About a year and half ago I felt “the call” to go on a full time Mission2BJ, and my first thought was this:  Where’s the Handbook?  Not just any Handbook, but an OFFICIAL HANDBOOK that could accommodate everyone, including a Middle Aged, Clinically Depressed, Type II Diabetic.

I was convinced when the call came that I couldn’t be the first person in the world to be doing this, but since I couldn’t find a HANDBOOK I decided to put one together myself; something to guide me through my quest to be genuinely, authentically, and verifiably happy.  And I’m not talking about any phony baloney, fake-grinning, pretend sort of happy.  And I’m not talking about a once-in-a-while or a just-won-a-car-on-the-Price-is-Right kind of happy.  I’m talking about the real deal. 

So an Official Handbook was critical for a guy like me who’s missed more than a few brilliantly happy moments because I was distracted by…what do you call it?…that thing…you know that thing where you get up every day and have to figure out how to pay the rent and keep your job when the economy is falling apart…it’s got a name, it’s what happens when you realize you may NEVER get to retire because your 401-K is now a 101-K and your blood sugar is way too high even though you had the no-sugar added ice cream (which everyone knows is icky) and still had to take your insulin….you know what I’m talking about…it’s that thing that gets all complicated with other people and family and relationships which is much harder than anyone EVER told you it would be and it’s ALWAYS happening…that thing…Oh, yeah…it’s called LIFE. That thing that all too often can distract us from the most wonderful part of itself simply because we’re so focused on taking all the right steps to “get to” happiness that we end up stepping OVER, instead of INTO the sweetest part of being alive.

So, I’ve done my research and have given my handbook a collection of  songs to accompany the various chapters.  I’ve done this because, (and those of you who know me won’t be surprised by this) for me, songs can be the best teachers.  I’ve never memorized a whole chapter of anything I’ve ever read, but I HAVE found myself SINGING songs that have been stuck in my head, over and over and over again until their messages eventually become a part of me. So the method in my Mission 2BJ madness is that I’m more likely to relate and respond to something that becomes a part of me than to something I’m straining to remember that’s not. 

A Mission 2BJ 

My OFFICIAL Mission Statement for my Mission 2BJ takes the form of an anthem. And since an anthem with words but without the music cannot fill the full measure of its creation, you might want to check out the music for full effect and get see how I tried to get my mission off on the right foot. 

No, really.  Click on the music. It’s make things perfectly clear…I hope.  


                                                              MISSION 2BJ


I’ve been called the teach the six year olds
I’ve been called to bake the casseroles
I’ve been called to help out with the Cub Scout Den, again
But I’ve felt a calling in my heart
And I believe it’s time I start
So I set myself apart and had my own farewell




I know I’ve got a lot to learn
I feel like a fresh intern
Where the plan of happiness is my employ, oh boy!!!
And training comes so easily ‘cause every where’s the MTC
Oh I can’t wait to learn the language of JOY!!!!




And this mission’s dedicated to the souls that it can help
And my main investigator is none other than myself
On a mission to be happy
There’s just, there’s jut one guarantee
My first convert is gonna be ME!!!!!


Note: If you’re not smiling a little bit, or at the very least happily tapping your toe while you listen to the M2BJ anthem, it could be a bit of a clue that this particular mission, at least this version, may not be for you.  This isn’t a judgment and you’re welcome to read on and check out the songs, but I’m just sayin’…it’s a tough beginnin’ if your heart ain’t grinnin’

As with many things “mission-esque” it might be helpful to take a closer look at this Musical Mission Statement and evaluate what we’re taking on when we truly accept the call to go on a Mission 2BJ. 

First of all, if you’ve never been called to teach the six year olds OR bake casseroles OR serve the Cub Scouts (or any other organized church affiliated activity) you are STILL, Absolutely, Positively eligible to go on this mission.  What’s required here is a willingness to learn how to


Note that the operative words are “willingness to learn how to”.  On this particular mission you are NOT called to learn how to be happy and then go out and share your discovery with everyone else.  In other words, there’s no burden to make everyone around you happy, or even agree that the trail you’re blazing to personal happiness is the one they should walk. No, no, no.  Your mission, your ‘QUEST’ is to learn how to better celebrate DAILY the ways YOU have been blessed. And we’re talking about ways you may have missed out on because you were either looking for happiness in all the wrong places, or not paying attention at all.

 It would be a mistake to believe that since our anthem sings that the RULES and the BOUNDARIES are all YOUR choice that there aren’t any rules or boundaries on this mission.  There are clearly rules and boundaries, but it’s only when you have chosen them, or discovered them or defined them as YOUR OWN that they are an asset instead of an impediment. 

Here’s a little two-part exercise that may be helpful in illustrating the point. 

Part 1

Close your eyes and count slowly and silently from ONE to TEN.

Any problems?  You don’t have to do this in a foreign language.  Your native tongue is fine.  Just get from 1 to 10 and open your eyes. 

Great. Now the second part of this little exercise.

Wait.   Before we go to part two, I need to know if you’re familiar with CHOCOLATE.  Doesn’t matter which kind of chocolate: Swiss chocolate, dark chocolate, hot chocolate, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, chocolate candies, chocolate malted milkshakes.  Anything that qualifies as that delicious brown sweet substance that actually forms one of the four major food groups in some people’s diets.  If, for dietary reasons you’re unfamiliar with any or all things chocolate, you’re excused from this little test. Okay. We can move on.

Part 2

Now, for the second part of this exercise, close your eyes and count slowly and silently from ONE to TEN only DON’T THINK ABOUT CHOCOLATE!!! If anything chocolate enters your mind at any time during your counting you have to stop and start over again, beginning at ONE.





You might want to think about something that’s NOT chocolate to keep your mind off chocolate, but this can be a tricky strategy because thinking about that OTHER THING simply reminds you that you’re only focusing on it because you’re not supposed to be thinking about the Chocolate this OTHER THING is meant to distract your from thinking about.  Just don’t think about Chocolate.  Stop it!  If you can’t stop it before you start you’re NEVER going to make it from One to Ten without thinking about anything that melts in your mouth, not in your hands….Ignore that.  If you have a marker, go ahead and scratch those lines out. Just don’t use a BROWN one. 

Okay, begin.

 Why is this taking you soooooo long?  You did this effortlessly in Part 1.  What happened?

The Official M2BJ Handbook would like to suggest what might have happened.  In each case the goal was the same; to count from 1 to10.  But when the focus was not on the goal, but on what we weren’t supposed to do while trying to reach that goal, everything became more difficult than it needed to be.

Life can do that to us. Distract us. Become the urgent, demanding, have-to- deal-with-right-now sequence of things that keeps us from CELEBRATING and REJOICING in the little miracles of happiness that are begging for our attention.  Remember.  Our MISSION is to be “willing to learn” how to celebrate and rejoice the ways we’ve been blessed and find happiness where we haven’t found it before.

Another thing that probably should be highlighted here before we move on is that bit about learning a new language.  The language of JOY.

Those of us who are not natural linguists may be concerned about the foreign language required for this mission.  Some of us aren’t familiar with the language of JOY while others THINK they know what it sounds like, but they’re wrong. 

The language of JOY is not at all the same as what some might call “happy-speak”.  Happy-Speak is really a pseudo-language like pig-latin.  It’s a made up way of communicating where someone can pretend the real tragedies and heart aches of the world can be minimized if they just say the correct happy-speak words to make it all okay.  On a mission to be happy the REAL happiness we seek to rejoice and celebrate is not found in glossing over and denying the truths of life with our fingers plugged in our ears as we loudly sing, “la la la la la I’m Not Listening”.   No, the language of JOY is nothing if not HONEST, tender and kind.  The language of JOY is spoken in truth every single moment, with a faith that just because we don’t really understand why something impossibly difficult has happened to us, (or someone we love) pretending we understand when we don’t is a poor substitute for trusting the source of happiness to reveal the answers when we’re truly ready to receive them. 

The reason it’s ultimately important to learn the language of JOY is not so much for the benefit of others, but for ourselves.  If we can learn to think in this language there’s an excellent chance that we’ll be able to place language of joy descriptions in our hearts and minds of the “real deal” when it comes to happiness.