Month: November 2015
Is there a difference between gratitude and happiness?
This summer, I began a 150 day happiness challenge on Facebook. Every day I would post something that made me happy. It felt important I do this because I was overwhelmed with fear and anger from my husband’s cancer. Suddenly, I was the caregiver for two medically fragile people, my husband and my daughter, and the emotional toll made getting out of bed difficult. So I started looking for things to make me happy.
Quickly, the exercise felt phony. Very little made me happy. Writing about the joy I found in my morning coffee was silly, and how many times could I write about my garden? Happiness? What was that? I was happy just to get through the day.
Then I realized that I was actually writing down things I was grateful for. Having that morning cup of coffee helped ease me out of bed, and I was grateful for that. Watching my garden grow filled me with gratitude because I could feed my family while supporting wild bees. Gratitude was the best I could do. Happiness was like chasing a mirage.
What is gratitude? To me, it is an awareness of the gifts I have in my life. The simple things, like a warm bed, health insurance and the internet. I am grateful my husband’s cancer seems to be gone and I am grateful my daughter is thriving in her new school. I am grateful for her teachers. Grateful my car is running and I can afford new tires for winter. These things don’t make me happy; they make me grateful for my life.
As the weeks went by and I forced myself to post a gratitude, an interesting shift in my awareness occurred. The more I focused on gratitude, the more I felt happiness. Where did this happiness come from? Circumstances hadn’t changed. My husband still struggled to recover and my daughter still had bad days, but she also had good ones. There were days I wanted to cry from the weight of the emotional load I constantly carried, but on that same day I’d smile watching the dog chase leaves across the back yard.
I am not in denial; things are bad. Frightening. Cancer lurks and my daughter could decline any time. Money is tight and I still don’t have job. The future is one big scary unknown and the odds aren’t in our favor.
In searching for any small, random thing I felt grateful for, I uncovered a rich source of joy. Happiness fluctuates. But gratitude is constant. WhenI feel happiness has vanished and I’m left alone fighting my battles, gratitude holds me up. I am grateful for my strong, weary body. I am grateful for love. I am grateful it rained today.
Or is there really any difference between gratitude and happiness? Can you feel one without the other?
Medusa’s Muse author is Winner in USA Best Books Awards Contest
The Radical Housewife: Redefining Family Values for the 21st Century, written by Shannon Drury and edited by me, has won the 2015 USA Best Books Award in the Women’s Issues category.
So proud of my author, and my press, Medusa’s Muse. Bravo team!
Allen Toussaint’s last song
New Orleans music legend Allen Toussaint died last night in Madrid of a heart attack. He was 77. He died after performing the music he loved so much.
Below is a link to the last song he played.
‘Brickyard Blues’, Madrid, 9 Nov La última canción de Allen Toussaint The last song of Allen Toussaint pic.twitter.com/EI2YIufVDa
— El Mundo Madrid (@ElMundo_Madrid) November 10, 2015
Goodbye Dan Poynter. Thank you for the guidance
Dan Poynter, the Godfather of Independent Publishing, passed away this week. He was one of the pioneers of independent publishing, self publishing a book on parachuting in 1973. Since then, he has written numerous books and taught thousands of people how to self-publish their own work. His “Self Publishing Manual” was the first book I bought when I started Medusa’s Muse Press.
I met him 10 years ago at a publishing conference and heard him speak. He was dynamic and positive. With hard work and dedication, anyone can tell their story, he said. Anyone can publish a book. Never give up!
Thank you Dan. You were an inspiration and I will never forget you.