Some Photos of My Trip to Australia.

This is my last day in Australia. It’s been a terrific visit, but between the massive jet lag and the several days of intense speaking, I’ve lost my ability to articulate a clear thought.

I think the long silent flight back will be restorative.

In the meantime, because I can’t express a coherent thought, here are some photos of my trip.

GretchenLunaParkFaceAustraliaI loved this crazy giant face at Luna Park. It had a strange oneiric power.

AustraliaGretchenBridgeOperaHere I am at the Harbour Bridge — you can see the famous Sydney Opera House in the back ground.

AustraliaHappinessConferenceCollageAustraliaGretchenLighthouseMany thanks to Lisa Highton, my Two Roads publisher, who took most of these photos.

I’ve loved visiting Australia, and wish I could stay longer and see more, but I’m also ecstatic to be going home.

Yes, I Met the Dalai Lama.

I’m in Sydney, Australia for the Happiness and Its Causes conference. I’ve never been to Australia before, so that’s terrific, and I love being at the conference.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I was also excited to be meeting the Dalai Lama.

I’d been thinking about what question to ask him, if the opportunity arose. I’d decided to ask, “What one habit do you think people should follow, in order to be happier?

But when the moment came, there were several people around, and I was worried about shoving my way into the conversation.

I wanted to ask a question, but I felt sheepish — it seemed somehow very self-serving to do it. Also, I have a friend who’s a devout Buddhist, and I really wanted to present the traditional white scarf (a kata) to the Dalai Lama, to ask him to bless it for her and her family. So when I had the opportunity to stick my oar in, that’s what I did.

One notable thing: very intense eye-contact.

As we all turned to go to the main conference event, I had that let-down, disappointed-in-myself feeling that I used to get when I was too scared to raise my hand in class.

But then I had another opportunity for engagement. We all had to walk a fair distance to the conference hall, part of it outside, and the Dalai Lama (who is eighty years old, and in great shape, but still) grabbed my hand and leaned on my arm for the duration of the walk; Ruby Wax was on his other side.

I didn’t take a single picture. I didn’t even think of it. Later, though I did get a bad photo, as you see. I hope that there’s some official photograph.

One small thing really struck me — the same thing that struck me when I was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, about forms of address.

People constantly refer to the Dalai Lama “His Holiness.” Now, “holiness” is a big word. It would be quite something to be constantly associated with it.

I remember being flabbergasted to learn that the accepted way to address Justice O’Connor was just to call her “Justice.” “Hey, Justice, the cert petitions arrived.” It’s quite something to be constantly associate with justice.

I wonder if after a while,  a person ceases to notice, or if being called by an honorific like that helps people to remember the high standard which they’re called to uphold.

Other random observation: it’s surprisingly jarring to cross the international date line.

Podcast 16: Imitate a Spiritual Master, Try the Strategy of Monitoring, and Acknowledge the Pink Eye.

It’s Wednesday — which means it’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Did I mention that according to BuzzFeed, the podcast is life-changing? Oh right, maybe I did. Anyway, check out 10 Life-Changing Things to Try in June.

Coming up: To celebrate our 20th episode, we’re going to do an episode that features our listeners. So call, email, post your response by June 24, 2015, to one of these questions:

— if you could change one aspect of a relationship, what would you change? Huge, trivial, any relationship.

— what happiness demerit would you give yourself? what gold star would you bestow?

Thanks so much to the folks who have already sent in comments. Fascinating.

henrymolofskyExciting big reveal: Listeners, “Henry Molofsky” is no longer just a name that we list in the credits at the end of the show. Our producer/captive audience Henry steps up to the microphone to share what he’s tried at home, and what works for him.

Try This at HomeImitate a spiritual master. My spiritual master is St. Therese of Lisieux, and her spiritual memoir (if you’re curious) is Story of a Soul. I was surprised to hear the person that Elizabeth picked as her spiritual master! Hint: that person’s autobiography is called Audition. (Sorry, I promised to post a photo of my shrine to St. Therese, but I’m in Australia now, and I forgot to take the picture before I left town.)

Better Than Before Habit Strategy: We discuss the power of the Strategy of Monitoring. Elizabeth explains why this strategy is particularly helpful to her as a type 1 diabetic.

Listener Question: “How do you remain happy through a transition?”

Gretchen’s Demerit: I ignored my pink eye.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth’s friend Mindy Wilson gets a gold star for giving Elizabeth a cookbook – with the knowledge that Elizabeth is an Obliger, and is much more likely to cook if she knows Mindy (and we) are expecting it.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors. Check out Smith and Noble, a solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and a free in-home consultation. Limited time.

And Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order.

We’d love to hear from you — who is your spiritual master, and how do you imitate that person? Comment here, or even better, post a photo of it on Facebook! Also let us know your questions and any other comments, especially for the Very Special Episode.

Comment below. Email: podcast@gretchenrubin.com. Twitter: @gretchenrubin and @elizabethcraft. Call: (774 HAPPY 336).  Facebook Page.

To listen to this episode, just zip to the bottom of this post and hit the red “play” button.

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Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

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HAPPIER listening!

“Experience, Contrary to Popular Belief, is Mostly ____.” Mostly What?

“Experience, contrary to popular belief, is mostly imagination.”

–Ruth Benedict

Agree, disagree?

I’m reminded by a remark made by Samuel Johnson to James Boswell, along the same lines, “Were it not for imagination, Sir, a man would be as happy in the arms of a chambermaid as of a Duchess.”

What Would You Say to the Dalai Lama? Seriously.

I’m so excited. Next week, I’m going to Australia for the first time — that’s exciting.

But even more exciting, I get to meet the Dalai Lama. Not just be in a room with him, but actually meet him. Briefly.

It’s exciting, but it’s also a little unsettling. What should I say to the Dalai Lama? Should I try to ask a meaningful question, should I absorb his presence in silence, should I make polite chit-chat?

I’d really like to ask the question, “What’s it like to be the Dalai Lama?” But that’s probably unanswerable, and also a little impertinent.

Any suggestions welcome!

Live in Australia? My schedule is here. I’m really looking forward to this visit.