Speaker: Ginny Sassaman

Happiness for Everyone: Our Moral Obligation to Change the Economic Paradigm

Happiness is not just an inside job. We are all also governed by systems, beliefs, paradigms – and measures.  Measures like salary, the price of gas or our weight not only guide many of our personal decisions but also can dictate sometimes wildly skewed public policy, like the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, paradigm which dictates how success is measured much more than it should, and at too high of a price. This sermon highlights the need to adopt a more holistic set of measures for greater well being for all, and to step away from the GDP which is leading to economic devastation and undermining collective happiness and well-being.

Ginny is a co-founder and past president of Gross National Happiness USA, and is currently on the GNHUSA advisory board. In 2011, Ginny started the Happiness Paradigm as a platform for writing, teaching about, and advocating for greater personal happiness and systems change for well-being. She has been a speaker on these topics in Costa Rica; Seattle; Santa Fe; Charlotte, North Carolina, and  and city and state officials crafting a well-being index in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Burlington, Vermont.  Ginny has a masters in Mediation and a Certificate in Positive Psychology. She has brought her education, experience, and insights about happiness to Unitarian Universalist pulpits since 2013. In 2020, Ginny published a book of these sermons called Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just and Joyful World, a book the Midwest Book Review describes as “Deftly written, impressively informative, exceptionally thoughtful and thought-provoking.” Ginny is a member of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, and is very happy to be back

 

Creativity: Save the Planet, Produce a Masterpiece, or Just Have Fun

Elizabeth Gilbert defines creativity as the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration. Others say, it is just making stuff. However it is defined, creativity is a vital aspect in every part of all our lives, from painting rocks on camping trips to parenting to designing transportation systems for the 21st century.  Being creative is one of the most fundamental needs of human life. No wonder it is good for our health and happiness, and is key to building a more just and joyful world.

Ginny created the Happiness Paradigm Store and Experience, and is immediate past president of Gross National Happiness USA. She travels widely to present on the interconnection between personal happiness and systems change for well-being, including recently addressing the Gross Global Happiness conference in Costa Rica, and city and state officials crafting a well-being index in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her book, Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just and Joyful World is due in book stores on July 25th. also works as a meditation teacher. She is a member of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, where she led her first service in 2013. Since then, Ginny has led services in local UU churches as well as churches in South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. She is always grateful to share the wisdom of happiness with UU congregations

The Web of Life: The Interconnected Happiness of Humans & Other Animals

You don’t have to be an animal lover to appreciate that the happiness and well-being of humans and animals is deeply interconnected. Without a shift to a Gross National Happiness paradigm or something like it, many creatures – including giraffes and elephants – may be doomed to extinction. Without tending to the animal kingdom, we humans may also be doomed. Fortunately, there are some fine examples of how a GNH approach can help save the day.

Ginny Sassaman grew up in Central Pennsylvania before moving as a young adult to Washington, D.C. where she was media communications director for Common Cause, The American University, and the Women’s Legal Defense Fund before leaving the D.C. fast track to pursue a fulltime career as a watercolor painter.  In 2001, she and her husband Bob moved to Vermont.   In 2006, Ginny returned to school, earning a Master’s in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies at Woodbury College in Vermont.  While working as a professional mediator, Ginny stumbled upon the science of happiness, which she considers her true calling.  She is a co-founder and past president of Gross National Happiness USA, & now serves on the GNHUSA advisory board.  With a Certificate in Positive Psychology, Ginny’s specialty is the intersection between personal happiness and systems change to support wellbeing for all. Ginny is a member of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, where she delivered her first sermon in 2013. Since then, Ginny has led services in local UU churches as well as churches in South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts.  Over the last three summers, Ginny led 16 services at the summers-only Barnard, VT UU Church.  Those sermons are being compiled into a book, Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just, Joyful World due out in spring 2020. Ginny is always grateful to share the wisdom of happiness with UU congregations.

Listen

Forgiveness is Beautiful

Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky has written that forgiveness is the most difficult happiness practice. Ginny has found in her happiness work that many people struggle with the concept – yet it is so important for our own well-being and happiness, and, again, can and must be applied to the much broader community to move toward peace. This sermon also addresses some of the myths of forgiveness.

Ginny Sassaman created the Happiness Paradigm Store and Experience, and co-founded Gross National Happiness USA. Just this past September, Ginny stepped down from her position as president.  Ginny has a masters in mediation and conflict studies; she now works as both a mediator and a meditation teacher, and as a happiness writer and advocate.  She is a member of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, where she led her first service in 2013. Since then, Ginny has led services in local UU churches as well as churches in South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. In two weeks, she will be a presenter at a GNH conference for international business leaders in Costa Rica. She is always grateful to share the wisdom of happiness with UU congregations and other receptive audiences.

Attitude of Gratitude

Probably everyone has had immeasurable numbers of deeply satisfying gratitude experiences – though likely, with little knowledge of how much good they were doing for their own well-being, much less the broader community, too. Yet, according to guest preacher Ginny Sassaman, an “Attitude of Gratitude” is so beneficial, it’s almost a requirement for anyone who wants to be happy and/or wants to make the world a happier place. Sassaman, an experienced lay preacher throughout central Vermont, and a national expert on happiness, will share the science and beauty of gratitude on October 28th.