I received a copy of Lynn’s last post. It arrived as my last post was leaving, which is a happy coincidence.
Lynn quotes Dr Howard Cutler, the author of The Art of Happiness. According to Dr Cutler, it is wise to “separate what is important in life from what isn’t.” I know that it is important for me to smile at the people I meet on campus and at my classmates. In other words, it is important for me to try and make this world a little better, even though this can only be done one person at a time.
My mother used to make all of her activities a pleasure. This left an imprint on me. However, she did not teach me that I had to say no to impossible requests. She taught obedience, as did most mothers at that time.
This has had serious repercussions. For instance, during a sabbatical I was devoting to finishing a book, I was asked to prepare a course on a subject I was not familiar with and, fearing reprimands, I accepted an impossible request.
I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for several decades, but have learned to manage this condition. However, I cannot carry a mammoth workload and too much stress can trigger an episode of CFS.
Although I cannot give details concerning my story, I believe I can say with considerable certainty that I was overworked out of my position and that, afterwards, it became difficult to find happiness in small events.
Yet I agree with you that happiness is in the details.
For instance, writing for WordPress is pleasurable as is studying music, or producing watercolour paintings. So, given that I derive happiness from these activities, I look upon them as important.
Besides, I enjoy beautiful interiors, so I have made my apartment a truly lovely space. I also listen to beautiful music while I write or paint. Moreover, I have never stopped trying to be a comforting presence for others. Finally, I give myself projects.
However, before I go back to my current project, allow me to send you a picture that has always given me great pleasure. It is by Camille Corot (1796–1875). In my life, Corot has always been extremely important.
I thank you for your post. That was also important.
© Micheline Walker
1 October 2011
updated 29 May 2020