My Journey to Happy Schools

Around this time 4 years ago, I was about to let go of my job – the work that I had been doing for almost 10 years to listen to my heart, to look deeply, and to know what else I could do to have a more meaningful life, to create more positive impacts in the world. To be honest, I felt a lot of anxiety and fear coming up at the beginning of this journey. But somehow I trust that things would work out well. My practice of mindfulness did help me take care of strong emotions when they came up, learnt to be still, to observe, and to see how life unfolds itself. 

At the beginning of my journey, I did not do much. The most I did was learn to breathe, to be quiet, to listen to my body, to release all the pain and tensions accumulated in the body after years of working in a stressful environment. I also learnt to listen to my heart,  take care of past pain and hurt, and try to cultivate more acceptance towards myself. I learnt to walk slowly and took one step at a time. Slowly and gently, after almost two months, more space was opening up in my heart, and I had more clarity in my mind. After about two months, I found the answer to my heartfelt question: “What can I do to realise our deepest aspirations – personal one and also collective aspirations of my ancestors?” 

The answer I found was: Cultivating happiness in education – and planting seeds of love and understanding in schools

I did not know where to begin, and how to realise that aspiration. But one thing I knew for sure was: I need to focus on community building. And trust in the collective wisdom and recharge in the collective energy of those people who have the same aspirations. 

I first went back to Vietnam to plant seeds of Happiness in Education in March 2017. Slowly, I got to know more people who have shared similar values and concerns for education in Vietnam. I conducted my first training for teachers in July 2017. Since our first Happiness-Based Education (HBE) school (Hoa Sen pre-school) was founded, I have conducted monthly workshops to “Awaken the source of love” and “Nurture the seeds of understanding” in teachers in Ha Tinh Province, Central Vietnam.

Not until I met Dr Ha Vinh Tho (the former Programme Director of the Gross National Happiness Centre in  Bhutan)  and his wonderful ELI team, did I know how to fully implement a Happiness-based programme in schools. I have been so grateful to be part of his Happy Schools project since April 2018. Every module helped me deeply connect with myself, strengthen my aspiration, and have more confidence in this journey. Most importantly, I no longer feel isolated and burnt out, because I have received the support and encouragement of so many other passionate and compassionate educators who want to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. 

The third module of Happy Schools namely Care for Mother Nature and the Planet, has been truly inspiring and awakening for me, as it has given me a chance to connect all the dots, and be in touch with something much bigger than myself – the Universe. I realized how important it is to contribute positively to the Climate Crisis by setting positive intentions and take action out of love (not out of anger or fear). I also realized that when I do my part wholeheartedly, it’s already a good start. 

In deep gratitude, I vow to live with more awareness and love more, because happiness is possible when our heart is fully here and now. 

Many thanks to the ELI team for another wonderfully inspiring module! 

Wish everyone all the best of happiness and love in this beautiful journey!

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