I was discussing schadenfreude with Quincy J. Allen this evening, and while looking up the precise definition (satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.), I found a reference to its opposite:
Muditā (Pāli and Sanskrit: मुदिता) in Buddhism is joy. It is especially sympathetic or vicarious joy, the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being rather than begrudging it.
I was a rather lonely and insecure child, occasionally jealous of my schoolmates’ expensive toys and clothes. But life taught me to revel in the joy of others. Christmas is like that for me. It’s not about spending exorbitant amounts of money, meeting expectations, or “topping” anyone else’s gift ideas. It’s about the wonderful delight I get to see in people’s faces when something touches their hearts. My dearest grandmother once told me, “God is the lump in your throat, when something makes you so happy you cry.”
The picture below is one of of those moments. At MileHi con last year, Quincy got to meet Steven Brust, one of his favorite authors and a charming man. I’m a huge fan of Brust’s work myself, but Q’s delight at the event was infectious to all of us who were with him.
This is just a reminder to see the joy all around you. Even in hard times, celebrating someone else’s delights can lift us up and remind us what makes life worth living.
Inspiration is not a faucet. You don’t get to turn it on and off at will. It’s more like a spring. You find it, tap it, and move on once it’s dry. As an artist with ADHD, few are more aware of how capricious our muses can be. Sometimes I have to trick myself into working. Sometimes I have to plug away like a mule while my brain plays tug-of-war with my artist’s hand. But most times, I have to “incubate” an idea for hours, days, or even weeks before my thoughts congeal into a really great idea that I can execute. Today was one of those days.
I’ve got a ton of concept work to develop before this project can see the light of day. But I’m delirious with the prospects. And I can’t wait to share the new pieces once I’m on my way. But for now, I’m going to celebrate this new zygote by surrounding myself with pencils, paper, paints, canvases, reference books, good tea and a brilliant smile on my face.
I awoke from a dream… It’s a common topic of morning conversation, isn’t it? Sometimes crazy, sometimes sobering, but almost always thought provoking if you can remember it. This one was about helping others. It was mystical and ethereal. I walked from room to room in a beautiful, glowing palace, seeing friends in conversation wherever I went. And in each room, I had a philosophical response to one or more of them. I suppose it could have been interpreted as my meddling, but I was warmed and buoyed by seeing a spark of imagination and comfort in each of their eyes.
I will never pretend to know all the answers. I’m just as flawed as the next human being in the room. But whenever I find something that helps me, I want to share it. Not to put myself in a place of power or authority, but to help the ones I care about. To help anyone who’s struggling nearby, or on the other side of the planet. Because we’re all in this together. But a caveat: advice should always come with consent from the recipient. Unsolicited counsel can spoil the soup. It’s about giving. OK, I confess. It’s also about that wonderful feeling you get when you see it helped someone else… <3
When you look back on your life, you can find things to be proud of if you look hard enough. This one’s not too hard to locate. I’ve known Joell Schmidling-Peysar since we were 12. That’s 32 years, if you’re counting! She’s the closest thing to a sister I will ever have in this lifetime. The road has been long, and full of times, both hard and unimaginably good. She’s a devoted mother and family member, one of the most positive people I’ve ever met in my life, and a fiercely supportive and protective friend. She taught me to see the bright side of any situation. She taught me about patience and fidelity. And today, I celebrate the anniversary of her birth.
Happy Birthday, Joie! Thank you for making my life a better place. I look forward to many more memories to add to our virtual scrapbook. Don’t you forget about me…
Coming home from the writers’ group this evening, I was struck by the awe inspiring beauty of the sky above Denver. Well, actually, every day has been even better than the last. Is it because I’m closer to them? Is it because there’s no smog to fuzzy up the view? Or is it merely because it feels so darn right being here? I’m sure the answer is an amalgam of all of these. But you know, I don’t need to know the true answer. I’m just loving it.
I post this video every few months, in the hopes that it finds one of you who hasn’t seen it yet. It makes me cry everytime. I hope it motivates and inspires you, or just makes you look at us kooky creative types with a little more respect and sympathy.