I finished The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. To raise her happiness quotient, Rubin identified areas to explore and improve over the course of a year, dedicating a month to such goals as boosting energy, improving her marriage, making time for friends and pursuing a passion.While finishing up the last few chapters, I realized how personal a project like hers has to be; how each reader would have to define his own modest or audacious goals and resolutions. Though I won’t be launching a year-long happiness project, I am inspired to experiment with activities and evaluate values that may be misaligned or neglected.At her blog by the same name as the book, Rubin encourages others to pursue happiness in practical, measurable ways. This month’s theme at her blog is “creativity” and this week’s resolution is to do something every day. You can watch her vlog to learn more.I pulled another book off my shelf, but hesitate revealing the title because it is so over-the-top. I don’t want you to think I’m too big for my britches.Oh, I’ll tell you anyway. It’s called How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, by Michael J. Gelb.The first step to genius (stop snickering) is “Curiosità: An insatiably Curious Approach to Life and an Unrelenting Quest for Continual Learning” (Gelb 48).As you probably know, da Vinci’s notebooks model vibrant curiosity and creativity. Questions, observations, and sketches of fanciful inventions as well as meticulous anatomical studies cover the pages.I’ve resolved to get a blank book to serve as a Leonardo-style journal. Presumptuous? Perhaps. But, hey, it’s a free country. And while genius is rare, nice blank books are easy to come by, so they must be intended for the common man. Just imagine if, while writing and sketching, more and more people tap into latent genius just waiting to express itself on those clean white pages.Gelb encourages a few curiosity-starters for one’s journal, including ten “power questions.” The first one could launch a fascinating self-analysis session:“When am I most naturally myself? What people, places, and activities allow me to feel most fully myself?” (Gelb 60).I scribbled it in my old lined journal this morning, but haven’t fully explored it yet nor reached a conclusion. How about you? When are you most naturally yourself?
On Sunday, to participate in Monday’s Gratitude Community at Holy Experience, I poked around our property looking for stuff I’m grateful for—stuff that makes me happy. Now I see why Claire Burge, photo editor for TheHighCalling, coined the name “PhotoPlay” to capture the fun of our community photography projects. As I moved in close or experimented with angles, I realized how much I love it.
Thanks to Charity, I learned about the bokeh effect. And then on my photo outing, I happened to snap a shot that produced those blurred circles of light shimmering in the background, lending a hint of mystery or romance to an otherwise mundane scene.I’m tickled, I tell you.This happy accident reawakened my long-time desire to be a better photographer, so when I stumbled upon Shelli at Hopefully Devoted and she sent me to Darcy’s “31 Days to a Better Photo” series, I bookmarked it and took note of the first two assignments.Day 1: Take the photo. “You will never get a second chance at that moment,” Darcy advises. “It’s a simple one, clearly. But how many times have you meant to bring the camera but didn’t?”Day 2: Find your camera manual. Implied, of course, is to find and read your camera manual. I’ve found it; now I need to read it.
I guess the biggest news is the Casey Anthony “not-guilty” verdict, but I haven’t been following it closely enough to react publicly.
My continual flow of words has splashed across the computer screen and into a blog post or dribbled more slowly onto the physical pages of a bound journal. No big projects are in progress at the moment, however, unless you count the writing class for which I’m prepping. And I don’t count that, so you shouldn’t, either.