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September 21, 2019

8/30/2019 11:22:00 AM
A few steps through Dodgeville in pursuit of happiness

If walking a mile means happiness for Paula Francis then she will soon able to claim being happy 10,000 times.
That is the number of miles the president and founder of Gross National Happiness USA plans to walk to do what the organization was formed to do..."increase personal happiness and our collective wellbeing by changing how we measure progress and success."
As Francis puts it, "We want to create conditions in our society that raises people up."
Francis stopped at The Dodgeville Chronicle recently and chatted with reporter Kasi Greenwood about the mission she has embarked on that has taken her throughout the US. She planned to camp in the area and was decked out in full camping gear while sporting a heavy tan.
"She had a calming effect surrounding her," Greenwood said. "You could tell she was serious in her mission, spreading happiness."
Francis feels that most people want the same things out of life.
"People want to be happy, that is the ultimate goal for most people," she said.
She adds that what is needed is a basic understanding of what being happy means.
"Our family matters and so do our social communities," she explains. "We need to take care of each other and have our faith, meaning we have to realize there is something out there greater than ourselves."
Francis adds that people don't talk about money and things leading to happiness.
"They say that does not matter," she said.
"We are really all alike in many ways," Francis feels and says "that is why we can discuss what really matters so we know what we really want in life."
Prior to coming to Dodgeville Francis had logged about 8,400 miles and conducted close to 2,750 interviews. Her walk for this year started in Vermont in May and will end in Boston, MA on November 2.
"I've given up my home and things and made the road my home," she says. "I am so inspired by the conversations I have had that I just keep building the walk year after year."
According to the organization's web page the walk for happiness is truly her passion.
"Paula is a co-founder & Vice President of Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA), and chief Happiness Walker. She has been enamored with the idea of an economy grounded in happiness since first learning about the concept in 2008. Soon after, she became one of the original organizers of Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA) and traveled to Bhutan to witness GNH in action.
"In 2014, she committed to The Happiness Walk full-time to further the goals of GNHUSA and to ignite a national conversation about what matters most in life. Influenced by the Peace Pilgrim and her unrelenting quest to share goodwill while traversing the country on foot, Paula likewise leans on her strong spiritual foundation to create social change: one-person, one-step at a time.
"This Happiness Walker also applies her learning in values clarification, compassionate communication, appreciative inquiry, community organizing, peace building, and positive psychology to inspire local action around creating a world that works for everyone - and the planet! Prior to this, Paula offered organizational services to social-profits through her business, Inspired Consultation. As her two grown daughters have set out to create their own happy lives, Paula has made the road her new home."

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