the happiness accelerator

the happiness accelerator |Chef Gretchen Hanson

Gene Bausman has discovered the secret to life; perfect limitless happiness in all its forms and permutations, no matter what troubles you.

Yeah, I didn’t believe him either.

I fell into Gene’s life. Literally. I tripped over the handicapped ramp (oh, the irony) at Starbucks and landed on his table. “Sh*t” was the very first word I said to him and the second wasn’t much nicer.

“Would you like to sit down?” he immediately quipped, “I certainly would have pulled out the chair?”

So I did. Because when you fall into a handsome strangers lap there really has to be a reason right?

Three hours later I was still sitting with him, completely mesmerized.

Could it be that I had finally found the very thing that I had just spent forty years looking for? Impossible. He had to be a snake oil salesman, false guru or cult leader. There is absolutely no, one size fits all, happiness accelerator.

When I said this to him he paused and thought for a minute.

“Well let me put it this way, everyone’s pain is different, but all pain can be taken away. I’m not fixing someone’s ‘whole’ life, just the ‘holes’ in their life. You really won’t believe me until I show you.”

“Physical pain or mental pain,” I asked.

“Both are possible, mental is easier though.”

I just laughed. He was charming and easy on the eyes. Sure, I’ll humor him a little more, I thought. I was on a private writing retreat and had not spoken to anyone for over a week. Admittedly I was a little lonely, and starved for conversation.

What he didn’t know was how phenomenally damaged I really am. Eating disorder, PTSD, childhood abuse, and that was just the damage I was comfortable claiming out loud to a complete stranger. I’m not even talking about the abandonment issues with my Mother.


So I scheduled a session with him, in public, because I’m not stupid and thought if nothing else, it will be academically interesting; something to write about, a new experience to blog about, party story, whatever. I decided to tackle the easiest thing to measure first; my profoundly negative body image.

What I was absolutely not prepared for was for it to actually work. What I was absolutely not prepared for was to have the pain of body dysmorphia that I have carried with me since I was twelve, that’s forty long years, disappear within an hour. Forty years of hating my body, forty years of wanting to be skinnier, taller, prettier, everything–ier and it was just simply gone.


Gene had asked me at the beginning of the hour, on a scale of one to ten what would I say my pain level was regarding this issue.

“Eight and a half, today. Some days it’s a ten, but never less than an eight.”

Twenty minutes later he asked the same question.

“Two, maybe.”

“Not bad for a twenty minute investment, right?” He grinned at my complete shock and disbelief. Something I’m sure he has experienced all too frequently.

Two weeks later as I write this, it hasn’t come back. Not even once. The body loathing that I have spent forty years trying to pretend didn’t exist, has actually finally simply disappeared. Not because I lost 40 pounds, or grew five inches, but because I stopped carrying the pain within me. I once counted the years of therapy I have had with different therapists and types of therapies and the combined total was well over two decades. In twenty minutes I made more progress on my eating disorder than I had in over twenty years of therapy and journaling and overeaters anonymous meetings and dieting and …and …and…Our next session I’m getting down and dirty with the childhood abuse and Mommy issues. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

I was fascinated enough to begin writing about my experience and when I showed him what I had written so far ,he agreed to let me put together a group of women for a three month group intensive. My hope is that if he teaches enough people how to do this, we could significantly change the paradigm of our conversation about mental pain. I’m hoping to get enough material for a series of articles and maybe even the start of a book.

Aperfect limitless happiness accelerator… think anyone would be interested?






6 Responses

  1. Awesome read and I think you will have more interest then you could deal with. ? You GH are an amazing person

  2. So glad to hear that are healing from within. Life is far too short and so wonderfully beautiful to have any part of it blocked. The trip on the ramp couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time ! You must have a legion of Guardian Angels with you always.

  3. I have to say that I too have dealt with emotional abuse over my body and being overweight since I was born, definitely as a teen and ever since has not been easy. However as a two time cancer survivor, where I went from being terminal to being a 18+ year survivor, and a mother of two, I have learned to accept myself as a am and to live each day as I am, rather than waiting for when I am thin and beautiful to live. Now, I am trying to reconcile my wants with my health and deal with for health not only for momentary pleasure.
    thanks for helping me with going in the right direction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


In addition to weekly posts with recipes and stories, you will receive…

  • notice of FB live cooking demos
  • advance notice of all public cooking demos
  • advance copy of cookbook offer before general release
  • the ability to consult privately on dietary or wellness questions

and get my
eBook for

Ever wondered what was
in all that deliciousness?

Subscribe to my blog and get my new eBook with all the recipes you loved…

“How to Be a Hobo”

PLUS the bonus

Chesapeake Recipes”