The Next Happy
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The Next Happy
Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward
Available in stores February 24, 2015
Now Available For Pre-Order Click Here!
The Next Happy
Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward

Not sure if you have been watching the Showtime series Masters of Sex, which is a fictionalized version of how Masters and Johnson’s became the rock stars of sex therapy (long before Dr. Ruth had her moment), but this is a show that really and truly gets the message of my book, The Next Happy and I really wish I could send a copy of the book to the characters in the show, Virginia and Libby.
In the last session (oops, that was a Freudian slip), I mean episode, of The Masters of Sex Virginia and Libby were sitting on a bench talking about their unhappiness and how life hadn’t turned out how they’d planned. Libby, in a sudden gust of insight, advises Virginia, “... that’s the key, to let go of some ideal, to live the life that you have, not the life that you thought you would have, to finally accept what is.” Amen, sisters! Yes, that is the key.
That’s not just the message that Libby and Virginia need to get (and boy do they need to get it) it is the message many of us need to get.  Joseph Campbell, the acclaimed mythologist, wrote a quote that was a constant companion to me as I wrote The Next Happy, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Letting go is necessary in order to accept what is. Letting go is necessary to have that next happy. Okay, I get it…we need to let go. But letting go isn’t so easy. They are words that sound deceptively simple, I mean would you rather “let go” or “work hard”. Letting go sounds so easy and breezy, all gauzy and light and sundrenched, like the gorgeous grassy images you might see in a Yoga retreat in Bali; sitting in a relaxed lotus posture and the wind whispering to you Buddha-like encouragement to “just let go”.  However, when you actually are engaging in the letting go it feels a lot more like dangling with one hand on the ledge on a steep mountain and not feeling like we have the strength to pull ourselves up to safety. That is the emotional weight “let go” can have. As much as we know we need to let go to pull ourselves up and out of this dangerous dangling-ledge position that the unknown feels too scary and that this horrible dangling place feels strangely more comfortable (only comfortable is a not actually how it feels at all). “Just do it” is nice and good in the right arena, but I just want to say for the record that terror, fear and panic are to be expected when we are letting go and so we need to be gently and kind with ourselves when we are in “letting go” mode and not to be so pushy or bossy when we are in that space between letting and go (it is a nice time for the inner critic to shut up with its well meaning, “You should have let go already” comments).
And if we have in the past been let fall back into the hard earth by people who have let us down when we were engaging in a metaphorical or literal trust fall then we might find that we are a bit more anxious about blindly letting go of the bird in the hand, even if the bird is biting us.  And, just FYI, if fear isn’t showing up, at least a little bit, when we are letting go then it means we weren’t really likely holding on so tight to begin with, and that’s okay. But when we have been holding on tight, letting go is work and takes faith and some self-soothing and kindness and gentle encouragement, “I know you are scared, dear you, but you will be okay even without this thing you thought you desperately needed to be safe and happy.” And as terrifying as it is to let go, because it can feel like you may very well have nothing if you let go of what you have---even if what you have is hurting, wrong, painful or destructive. Joseph Campbell and the ladies of Masters of Sex, and me, we all agree, letting go is what you have to do to get to your Next Happy.
I am so excited to share with you some news about The Next Happy, my book about how to let go of the life you planned and find a new way forward. All my work with my editor at Hazelden is done and now there are a team of hyper-critical (in a really-really good way) copy editors who are going to catch my every typo, hiccough and boo-boo. I think that this means I have really written a book and that this really is all happening. This, for me, is really a dream come true…a dream that I didn’t even dare to dream when I was in the midst of letting go of my long-held dream of being a mother.
Also, as I mentioned in my last newsletter, The Next Happy, is available for pre-order. If you haven’t ordered your copy you, I would really and truly appreciate it if you would pre-order it. You can get it on, Barnes and Noble and

On my blog I am giving away a self-care/comfort kit with some of my favorite things (books, a movie, a candle, a recipe, tea, and a journal) that help a little during hard times, letting go, and grief. I hope you enter and I also hope you share some of the things that help you during hard times.

All the best,
Tracey Cleantis

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