Elise Gross is the author of How to be Happy. How to be Happy shares the simple, easy-to-understand approach to finding happiness that Elise has been raised on. The books have beautiful illustrations, guided journal entries, and even inspirational cards you can carry with you as reminding mantras. It is perfect for teenagers, as well as just anyone who wants to explore these concepts without feeling bogged down by the complex language of more academic books. YEM was able to speak with Elise about when she first got introduced to meditation and mindfulness, how being 16 affects the way her writing process works, and how much she involves her family in the making of How to be Happy?.
Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first get introduced to meditation and mindfulness?
Elise Gross: I first got introduced to meditation when I lived in Santa Cruz at Rainbow Ridge. Rainbow Ridge was a healing and mindfulness retreat center that my family and some friends renovated. The first month I lived there, I got introduced to meditation. The first guided meditation I ever participated in, completely changed my life. I was 14 years old at the time, and I remember feeling my heart explode with energy. I felt a deep connection with myself and source, unlike any experience that I had had before. From that point on, meditation and guided meditations started becoming a daily practice for me.
YEM: What inspired you to write your book “How to be Happy”?
Elise: I felt inspired to write How To Be Happy because I would see a lot of people come to Rainbow Ridge having depression, it was a reflection of me and my past self, who was also depressed. But being blessed to live at the retreat center, I had gained so many tools to unlock my full happiness, and I wanted everyone else to have access to the same tools I did. So, I wrote How To Be Happy!
YEM: How do you think being only 16 affects the way your writing process works?
Elise: With me being 16, my writing process is simplified. In the spiritual space, especially with writing, I could use big words to explain all the metaphysical things. But when I wrote How To Be Happy, I wrote it in simplicity. I told myself to write in a way that a 6th grader would easily be able to comprehend and fully integrate the material. I want people of any age and any demographic to be able to understand my writing.
YEM: How long did it take you to make this book?
Elise: I wrote How To Be Happy In 3 weeks, I just felt so incredibly excited and inspired, that I couldn’t stop writing. After the editing process, designing, printing, building the website, etc, it launched a year after I wrote it!
YEM: What is it like to live on your family’s meditation and wellness retreat?
Elise: Living at Rainbow Ridge was an absolute dream. It has completely shifted and changed my life forever and for the best. I am forever grateful for that experience, as it taught me who I am. I can’t even describe the experience in human words, it was so much of a feeling, nobody will ever understand. The people that came to the retreat weekend, had life-changing awakenings, but imagine that mind-blowing experience, but every single day. Being able to wake up, look at the trees, meditate, do yoga on the dance floor, meet beautiful souls, connect with humans in a time of disconnection, create art, was truly paradise.
YEM: How much did you involve your family in the making of “How to be Happy?”
Elise: My family was involved and huge help and aspect of the project. I wrote How To Be Happy alone, but right when I was finished my dad was the first one to connect me with the amazing designer Brandon Palma. He also helped me to launch my book at Meet Delic, and the support and love from my mom and brother were so beautiful! If I ever needed guidance, they would be there.
YEM: Do you have a meditation and mindfulness tip you can share that is not in your book?
Elise: A mindfulness tip I can share that’s not directly in my book is self-realization. Once you tap into your own energy and are open to yourself, everything flows divinely. To me, being an aware enlightened human is to understand that we are all one. That is why everyone and everything around is a mirrored reflection of you. Your mom, your friend, a random human on the street, our society, it’s all an outer reflection of what’s happening internally. So to exercise the depth of your self-awareness, a tip would be to check in with yourself. There are so many ways and so many tools, tips, tricks that I or anybody could tell you, but only you know what is best for you. How you can best check into yourself, is something only yourself knows.
YEM: What is something you would like the readers of your book to take away from it?
Elise: Something I want readers to take away from my book is a better relationship and understanding of self. I want readers to feel empowered and learn new tools to heal after they read How To Be Happy.
YEM: Do you have any advice you have for someone who wants to start writing?
Elise: My advice for someone who wants to start writing is just do it! Write what you feel called, and someone will resonate with it at some point. And even if they don’t, you write for yourself anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Everything is art and expression in some form, start with journaling if you don’t know where to start writing! If you have an eager desire to release from your vessel, writing is such a good form of expression for that!
YEM: What was the most valuable thing you learned while writing this book?
Elise: The most valuable thing I learned, is patience. I still am learning. It was hard for me to wait a year to get this out, especially because I knew it would help a lot of people! But through the ups and downs in my personal life in the past year, I did get very sad again at a point. I felt like I couldn’t release the book, while I was feeling not fully aligned and sad. But then I realized, that is the relatable aspect to this all. Nobody can always be happy, and there is a whole section in my book called duality. So I’ve learned patience for myself, and patience to allow flow to move everything instead of me controlling it.
YEM: What was your favorite part of the writing process?
Elise: My favorite part about the writing process was getting to express all that needed to come out of my heart. I was writing with the intention of helping others to heal by showing them tools and guidance. But in that, I was learning about my own depression, and I was teaching myself through my writing. Which is so so cool to me.
YEM: Are you thinking of writing another book any time soon?
Elise: I feel like the time will present itself when it’s time to write my next book. How To Be Happy is perfect for anybody to read, but I feel like the demographic is mostly kids, teens, and young adults. So I might wait until I’m a little older and wiser, then I would probably write a very metaphysical wizard book about the universe.