Imagine going to the doctor and he/she says, “I want you to do something everyday that makes you happy.” Could you or would you do it? It’s not going to cure you, it’s just going to provide you with a daily dose of happiness. Would you take it to heart and adhere to it as faithfully as antibiotics for an infection? Would you put your wellbeing first for a little bit every single day? Well, it wasn’t actually a doctor I saw who said this to me, but it was a homeopath. It’s probably something she says to everyone, but I took it to heart. I was also knee deep in trying to figure out this whole ‘self compassion’ (can’t recommend this self compassion book enough!) thing and figured this somehow tied in. It’s funny but I needed to be given permission to seek out personal happiness.
My daily dose of happy didn’t come easily, I’m a bit of a structured free spirit so finding something I had to do daily felt confining and uncomfortable, at first. At first it also felt like gluttony, but in time infusing happiness became a natural part of each and every day. Life has a funny way of dropping things in your lap when you need them the most. It was right around that time that I had been researching using music for drug-free pain management (it works folks!) and also thinking of embarking on a watercolor adventure. So with nothing to lose and everything to gain I decided I would paint and listen to music for a half hour each day as my health allowed.
At first I had no problem sticking to it but then I kind of ran out of things to paint so I started searching instagram for watercolor artists and then found challenges. Hip hip hooray…motivation! So I did my first challenge and it was so fun. I met a couple people, and I humbly pushed through, while watching their talents shine. I learned to take myself less seriously and I reminded myself regularly – you are doing this for fun. Eventually I even started to believe it. 🙂 Funny how that works. And then the monthly challenge was up and I was bummed. I searched and searched but couldn’t find one even close to my skill set. So for an entire month I still listened to music daily but I didn’t paint as much, then as the month was drawing to a close I tried to find another challenge. I had actually seen World Watercolor Group before but was totally intimidated, so I researched it a bit more and found that it specifically said all skill levels welcome so I thought hey, again what’s to lose. I put aside my fear, put my paintbrush in my hand, read the first prompt and did the best I could. I also told myself – we are all somewhere in the learning curve. And low and behold it went okay. 🙂
I’m now several monthly challenges in with this group and enjoying the process more than ever. I have days where my vestibular dysfunction sends me into the spin cycle and I can’t paint those days, and I have days where even my tea cup is too heavy and I can’t paint those days either, but aside from that I find that even when I feel my worst I can lay in bed and sketch a little sketch, come back in a bit, paint it a little, and then come back again and wrap it up. You see when you have a chronic illness you have moments where you feel like life is passing you by and you are simply a bystander. This helps me feel participatory. It helps me feel like I ‘did a thing’ everyday. And it gives me things to look back on, memories that make me smile. (Feel free to follow along on instagram. The link is on my sidebar and I post the paintings almost daily.) They aren’t the memories I used to make, but they make me smile, they make me happy and I’m generally happier since I embarked on this music/painting journey. I’ll close by saying thank you if you’re still reading 🙂 and also you, yes you, you deserve happiness every single day, what’s your daily dose of happiness?
I wasn’t going to post any of my paintings but then thought this one looked so yummy and Summery. 🙂 This was from World Watercolor Group Prompt: Watermelon. I did want to mention…come join us! You can join anytime by hashtagging your watercolors with #worldwatercolorgroup on Instagram!