.

My father’s name was John Kendal Bingham – Ken to everyone he knew except his mother who insisted on calling him Kendal. He was tall, good looking, and had the proverbial temper ascribed to those with red hair. As an only child, he was indulged by his mother – a woman who should have lived in Victorian times – and no doubt bewildered his mild-mannered father. He was smart, studied engineering at university and graduated in 1943 in the midst of World War Two.

Throughout university he trained in the ROTC – Royal Officer Training Corps – and afterwards served two years as a lieutenant training soldiers in signals work. Dad was scheduled to go to the Asian theatre of war and married my mother just before leaving for special training in the US. He never did go overseas and later had a successful career in the Canadian telephone and telecommunications industry.

Dad was a man of integrity. He worked and played with gusto, had a great sense of humour, loved his family, supported his friends, and was a dedicated man of faith. I miss him every day and often think of how intrigued he would have been with the way technology permeates every aspect of our life. In the mid-sixties he managed a research team that was looking at the concept of ‘picture-phones’ where instead of just hearing someone speak, you could also see the person. And now we have tools like FaceTime.

In today’s climate, we might take exception to the maleness of the poem, however, I believe we can take Kipling’s thoughts and interpret them to suit us all.

Dad – this one’s for you, with love.

PS – the word ‘loose’ should be ‘lose’.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.