Creating Happiness

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.jpg

Believe it or not, material possessions and other people do not make us happy.  Sure, buying something new can give you a little “lift” in spirits, if that’s the way you think you should be happy.  However, that lift never lasts, and then you’ve got to go out and get something new again.  It’s a never-ending proposition and one that certainly will not bring you lasting happiness.  The same holds true with collecting new people.  When you look outside yourself for happiness, you will always be disappointed.  Whatever lift you feel initially, will not last, and will often leave you feeling even more empty inside.

315143c05ca7d2ce9991436f5f6358a1

However, when we realize that the only happiness that lasts is the one we make ourselves, that is when we will truly be happy.  Happiness really is an inside event.  Only we can create our own happiness.  How can this be done?  First of all, you have to really know yourself.  You need to spend some quiet time with yourself, and find out what might make you happy.  Many times, unhappiness stems from not pursuing those things that really give meaning to our lives.  If you want to change your life, what’s stopping you?  Can you start small, and build from there?  We have an unlimited capacity to improve our own lives, even in just the tiniest ways, and happiness will stem from there, if only we try.

finding-your-happiness123

By working on ourselves we can create our own happiness, and from there, we can change the world.  How can our own happiness change the world?  By bringing happiness into the world, we bring kindness to others, creating a new compassion for others.  Your changes help transform the world you live in.  It’s a pond with ripples radiating out into the rest of the pond where it eventually hits the shore and continues on from there.

 

Magic

MagicColor3

I recently read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I really liked just about everything that she had to say. One of the things that has stuck with me was the fact that she believes that everyone is an artist. Somehow in the past hundred years or so, we’ve come to believe in this odd idea that the only people who are artists are those who make money following their path. That would include professional dancers, painters, writers and musicians. Somehow we’ve come to the strange conclusion that the person down the street who does the same things but doesn’t make a living at it, can’t possibly be considered an artist.

CDsPu3oWIAEIFo2

This idea that magic (creativity) can happen to anyone, anywhere is an astounding idea. This simple idea gives art back to everyone; which is exactly where it should be. After all, it wasn’t a single “artist” who drew on the cave walls; it was anyone who had the time and ambition.

gilbertquote1

This book helps people see that creativity happens anywhere, at any time to anyone. And it is something that we should embrace and bring into our everyday lives. By calling it magic, Gilbert wants all of us to be creative. Think you’re not? Well, there are as many ways to be creative as there are people. Do you enjoy changing recipes around, and adding (or subtracting) ingredients? How about setting a beautiful table? What about knitting, quilting or sewing? Do you write in your free time? Any hobbies?

Quotes-From-Elizabeth-Gilbert-Big-Magic

Creativity is all around us. We only need to grab onto it and let it flow through us. What a positive and exciting way to live. Find the magic and don’t let it go. It will improve your life!

Why Nature is Good for Us

I go for at least one walk a day. Usually I try to fit one in early in the morning, but now that the sun is rising later each day, it’s getting harder to manage this. However, I always go for a walk around 11 o’clock. The dogs count on this one, and are often milling about at the front door in order to remind me. They seem to think that if they aren’t making a nuisance of themselves I’ll forget about them.

I was recently thinking about how much better I feel after my walk. If I’ve been in a mildly depressed state before leaving, I’m much happier when I get back. It’s like someone gave me a happy pill. There have been studies regarding this fact, and the main reasons that nature is so good for you are the following: being in nature can ease depression and stress; change your outlook; help with your focus and boost your immunity. http://news.health.com/2014/09/29/health-benefits-of-nature/

Scientists have also discovered that enjoying nature can restore our brains. Apparently being in man-made environments can be over stimulating, while nature can “reset” our brains by allowing us to think as little or as much as we want. There are other benefits to enjoying nature, but one that I definitely have found to be true is that a good walk can make me more creative. I’ve found that I often have wonderful ideas for my writing while walking. Getting those creative juices flowing is always a great idea, and walking is an easy way to do it.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-is-your-brain-on-nature_55bf98fee4b0b23e3ce35d99?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living&kvcommref=mostpopular

So I suggest that you go out and enjoy nature this weekend. Take the time to reset your brain and enjoy yourself!

Creativity

My daughter is taking a Humanities class for her college degree and she was talking to me about the origin of creativity. So, being curious, I looked up the origins of human creativity. It seems that the first evidence of creativity is actually body art. This was found in Africa with zigzag, criss-cross patterns and beads to make the body art 3D. Of course this art progressed to the cave art and other art that we can now see all over the world. thttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815939/

What I found interesting was that art has basically always been with us. It pre-dated the written word; appearing at the same time that our ancestors began using tools. Art has been used in defining exactly who is a human and who is not. It is one of the criteria used by scientists to determine who our ancestors are.

During our later evolutions, such as the Inquisitions which lasted some 400 years, people continued to create art that could, and did, lead to their deaths. This need to create is obviously powerful if one is determined to die for it. Over the centuries people have gone to great lengths to create art.

In modern times, here we are, on the Internet continuing to create art. Some of us write, others share their photos and still others paint and/or create mixed media art. You Tube is full of people writing and singing their own music. In fact, the Internet has given everyone who has access to a computer the chance to share their art with the entire world. How cool is that?