AmAre: happiness and meaning. In Italian, means “to love”; in English, interconnectedness: (I)Am (we) are. As a framework for happiness, AmAre stands for being:

* A – Aware and Accepting
* M – Meaningful and Motivated
* A – Active and Attentive
* R – Resilient and Respectful
* E – Eating properly and Exercising

This approach is easy to understand, and has positive effects for a lifetime. If you want to walk this path toward holistic living, just add this blog to your favourites. If you just passed by, and you think you’ll not return, we hope at least you’ll bring with you these simple five approaches to happy and meaningful living. In both cases, we wish the AmAre Way will be as beneficial to you, as it has been to us.

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13 Comments for this entry

  • Shakia says:

    Hello, A good friend of mine referred me to your site, and I must say that I am very glad that I visited. This wisdom is “gold” to me. I will also be referring some of my friends to your site as well. Thanks a lot.

  • Hello Frank,

    This is in response to your request on HARO.

    In 1998 at the age of forty-six I married for the first time, retired, and moved with my bride to a small mountain town to build our dream home and to live the simple life . . . Well things don’t always go as planned. My wife, Susan, was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a total mastectomy, and then abandoned conventional protocol in favor of organic foods, natural medicines, meditation, and psychotherapy. I jumped in to give her support as best I could – attending every medical appointment and consultation, offering massages when she was stressed, listening as best I could without forcing my opinions onto her (at times that was tough . . . real tough), and reminding her that she was a strong person that was going to come out of this cancer ordeal a better person.

    About this same time my sister informed us that she was filing for a divorce from an abusive husband. We had no idea her husband was abusive, but quickly found out that he had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality – he was the nicest person in public, but behind closed doors he turned into an angry bully who took it out on his wife and four children. What else could we do but jump in with both feet and do what could to help my sister and her children.

    Meanwhile, the construction of our dream home had come to almost a standstill. We were building it ourselves and what with all the medical appointments, court hearings, and attorney meetings there just wasn’t a lot of time left over for construction. But after three long years, while still supporting Susan with her cancer and my sister with her divorce, we finally moved into our mountain home. It was one of the happiest days of our lives. Unfortunately, a few months later the Cedar Fire (San Diego, California, 2003) raced through our small community. With a thousand foot wall of smoke and flames within a hundred yards of our back door steps, we decided it was time to evacuate. Seventy percent of the homes in our neighborhood burned to the ground – our home was one of them.

    Oh yeah, I forget to mention that we were also penniless. Somewhere along the way, we had invested our retirement money in the stock market, and, after an initial gain that felt nice, the market (late 2001) began a slide that ended up in the biggest drop since the Great Depression. Our retirement money, like the forest and our home, was gone.

    The outcome of all these events – the cancer, the divorce, the market crash, and the forest fire – was that we, my wife and I, came out smiling . . . and truly believe that we are better people for the experience.

    People have asked how we could come out in such good spirits after going through such dramatic events. The simple answer is that you just do! You do what you have to do to survive and to make the experiences as painless as possible – I dislike pain. And life is a lot less painful, at least it is for me, if I try to see life from the viewpoint of the “big picture” or what I call the Magic. The Magic is simply taking responsibility for our experiences and learning as much as we can from each. And as we learn from our experiences we grow emotionally, intellectually, and spiriturally. I know it sounds somewhat like a clich’e – learning from our experiences – but what can I say, it worked for me. It seems much healthier to see these events as learning esperiences rather than asking God and the Universe, “Why are all these bad things happening to us?”

    Seeing life as a learning experience kept us from being overwhelmed by the moment, which then allowed us to kind of step back and get a clearer picture of what was going on. And with a clearer picture we could then better see what it was we needed to learn, or better see how best to help someone else through the experience, or to better see the humor in the experience. (If you look, there always seems to be humor.) It was real hard for us to feel sorry for ourselves when we were trying to learn, trying to help others, and trying to see the lighter side.

    Seeing life and our experiences as opportunities to learn, trying to help others, and seeing the lighter side of the experiences helped us a great deal. Another thing that helped was that we had an “escape”. Cancer, divorce, and market crashes can be all consuming and there are times when you just need to get away from it all, to escape. Fortunately we had the perfect escape . . . building our house in the middle of the forest. No medical test results, no medical appointments, no attorneys, no court rooms, and no stock market reports – no nothing but Mother Nature and family.

    We formed the Family Construction Crew consisting of Susan (battling cancer), my sister (struggling through a divorce), my sister’s two youngest daughters (ages eight and eleven) and my seventy-seven year old mother. Every Saturday for almost three years, the Family Construction Crew would show up on the site, leave our troubles behind and have fun. We even managed to get some work done. Five women and myself – it was great.


    The above contribution is from Scott Stevenson, author of the newly released inspirational book LOOKS EASY ENOUGH, A Joyful Memoir of Overcoming Disease, Divorce, and Disaster. For the complete story of how Scott and his wife Susan made it through these tough times, check out the book at and

  • Kim Upstone says:

    My name is Kim Upstone and I am an author, speaker and advocate for happiness in our lives every day, no matter the circumstances. My most recent book “All I Want Is … Everything” is a guide for people to find the answers, to help find their “everything”. My story is that I took a journey to find what was missing from my perfect life – as it appeared from the outside. What I found was that the answer for each of us may be different but the questions are the same. Looking at the ego/spirit struggle as well as creating a map for your journey are only the beginning to happiness. We can all find happiness but it does not come naturally to everyone. It takes work. That along with awareness of choices, gratitude and love are the combination that will propel you to your happiness.

    I have included a recent blog post on having peace of mind in a world filled with problems.
    I can also be found on FB, Twitter and You Tube or at any of my websites.

    Please contact me should you have any further interest.
    Have a wonderful day blessed with love, grace and gratitude!

    Kim Upstone
    Author & Motivational Speaker


  • I am an internationally recognized artist known primarily for my drawings and sculptures of dancers. I have been featured in books, magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and film. Currently I live and work with my wife Beverly on our historic 1856 ranch north of Austin, Texas. Before acting as my full time muse and business manager, Beverly was a model and then in sales and marketing for Diane von Furstenberg, Revlon and Ralph Lauren. You can see my work at

    Happiness formula–

    A few short lessons–
    1. Thankfulness is happiness. Wake up each day giving thanks for blessings received and for blessings to come. End each day doing the same.

    2. Aristotle taught that happiness results from a balance of health, wealth, friendship, virtue and knowledge.

    3. Find a great life partner–be a great life partner.

    4. Avoid negative people and negative influences.

    5. Find a way to make a living doing what you love.

    6. Find God’s path for your life and stay on it.

    7. Make yourself as strong in body, mind and spirit as possible.

    Best wishes to you and to your endeavors.
    Please credit me as — Pablo Solomon Artist & Designer

  • Michelle Colon-Johnson says:

    Hi my name is Michelle Colon-Johnson and I am 41 yrs old.I have thought about this question all day long. What is MY Happiness Formula? I have been asked a lot lately how I stay so positive and happy.I have even made jokes about the questions and asked others if they thought I woke up like this everyday.The truth after examining this question all day, is I have made a deliberate CHOICE to be positive. Every day I wake up I know I have a choice on how my day can go. I can be Positive and Inspire others or I can be Negative. It brings me to that famous quote by Gandhi ” Be the change you seek in your world”.
    Being a 5 time stage 4 cancer survivor and a single mother to an Autistic teenage daughter I know that it would be easy to be negative and blame things /others due circumstances in my life (and in the past like many others have done so) but I made a choice in 2009 to start being positive and that meant THINKING Positive. Everyday I make an effort to think positive and think of my world as half full instead of half empty. Everyday I decide to turn my circumstances into opportunities to help others.

    Michelle Colon-Johnson

  • Nancy Schimmel says:

    It began with loudmouth, opinionated Barbara. She started conversations with other exercisers in the deep pool at the Berkeley YMCA and pretty soon it was like a cocktail party every day from nine to ten a.m. but we were in liquid instead of drinking it. Sometimes all in one conversation, sometimes in little groups, treading water or doing more structured exercise. Then we started having now-and-then potlucks. Then Barbara got Lou Gehrig’s disease. We became a support group, having potlucks every week, with slide shows of our travels or readings of our poetry as it became harder for Barbara to take part in conversation. At Barbara’s funeral, we found out a lot about her life we didn’t know, heard about the compassion under her boisterous surface, and somebody said, “Let’s not wait for one of us to die to get to know them better.” ‘Barbara’s Salons’ evolved into a twice-a-month memoir-writing group (with pot-lucks). When our oldest member died, her daughters were thankful that they found on her computer the pieces she wrote for the group–they read stories they hadn’t known in full or hadn’t known about at all.

    Not only did Barbara inspire the memoir-writing group, but as the pool population has changed over the years new people have been drawn into the conversations. Barbara started more than conversations in the swimming pool. In her raucous and persistent way, she started a community. It could happen to you! Start a conversation. No telling where it will end up.

    Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.
    –Anne Herbert

  • Hi all, I loved the premise of am/are and try to live it in my life. I especially related to you, Scott, in your response and your talk about being responsible for ourselves in all situations, even disasters, and finding the lesson in an experience. Since sober 9+ years, I have learned to live like that and the rewards are awesome. It is very freeing and empowering.

    Pablo, I loved your happiness formula! Thank you. :)

    Carolyn CJ Jones
    author, photographer

  • I am a 20 year old full time college student. But more than that, I’m an entrepreneur who recently launched an online happiness coaching service.

    A great way to measure happiness is to look at your situation and determine all the possible ways you could have dealt with it. Is the way you dealt with it most satisfactory for you? Is the way you dealt with it going to bring you the most amount of joy? Not only now, but well into the future? Is the way you dealt with it going to bring someone else joy? If you answered yes to every one of those questions, you’ve measured happiness to the fullest extent; you’re dealing with the situation in the most positive way.

    My approach to living joyfully is to laugh it off. Don’t let the stress bother you; laugh it off. The vacuum broke and shot out dust EVERYWHERE? Laugh it off. (True story by the way; happened to me and I literally laughed for quite some time.) People may think you’re crazy for laughing when everyone else is yelling/angry. But guess what? You’re not. Okay. Maybe you are. But who cares. There’s a song that says “We’re never going to survive unless we go a little crazy.” So laugh. Because when you’re laughing you’re focusing on good times and positive reactions. And when you focus on them you make positive memories. And positive memories lead to happy living. So, laugh and live a happy life. It’s that simple.

    If you’d like more information, please let me know.
    Thank you so much for your help. Talk soon.

    _Logan Lindabury

    Enjoy your life and find happiness no matter what.

    Read my Blog:
    Follow me on Twitter:
    Stalk me on Facebook:

  • Frank says:

    Thank you Scott, Kim, Pablo, Michelle, Nancy, Carolyn, and Logan! Thank you for sharing inspiring and touching stories and advices from your lives and expertise!

    Our readers will surely benefit from them, so feel free to post updates here from time to time. Peace,


  • Lisa McCourt says:

    What is your formula for happiness? That’s the most important question anyone could ever ask! I’ve spent years perfecting mine and writing it up in my new book, Juicy Joy – 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gutsy Self. Juicy Joy is not about being happy every second. It’s about finding true and consistent joy through releasing layer after layer of the masks that you’ve created over your naturally glorious and joyful essence. Below is the idea behind the first step, Emotion-Mixing.

    Step #1 – Emotion Mixing

    The cornerstone of Juicy Joy is emotion-mixing. It’s the salty-sweet of the chocolate-covered pretzel, the brilliantly-written novel that leaves you laughing and crying at the same time. Would you really want all your life circumstances to show up perfectly to your satisfaction at every moment in time? Would that result in real happiness . . . or abysmal boredom? We’ve been indoctrinated to believe that the smiley, giddy sensation of “happiness” is the only emotion worth living for, and that we have to reluctantly trudge through all the others while waiting for those “happy” circumstances to arise.
    I believe true happiness is only available when we learn to fully embrace every other natural human emotion under its banner. I call this umbrella-emotion Juicy Joy. It’s the ability to flow, fully, with each feeling as it arises – those you label “good” as well as those you label ‘bad.” It’s riding the wave of each emotion so deeply that you naturally transmute it into a glorious force for expansion. When you’re anchored in Juicy Joy, there’s nothing to resist, because you welcome it all. You embrace each emotional twist and turn with such poignancy – you surrender so deeply to it – that the surrender itself becomes a powerful instrument of creativity.

    From the second we arrive on Earth, we’re bombarded with dangerous information. Our parents pat our backs and say, “Don’t cry.” Why not? Because crying means you’re sad, and sad is no good. It’s the first lesson we’re taught and it gets reinforced throughout our lifetimes. What if we hadn’t ever learned that paradigm? What if our parents had gazed just as proudly and adoringly at our bunched-up, red, crying faces as they did at our beatific smiles? What if we were never taught a preference for happiness?

    There is a richness and satisfaction in such undesirable emotions as sadness and anger – there’s something in them that calls to our humanness. If that weren’t true, we simply would not participate in those feelings. The anguish and suffering that come along with them are caused by our resistance to feeling them; our culture-created perception that these particular emotions are unacceptable and are somehow mistakes – things we should not have to feel.

    This paradigm can become magnified for those of us on a spiritual path, when we start to berate ourselves for every negative emotion, fearing it will only draw more negativity to us. Some believe we need to make the garden of our emotions resemble the meticulous lawns at Disney World, with smiling topiaries shaped to perfection and nary a weed in sight. Maintaining your emotional garden to this degree is exhausting work. Let it grow free! Let become an African plain or a Colorado mountainside or an Amazon jungle! Revel in the rich diversity of it, the surprises, the rawness! It’s not the sad thought itself that attracts negativity; it’s our resistance to feeling it. Emotion-mixing is learning to love our sadness, find exquisite beauty in it, and be deeply thankful for the expansion and growth it can bring us.

    Denying emotional pain only causes us to store the stuck energy away so that it stagnates and contaminates our actions, thoughts and relationships. To access our full potential for joy, we first have to get comfortable with owning the spectrum of our feelings and acknowledging our duality. When we stop trying to suppress our emotions, and simply surrender to them, there is always perceptible joy in that release. This is juicy. This real. This is the path to your true, authentic self.

    Living in Juicy Joy is the opposite of living numb. It’s bold, exciting, and completely attainable no matter how far you might feel you are from it at the moment. To see people talk about what brings them Juicy Joy, watch “What’s YOUR Juicy Joy?” on YouTube . . . and if you’d like to appear in the next video, send your video clip to Join me, also, on FaceBook and Twitter!

  • April says:

    The way I measure happiness is by looking at all the things I’m grateful for and feeling blessed for even the little things. I feel joyful when I’m thankful.
    As an esthetician, permanent cosmetic professional, and small business owner I have the ability to help improve the way people look and feel. Teaching my clients about healthy skin is just the start, because inner beauty = outer beauty. Permanent makeup gives me joy and helps to boast my clients self confidence. My favorite services are the para-medical treatments for scar camouflage, vitiligo repigmentation, and areola repigmentation, because I know I’m making a difference in someone’s life. I’m thankful to have the ability to do something I love and that brings others happiness. These are the ways I share and measure happiness.

    Healthy Blessings, April

  • reason says:

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  • Rilmosale says:

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