Tuesday, December 15, 2009


While looking through some photos this morning I came across this Christmas gift to me several years ago from our granddaughter. The packaged bulb had displayed a beautiful pure white amaryllis, but to our surprise following months of anticipation, this is the joy we were given. Believe it or not, from this simple photo blossomed these morning thoughts.

Life brings about many unexpected things and how we deal with those determines our disappointment or happiness. One of Thomas Carlyle's (1795-1881) passages I most recall from my college studies of British prose and poetry is one in which he likens happiness to a mathematical equation:

"So true is it, that I once said that the fraction of life can be increased in value not so much by increasing your Numerator as by lessening your Denominator. Nay, unless my Algebra deceive me, Unity itself divided by zero will give Infinity. Make thy claim of wages a zero, then; thou has the world under thy feet."

If we expect nothing and get something, does that not yield happiness? Does disappointment not stem from expectation? Some people spend much time thinking that their world would look differently, they could be happier, if only I had a bigger car, a nicer house, more clothes, prettier legs, another day... rather than being thankful and finding the good in that moment.

A few thoughts on happiness:

Finding it can only begin through awareness of oneself, for that is the only thing we can define. Understand our tendencies and who we are, for it is self-knowledge that provides the greater compass.

Love first oneself and with that love flows.

Do not allow others to define who we are, and understand and accept that we cannot control either another person, their thoughts or situations.

Once we realize that a bad circumstance could have been worse, we are ever so thankful. How often has a mistake made, been an actual blessing received? When was the last time you heard yourself say
'it was meant to be'?

Self-examination is easier said than done and involves understanding not just our strengths but especially our weaknesses, that which requires total honesty on our part.

I am thankful for the progress I have made over the years, but I still have struggles and pray for better acceptance.

I am human and therefore make mistakes and will be the first to apologize.

We begin each day by being thankful, for each little thing we see and experience, from the moment our feet hit the ground to when they lift at the close of the day; we tell one another I love you the first thing in the morning and the last thing as we close our eyes.

I believe we as artists have a head start (and I define artist as this creative community of people) for we capture and present the beauty of our moments: a photo of ice crystals formed on a pane of glass, a nuthatch foraging the seeds of thyme, the winds breathe upon the blades of grass, a hawk perched in anticipation, a recipe revealed from a family tradition, the beauty of a meal just prepared, photos and stories of families shared...

At this moment, happiness for me is the mistaken color of this beautiful flower, the thoughts of our granddaughter and those I share with you.

Don't forget to put your name in the hat should you be interested in "The Train Station" print, a gift from me to you.