A big highlight for me was hearing Mark Williamson, director of Action for Happiness, speak about the organisation. I only heard about AFH the week before last and they recently shared the post I wrote about happiness on their Facebook page, which was pretty exciting for me! Mark is clearly very passionate about this fantastic, optimistic organisation and also shared a great quote by businessman and business writer Tim Jackson: “… people are being persuaded to spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need, to create impressions that won’t last, on people we don’t care about”. Totally!
Another favourite was Ellen Langer, who I had never heard of but who by all accounts is very famous psychologist and about to be played by Jennifer Aniston in a movie about her life! Her book Mindfulness is now on my list, along with many others from the conference, to be shared in a forthcoming post.
The feng shui segment was interesting and the speaker amusing but it’s not really my bag. I do know how to pronounce it now though – foong shway! Lissanne Oliver talked about decluttering as a route to a happier and more centred existence and while in all honesty I found her just a tiny bit irritating, it is also true that I really don’t need to keep the boxes that the EasiYo and the kitchen clock came in and I could certainly recycle the 1,286 knotted up plastic carriers that are taking up shelf space in the pantry and which will never be used.
Gretel Kileen, media presenter, author, feature film writer / director was an awesome chairperson throughout the day; journalist and author Sam de Britto seemed either uncomfortable or unprepared or both, but either way he was rather endearing (and attractive); Peter FitzSimons, columnist, TV presenter and author was brilliant. I didn’t get any of his rugby references but every other person in the room did and clearly loved it all, and while I was at times reminded of being in Spanish bars listening to jokes in Spanish and never getting the punchline, the atmosphere he created was absolutely infectious. Jessica Rowe spoke last and seemed lovely. I did get a shock when I turned the TV on the next morning and there she was reading the news! Had no idea. What rock have I been under? The one that doesn’t screen morning TV I guess!
And so with a pounding of drums blended with (I’m told) classical Asian flute, it was over! I feel so lucky to have been able to attend and will certainly try and win tickets for next year’s conference. There is no way on god’s earth I could afford to go otherwise, but I won’t knock the whole thing on that account – it may perhaps be viewed as a self-indulgent forum for well-to-do middle class navel-gazers by some, but who am I to judge what people spend their money on and why. I got so much out of it and I hope those who paid full whack felt they got a good bang for their hard-earned buck too!