GLAD versus HAPPY



Since Elizabeth’s last post in July, “Heh Out There” I along with many of you have been away on summer vacation. After a friend asked “what’s happening with the blog”, I decided that a rainy Monday is as good a reason as any to write something. And since “rainy days and Mondays always get me down” (or so the song goes) I’ve decided to write about that elusive state called “happiness”.

I recently bought two bunches of beautiful pink gladioli – those long stemmed summer flowers you see for sale at the grocery store around this time of year. I normally just walk past them because they are too tall for most of my flower vases. But last week, nostalgia kicked in as I stood looking at the tall, spiky stalks, about to burst into color.  I recalled my childhood summers of carefree days playing in a friend’s backyard, an acre of green grass, lined with gladioli. Memories of endless games of hide and seek, red rover and sleep overs under the stars surfaced as I reached for the flowers. A happy time, as I  remembered it.

The “glads” have been bursting with colour on my kitchen table for the past few days, and every time I look at them I smile. I love that the short form for gladiolus is “glad” – a synonym for happy! With so much written about the pursuit of happiness, I think glad is a refreshing substitute for this overrated word.  Glad – it’s short, it’s snappy and it’s to the point! I’m glad I bought gladioli last week – they make me happy every time I look at them. (I guess happy can be used as a substitute for glad every now and then.) In a world where we use superlatives to describe everything – fantastic, great, amazing, awesome, outstanding, phenomenal, etc., it is no wonder why happiness eludes most of us .  A simple word like “glad” seems so much more friendly and attainable than “happy”. What do you think?

In case you were wondering, the gladiolus flower is grown from a bulb, planted in early spring.  If you plant them sequentially, you will have continuous colour for most of the summer. The flower is named from the Latin word “gladius” meaning sword and its’ history spans from Africa to the Mediterranean. The flower symbolizes strength and moral integrity as well as infatuation. Tall, colourful and spiky, this August birth flower and flower of the 40th wedding anniversary is said to evoke the drama of Roman gladiators. (www.teleflora.com) Its’ unique shape, variety of colours and bountiful blooms make this flower a favorite subject for botanical painters.

So, if the end of summer is getting you down, I suggest you get some gladioli to brighten your day. If you enjoy them as much as I do, maybe you will want to plant bulbs next spring too. They may not make you happy, but they may make you feel glad you did. As J. Petit Senn said, “Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it”.  I am glad I stumbled upon this beautiful flower and the gift of happiness that came with it!

Happy or glad, I’ll take either!

Creatively Yours,

Angela

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Creatively Yours: Before the clock strikes 12!

shirley temple new year 1937

image by carbonated, from flickr

The count down is on – three more days and the New Year will be here!  I don’t know about you, but I for one don’t spend much time thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I might pick one thing I want to focus on and in 2011 it was happiness! I started the year off by reading Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project and made myself a promise to “work” at being happier. According to Gretchen there are things we can do to create more happiness in our lives. I tried some of her suggestions but then decided that I would find my own path to happiness. As the year passed I found myself more aware of what created happiness in my life. A few key things that I am certain increased my happiness quotient this year are:

Peace in my relationships with my husband, children, family and friends. It takes work but it pays dividends!

Getting off the couch and getting regular exercise – walking is my new sport of choice!

Getting involved with a cause I believe in – Art for Cancer http://artforcancerfoundation.org

Making art! Any day is a good day when I create something!

Spending time alone, or in the company of my dog Jessie.

Saying yes to new challenges like biking, hiking and riding horses even when my mind and body agree: “this is going to hurt afterwards.”

Writing for this blog!  I could never have guessed that I would enjoy writing as a creative outlet!

Writing letters to my children!  See my October 24, 2011 blog post Letters from my Mother for why you might want to consider doing this.

Rediscovering meditation – the ultimate gateway to happiness!

So rather than thinking about resolutions for 2012, I will ring in the New Year enjoying the happiness that I have right now. And that I believe creates more happiness than losing 10 pounds!

Wishing you all a healthy and happy New Year!

Creatively yours,

Angela

p.s. if  you want to know the one thing I will focus on for 2012, you will have to read about it in January!