Saturday, July 25, 2009

admiration versus envy

Thank my lucky stars
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(This is a little sketch portrait
illustrating the idea "the best
things in life are free" like the
stars over our schoolhouse in
Nova Scotia. The model doesn't
look certain about the idea.)

I was thinking about art and life today and this topic
came up in my mind. I've mentioned Louise Hay before
and I remember listening years ago to a tape of
hers that cautioned never to envy another's good.
The idea -- and I think it's a sound one -- is that if
someone you know, does well, is happy, gets
rich, gets excellent work, it is almost as if that had
happened to you too. She suggested driving by,
(or walking, or cycling) by beautiful houses, and
looking at things of beauty you want, and saying
"that's for me!, that's for me!"

I live near a very beautiful neighbourhood (and I
thoroughly enjoy my own neighbourhood),
with big trees, grand houses, and wonderful gardens.
I get to drive or walk by those houses every day. And as
Louise says, none of us can really own anything, so
we all own the pleasure in seeing houses or whatever
it is we like.

Of course if you're hungry, or have no shelter, none
of this applies. But if everything is really fine in your
world, envy has no place in it.

But admiration is a wholly different and wonderful
thing. With friends all over the world, in gracious
climates, lovely homes, and who produce
overwhelmingly beautiful art work, I am in a state
of elevated admiration every single day.
My world and work hums with the vibrancy of loving
so much that my friends do and have. That way I enjoy
what pleases them. I can't imagine feeling jealous
of someone because they earn more than I do,
know more than I do, do anything that I don't do.
My feeling is that if I decide to learn something I
will, and the whole world is there to teach me.
If I decide to want a certain lifestyle, I'll go for it.

So I don't mean that I'm so content that I have
no drive. What I do mean, is that I love my
life. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful
experiences, images, videos, even music with
me. You definitely deserve my sincere and
profound admiration.


Anonymous said...

hear! hear! well said.

Gwen Bell said...

Great portrait. Love the stars in the background and the stars in her eyes.

This was a wonderfully inspirational post, Barbara. Life is so much more joyful when we are present with gratitude rather than envy. Thanks for the reminder!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

Thanks so much. I appreciate your cheers.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

Thanks so much. Every now and then I'm hit by a thought that makes sense to me. Over the years I've discovered that envy is always misplaced. People envy for surface reasons with no comprehension of what the people they envy are experiencing.

But admiration. Wow -- that's a spirit lifter. I mega admire your work.


Melinda said...

Good post, Barbara! Many years ago, someone said that you can envy what someone else has only IF you're willing to suffer all that they did to be where they are or have what they have.

When fellow artists do well, live well, accomplish great things, it is a loving message to the rest of us that all good things are possible!

And, admiration...ah, that's inspirational.

You certainly inspire me and so many others.

eldon warren said...

I'm not sure what to say about all that except I know you're the one girl who practices what she preaches. Now there's somethin to admire!

Liza Hirst said...

How right you are again, Barbara!
Like the hair and the eyes in this picture! The colours are great!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

and you me. Inspire I mean. I love how you think, write, and paint. Send in the portrait. One of the best I've ever seen -- including the "Greats".


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

I pretty much think the same is true of you. You love where you live, are passionate about the landscape, love painting, and the people in your life. So you seem like a person who is content to me.

Thanks so much for your lovely message.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

When I looked at it the next day I thought I might be channeling someone whose face I've seen a lot. It's strange when that happens in a portrait -- but it's a difficulty I have -- other faces inhabit the one I'm trying to capture!

Thanks so much for your kind encouragement.


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!