Tag Archives: nature

Do You Have an Intense Interest in a Subject–Such as Nature?

The other night, I had a fun dinner with my law-school roommate — the roommate who told me about how she had the signature color of fuschia, if you listened to that recent episode of the Happier podcast.

I was telling her how, thanks in part to her, I’d become enchanted with idea of color; it has become my latest obsession.  (Other recent obsessions include Thomas Merton, the sense of smell.)

For her part, she said, she’d been thinking about her interest in nature. Apparently, she loves nature! Which was something I’d never known about her. So, in my happiness bully way, I tried to convince her to pursue this love — learn more, take a class, plan a trip, whatever appealed to her.

She’s thinking about it. And as a follow-up from that conversation, I sent her one of my very favorite quotations about a love of nature, from the French painter Eugene Delacroix’s brilliant Journal.

“The Natural History Museum is open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays. Elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus; extraordinary animals! Rubens rendered them marvelously. I had a feeling of happiness as soon as I entered the place and the further I went the stronger it grew. I felt my whole being rise above commonplaces and trivialities and the petty worries of my daily life. What an immense variety of animals and species of different shapes and functions!”

Journal of Eugene Delacroix

Do you have a similar passion for the natural world? Or for color, or for stamps, or antique globes, or for anything else?

A Little Happier: Remember to Go Outside.

This is a very helpful Secret of Adulthood: Remember to go outside.

Go outside into the sunlight; light deprivation is one reason that people feel tired. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood and increase motivation.

For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning.

Also, at least for me, unscientifically speaking, spending time outside gives a feeling of freedom, of connecting with the seasons (even when the weather isn’t ideal), of breathing fresh air, of not being so trapped by a schedule that I can’t be out in the world.

People in industrialized countries spent about 93% of their time inside; don’t forget how energizing and cheering it can be to go outdoors.

We love our puppy Barnaby for many reasons, and he definitely does encourage every member of my family to go outside more often.

What about you? Do you love to go outside, or do you have to prod yourself to make sure you do it?

 

I hope you’re enjoying the new mini-episodes. I love doing them.

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Happier listening!

A Little Happier: Stressed? Try This.

It’s a Secret of Adulthood, and one that never fails me: When I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself.

What are your healthy treats? We should all load ourselves with healthy treats! (Pictured: my idea of a healthy treat. Not for everyone, but works for me.)

I hope you’re enjoying the new mini-episodes. I love doing them.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

Do You Ever Get a Huge Pleasure Just From Looking at a Particular Object? What?

“The rack stood as if it had been there forever across the landscape and lit by the sun with its long shadow behind it, and in harmony with every fold of the field and finally turned into a mere form, a primordial form, even if that was not the word I used then, and it gave me huge pleasure just to look at it. I can still feel the same thing today when I see a hayrack in a photograph from a book, but all that is a thing of the past now…so the feeling of pleasure slips into the feeling that time has passed, that it is very long ago, and the sudden feeling of being old.”

Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses

Know the Feeling? “Old Rubbish! Old Letters, Old Clothes, Old Objects That One Does Not Want to Throw Away.”

“Oh! Old rubbish! Old letters, old clothes, old objects that one does not want to throw away. How well nature has understood that, every year, she must change her leaves, her flowers, her fruit and her vegetables, and make manure out of the mementos of her year!”

–Jules Renard, Journal

As we approach the new year, this quotation keeps floating through my mind.

And that passage reminded me of this one:

“I still feel nervous when I throw away a piece of bread. But in Nature nothing can be lost, nothing wasted, nothing thrown away, there is no such thing as rubbish.”

–John Stewart Collis, The Worm Forgives the Plough

Unrelated sidenote, because I can’t resist: It really bothers me that John Stewart Collis misquotes William Blake. In Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell,” the line is “The cut worm forgives the plough.”

There’s a very great difference in the meaning of those sentences — that word “cut” matters.

But I digress! Back to thoughts of time, change, renewal, and nature. Happy 2016.

Better Than Before by Gretchen RubinAnd remember, today is the LAST DAY to get my BONUS offer for FREE. It’s an email series called “21 Days, 21 Strategies for Habit Change.” Each day, for 21 days, I send you ideas about how to change your habits (or how to help someone else change habits).  It’s free for people who order the paperback of Better Than Before. Info here. And yes, if you bought the hardback version, or the audio or e-book, you’re eligible too. Just email me. You can see me talk about Better Than Before in this short video. If you’ve ever wanted to change a habit, all is revealed in my book.