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I’ve got nothing to do today but smile…
March 23, 2014
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I’ve got nothing to do today but smile…

Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called ‘All the things that could go wrong’. Marianne Williamson.

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Flowers make me happy! I don’t think that’s shallow, is it? Their beauty in the face of struggle (weather, unfriendly bugs, inept gardeners etc) They keep going, no matter what. Being happy.

My Gran loved tulips. She was the original positive psychologist- though she would have laughed if I called her that! “Don’t trouble trouble until trouble troubles you”, she would say, dispensing pearls of positive wisdom along with the home baked macaroons, folding me into her floury embrace.  Despite her influence I trounced off into my teenage years with a pretty negative mindset which I took with me into adulthood, expecting the worst, superstitiously saluting magpies and touching wood, and if I sensed the emotion named ‘happiness’ I’d be so fearful that it would be followed by the opposite emotion, that I’d shut it right down.

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After chatting with a friend about the need for ‘happiness ambassadors’ – people who are proudly and unashamedly Happy People, I got to thinking about why we do this? Why are we scared of happiness, when it’s generally accepted – in our culture anyway, and certainly if the contents of my bookshelves are anything to go by, that happiness is the ultimate goal, and what we all strive for (and with the emphasis on strive, shudder…)

There goes the little voice inside, telling us that we either don’t deserve to feel happy; that someone else is suffering, so we need to play it down a bit; that something awful will happen if I allow myself to experience this sensation of happiness;  that if I’m seen to be happy it makes me look shallow, self centred, a little dull or simple… I’ve heard all these messages from my little voice inside at one time or another.

Many arty types fear that suffering is the only true path to creativity. Edward Munch (creator of the infamous painting ‘The Scream’) said  ‘I want to keep my sufferings- they are part of my art.’  In Islamic cultures sad people are seen as serious and connected to God. In Iran there is a saying ‘laughing loudly wakes up sadness’. (What would Gran have had to say about that!) And in China ‘Extreme happiness begets tragedy.’ and ‘Happiness and a glass vessel are most easily shattered’.  The Tao te Ching says ‘Misery! Happiness to be found by its side! Happiness! Misery lurks beneath it!’  I don’t think this is negativity as such –  Taoists believe that things tend to revert to their opposite, that there is a cycle to everything. Life will have its highs and lows.

I’m probably happier now that I’ve ever been in my adult life. There, I said it without touching wood or fear that I’m invoking the wrath of the Gods of Sod’s Law.  I would prefer to think that happiness begets happiness; that if I make up my mind to be happy, I will be. So I’ve re-written my story. I am now officially, a Happy Person.

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These images are the result of me trying something a bit different and the uncomfortableness that goes with that. The tulips’ beauty speaks for itself, so it’ a challenge to find a way of photographing them that doesn’t take any of that away. I’m trying to invoke beginner’s mind and not wait until I’m the world’s best floral photographer before I post. ‘Cos that might take a week or two….

Maz xx

 


3 Responses

  1. Happiness….. your right its a word that doesn’t sit comfortably with us. I salute magpies and touch wood constantly. I am terribly superstitious, I cant help it, I think its just at my core and I actually like it that way. I am an eternally optimistic person, ALWAYS looking for the silver lining in life. As you know through a series of events over the last few years I started feeling the universe wasnt listening to my optimistic soul and I stopped wishing upon a star, the sliver of a new moon and a single sneeze. Recently though that cloak of darkness has started to lift and I am back to doing all those silly things, smiling at the world and finding its smiling back. I think the yin and the yang are a way of life. You need the dark to fully appreciate and hold on tight to the beauty of light. Without it you wouldn’t learn how to grow. How to find your peace and light and how to fully appreciate it and cling on to it so it can help you through the next stage of dark because it will remind you that eventually morning always comes….. (reckon ive another blog post coming again…!!) xxxx

    1. Maz

      Wow niki that is a blog post in itself! I love the way you write, from the heart- I look forward to seeing an extended version of this on your blog soon :)) x

  2. written! and i think youve seen xxx

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