Monday, October 15, 2012

Be Happy



Watercolor
Suzanne McDermott

"I have decided to be happy because it's good for my health."

Voltaire


I have no idea what's going on.

...I once said to an uber-wealthy, powerful and highly influential employer. He turned to me and said, "Suzanne, no one knows what's going on!"
I like to think that I know what's happening. If I know what's happening, I have nothing to worry about. But I come from a long line of worriers and worry is more than just a reactive habit. It's deeply ingrained inherited and learned behavior.
The truth is that all I really know is what exists in this present moment. Each present moment. Everything else is memory, conjecture, anticipation, perceived in the light of worst or best case scenarios.
Even when it seems that I cannot count on solid ground beneath my feet, I can control my attitude and I can choose to be happy rather than fall into the habit of anxiety.

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"Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity."

Thomas Merton


The quickest route to spiritual security is as easy as one, two, three.
1. Breathe
2. Observe
3. Smile
Breathe again and see if you're not feeling less anxious.

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Each moment is an opportunity.


"If you want to be happy, be."

Leo Tolstoy


If you have trouble being present with the easy as one, two, three formula, try picking up a pencil to draw something. Don't judge yourself, just look at something and do the best you can to describe it with a pencil on paper.
One of the primary reasons I teach drawing is to help people connect to the present moment; to help people bypass their stream of incessant thoughts.
Would you like a little help? Download my basic lessons on and approach to drawing. Spend an afternoon becoming reacquainted with the world around you. It's a beautiful world that we live in.

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"Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times."

Aeschylus

Breathe. Observe. Smile. With practice, you may find that being happy takes less and less effort.
Still cranky? Pick up a pencil and draw. That takes practice, too.

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Have a problem with the notion of happiness?

"In working with this, one of the ways of phrasing this that seems to be more digestible for people is to think of happiness in a very profound sense of 'May I fulfill my potential—during this lifetime, from now until I die. May the days of my life add up to waking up and fulfilling my potential, actually connecting with the deep and rich potential that I have, and wishing that for other people as well.'"

Pema Chödrön


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