In A Field Guide to Happiness Linda Leaming shares 22 things she learned in in Bhutan about living, loving, and waking up. Linda first traveled to Bhutan in 1994, and moved from to Bhutan 3 years later to teach English to children. Bhutan, famous for its King’s emphasis on Gross National Happiness instead of Gross National Product, is compared to the U.S. Linda had to let lose of almost everything, her goods in the U.S. home when moving, her 2 suitcases of luggage on her way to Bhutan, her culture, language, friends and family.
As resources and choices are limited, Leaming learned to live with less, live and let live animals, drink tea a lot and get used to a pace, mindfulness and peace unparalleled back home in the States. Her visits with her husband to family in the U.S. in the past years confronted both with the stress, sweets, politics and individualism way of life.
The thin air up in the Himalayas forced her to breathe more consciously. Having to send their own child to an Indian school meant dependency on others. The omnipresent Tantric Budhhism captured Leaming as well. She’s happy to share from this religion and its Four Noble Truths as well, deeply convinced of the life-changing effects of understanding these. Some history and narrated views on nature, language lessons, lots of humor and personal memoirs gives this well-written field guide added value compared to another self-help guide or step-by-step plan for instant happiness.
About the author
Linda Leaming first traveled to Bhutan in 1994, and moved there three years later. This tiny Buddhist country hidden away in the Himalayas is a very happy place for many. Its king believes in Gross National Happiness instead of Gross National Product. Leaming writes about her life in Bhutan and how she learned to live more simply, how she laughs at herself instead of getting mad at others, and how she slows down to look for magic– because it’s everywhere. In Bhutan, she’s known for using a salad spinner instead of a washing machine, and her village man makeovers.
Her writing has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Huffington Post, Mandala, Guardian UK, A Woman’s Asia (Travelers’ Tales, 2005), and many other publications. Eric Weiner included her in his 2008 bestseller, The Geography of Bliss. Originally from Nashville, she has an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Arizona, and she regularly speaks about Bhutan at colleges, churches, seminars, and book groups. She is married to the renowned Bhutanese thanka painter, Phurba Namgay. Interview and pictures of the couple can be found at speakingofchina.com.