Cultivating Happiness: How I Tried (and Failed) to Implement Self-Help Strategies and Accidentally Got Happier
by Penny Castle
Paperback, 266 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Peneleope Castle
Penny Castle is on a madcap chase in pursuit of that most elusive of conditions: happiness. The only female in a household of more or less sceptical males Penny's journey begins when a hopeful mid-career switch crumbles into disappointment. In a funk, she turns to an inspiring happiness expert she finds on TedTalks, and decides to try the strategies he suggests. All of them. It can't harm ... or can it?
Her forays into meditating, journaling, running (no-one could accuse her of being athletic) and horse-riding, are all sabotaged by her very own internal critic, a tweezer-lipped character called Sally, who never fails to point out her shortcomings. In Sally's jaundiced view, no ambition, however noble, doesn't deserve a stab in the back.
Penny's final attempt to corner her target leads her into the realms of "acts of service." In her case, this takes the form of a morning spent picking up dog turds in a local park. No discernible happiness results.
Even her work as a "happiness coach," while it delivers joy to her clients, doesn't seem to do the trick for her.
Her quest seems doomed to eternal, if hilarious, failure...
But all along, Penny's been toiling away at something never mentioned by the happiness experts. Something she began, not for happiness sake, but to do her maternal duty. It's during the hours she spends in this pursuit that she begins to feel most at ease with herself and her world. Could it be the answer she's been seeking? This time, it's not Sally who steps in to explode the possibility. Drought and a Biblical flood do that job very well, thank you very much.
But that's not the end of Penny's story... or her quest.
First off, I thought this book was good. I loved walking through Penny’s life with her and how she accidentally tripped over how to find her happiness. This is more of a memoir of her journey than a literal self-help book.
But if you are looking for a book about the “10 Steps to Be A Happier Person,” this is not that book. I would indeed love to pick Penny’s brain for all the coaching advice she learned over the years that she used to help others attain their own happiness or at least discover what make the happy clock inside them tick.
We follow the journey of her years of coaching and how sometimes it isn’t what you know but how you feel that brings you the most happiness. She does not seem happy in most of this book and I think it is that way for a lot of us. We go through the mundane parts of our life never realizing the true joy we have found packed in the tiny slots of our life that we have over looked.
I am not sure there is an actual state where you deem… I am totally happy right now. Happiness is a journey of discovery. And I think that is what Penny has shown us here. Her road was a lot bumpy and filled with a bit of misery but like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, the happiness she had been seeking had been there all along.
Definitely recommend this title! Check it out.
I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.