October 30, 2013
What Makes You Happy?
The other day, I was reading through a chapter of "The Artists Way", which is a lovely book if you've got some time and inclination to pick it up. It's all about rediscovering your creativity if you're in a slump, and strengthening it if you are currently producing work. I've been working my way through the book for about a year, as I sometimes feel a little slump-y and wish I was more motivated to write songs.
At the end of each chapter, it gives you prompts and activities to get your imagination going. It seems too simple, and sometimes a little wacky. You think "What is the point of thinking about my favorite foods when I was five years old?" But once you do it, you realize that it really does get some sparks flying, and brings up lots of memories and feelings- which gets you primed for creating!
Recently, I was prompted to list some happiness touchstones. Little things that REALLY bring joy to your heart, like the kind I'm always taking pictures of for this blog. Smooth river rocks, fluffy goose down, home made cookies... things like that. Surprisingly, it was a little hard at first. But once I got started, I had listed soooo many things!
But one thing I realized... I didn't recognize a lot of those things anywhere in my life. For instance, the very first thing I listed was "sparkly things." They make me happy to look at! Well guess what? I've been actively avoiding sparkly things for at least ten years. Why? After some thinking about it, I determined it was because somewhere along the line, I decided that sparkly things were uncool. BECAUSE THEY WERE UNCOOL. :facepalm: Years if denying myself a simple pleasure for something that silly.
It really got me to thinking about the ways that we can deprive ourselves of joy, without even realizing it. Why do we do this? I guess there are different reasons for different people. For me, joy is something that has to be cultivated... it takes a little effort to be happy sometimes. Looking over this list is as a good place to start as any to get ideas of how.
- Sparkly things!
- Any Elliot Smith song
- My grandmother's garlic butter peas
- Mint-colored anything
- The crisp feeling of fall
- The first breath of spring
- A fresh vase of flowers
- Cozy, love-filled hugs from special people
- The feeling of an awesome thrift score
- Song ideas coming together perfectly (feels like a puzzle being completed!)
- Performing for an audience who gets it
- Warm scarves
- Down comforters
- Peanut butter and chocolate
- Riding on trains, cars, and buses (I talked about this yesterday!)
This is just the beginning :) Try making a list of your own! xxo