As you guys know, I spent a lot of time in our Nation’s Capital, exploring, dreaming, thinking up ways we can incorporate joy and love into our political dialogue. The outcome wasn’t quite what I had thought it would be…but I’m happy to say, I think it’s bigger and better. The Red Boot (R)evolution emerged.
After having spent a year on the Capitol Hill project, I was able to draw some conclusions that have been confirmed and documented by others…that the sustainers of any large entity that has been around awhile, can easily lose sight of the vision of its founders. We move into a space of institutional forgetting and become so focused on the tiny tasks at hand that we forget the big picture…the why for why the whole thing started in the first place.
Every start-up that grows up deals with this institutional forgetting at some point or another and if you think about it, government was at one point a start-up. The men and women involved in its formation were innovators, out of the box thinkers…basically the Steve Jobs of their time. They MADE-UP a manner of leading a nation. How freakin’ amazing is that?
When I was in 7th grade, my history teacher, Mr. Bristor, required his students to memorize the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. We are all aware of that famous line that goes like this: (I still have it memorized.)
“We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Well, I’ve been thinkin’ a lot about happiness and joy lately. Seems to me that we’ve gotten a bit off track. We have, as a nation…heck a globe…gotten so focused on our right to be happy that we’ve forgotten what makes us happy in the first place.
If one of the tasks assigned our government is to create a nation where people are free to pursue happiness, might it be helpful to explore what happiness looks like? How can we create systems, laws and rules that allow people to pursue their happiness and their joys if we don’t know what the thing they are pursuing looks like to them?
And to be even more honest here…I have a theory. I think we’ve somehow confused happiness with money…our things. We’ve somehow, as a government…heck as a culture, gotten caught up in a belief that if people have money (how much is a huge debate as well) they are then free to pursue their happiness. (I’m not suggesting that money isn’t necessary…but I am curious to see how money and happiness are, if at all, related to one another.) I think, though, if we really got into it, really sat down and asked each other the question “What really…as in really…makes you happy”…we would discover a different story all together.
Now since I can’t be sure of that, I’ve decided to go on an excursion to ask the question. In August of this year (2014) I’m packing up a truck with some lounge chairs (for chatting), a sleeping bag (for sleeping), a coffee maker (all Red Booters need strong coffee), a couple of pink flamingoes (just because I want to and they are funny), some clothes (duh), my running shoes (so I don’t go crazy), a yoga mat (so I don’t think too much) and last and of course not least, my red boots, to set out on a cross country journey… and ask Americans “What makes you happy?”
I plan to chronicle the event mostly through the written word, but will include video and photography. Every evening I will check in with ya’ll providing updates on who I’ve met and what amazingness has transpired. No GPS. No maps (tucked away in the event of an emergency of course), I’m just going to Go West…and talk to the amazing people I will meet. Coffee shops, Walmarts, bars, fitness centers, barns, anywhere the mood strikes and the question can happen, I will be there to ask, “What makes you happy?”
Now to be clear…for some folks this would not be fun…but for me this kind of journey makes me very, very happy! So double whammy right? I’ll be asking the question while I’m living my answer!
I’m in search now of a name for this excursion. Got any ideas?