Since starting this Happiness Project, I’ve been On the Alert for helpful quotations, words of wisdom to help me practice this elusive art of happiness. I read a lot so collecting quotations is not an onerous task. There are quite a number of those scribbled notes on the bulletin board above my desk. Here's one of my favourites, from the lovely novel The Bird in the Tree, by Elizabeth Goudge:
"Lucilla tried very hard to teach her grandchildren
how to extract the last drop of beauty out of all the small things in life, words and scents and sounds.”
I thought of these words of wisdom as I stepped out onto the deck this morning to give Belle-the-dog her breakfast. The sky was alight with a sunrise of the loveliest delicate tones, silver and cream and pale azure. How sadly often I have been too busy to relish the subtleties of a sunrise such as this one.
Mother Nature has to put on one of her big and dazzling sunrises, if she wants my attention. I am not in the habit of extracting all possible happiness from the 'small things of life,' Like most people, I do have some appreciation of life's beauties. Words, for example: I certainly cenjoy words, especially masterfully used words; but do extract the last drop of beauty from them? not. Probably not.
Likewise, I can bury my nose in a rose and snuffle just as deeply as Belle does when she finds one of those smells that makes her happy, but after one deep breathe of rose-scent, I move on. Usually that means bending down to pull the next weed. Focussing on the weeds sure isn't extractng the last dr'op of beauty from the rose, is it?
As for sounds, if you know me on Facebook, you've seen the posts I forward of beautiful music. If you'd been out for walk with Belle and me last week, I might have stopped you to listen to the redwing blackbirds, newly-returned to here and gossiping noisily in the alders in their squaky-hinge voices.
So I have an inkling of what it means to enjoy words, scents and sounds, but it seems there's opportunity to distill much more delight from them by adopting Grandma Lucilla's wisdom. How lovely to experience the beauty of this world more consciously, more thoroughly and, I dare say, most happily.
Goudge adds one more line to Lucilla's musings about what she wants to teach her grandchildren. She concludes that, “Many little joys weighed against the few heavy griefs of life, could give some sort of balance to the scales and preserve the sanity of life.” That too.
May our lives be filled to the brim with the little joys, most deeply enjoyed and appreciated.
All the Best Always, Elaine
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