Saturday, October 30, 2010

Learning to be happy

One of my favorite books when I started learning how to
be happy was by Dr. Susan Jeffers.  Her story was incredibly
inspiring, and her vital message was that we are
all frightened and that we can't let fear hold us back.
Her book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway was transformative
for me.
October Pansies
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(Today a sweet note
came through the mail
with a postcard from
London that said a 
painting by Gaugin reminded
my friend of my flower
paintings.  I felt so incredibly
happy and sat down to paint
this "small painting.")

I am positive a great deal of the time, and people who don't
know me well think that I was born cheerful.  But it isn't
completely true.  I was a normal surly teenager, and it's
taken me my whole life to arrive at a state of dependable
optimism. I have been lucky to meet inspiring people
who taught me that you actually have to work at being happy.
Plus I read everything I can get my hands on that might move
my thinking over from grim to joyous.  Then too I am blessed
to have  just wonderful friends and mentors popping out of the
woodwork on a daily basis.

I just received a newsletter from Susan Jeffers all about
affirmations -- short positive statements that can transform
your mood.  My all time favorite is "All is well."  Maybe
you're allergic to these ideas.  But if not, affirmations
are like mental yoga, they stretch and calm the mind.
Painters (well it's certainly true for me), need to tap into
every possible way to stay focused and cheerful.  Their work
is physically and creatively demanding, and they work in
isolation.  Luckily now we have so many ways to access
positive ideas on the internet.  I constantly marvel at that

Have a staying-positive-and-feeling-strong-and-happy day.


Tammy Hext said...

Really like this one Barbara! and I am going to check out that book. I am always reminding myself of the great opportunities and friends that I have going on when I feel things are tough.
Happy painting!

cohen labelle said...

Barbara, alas, I never got to meet the surly you! If I had, though, I'm convinced I would have been smitten.
The Barbara I've always known as far back as I can remember, has invariably been gracious, sweet, irreverent, kind, and wildly funny! I can settle for that as well.
As for Gaugin - he has always been one of my favorites and so my dear, are you!

Sheila Vaughan said...

Barbara - red , yellow and blue and a perfectly harmonious painting. It's genius!

Karen Bruson said...

Love your still life. This book sounds wonderful.

eldon said...

You've certainly good at being happy. I'd have thought you were born like that as well. Maybe I'll find that book.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Tammy,

Thanks so much. Susan Jeffers is a remarkably positive woman. I actually listened to most of her books on audiobooks. But her main point in the feel the fear book was that we all feel fear and we can't let it stop us.

Great painting on your site.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Oh now Marcia,

You are too, too kind.

Thanks for the vote of confidence.
It's a pity we didn't know one another as surly teenagers. Gaugin is one of my favorites too, and so are you.

Love Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sheila,

Thanks very much. High praise indeed. Pansies are one of my favorite flowers, so it was certainly fun to do.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Karen,

I like to listen to books like that when I'm driving in the car, or making supper. Her philosophy is wonderful, and when you learn about her story, she is valiantly brave. So she is a fair one to teach others how. One of her affirmations is "I can handle it." I like that one a lot.

Love your painting as you know.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

I will never forget you sending me
the book when I broke my ankle. You are a force for good in the world. With friends like you it's not very hard to be happy.

Take care,


Linny D. Vine said...

Barbara, you do color and flowers so beautifully!!!
ps thank-you for sharing tom thompson's painting with us, too

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!