It is nearly Spring and many of you in the Northern Hemisphere are about to encounter a host of small flourishing things! Dandelions are amazingly strong plants that thrive even when challenged by drought and soil starvation. Unless you are a lawn perfectionist, they bring joy and splashes of color to life. If you want only the green in your lawn, they gift you the opportunity to learn tolerance.
Eudiamonia is a Greek word, commonly translated as “happiness or welfare”, but the most accurate translation may be “human flourishing.” This kind of flourishing is not the hedonic approach that is simply focused on getting pleasure and avoiding pain. Instead, it is a fuller description that encompasses life meaning, virtue in the treatment of others, wisdom, and well-being in the world. Plato and Aristotle and their followers discussed it as being “the good composed of all goods… an ability which suffices for living well” (Wikipedia) Dr. Martin Seligman in Flourish (Free Press, 2011) describes a weaving together of grit, gratitude, optimism, biology, and happiness to create passion and a deep sense of well-being.
The good news is many of these skills and attitudes can be chosen, and our biology supports that choice. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a whole bouquet of resilient people sprang up in the world to add color and energy and wisdom?
Have you ever felt this state of eudiamonia? In my work with Baby Boomers, I see many searching for this energized calm where they feel simultaneously challenged, fulfilled, and peaceful. I can feel this magic now for days at a time, but still, strive to stretch those times so they link together into a continuous pattern. Balancing inward calming and gratitude practices with outward focus and passion seem to be a key for me. How do you do it?
I wish for your days and days of “eudiamonic” being where you feel alive, happy, and focused. If you are near retirement, or in early retirement, I hope you thoughtfully consider how to make the changes in life you need not just to live, but to flourish in a great big field of dandelions!
Jeanne Erikson, PhD, PCC