Friday, January 13, 2017

10 more reasons to be happy.

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

When I taught college positive psychology, (happiness)
which I secretly work into any subject I teach, one of the
exercises I used at the beginning of each class was 10 reasons
to be happy.  10 students would come to the front of the class
and say why they were happy.  It was a college course, and
many students had no idea how to be happy.

The experience was quite moving.  One girl I remember
went to the front of the class, looked down as if she might
cry, then lifted her face and said in a small voice,
"I'm happy because I'm alive." Every time someone said
why they were happy, the class clapped.

The result?  Everyone in the class began to get happier.
Amazingly.  It helped.  They made friends with each other,
they started to study, they got good marks, and that one
exercise out of many had a huge impact.

I will never forget seeing that same sad girl 6 months later,
skipping down the hallway, her hair in pigtails, tied with
bright wool, her clothes a vibrant pink, the smile on her
face radiant.  She stopped me because I didn't recognize her
from the depressed person she'd been, and said.  "Thank you!
and hugged me."

So.... Let me take some of my own medicine.  I've spent
the afternoon in a hospital with a dear family member.

1. I am happy because I have a loving husband.
2. I am happy because I have a loving family.
3.  I am happy because I have kind, funny friends around
the world.
4.  I am happy because I'm an artist, and I love making art.
5. I'm happy that I get to teach and meet amazing people
every year in that job -- even with one night a week.
6. I'm happy that I live in Canada -- never happier about that.
7. I'm happy that I've learned how to be happy, and am
still learning, and think I will learn more and more for the
rest of my life. And I'm grateful for all that you've
taught me on the subject
8. I'm happy that I've learned to love myself enough to
choose only to be with kind and happy people.
9. I'm happy that I don't believe in horoscopes, superstition
or most dogma.
10.  I'm happy that I love to read and I have a wonderful
Oh no.  I could go on.  I'm happy that my artist friend
Janet Vanderhoof got me to meditate, which has been
a wonderful gift.

I have a million more reasons, but I'll save some for another day.

Have a thinking-about-10-reasons-to-be-happy day.


Marilyn Flanegan said...

What a lovely, lofty sky!
I can only image how many people you have inspired, me included. Your positive outlook on life is vibrant and wonderfully contagious. Barbara, you are a force.
Thank you for being on my Happy list.
: )

Nancy B. Hartley said...

Dear Barbara, what a great post! My sentiments exactly! I feel that we are kindred spirits!
I have had to learn to be happy, and have never been happier! It is doable, and so absolutely worth it! Happiness is a learned skill, and an inside job! I believe that each of us, has the responsibility to be happy, and contribute to the happiness of others!
My website, and blog, both share this concept, in my artist statement. I actually feel this is an important part of my mission in life! It is my job to be an uplifting presence for myself, and anyone that I come into contact with! I paint an effort to share the joy of life!
I have never been happier, and am so grateful that I am living this wonderful life! My cup runneth over!
No wonder, I feel a bond with you! We share this common philosophy!
Wishing you, my wonderful friend, endless happiness! May your cup runneth over!!
Endless love and blessings!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marilyn,

Thank you for being on my happy list, and for being an awesome painter. I
feel happy every time I open your blog. Happiest of New Years.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nancy,

We are destined to be good friends. I know it. I love your work -- and your joyous
attitude shines through. I haven't learned how to do the gorgeous things you
do with paint, but I aspire to learning that! I am also super grateful for this
amazing life. Maybe gratitude should be my next post!
Endless love to you too.


Susan Carlin said...

Hugging you tight... I'm happy you're in my world, however far away. Hey! They just announced San Antonio has non-stop flights daily to Toronto now. Hint. Hint. Hint. XXXOOO

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Susan,

Thank you so much. Non-stop eh? So are you heading up here into the frozen north? That
would be so fun!


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!