Feeling our way to flourishing

summing up a week on cultivating Positive Emotions as a pathway to co-flourishing
posting by Jana

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The daily Cosmic Quote program on YouTube is off to a fresh start this year with a five-week focus on human flourishing. Due to the inherent interdependency of the universe, human flourishing is integral to the flourishing of the whole community of life on Earth (or as we like to call it around here: co-flourishing of people, place, and planet ... together). 

Positive psychologist Martin Seligman identifies five components of human flourishing; flourishing being something beyond happiness and unrelated to 'having it all.'

It might be a good idea at the outset to check in on a dictionary definition of the term 'flourish':

flourish /ˈflʌrɪʃ/
1. (of a living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment.

healthy * vigorous * congenial environment - that's what we're talking about! 

The five components of human flourishing identified by Seligman create the acronym PERMA, which is pretty fun given the association with permaculture, a system of looking after people and land with the intent of mutual, permanent flourishing. 

P - positive emotion

E - engagement

R - positive relationship

M - meaning

A - accomplishment

Here is the 'study version' of the journey we undertook in our first week of exploring the theme 'flourishing': positive emotions. You are invited to follow the links for a deeper journey with the theme. 

Monday 1 Jan 2018
After introducing the theme of flourishing and its components, the first positive emotion under the spotlight was gratitude. Gratitude was chosen from a 'top 10' list compiled by Dr Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity. 

Gratitude is the fairest blossom that springs from the soul. Henry Ward Beecher

The question for living as a Cosmic Person arising from this focus is, 'How do you express gratitude in your life as part of your own flourishing? What's your gratitude practice?'

Tuesday 2 Jan 2018
Here's a good one: joy. Read more from Rollo May on the vital difference between happiness and joy.

Joy is an overflowing of inner energies and leads to awe and wonderment. Joy is a release, an opening up; it is what comes when one is able to genuinely 'let go.' Joy is new possibilities ... It is an unfolding of life. Rollo May

Wednesday 3 Jan 2018
Taking up a different tone, the focus for mid-week was on serenity

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity that nothing is. Thomas Szasz

One of the best lines in the Australian cult classic The Castle forms the question of the day, 'How's the serenity?' 

Thursday 4 Jan 2018
It turned out to be impossible to find a quote about the positive emotion of amusement. It was belittled by most as some sort of lower order emotion. How dull! Why not be counter-cultural and cultivate amusement as a pathway to co-flourishing of people, place, and planet?!  Thanks to Community members for your reports from the field on what amuses you! (scroll the FB group to explore)

Friday 5 Jan 2018
From the Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, Lewis Thomas describes with a certain poetry how the Earth is a source of endless, begging the question for flourishing: What interests you? What keeps you 'awake and jubilant with questions'? 

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Saturday 6 Jan 2018
It seemed appropriate to choose the closely linked emotions of awe and wonder for Epiphany, a Christian holy day commemorating the visit of wise men from the East to the infant Jesus, evoking awe and wonder (Who is this child? What are these gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh?)

Awe and wonder can be responses to what is revealed; revelation being the common use of the term epiphany as in 'to have an epiphany'. 

The more clearly we focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction. Rachel Carson 

The connection between human flourishing and the flourishing of the whole community of life on Earth is evoked in this simple note of sagacity by one of the most famous female scientists, known for her close powers of observation of marine ecology as well as her detailed exposé of the harmful effects of the pesticide chemical DDT throughout the entire food chain. 

Sunday 7 Jan 2018
all you need is love ...

The Journey this Week
has been about cultivating positive emotions.  We belong to the universe with such interdependency that your wellbeing is interwoven with the wellbeing of the whole community of life on Earth. You are invited to flourish! 

The purpose of these journeys via the Cosmic Quotes is to explore what it means to be a Cosmic Person, to live with sensitivity to and conscious awareness that we belong to the universe and that our lives are governed by interdependency, connectedness, and emergence. To be a Cosmic Person is to let this awareness support our wellbeing and direct our decisions and choices such that our lives become about participating in the flourishing of the whole community of life on Earth. It's about living a bigger story, a better story, and a beautiful story, the one about falling in love with the Earth over and over again.