For a long time I was living an unhappy life. Despite my happy photographs and posts (because who likes to document moments of unhappiness?), I was really just hiding.
Creating my art brings me joy. Stitching happy thoughts and images on fabric helped me to imagine a happy life. But it did not reflect my true feelings.
In the past year, I have made the biggest change in my life (separation and divorce), I have been challenged in ways I haven’t been in so long. Faced with the harsh reality of losing a partner and forging my own path has nudged me in directions I would never have ventured. Without that safe cocoon of a marriage (albeit unhappy), I was able to burrow my head in the sand for a long time. Through the help of family, friends, therapy, books, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends, I’ve grown stronger and learned a lot about myself.
Now I can only rely on myself. I can see my own strengths and weaknesses. I have to stand on my own. It is so scary, yes. But liberating too. Who knows what the next year will bring? But in some ways, in important ways, isn’t that the exciting part of life?
Here are a few of my favorite books that helped me through the last year. From a memoir to fiction to writing and career advice, each of these books seemed to address a need or question I had at just the right time. Don’t you love when that happens? If you are going through something similar (either a break-up, job loss or other life-changing event), maybe they will help you, too.
Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser
You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Still Writing by Dani Shapiro
48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller
Also, please share with me any books that have helped you through a difficult time. I would love to read them!
Happiness…..in so many words
While thinking about what to write for my first post in my new blog series – Creating Happiness, I knew I *had* to start each post with a quote. I’ve been posting these happy nuggets for a few years on my blog and various social media channels, like Pinterest. I’m so happy to combine my love of a well-turned phrase with my self-taught Photoshop skills (I’m old school and still use CS2!) into creating these little graphics. This particular quote by Benjamin Disraeli, which I found on The Positivity Blog, is very appropros for this inaugural post.
I admit, being proactive has not always been one of my fortes when it comes to certain things in my life.
Plagued with a touch of social anxiety and a whole lot of shyness, inaction can be the safe haven where I hunker down. But, when I do take action, even if it is just a small action, I almost always feel better. Dare I say happier for having done it?
It has been exactly five weeks since I announced that I would be writing a blog series. Yes, it has taken over a month to set pen to paper, so to speak, and write a post. And the simple act of typing this post – hearing the quick taps of the keyboard and feeling the wheels in brain turning – are making me perk up.
I am not going to reinvent the wheel and claim to solve your happiness woes (what an oxymoron!), but I will share my experiences and the stories behind my art.
Things that made me happy this week
I hope as you read these posts, you will share what makes you happy with me. I’d love to hear what other happiness seekers are doing.
I was one of those kids who looked at happy people and scratched my head. Why were they so happy? Luck? Genes? Incredibly loving parents who did everything right? Over the years, I’ve realized that happiness is something you can learn. Something you can instill in your kids. Something you need to nurture every day. Barring clinical depression (which I absolutely recommend therapy and medication and professional help), I believe happiness is a skill that can be practiced every day. Like a flexing a muscle.
Because finding happiness is so important to me — and because it influences a lot of the art that I make, I’d love to start sharing my own happiness tips, inspiring quotes and other gems I find with you! Because I struggle with sadness at times and boosting my own happiness, I create things that are light-hearted and uplifting. Yes, it makes me happy!
I found this quote on one of my favorite happiness websites, Raising Happiness.