I think generosity can be one of the greatest ways to experience happiness. Sort of that idea of losing to find - you lose yourself in others, in acts of giving and kindness, in order to find yourself (or realize yourself all along) and happiness.
Right now I'm trying to think of something to do for my boyfriend, who is somewhat depressed. I found two dollars and I'm trying to think of something small to get him, or something small to do for him, that isn't ordinary or expected - some way to penetrate his gloomy worldview with something bright, and a reminder that he's loved.
He's not the type to usually be optimistic or sentimental though, so this will be challenging! I want to move him, just a little bit.
I think I'll update this when I do figure it out, it may not be today... Still, it's fun to surprise people, to think about them and making them happy...
PS: I love it when the weather is just right, and I can leave my balcony door open without it getting too hot or too cold. I love the smell it brings to the apartment, you can't beat the feeling of fresh air!
Today, it's something simple. When I've settled down in bed, and I'm drifting off to sleep, and my dogs curl up next to me, and rest their heads on my back or my legs, or lay down next to me on the pillow... I have to admit, my heart melts a little.
There's something appealing about secrets and solitude. Keeping secrets is a great habit of mine, maybe almost to the point of vice - I would say it's been to my detriment in the past. The things that touched me the most, that I was attracted to, things that I thought were most beautiful - I always kept that to myself. That was the only way to protect them, and myself. Unfortunately, that means I was never really able to explore them in a meaningful way at the time, I could only admire them; read about them, listen and look when no one was around, but not appear to others to have a great interest.
Having a secret is, for me, like breathing some vitality into life. While I wasn't born looking to cultivate secrets, over the years I've come to appreciate and then enjoy what they are. Secrets are self-indulgent and very fragile, and must be treated with care. Their nature seems somewhat ambivalent - most people think having any sort of secret is like lying, that you must be hiding something bad or be doing something wrong. That's not entirely the case; sometimes, like me, you look to have secrets to fill your solitude.
Master of the Universe, grant me the ability to be alone. May it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grasses, Among all growing things, There to be alone and enter into prayer. There may I express all that is in my heart, Talking with Him to whom I belong. And may all grasses, trees and plants Awake at my coming. Send the power of their life into my prayer, Making whole my heart and my speech through the life and spirit of growing things, Made whole by their transcendent Source. Oh! That they wound enter my prayer! Then would I fully open my heart in prayer, supplication and holy speech; Then, O God, would I pour out the words of my heart before Your Presence. Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav
Solitude is by no means intrinsically bad; in fact, I enjoy it when I am alone, either in my apartment or in a crowd. Especially in a crowd, it provides a certain freedom. You are at your most natural when you aren't putting on a show for friends. Not that I don't enjoy my friends; each thing in moderation, I'd say. I have fond memories of being alone as a child, playing by the pond near my house, or daydreaming about the things I secretly liked. This makes me wonder, if I wouldn't have had a richer, more fulfilling childhood actually pursuing these things, or if they just would have lost their beauty once they turned from a daydream to tedious, repetitive actuality. So secrets are, in the end, a little bittersweet.
Each of us is born with a share of purity, predestined to be corrupted by our commerce with mankind, by that sin against solitude. E.M. Cioran
Seventy years after his death, Kafka epitomizes one aspect of this modern mind-set: a sensation of anxiety and shame whose center cannot be located and therefore cannot be placated; a sense of an infinite difficulty within things, impeding every step; a sensitivity acute beyond usefulness, as if the nervous system, flayed of its old hide of social usage and religious belief, must record every touch as pain. John Updike
Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future. Audrey Hepburn
One thing about me is that I can't stop dreaming - I'm always focused on the future, and possibilities, hopes, plans, and a vague feeling of exploration, adventure, happening. The one thing I've always wanted in life is to travel, and as I get older and older I feel this desire slowly becoming hotter.
This desire has been fueled by reading about other people's travels. Most especially, a friend of mine has gone to study abroad in Spain, and another is studying abroad in China. Really, there's nothing I don't like about traveling; when you're in a foreign place, even the most mundane activities, like going to the grocery store, are fantastically alien. The feeling of being a stranger in a strange place, well, it seems alienating but I find it very nice. It's such a release to be able to just be quiet, or to have your solitude amongst a crowd, by virtue of sheer otherness.
I think, in order to assuage the frustration that tends to come along with these types of dreams, I'll start saving up what I can. I might also by some of those city guide Moleskines, so that I can already start to mark places I want to go and things I want to do. It's good to write your dreams down.
Everyone's got that unexpected something, if not few things, that will instantly transport them back to their childhoods. I hope for everyone that they have at least one happy thing; I'm very fortunate myself to have several. This particular "something" I've had a great fondness for since I was a young child, and something I couldn't get enough of at one point; very broadly, it was mythology, but much more specifically, it was mythical beasts.
I think it started with fantasy video games and Yoshitaka Amano's breathtaking art, and progressed from there to fantasy books. Finally, once I could find them at my school's library, I was reading every mythology book I could dig up. Poor, underappreciated books! In my mind, the amount of stamps on their slips never did them any justice! My favorites of these sorts of books were ones with a more zoological bent, the ones that had stories exclusively about particular beasts. One section to dragons, one section to unicorns, and so on... Looking at the above picture, I notice the (not unexpected) absence of my old favorite, the wyrm.
Not really a dragon properly, I think I like the wyrm so much because of the folktale "Prince Lindworm." The story itself, you could say, follows the "usual" fairytale script, but since I happen to love fairytales, this isn't a problem. Beyond that, the art that accompanied the story in the book I read it in made an impression - it looked like an old print, with a young maiden, thick with all the dresses she was wearing, standing opposite a wingless, limbless wyrm shedding his skin. I felt like I was peering in through a peephole into some secret place. The artwork was almost suggestive; the wyrm almost seemed, well, shy, and not at all like the monster you'd expect.
Could somebody help me with the above picture? I know what everything is, except Fig. 5, the little guy beneath the Roc. I can't think of it for the life of me!
I woke up this morning, finally, to birds! The sky itself, out my window, was a very lovely soft blue, with not even a speck of white. I crept up slowly to my window - which had the blinds open but not up, so I could see out but it would be enough to obscure me from the birds - and I saw a Carolina Chickadee eating at the feeder. It was maybe a week ago that I decided to put it back to use, and I've been waiting for the birds to take notice.
Birds, I think, are some of the most beautiful creatures around. Not just for the their looks, or their songs, or even their frailty - the very precarious and precious nature of their bodies and lives - I'd say that they are yet still more beautiful because of the awe they inspire in us and others, and the inspiration they are apt to cause, being so everyday but hardly ordinary.
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. C.S. Lewis
Have you ever observed a humming-bird moving about in an aerial dance among the flowers - a living prismatic gem.... it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description. W.H. Hudson My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather. Loire Hartwould
Maybe today, I can find more confidence in myself and happiness in the world if I live like a bird.
Alright, so that first post is a bit of a cop-out (being an intro and all). Here is something that's made me happy today:
Bach's "Art of Fugue," (as played by Glenn Gould). It's spectacular, really, I don't have words; the beauty is counterpointed with the immense sense of sadness the music carries. It's breathtaking. For me, it illustrations perfectly something I've felt: that every happiness should have an element of pain, Somewhere in there, there should be melancholy, nostalgia, sorrow, maybe even regret, anguish...
I know, this is a blog of one thing a day that has made me happy. But before I go on, I figure, I should at least say plainly what happiness is to me. A happiness with no pain just doesn't have a soul.