By Eric Barton
City & Shore Magazine
Pam Butler breezes into the coffeeshop wearing a pair of checked yoga pants and a sweatshirt, letters printed across the front that could be a personal mantra: “Dreamer.”
She sits down, exchanges pleasantries, and then suggests we close our eyes. Last time we interviewed Butler, she put a single Hershey’s Kiss in our outstretched hand, encouraged us to feel it, smell it, and, finally, taste it. It was two minutes of thinking about nothing but that chocolate – a little meditation exercise, guaranteed to lower things like blood pressure and heart rate and stress.
This time, she tells us to put our finger on our pulse. Think about nothing but the beating of our heart, she says. Think about our breath and how we can slow it down, just by thinking about it. It’s calming and relaxing and spiritual, just like Pam Butler.
“You have to interrupt yourself in the middle of the day sometimes,” Butler explains. “We all have been breathing all of our lives, but we probably have all been doing it incorrectly.”
This is the wisdom of a yoga instructor, meditation coach, and now a published author. On May 1, Hay House Publishing released Butler’s first book, Return to Life: Finding Your Way Back to Balance and Bliss in a Stressed-Out World. It offers simple ways to live happier. “I like to say I’m teaching people to live in bliss,” she says.
Her own bliss came about by first overcoming dark times. She nearly died giving birth to her daughter. Then her father passed away. A divorce, the death of a nephew and the near suicide of a friend fueled hard times. “It wasn’t just that I went to a meditation class and wrote a book,” Butler says. “I actually lived through deep dark times. I lived through mental illness. This is my story about finding bliss out of that.”
Getting back to a life of happiness, Butler’s book explains, begins by tapping into a “bliss toolbox.” It’s a term she coined, built with eight tools you can employ to reach happiness.
Among them is gratitude, and Butler suggests beginning the day thinking of three things that make you grateful. It sets a positive tone for whatever follows. Then there’s service to others. “When you can put a smile on someone’s face who’s having a hard time, there’s no better feeling,” Butler says.
While scheduling readings and book signings, Butler is also teaching at the new Yoga Factory & Fitness in Fort Lauderdale. She’ll also be doing classes and one-on-ones at the Auberge Beach Residences.
She says the book is her new calling card, an explanation of her life’s work. It’s also employing that bliss toolbox herself, helping others to find the happiness she’s found. “As I was healing myself, I realized it’s my path to help other people,” Butler says.
Becoming happier wasn’t hard, she found, but it takes work to get there.
“Living in bliss,” she says, “is just simply having that internal peace.”