For those who are living in the gap between where they are, and where they wish to be.
A conversation with the author on a casual walk about some of the choices and challenges faced in life and how to get through them.
Mind & Body A Practical Guide To Life
||4 publishers interested
Many of us are often told that the goal of everything we do in this life is happiness. It is all about being happy. But what is happiness? How do you know if you are happy? Is it OK to be happy in a world that seems to be full of sadness? Should you feel guilty for being happy when so many are not?
Or are they happy, but we just perceive them as not being so?
See, that is just the thing. Try as we might to walk a mile in another’s shoes, we never will.
Things will happen to us during our lives that will make us ask questions we never knew existed, and we will never really know what it is like to spend time in another being's mind.
Many of us spend a lot of our time in the gap. The gap between where we are and where we see ourselves being, that childhood dream that we hold onto day and night, just hoping that someone or something will come along and make it OK.
Well, Jamie is here to tell you that it is fine just how it is; it just takes a bit of getting used to.
He is going to go walk you through some thoughts that he had on his journey to this point that you may be having too.
Discussing these thoughts and ideas will alleviate some of those nagging thoughts and feelings you are having while you are in the gap of where you are and where you think you should be.
By the end, you will realise that the gap does not exist because only the present moment ever exists.
You are going to go for a walk. Jamie doesn’t know how long you will walk for, or where you are going, or if it is going to rain, or if it is going to be a nice day, but go anyway. Jamie will probably do a lot of talking and will tell you a lot about his life and his stories, but there will also be plenty of silence and reflection along the way.
Here's what some readers of the self-published version are saying:
"Wow Jamie what a read! I finished it soon after I got it! I am going to read it again as there is so much to take in! I hope you don't mind me saying that you are so much a philosopher."
"Jamie, hello and wow, wow, wow. I loved this book and oh my gosh, you have nailed the power of the positive mind, and if it is meant to happen, it will. Particularly loved the bit of your dream analysis and that fact that your father appeared. I too cannot cope with negative people and thoughts, even though we all have to at times. Once when I was snowed under with grief and extra responsibility, I was given a book to read by Louise Hay I think it was called (relying on memory here) "You Can Heal Yourself". From that book, I learned a lot to do with the power of the mind and one thing particularly helpful, and I did it many times a day, and still do occasionally was to tell myself "I am doing the best I can".
Jamie, I wish you every success and very best wishes and I do love and continue to tell my kids 'never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.'"
"This was a really refreshing and easy read, yet at the same time full of wisdom. Jamie takes the reader on a gentle and wise walk on a journey through his life and the lessons he has learnt along the way. I really enjoyed reading his story and look forward to many more as I am sure this will be the first of many more books to come."
CHAPTER 1: I’m Stuck in the Middle
There are two things guaranteed in this life: our birth and our death. Everything in between is just this thing we have called time.
There are many cliché quotes that state that it is what we do in between these events that shapes our character. This may be true, but, to me, it is how we truly feel along the way that is most important. It is not always going to be smooth sailing, nor will it always feel good.
CHAPTER 2: I’ve Just Begun My Journey to Awakening
Many books and YouTube videos will tell you that your awakening will be over in 30 days; it won’t. You will be awakening for many more years to come, and once you are, there is no going back to sleep.
It starts as a curious feeling, a restless one perhaps. Things don’t seem to make sense like they used to, you have many more questions than ever before, and there seem to be no answers.
CHAPTER 3: I Have Never Felt Anxious, But My Chest Is Going to Explode
This chapter starts with a personal story about my first experience with anxiety and panic attacks and how I learned to get through them, from a panic attack mid-air on a fligh, to anxiety induced heart episode that saw me taken to hospital and monitored for a suspected heart attack.
CHAPTER 4: I Feel Like I Have Lost My Mind
“If you go mad, you won’t even know, because you are mad”.
This is so simple that it is almost too simple. I can only apply my own interpretation to this in that where we feel like we may be dancing with some dangerous thoughts, the fact that we have an awareness that we are is a good sign.
CHAPTER 5: Listening to What People Aren’t Saying
Being able to communicate with others and allowing others to communicate with us is vital for our survival. Most of us learn to read and write at a young age in order to facilitate communication, but how often do we stop and listen to what people aren’t saying?
Love and connection is a primal urge and need, and it is so often overlooked in the world as we know it. We don’t need our ears to listen to the feeling we get in our stomach when something feels good, or when something feels bad, or feels just a little strange.
CHAPTER 6: I Don’t Want to Leave the House
So don’t. Get comfortable there. This is where you will do your best work. You are not depressed, you are not going mad, and there is nothing wrong with you.
If your symptoms do persist and you have developed a serious fear of going outside, please see your doctor or your nearest health professional.
But if your fear has not gotten to that point, then I have totally been there. I have always loved being at home, no matter where I have lived, since leaving the nest and moving to the big city from the country.
CHAPTER 7: I Have So Much to Say, Yet Nothing to Say
The time will not always be right or always be seen as appropriate, but what is appropriate anyway? When is the right time? You will speak when you have something to say. For the rest of the time, you will spend it in thought. Enjoy your time there.
I wrote this chapter heading and this opening short paragraph in a flash of genius when it came to me. This is a thought that I often have, and perhaps words that I often say, or do I not say them?
CHAPTER 8: I’m Starting to Dislike People
Good, you don’t have to like everyone. But don’t dislike everyone either.
CHAPTER 9: Has the World Gone Mad?
Sort of, but the world, as you are, is also trying to find itself. Remember, the world is you. There are just so many of you.
CHAPTER 10: I Don't Think I'm Depressed; I Just Don't Feel Like I Belong Anywhere Right Now
This chapter touches on that lurking feeling that many of us develop during the course of our awakening where we struggle to find joy in things we once did. I am cautious not to take away from anyone’s feelings, nor undermine genuine mental health diagnosis’ but talk more with the reader about the moment where life as it once was just seems to be missing something.
CHAPTER 11: I Feel Like I Live Here, But I Am Not from Here
Occasionally, we are blessed with the chance to view the world from a third person point of view. We get a glimpse of objectivity in the goings on of our minds, our days, and the chance to reflect on how we got here. This chapter fleshes that out and provokes thought in the reader.
CHAPTER 12: I Forgot Who I Was in a Relationship
A loss of identity following a relationship breakdown can send a person into a tailspin. Losing who one is in any relationship, not just the intimate ones, can feel like a lack of control over what many have had control of for a long time. This chapter talks through what happens here, how to get that control back, and regain the most important relationship we will ever have, the one we have with ourselves.
CHAPTER 13: The Circle Will Continue to Get Smaller
We accumulate a lot of people in our lives in our early years, some come into our lives and stay forever, some come into our lives for a short while but teach us so much. The value of all is so high. This chapter affirms this to those who question why the ones we want to stay leave, and sometimes why the ones we want to leave stay.
CHAPTER 14: I Feel like I’ve Wasted My Life
Nothing is ever wasted. However, when things don’t feel good and nothing seems to be working out the way we wanted it to, it is easy to default back to this line of thinking. This chapter is about re-framing thoughts and attitudes and realizing that there are lessons all around us just waiting for us to take notice of them.
CHAPTER 15: I Want Someone to Tell Me It’s All Going to be OK
It’s perfectly normal to want someone to swoop in and tell us that everything is going to be OK. Unfortunately, until we decide for ourselves that everything is fine the way it is, sure, there can always be a few tweak. No one will ever give us the feeling that everything is OK, they will only provide a short distraction.
CHAPTER 16: I Feel Like I Feel Things More Than Others
This book is aimed at the feelers, the ones who feel things more than others. Often when someone feels a lot of things, it can become quite overwhelming until self-care and protection is learnt. This chapter talks this out, reassures the reader that it is OK to be like this, and discusses how to make the best of it.
CHAPTER 17: I Feel Like I See Things That Others Don’t
In a world where our futures can quite often feel like they are mapped out and set in stone, those that are awake see the world for what it really is. It is not rosy all of the time, there are going to be hard days, and life is a series of challenges more often than not. This chapter affirms that there are many conversations going on between the words.
CHAPTER 18: I Feel Like There Is Something No One is Talking About
Again, following on from the previous chapter, it is the look between the eyes, the unspoken word, the feeling in the gut. There is what is being said with the words, and there is what is meant by the heart and soul.
CHAPTER 19: I Feel Alone
Realizing that there is so much more to life and the world than we once thought can be a daunting time. It can feel quite isolating at times when the mind starts to wander and ask some of the more philosophical questions. This chapter talks about learning to adjust to this newfound feeling of awakening, which can initially feel like being all alone in the world.
CHAPTER 20: So What If I Just Work a Day Job, That's OK Right?
When I talked to people prior to reading this book, many would blame their job in one way or another for their unhappiness. I did this too for a long time. Money is how we get by at this point in time; so providing you can get it, get it, and figure out everything else in the downtime.
CHAPTER 21: Tell Me I am Doing the Right Thing
Here I start off with some simple words, “you are.” As long as you are not harming another, be that physically, emotionally or spiritually, then do what you must to stay focused and on track.
CHAPTER 22: What if Something Bad Happens?
There is always that fear of something bad happening when we start anything new in life. The fear of failure can take hold of a person and stop the magic from happening. Chances are that things will go wrong, but the more likely thing is that we will get through it, it just might be a bit trickier than we planned.
CHAPTER 23: Is There Anyone Out There That Will Love Me?
Feeling lost and alone can lead to this line of thinking. Sometimes we can feel like we ourselves are so complex and misunderstood, that another could never love us for who we truly are. This chapter talks about how loving another for who they truly are, and accepting this love, is the only type of love that really matters.
CHAPTER 24: Unplug for a While - Be a Human Again
In the connected world that we live in, sometimes it can make a huge difference to just unplug and be. There is a definite over-saturation of information in our days, which can lead to all kinds of scattered thinking. Unplug, reset, re-group and go from there.
CHAPTER 26: A Bucket List
We don’t get a long time on this planet, but we do get time. A bucket list can be a useful tool in paving out a way forward and for exploring who we are and what we wish to achieve while we can.
CHAPTER 27: How Can You Have Direction If You Can't Be Still?
A growing sense of unhappiness and a feeling of going around and around in circles can have one bouncing from one thing to the next without having really thought it out. When life starts to feel a little off, sort of like we are not quite on the right station, this is the trigger to try to get still and just be, then from there, do only what one feels they must do next.
CHAPTER 28: This Life Is Your Movie
If you were to play out your life like your favourite movie, what would that look like? It is all too easy to get caught up in our own heads and by our own views of the world that we can forget to consider another’s viewpoint. We can spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others, when the fact is that there are many who are comparing themselves to us. Taking time to look at all angles during periods of reflecting is a great skill to develop and is important in maintaining a balanced view of ourselves, others, and the world around us.
CHAPTER 29: Don’t Let the World Get in the Way of Your Dreams
This is a breakthrough chapter of the book, in that the discussion leading up to this one has been looking at all aspects of one's behaviours individually and to isolate where we may feel like things have gone ‘wrong’. Don’t let what you believe others to be thinking towards or about you get in the way of your dreams. In this lifetime and on this planet, we get one shot. This is your time.
THIS IS WHERE WE FINISH: One last quick story and I will let you go.
The book ends on a lighthearted story from when I was quite young in primary school, which ties all the chapters and the theme of the book together.
Jamie talked with people aged 16 to 65 prior to writing this book, which gave him his target audience. This book and the conversation it offers is for any one person who at any time in their life has felt a little stuck and lacking in direction.
The Happiness Gap is intended to be a book that a reader would refer back to once a year for a 'refresh' when they feel they have gotten off track and are needing or wanting some guidance.
Unintentionally, this book has been quite popular with women over 40, and the feedback has been that the subtitle "for those who are living in the gap between where they are and where they wish to be" captures exactly how they are feeling.
Conversations and emails/texts from this demographic who have read the book speak of it capturing the power of the positive mind in a practical and simple way. Readers of this demographic have talked to Jamie about how they have raised their children and are entering a point in their lives where they are looking for that next challenge or purpose in life. The book itself has shone a light on areas of thought they had perhaps forgotten about.
There are several articles that talk about the most popular self-help books read by women available online, Jamie looked at 10 Self-Help Books that Actually Help and 13 Self-Help Books for Women that Deliver Brilliant, No-Nonsense Advice that feature books such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Lean In by Sheryl Sanderberg and feedback from a reader told him his book reminded her of You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.
Second to this demographic are people aged 27-30. If you are a believer in Astrology, then you may have heard of the term 'Saturn Return,' where the planet Saturn that is in our birth chart when we are born returns back through it at around this age. The Saturn Return is said to be a 'cosmic reset' where we are blessed with the opportunity to start asking some of the bigger questions about ourselves, our lives, where we have been and where we are going. Jamie attracts a lot of questions around this topic as he has written about it and have studied it. Jamie included this prior writing and research in The Happiness Gap through the chapter headings in the form of questions, which are frequent queries that others have asked him over a number of years.
Jamie Scanlon is a self-published writer, author, and youth development coach. He has held a contributor account with The Huffington Post and Thought Catalog for around two years now, writing across most facets of life.
Jamie has traditionally used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to share his writing. He has found over the years that his audience are not the type of people to publicly comment on his work, but are more inclined to reach out via email with their own comments or stories.
Title: The Happiness Trap
Subtitle: Stop Struggling, Start Living.
Description: Are you, like millions of Americans, caught in the happiness trap? Russ Harris explains that the way most of us go about trying to find happiness ends up making us miserable, driving the epidemics of stress, anxiety, and depression. This empowering book presents the insights and techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) a revolutionary new psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research in behavioural psychology. By clarifying your values and developing mindfulness (a technique for living fully in the present moment), ACT helps you escape the happiness trap and find true satisfaction in life.
The techniques presented in The Happiness Trap will help readers to:
• Reduce stress and worry
• Handle painful feelings and thoughts more effectively
• Break self-defeating habits
• Overcome insecurity and self-doubt
• Create a rich, full, and meaningful life
How The Happiness Gap is different :Jamie's book speaks of happiness not being a trap, but rather being with us and around us all of the time. It is not a set of instructions, or community, or worksheets, it is a casual conversation with the author on a walk on a nice day.
Title: Way Of The Peaceful Warrior
Subtitle: A Book That Changes Lives
Publisher: HJ Kramer
Publication Year: 1980
Description: Way of the Peaceful Warrior is based on the story of Dan Millman, a world champion athlete, who journeys into realms of romance and magic, light and darkness, body, mind, and spirit. Guided by a powerful old warrior named Socrates and tempted by an elusive, playful woman named Joy, Dan is led toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. Readers join Dan as he learns to live as a peaceful warrior. This international bestseller conveys piercing truths and humorous wisdom, speaking directly to the universal quest for happiness.
How The Happiness Gap is different: Jamie's book is not centred around any one aspect of his life or the life of any other. Where as, Way Of The Peaceful Warrior is structured in this way. It is about the competitive side to life that can be the undoing for some as they place so much emphasis on just one thing, and when that is taken away, lack purpose. Jamie's book is not targeted at or about any one facet of life, but rather it presents an overview of the many facets of life.
Title: The Four Agreements
Subtitle: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom
Publication Year: 2011
Description: THE FOUR AGREEMENTS BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are tired as opposed to well-rested. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
How The Happiness Gap is different: While Jamie's book is inspired by The Four Agreements, The Four Agreements centre around just that, four simple agreements that one chooses to make and to live by. The chapters in Jamie's book centre around real-life conversations that he has had with people for a number of years now and seek to answer these in a passive tone, free of judgement, and from one who seeks to never answer all of life’s questions, but perhaps provoke more thought to facilitate a hunger for learning.
Title: A Return To Love
Subtitle: Reflections On The Principles Of A Course In Miracles
Publication Year: 1992
A Description: Williamson reveals how we each can become a miracle worker by accepting God and by the expression of love in our daily lives. Whether psychic pain is in the area of relationships, career, or health, she shows us how love is a potent force, the key to inner peace, and how by practicing love we can make our own lives more fulfilling while creating a more peaceful and loving world for our children.
How The Happiness Gap is different: Again, as with The Four Agreements, A Return To Love centres on A Course In Miracles, that the author refers to as being a required course. Jamie's book does no such thing. It draws on common themes spoken by many, based perhaps more on The Maslow Hierarchy than anything, but more conversational and less of a preaching approach.
Title: The Happiness Project
Subtitle: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.
Publisher: Revised Edition by Harper Paperbacks
Publication Year: 2015 (first published in 2009, unable to find source information for this).
Description: One rainy afternoon, while riding a city bus, Gretchen Rubin asked herself, “What do I want from life, anyway?” She answered, “I want to be happy”—yet she spent no time thinking about her happiness. In a flash, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. The result? One of the most thoughtful and engaging works on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of interest in the subject. The Happiness Project synthesizes the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research, as Rubin brings readers along on her year to greater happiness.
How The Happiness Gap is different: Jamie's book tells no one to do anything specific. It speaks not of cleaning your wardrobe to make you happy, nor singing in the morning. It takes an honest approach to life and leaves no stone unturned with regards to the complexities faced often, but also the softer gentler side to life.
What IS The Happiness Gap?
So often these days we are told that the goal in everything that we do in this life is to be happy. It is all about being happy. But what is happiness? How do you know if you are happy? Is it OK to be happy in a world that seems to be full of sadness? Should you feel guilty for being happy when so many are not?
Or are they happy, but we just perceive them as not being so?
See, that is just the thing. Try as we might to walk a mile in another’s shoes, we never will.
Things will happen to us during our lives that will make us ask questions we never knew existed, and we will never really know what it is like to spend time in another beings mind.
Many of us spend a lot of our time in the gap. The gap between where we are and where we see ourselves being, the childhood dream that we hold onto day and night, just hoping that someone or something will come along and make it OK.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it is OK just how it is; it just takes a bit of getting used to.
I’m going to go walk you through some thoughts that I had on my journey to this point, and that you may or may not be having too.
Talking these out will hopefully alleviate some of those nagging thoughts and feelings you are having while you are in the gap of where you are and where you think you should be.
By the end, I hope that you realise that the gap does not exist, because only the present moment ever exists.
We are going to go for a walk. I don’t know how long we will walk for, or where we are going, or if it is going to rain, or if it is going to be a nice day, but let’s go anyway. I will probably do a lot of talking and will tell you a lot about my life and my stories, but there will also be plenty of silence and reflection along the way.
What fun we are going to have!
I want someone to tell me it’s all going to be OK
Plenty will try, but it is not until you accept that you are where you are meant to be in every moment, not necessarily where you want to be, that you will start to feel OK yourself.
I spent years longing for someone to tell me that everything was going to be OK, and for all that did, the less I believed it. I lost my father at the age of 21, as much as we have a knowing that our parents will go before us, for me I had a vision of it being much later in life, but as we know, life has other plans and in everything that happens, there are lessons to be learned.
A question that I have pondered for a while within myself is; why so often when someone is telling us that something is going to work out, or that everything will be ok, is there that 1% shadow of doubt that makes us think it won’t? And although it is only 1%, it has the capacity to overshadow the 99% of us that does believe everything will work out and that everything will be ok?
Is it that our definition of everything working out is unrealistic? Does it get back to the theme of this book in its entirety? That we have this golden vision of what our life should be like, potentially based on a reality that is far from the reality we are living.
Television, advertising and marketing are wonderful mediums for people to promote their creativity, skills and products, but there is a flipside to this also.
These mediums paint a rosy picture of what life is meant to be like, and, while most of us know this, at times we can forget, and there are those that don’t know the difference between the screens where the pretty people live and the places where we live.
Do you see what I did there?
“The places where WE live”
In that sentence, I have implied that where WE live is not good enough, and that we are not pretty. I have done so with a deliberate intent, so that you will question this, and take a look around and realize that the places where the pretty people live are all around you and I.
They are at work, in line at the movies; they are on the roads with us during peak hour traffic. Beauty and perfection is all around us all of the time. Everything ultimately is perfection. Everything is alive; it has a vibration, a purpose, and a mission to complete while it is alive.
Is that in itself not incredible?
Does the fact that no matter where our mind is at, the world and all that is alive within it, is growing and evolving in its, and their own magical ways; reassure you that everything will be ok?
We all have our happy place, be it in our minds, or a place we go when we want some time out to think and just be. Imagine right now, that you are in your happy place, what does it feel like?
What can you hear?
What can you see?
What can you smell?
Now, for those of you whos happy place is an actual physical destination, are you there right now? If you are, then I am a clever author in that my words have prompted you to read this book at your happy place, but if you are not, have you not just ended up there in your mind, and are now grinning from ear to ear and feeling a sense of calm and inner peace?
Is everything ok in this moment? Do you need anyone to tell you that everything is going to be ok in this moment? Or did you arrive here of your own accord? Sure, perhaps with the prompt of me painting a picture in your mind with some words, but it is you who CHOSE to read them and get yourself here.
Pretty cool huh?
So what does this mean, and what am I trying to tell you?
Well, it is simple, in my opinion of course. When the thought or feeling that everything is falling apart starts to creep in to your mind and take over your thoughts, stop, and recognise that moment right there.
Just because the thoughts are creeping in, is by no means an indication that any of them are going to unfold or manifest into your physical world or reality. Our minds can wander off a million times a day. I’ve often felt that my entire existence is the product of my mind wandering off to another place. When I get to that place, I sit for a while and then create another place in my mind and I go there, and then from there I go somewhere else, and then someone is yelling at me asking me if I heard what they said, and I lie and I say yes.
The beauty in this is that when I do create that place in my mind, it then shapes my reality. No matter where I am or what is going on in the outside world, as long as I can focus on a calm and happy place in my mind, I know that I can handle whatever occurs in the outside world.
Something interesting to note here too, do you find it curious how during the times where our minds and thoughts wander off into a state of worry and confusion, that it can grip our entire being and shake us into a state of fear and panic, and seemingly become all consuming?
And then when we take ourselves off to a place that is warm, loving and sunny in our minds, it is not long before we start to feel a bit guilty, or that something bad should happen just to snap us back from this place?
Imagine a world where this was flipped around, and that there was no such saying as “oh well, that’s 3 good things, must be time for something bad”. By even thinking this thought we have effectively given a bad thing the green light to proceed into our path, we’ve invited it right into our house for coffee, so how can we be mad about that?
The next time you are feeling down and unsure about what is going on in your life, who are you going to turn to and ask to tell you that everything is going to be ok?
When there is no one around and it is late at night, who is going to answer that question for you? I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps the answer you have come to is that it is you who will answer the call.
Now that you have read this, you should live your life like this immediately if not sooner, and if you don’t and you still need to ask others, then you have failed this chapter and have to start again.
Oh my god - Imagine if I was serious.
You really cannot fail at this, you will merely have a lot of practice in that of asking others if everything is going to be ok for a while longer, until such time as you get sick of asking, and the need to ask others begins to reduce, as the knowing of all the answers to your questions within yourself begins to grow.