Weaving the threads together: how the book came about?

For a long time, I lived a “double life”. Part of me was researching social justice and analysing statistics of happiness, submerged in public policy. The other part of me, kept separately, lived a life, embodied, playful and spiritual – exploring an inner journey and learning methods like coaching, psychodrama, improvisation dance, mindfulness, meditation. I felt that I had to keep them apart not to discredit myself in these circles… as they all seem to have had great reservations about the other. As my „second life” was gradually growing and I started to lead groups and to work as a coach, it became ever more difficult to maintain this divider in my life and in myself. Somehow I was blocking the natural flow of life energy in myself.

It took courage and a supportive turn of external events (the COVID19 lockdown helped) that I started to weave these fields together.

My book, Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life That Does Not Cost the Earth” published by Bristol University Press in May 2021, is my major undertaking in this regard, practising my newly developed freedom. In this, I present the notion of a “good life” based on ancient Greek philosophy, modern science and existing innovative practices, such as solidarity economy and ecovillages. I also show how the use of theatre and role play can become a laboratory for a flourishing life. The book argues that we can become both “better hedonists” and “more virtuous”, and that can bring not only personal happiness, but also contribute to the healing of our collective environmental and social calamities. It concludes that existing positive practices and networks can support us in our endeavour – as we are not alone with our aspirations.

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