Does creativity lead to happiness? Are we as happy as we choose to be?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness is not by chance, but by choice. Unknown

Creativity feeds our souls. We have to continue to feed our souls throughout our lives. Our best garden will need to be replaced by our next one. When we look at some people’s body of work we wonder how they are so prolific, it is because they keep creating.

There is something about the process of creativity that enlivens us. We expect elation at the completion of our projects but completing that project leaves us with emptiness in our life we aren’t sure what to do with. We were consumed with the project. We let other things slide in our life while we worked on it. We had dreams and nightmares about it. My mind is percolating but not at full speed like it was the last couple of months of the project when I was busy completing it.

Is this why we sometimes don’t complete things? If it is never complete we will never feel the emptiness. We also won’t feel the sense of accomplishment, we made a bargain with ourselves and we kept it. This emptiness can only be replaced by something else.

We always need to have another mountain to climb, another painting to paint, a song to sing. If I wasn’t working on a series I think the emptiness I feel after putting out When Can We Get A Puppy would be greater. I had planned to visit Mom after the book was published but visiting her in August worked out beautifully for everyone and didn’t impact my writing as much as I thought taking a break would.

We often don’t expect the feeling we get after something is completed, or we thought it would feel differently. We thought satisfaction upon completion would be as great as the joy of doing, and it isn’t. The joy is in the creation.

It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project. Napoleon HIll

This is where we get things wrong. We think getting acclaim for our accomplishments is worth more than it is. We think famous artists get more out of their art than people who paint in their basement. We think we will be happier when we publish our work than when we are creating it. We think it matters if someone likes our work.

It matters if someone likes our work if we are reliant upon the income from that work. This is why in the book “Of Human Bondage” the character was told by his art instructor if he wasn’t of independent-means he should find another way to make a living.

That sounds like harsh advice but struggling to make a living is not something we should set ourselves up for if we have other choices. As artists, we can make a living and still do art. We may think we would enjoy life more being in a successful band, or if we were a successful author, but there are always prices to pay.

In the book “Stumbling On Happiness” we are told no matter what happens to us, good or bad, we will be about as happy in six months as we are now. Win a million dollars or get into a terrible accident the happiness level in six months is the same. How can this be? Happiness is an inside job. Situations outside of ourselves have less impact than we think. Wow, that means our attitude is all up to us. That’s a scary thought; this means if I get lots and lots of sales or few sales it won’t mean much to my state of happiness. Can this be true?

Once our needs are met for housing, food, and security extra doesn’t add that much to our life. Yet, we spend our lives waiting for the next thing we acquire or the next rung on the ladder we reach to make us happy. It is the doing that makes us happy not the end result of the doing. There is satisfaction upon completing something, acquiring something, or accomplishing something but it opens the way for our next acquisition, accomplishment, or project.

Perhaps what we need to be doing as we are nearing the completion of something is to be planning what we will do next. Instead of waiting until we are finished and left with a hole where our project or our work used to be, we have the beginnings of something else in mind. This is why we are told to prepare for retirement.

True success is not a project but a journey. Myles Munroe

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. John Barrymore

I don’t expect to retire. Every man must work, that’s his natural destiny. Henry Ford

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, or see archives of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the Amazon link below and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Can we count our blessings every day and live each day with a grateful heart?

Can we count our blessings every day and live each day with a grateful heart? Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. Eckhart Tolle.

Happy Thanksgiving Day. We have so much to be thankful for. We all have some problems, sometimes they can be overwhelming but if we can find and focus on what we have to be grateful for instead of the problems, life is better.

We are more fun to be around when we see the sunny side of life. Gratitude magnifies the good in our life and ingratitude magnifies the bad. If we get what we focus on then choosing what we focus on is very important.

Is it easy to be grateful when we live in a land of peace and plenty? I hear a lot of grumbling and even grumble myself some days.

The opposite of lack is abundance. Having a grateful mindset doesn’t mean we have everything we want, it means we are grateful for everything we have. How often have we said we can’t afford something when we mean we don’t choose to buy it? Are we grateful we have the choice? I’ve heard people lament over the amount of choice they have in the marketplace. Really, this is a complaint because with all that choice we don’t know what to choose.

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. Willie Nelson

We are told to focus on what we want and be grateful for what we have. Living this way makes the best of what we have and the future. This makes sense. There are times in my life when I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t want to focus on it because then I had to act on it. I would be accountable for the amount of writing I did or didn’t do. We can’t call ourselves a writer if we don’t write. I don’t feel bad that I focused on the kids and not my writing because now I focus on my writing and the kids (adults) can focus on and manage their own lives.

It is a joy to have art and writing to focus on in this stage of life. Creativity may be an antidote to some of the negativity that is being focused on. Is it good to live in our own little bubble of positivity? Dealing with only what is ours to deal with? If we do our civic duty and vote then isn’t it the job of the people voted in to run the country to the best of their ability and if we let them do that it may be better for everyone. Why wring our hands over decisions that aren’t ours to make when we have so much of our own business to manage. Business, that often doesn’t get managed when we are trying to manage everyone else’s. What if we each got our own house in order before criticizing others? What if we are thankful for all the abundance in our lives?

Don’t we feel grateful every morning when we turn on the tap, flush the toilet, make coffee, or cook something? Just think what it would have taken for all of those things to happen not that many years ago. Many of us haven’t lived with having to haul water, go to an outhouse, or start a fire before cooking. It isn’t that many years ago that was the reality of life. Most of us don’t have to kill something before we can eat.

Sometimes we worry about what the future holds, but the future for many of us has gotten better and better? We are problem solvers and if we each solve the problems in front of us and let others solve the problems in front of them, we will continue to move forward making life better.

Worrying doesn’t do anything but being grateful for what we have, that’s a game-changer.

It is better to light a candle, than to curse the darkness. Chinese Proverb

When you focus on what you lack you lose what you have. When you focus on what you have you get what you lack. George McKeown

The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. James A. Faust

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you for reading my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link below and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Finding inspiration, do inspired people inspire others? When we see what others can accomplish do we think we can do it too?

When we see what others can accomplish do we think we can do it too? Finding inspiration, do inspired people inspire people?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want to succeed, focus on changing yourself, not others. Unknown

Tonight I am to give an inspiring speech at Toastmasters. What makes an inspiring speech? How are we inspired and how do we inspire others? I’m beginning to believe most if not all of this is an inside job. We don’t inspire others. If we are inspired we find inspiration in others and it inspires us more.

When I think of the kind of inspiration a lot of us would like to be able to give, we want to light a fire under people who need a fire lit underneath them. We want to change those who do not, will not, or cannot change. The inspiration they need will not be pushed on them by someone. They will search it out, stumble upon it themselves, or see a light in the darkness they can move toward.

Part of this seems like terrible news, but part of it frees us to realize we are the change we need to see. When we are inspired we might inspire someone not because we are lighting a fire under them but because we are like a lamp that has turned on, and they can see possibilities in the darkness, possibilities for them. When we see someone like ourselves, achieve things we think maybe we can do it too. We have to come to that conclusion, no one can make us see that we can do it, or should pursue it. Inspiration then is not a push, but a pull toward something someone wants, not a push toward something they should do. We spend a lot of time trying to control others to get them to do what we want, what we know would be good for them, or what would be better for society.

My speech tonight is about what I am going to say in an artist statement video. I’m going to give a speech within a speech asking for feedback. Will it be an inspiring speech? It is not an, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” speech.” It is not a folksy Jim Rohn, inspirational speech. It might not come under inspirational speeches at all. I have an opportunity to ask, what do you think of my sixty-second artist introduction?

Don’t be ashamed of your story it will inspire others. Unknown

I’m thinking about what is inspiring. My parents moved to Northern Saskatchewan as kids during the dirty thirties. Their parents were homesteaders and there were no schools in those early days. They grew up and went their way and then they each went back, met up, and got married. When I was a kid it was an area of prospering farms, we were bused to school in town. We had opportunities my parents couldn’t dream of when they were kids. If anyone, anywhere has an idyllic childhood we did. It was an inspiring time of growth and opportunity.

We need to find inspiration where we are to make things better, to help ourselves, and to help others. We shouldn’t as the bible says hide our light under a bushel. We need to be inspired to find inspiration in others. Remember the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” The answer may be to find what inspires ourselves and by being inspired we may inspire others.

The question we should be asking ourselves might be what do we find inspiring? When do we feel inspired to do, to change, and to reach for something? Are we cursing the darkness, or lighting a lamp?

What you do has a far greater impact than what you say. Stephen Covey

You don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections. Wilson Kanadi

Be the kind of person that makes other people want to up their game. Unknown

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, or see archives of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. A special thank you to everyone that leaves a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Go with the flow. Stumbling on happiness and trusting the process of life.

Stumbling on happiness and trusting the process of life. Go with the flow.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen… trusting that whichever way it goes. It’s for the best. Mandy Hale

My flurry of work on “When Can We Get A Puppy” is finished. I hit publish on Friday and on Saturday the print edition was live on Amazon. I can’t wait to get a printed copy in my hand.

In order to have the printed edition available when I said it would be I published it without seeing a second author’s proof. When we finish a project it leaves a void in our life. Do we take a break or do we start another project right away? Taking a break is scary because it is working on a project when the creative juices flow. I have a rush of ideas now that I have been working so hard on creating the paintings for “When Can We Get A Puppy.” If I take a month or two off will that inspiration dry up?

I have a feeling it will. I am in motion now, but if I stop, inertia sets in, and it will take a lot more to start up again once stopped than to stay in motion. When I took the break to go see Mom in August it didn’t interfere with my work because I was still engaged in my projects, but taking a long break at the end of a project I think would be different.

It is why when I published Secrets and Silence I started working on Secrets and Sorrow without a break. Once I get into a project it seems I can take some time off or slow down. I’ve found through my years of painting that completing a project and cleaning up the studio without starting something new often led to a longer break than I planned. Get the next one started. Starting is sometimes the hardest part.

Don’t over-think things. Go with the flow. See where it takes you. Love is unpredictable, you know.  Unknown

Over the weekend I archived the paintings for, “When Can We Get A Puppy.” At Michael’s, I was told wax paper is suitable to separate the paintings. I made a wax paper sleeve for each painting and have a 14-inch x 14-inch plastic box used for scrapbooking to store them in. This way I can sort through the paintings without touching them. The paintings, even the ones I didn’t use will be stored together and I will put a copy of the printed book in the box. Creating systems is one of the things we have to do to keep our lives organized and storage of crafts, art, projects of any kind is a challenge.

I went looking for a Liquitex product I love but when I looked at the array of products on the shelf it didn’t seem to be there. On Google I found out the product’s name has been changed but not the product itself. When I bought it at the art store the young man at the cash said he didn’t know that, and he uses the product as well.

When we find products that work it is sad if we can’t find them again. I made the mistake of using another product and wasn’t as happy with it but in the middle of a project, I didn’t want to change in case it would be noticeable. Starting a new project with Liquitex Gloss Medium which used to be called Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish gives me a lift. Fighting to get the results we want makes things harder.

I learned a lot creating this children’s book and one of the biggest lessons is we don’t know what we can do unless we do it. There are a good number of beloved children’s books illustrated by the author. When you think you are finished you might only be partway and you don’t know what it will look like until you call it finished. At some point, we have to say it is done because there is always one more painting to make or one more line to change. Setting a goal is powerful. Meeting a goal is one of the best feelings in the world, but when you put your work out into the world you are left with a void you might not expect. There is a bitter-sweetness to ending a project you’ve poured your heart and soul into. I didn’t expect that, I thought it would be all joy.

I feel the best in the midst of creation that is when I get into the flow. Ending that flow is when the emptiness comes. It is why starting a new project is important and soon I will be in the flow again. Writing and illustrating bring my two loves together and my husband said to me, “I think this is your better book.” I think it is too.

Life is a journey, we learn as we go. Often we stumble upon our happiness. We didn’t know what we were looking for until we are in the midst of it. It is one of the reasons life plans don’t work out, we don’t know what is around the corner or the next bend, but if we ride the waves of life it can be a wild ride indeed.

Sometimes in life, there’s no problem and sometimes there is no solution. In this space – between these apparent poles – life flows. Rasheed Oguniaru

Not everything will go as you expect in your life. This is why you need to drop expectations and go with the flow of life. Unknown

We can learn a lot by watching how water relates to the world around it. It goes around any obstacle in its way. It flows downstream rather than struggling to push upstream as many of us are doing in life. It just goes with the flow. Perhaps that’s why watching the action and rhythm of water is so peaceful. Unknown

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come again and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the bottom.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. A special thank you to everyone that leaves a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.