Monthly Archives: March 2015

24,000 AND COUNTING!

I was blown away when I added up the numbers. There are 24,000 Happiness Cards somewhere out in the world spreading happiness. It all began 15 months ago with a wish to share my flower photographs with more people.

The first cards were 2″x3″ photos that I printed on my trusty Canon printer with an inspiring quotations that I glued to the back of each picture. I gave them away one at a time or left them around town for people to pick up. They were a hit.

A friend who saw them encouraged me to box them up so they could be sold and others could join me, so I did just that. If only 10% of the 24,000 cards have added to happiness in the world, my mission has been accomplished, but I’m not stopping there.

Last week I placed a new order for 8,700 cards, and thought you might like a sneak preview of some of the new ones:

When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. Peace Pilgrim

When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.
Peace Pilgrim

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. Henry Miller

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
Henry Miller

We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha

We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.
Buddha

To serve is beautiful, but only if it's done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind. Pearl Buck

To serve is beautiful, but only if it’s done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.
Pearl Buck

                          http://www.happinesscards.net

LOSING THINGS

After spending several days looking for my sunglasses recently, I got to thinking about how losing one’s possessions is a curse of the modern world. Who, a hundred years ago, had to worry about misplacing a cell phone or car keys, or even keys to their house, for that matter? With most of the population living on farms I doubt that many doors were locked, and possessions were few.

We humans have almost no history of having to keep track of so much stuff. Now instead of planting the corn or scrubbing clothes on a washboard, we’re looking under sofa cushions and rummaging through pockets. When I lose something I tell myself, “It’s another indication of not being mindful, Connie.” But that’s not much help with the immediate problem.

I did eventually find my sunglasses, and the circumstances under which that happened inspired my thoughts and this post. Here’s the story: I have a beautiful wooden bowl my son, Mark, made and gave to me for my birthday a few years ago. I’ve trained myself to put my keys and glasses there when I come in the house. Usually.

The morning the mystery began I was getting ready to go on my daily walk with my neighbor, Nancy, and my sunglasses were not in the bowl. “Oh, well,” I thought. “They must be in the car or in one of my jacket pockets. I’ll look for them later.” Which I did. Many times. Eventually I decided to buy a cheap pair at CVS to use on my walks while I’m waiting for them to turn up, which I was sure they would.

I was sure because I’d been through this before. A year or two ago when my shades had been missing for several days, they magically appeared in the middle of the floor on the driver’s side of my car. I had previously searched the car, unsuccessfully. Where had they been?

Sure enough. Yesterday morning I was looking for my reading glasses. They weren’t in the bowl where they should have been, but there in plain sight were my missing sunglasses. I was blown away. Can things actually disappear for a time and then reappear?  The fact that I could even entertain the idea that they were not there all along probably drops me into the pool of California kooks. Maybe I belong there anyway.

KITTY-CAT CAPERS

Penny has, from her earliest days, been the most curious (and difficult) cat I’ve ever shared my space with. One episode that remains in my memory was horrifying at the time but has subsequently provided many laughs.

I had just returned from my weekly grocery shopping with several bags in the trunk of my car. My procedure was to haul the bags into the kitchen and then close the garage door. I didn’t think much about Penny’s whereabouts when I pressed the button to let the door down . I had just reached the kitchen when I heard a blood-curdling screech from the garage. “Oh, no, something’s killed the cat!”

I raced back to find Penny hanging from her back feet at the top of the automatic door. Without thinking of the possible damage to her feet I pushed the button to release her, and she fell harmlessly to the ground.

Evidently she’d climbed onto the roof of the car and then onto the open garage door where I couldn’t see her. When I activated the door closure, her perch unrolled beneath her until she had no place to stand. It was a long time before she was brave enough to enter the scene, and some time before my heart slowed down.

But thankfully our lives go on and so do her antics.

Resting midway through helping me change the sheets.

Resting midway through helping me change the sheets.

LIFE AS A CREATIVE ACT

As I was pondering the various aspects of creativity, my mind flipped a thought around to life itself being a creative act. While I was thinking I was so smart to have come up with that idea I decided to google the thought.  Ram Dass was way ahead of me when he said, “My life is a creative act, like a painting, like a poem.” I probably read those very words years ago, and they popped up out of my memory bank when needed. Funny how that works.

But does living creatively require some end product, like a song or a drawing? What would it look like to live life creatively with no external product?  To do so I think we have to be our authentic selves and express our uniqueness in our choices from what to wear to how we spend our time and what we pay attention to.

Serendipity provided me with an email this morning from Deepak and Oprah who had this to say about living a creative life.  “This creative power of your conscious self is a new kind of creativity. It’s not limited to artistic ability or outside-the-box problem solving. It is the power of your being to recreate the unique expression of life that is you at this present moment. That is the primal creativity of Nature itself moving through you, and this is the creative power behind all success.”

With that said, I must admit I’m happiest when I’m engaged in some creative activity that often does end as a photograph or painting or new recipe. It’s what gives my life meaning; it’s a time when I can lose myself in the activity.

Perhaps my challenge is to get that same charge from living every moment creatively. What gets in my way is falling into an unconscious routine that buries my creativity.  Being fully aware and in the moment seems to be a prerequisite for any original thought or action.

The Japanese poet, Osho preceded Ram Dass and me when he wrote:

When I say to be creative

I don’t mean

You should all go

And become great painters

And great poets.

I simply mean

Let your life

Be a painting

Let your life be a poem.

To write a poem or paint, compose music or write a book can be a wonderful experience, but incorporating small creative acts into daily life can be lots of fun, too. I stumbled upon a wonderful  website where the author, Katherine Torrini, encourages tiny acts of creativity. She suggests small, fun activities that can be done by anyone in just a few minutes. Check it out.

In the meantime, Henry Miller’s advise should go a long way toward living a creative life.  “The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” 

THE PRESENT MOMENT

Rain has been predicted for several days, 100% the weatherman said at one point. But all the clouds have been able to squeeze out have been a few drops. I try not to dwell on the drought we’re experiencing, and I’m enjoying our beautiful winter weather when I’m not worrying about climate change. Fully accepting each moment as it arrives and staying in the present helps. So does the wisdom of others, expressed in the beautiful poem a Facebook friend posted recently. With his permission I’m sharing it with you.

While you’ve been worrying
about the doom of the earth
two hyacinths, three tulips,
and one golden daffodil
blossomed among the mossy
stones and broken pots
by the pantry door,
kept promises
of bygone Springs….
Why not let the catastrophe
happen right now?
This could be the end of time.
Just drop your mind.
Let it shatter and spill
on the compost pile.
Then walk bravely, without
a single thought, through your
garden of unexpected
kindness.

Fred LaMotte