A Hunger For Happiness?
An Gorta Mór
“The Great Hunger”
The experience of happiness means different things to different people and cultures. This past year I’ve worked on two separate projects; one addressing hunger, the other happiness. They’re intrinsically enmeshed one to the other. I’d only intellectually grasped how much so before this year of deep inquiry.
Clearly, if one has an empty bowl, an empty belly, if our children are hungry, then our primary concern is to find nourishment followed closely by seeking shelter. An Gorta Mór comes from the Gaelic; meaning Great Hunger. The Irish used that term to describe the potato famine of the early 19th century, when a blight on the one crop that provided the most calories for that impoverished country, failed for a series of years. A million people starved. A million more found passage to America in the pursuit of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Let’s say, for a delusional moment, that we could suspend the notion that hunger is not an issue in America. This is the country where millions of families have come from somewhere else seeking opportunities in the land of the free and the home of the brave. If we’ve been able to quell the hunger in our belly, only then can we begin to wonder how to satisfy our extended hunger for a sense of overall prosperity. Even in the midst of our struggle for survival, An Gorta Mór cries out in our bewildered search for meaning, for love and belonging, acceptance and appreciation, recognition and respect. The hunger becomes enmeshed in what The Happiness Initiative Project (HIPinthe253) yearns to address, advance and advocate: A new paradigm, a restructured economy based on the measurement of well~being as experienced within the collective community. (see: Measuring Happiness)
I’ve never experienced true physical hunger, so I’ve had the luxury of An Gorta Mór for an economy of well~being that supports each one to be seen and heard, honored and counted, to matter. Have you taken the Survey? (see: Take The Survey). Does your score measure your innate hunger to create and express? How about to find meaning and connection within your own community? How about contentment and satisfaction with the way things are where you live? Co-founder of HIPinthe253, Ana Maria Sierra and I, often discuss the chasm between our ‘imagined’ life and the one we’re living day to day here in the 253. This awareness of what is and what could be fuels my deep yearning to promote The Happiness Initiative Project here in Tacoma/Pierce County and beyond.
Now that I have learned how vast is the need within our community for emergency food distribution, how the growing numbers of people in my community live with daily/weekly food insecurity and scarcity, my resolve is ever more keen. We must do what we can where we can. To the further understanding and correction of the enmeshment of hunger to happiness, I devote myself.