About Robert Holden
Robert Holden is the ‘happy psychologist’ and author of over 9 books. He is the Founder of The Happiness Project and Success Intelligence. His innovative work on happiness and success has been featured on Oprah and in two major BBC TV documentaries. Robert coaches leaders in the field of business, education, politics and healthcare. He has a weekly radio program on Hay House Radio, and regularly presents seminar events.
Meeting Robert Holden
Robert Holden truly walks the talk. To meet him, you almost have to look again. Don’t let his boyish face and playful charm fool you. Robert is a very old, wise soul!
I think it was in 1995 when I got Robert Holden’s book, ‘Living Wonderfully’ out of the library near my home in Calgary, Canada. I thought it was a beautiful book, and wrote to Robert care of his publisher in England, to tell him how much I enjoyed this book.
I was thrilled to receive a letter back, thanking me for writing. He mentioned that it gave him a bit of inspiration to get back into writing another book that he had in mind to do. I was pleased.
Time rolled on and many things happened in my life. I didn’t think much more about Robert, or England.
Then Diana died
It was all over the news. I could hardly believe the reports and thought that it had to be some sick joke. It startled me on a personal level, because I had just been in a near miss accident with a motorcyclist attempting to overtake me on a blind side while an ambulance was roaring past.
In the days that followed, I was glued to the television, following every story from across the atlantic, all the world’s speculation about how and why this tragedy could have happened. I was paralysed to do anything constructive in my life. Like many of my female thirty-something peers, I could relate wholeheartedly to the loss. It was a personal wake-up call that reached hearts on a global level.
I wanted to be in England
I needed to be in England. My heart wanted to be where this healing grief consciousness was.
Ten days into this mood, I received a letter in the post with a British postmark. The envelope buzzed in my hands. I had no idea what it was; I was not expecting anything from Britain. Yet somehow I knew that whatever it was, it was very, very important. The universe had called my attention to it, and beckoned me to take it as a sign.
It was a leaflet from Robert Holden’s Happiness Project, advertising a 5 week course in Happiness Training. It was accompanied by a letter saying “Thank you for your interest in The Happiness Project”.
How did this happen?! I never enquired or even knew of The Happiness Project! Somehow, two years on, my name was on a mailing list at The Happiness Project. Oddly, this was the first time in two years I had received anything at all from this mailing list.
I had to be there
I knew I had to be at this 5 week course. But how? I was working from my own home-based business at the time, and being a one-person show, I had clients who relied on me. I was only scraping by. Not only would I have to forfeit 5 weeks of potential income, I’d have to pay air fares, course fees and lodgings for 5 weeks in expensive Oxford.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”
In an attempt to find one, I wrote to Robert, asking if he needs any graphic design work and if he would be willing to exchange services in lieu of the course fees. I included samples of my work with Namaste Seminars, which I felt was good back up experience, suitable to what Robert’s needs might be.
It was probably only 5 days later when I came home to a telephone message on my answer phone.
“This is the absolute truth… I was sitting in meditation this morning and I was saying to God, ‘look, God, everything in my life is going great right now, but the only thing I could really use right now is a graphic designer’. Whilst in this meditation, I heard the post come through the door. It was your letter…”
Needless to say, we came up with an arrangement and that’s how I met Robert Holden.
Doing the design work in England, I needed a computer to work on. Similar to Robert, I did my own asking. I had problems getting any credit, but somehow, the universe was on my side, and I managed to obtain a lease-to-purchase agreement on a top notch laptop computer.
It was wonderful to discover that the book he mentioned in his hand-written letter to me two years earlier, was completed and in the hands of the publishers.
One day, while working on my laptop computer at his Oxford office, Robert walked in with a look of disappointment on his face. He had just seen the cover design for his new book, ‘Happiness Now!’ and felt that the designed made it look like a joke book. Indeed, the printed proof he showed me had this ugly, hard-to-read skinny lettering in rainbow colours.
I got all excited. Here was my opportunity. “Please let me try a design for it, Robert!” I set to work on it, incorporating a painting I especially created for it. Everyone was pleased with it, including the publisher, and the first printing of the book incorporated my design.
(Note: The book has since been reprinted with another design, but let’s not forget, the one with my design sold out so quickly that they had to go to a second printing! Well, that’s my take on it, anyway!)
I also painted the backgrounds and designed two audio tapes. In fact, my voice is on the “Cheers!” tape!
And then there was also a few of these cartoon characters I created, a sort of mascot on a number of cards and on Robert’s stationery.
The Happiness Training Course
The course that I attended was amazing. For the entire time I was at the course, I felt like I was peace and love itself! It is hard to describe in words and has to be experienced. Robert’s calm and wisdom was contagious. His humour made us all feel light and joyous. Courses like this are life-changing.
When I returned to Calgary, I knew it was no longer my home. In the months that followed, I prepared to move to England. I wasn’t sure what I’d be doing once I was there, but I had complete trust and followed my intuition.
I’m glad I did. This website is one of the many wonderful opportunities that I have encountered.
The universe is well-orchestrated. Watch for the synchronicities. They will lead you where you most want to go.
In autumn 2009, I attended a workshop in London given by Avril Carson, a member of The Happiness Project team of speakers. I had a chance to have a brief catch-up with Robert. Then, in spring 2010, I spent 2 months in Canada. One day, I happened to be listening to Hay House Radio, and Robert’s first ever Shift Happens radio program came on the air! I immediately phoned in and got through as the third or fourth caller on the show. Live, on the air, Robert and I talked about our synchronistic meeting as described above (you can hear the show in the Hay House Radio archives). It was so wonderful to catch up with him in that way.
Review of Shift Happens!
Much like the first book of Robert’s that I’ve read, ‘Living Wonderfully’ (which is sadly no longer in print) ‘Shift Happens!’ has the distinct quality of giving the reader an experience of feeling really good while reading it!
I’m not sure how he does it, but Robert seems to be able to project a feeling of unconditional love and acceptance through the pages of his book. As you read, you begin to feel good… really, really good about yourself. You could be in the depths of despair, and read this book and feel hope. More than hope. You begin to feel healed at the deepest levels.
I know this may sound like an awful lot for a smallish book to be capable of, but this book does what its subtitle claims. Unlike plenty of the self-help books out there, this book does not give you ten easy steps to making your life perfect. Instead, it becomes the alchemist in your transformational process as the words sink into your consciousness. You see, Robert has this knack of telling the Truth. The real truth that no one can deny. He tells it simply, with humour. It is palatable, acceptable, and therefore, ‘Shift Happens!’ winds up being like a private course of sessions using a therapy that will work on anyone, with any condition.
The first time I read the book, I read it all in one go. It flows well and is easy to read. I didn’t want to put it down because it made me feel too good.
The second time I read the book, I read it in bits and pieces while commuting on the train. This is also easy to do, because the short chapters elaborate on a specific bite-sized chunk that can be digested quickly. It is the perfect companion on a train. You can be sheltered by its wisdom. Yet it is light enough to ensure you will not miss your stop.
It’s also a handy little book to refer to every now and again, right when you need that little influx of moral support. I dare say that this book practically comes out and gives you a hug every time you read a bit of it. It really is one you should read and keep!
Robert’s humour is cheerful and heart-warming. I cannot leave this review without quoting from it. Here’s Robert’s Introduction quoted from the book:
“Two caterpillars were crawling along a tree branch one day when a butterfly flew overhead. One caterpillar said to the other, ‘You will never get me up in one of those things.’
“Shift Happens! is about personal alchemy and inner transformation. Some people ‘go’ through life; and other people ‘grow’ through life. This book celebrates your unlimited potential to grow, blossom and evolve – in spite of everything. It is a book of hope.
“The term personal alchemy describes the ability to take a piece of dirt, roll it around a few times, and fashion it into a pearl. This is what an oyster does. Personal alchemy is what your grandmother called turning lemons into lemonade. it is what old wizards described as turning straw into gold.
“Shift Happens! is about staying open all hours for miracles. Success, love and happiness are only ever one thought away at most. One new perception, one fresh thought, one act of surrender, one change of heart, one leap of faith, can change your life forever.”
Robert Holden’s websites
Visit Robert Holden’s website at www.robertholden.org, The Happiness Project at happiness.co.uk.