A Feeling of Yourself In The World

August 26, 2013

Happy Monday!

While I've been in the thick of a summer cold I've taken extra time to lounge about and get friendly with Netflix. TELEVISION! Did you know that Tina Fey made this hilarious show called 30Rock? It's true! These are the things I discover when I'm sick.

Last night Ben and I finally watched Happy, a documentary that travels around the world to look at what makes people feel happiness. It's well worth a watch. It turns out that if you want to increase your happiness, you should exercise a lot (dopamine!), try new things, and make connection and relationships an important part of life. People who focus on intrinsic goals, like personal growth, community contribution/betterment, and connection to others tend to be much happier and less anxious than people who find themselves fixated on extrinsic goals like image, money, and status. This is probably (no surprise) why I find art making much more satisfying when I'm working from a place of personal betterment and curiosity, rather than from a place where I preoccupy myself with what People might think.

Movie aside: let's talk about happiness. I often write in this space as a record of what makes me heart go pitter patter. I want to do a better job of putting the things that make me happy in writing. You know, so that on the days where I question The Joy, I'm reminded. Last week I was in a cold-induced reflection about the past year-- my year of being 30! It turns out that most of the things that brought me joy last year were a result of risk-taking, and trying new things. Also: I constantly felt happier when I turned off the perfectionistic Voice In My Head. And a great deal of my joy comes from watching people, and from hearing about what others are creating.

Here are some things I've been finding joy in lately:
  • Studio 360's Battle of the High School Bands was a happy accident to find on the radio. Kids! In bands! I especially loved Zach Shotwell's song Watch Out, and CatchaBatcha's Mother Tongue "2013". 
  • This set of photos, taken at county fairs. 
  • Tattly temporary tattoos. If they were free, I would wear a new one each day. 
  • Remembering how much I love these things: Brit Rock, bicycling at night, large bodies of water, sweaty dance parties that showcase awkward moves, traveling to new cities without any agenda, bright colors paired together, and Stephen Sondheim. 
  • The opening day of teaching Create-A-Play class, when the kids share all of their play making ideas-- which generally involve very little logic. 
  • Swimming pools. I went to the one at the YWCA lately, and it was surprisingly AWESOME. 
  • Grilling.
  • Fresh Air
  • Chef memoirs. Have you read Blood, Bones & Butter? The writing is exquisite. 
  • And along those lines, anytime Molly writes
  • Live music.
What's making you happy? What do you do when you're feeling unhappy? Do you make better art when you're feeling joyful? 

I still agree with Tom Poole that happiness is mostly feeling of myself in the world.  It sneaks up when I'm directing a rehearsal, working really hard at something, or strolling down a street. In Tom's words: 

My experience of happiness is that it just comes to you. It is not so much the product of things you like happening to you as it is a feeling of yourself in the world. I have felt unbearably happy beside swimming pools, walking down snowy streets. listening to bands, cuddling with dogs, kissing, drinking cold water, not running anymore, reading. I think happiness is the natural state of humans free of oppression, which I have luckily almost always been.


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