‘Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.’ Denis Watley.
watercolourI think it took me until I was forty to begin to understand the meaning of gratitude. Until that point, I had wondered through life, sort of hanging on, and trying my best to put one step in front of the other, often under challenging circumstances, and then boom, an epiphany – something occurred which opened my eyes to what gratitude is all about.
I began to see and feel everything in ways that I had not experienced before. Fear and anxiety had been the underlying emotion ruling my life since early childhood….and so when it was removed all of a sudden I was free. I began to see and really experience the world around me rather than to observe it from a distance.
bluebell woods Crickhowell Wales – watercolourOf course this didn’t mean that life would be easy from that point on. As a working artist for the past forty-five years, I am fully aware of the feast or famine syndrome and what it’s like to live on a knife edge. However, with this new way of being life’s challenges have become much easier to live with and to move through and more importantly I am able to learn from them….
The simple pleasure of a cat sleeping…..watercolour
Perhaps it takes losing the ‘stuff’ of life to fully understand that as long as our needs are met and we keep things simple, and most importantly that we find purpose in our daily lives….all the other things that we strive for are in the most part irrelevant.
long tailed hummingbird – watercolour
I saw my first hummingbird in 1967 in the mountains of North Carolina…but it wasn’t until after my epiphany that I really saw hummingbirds. Not only did I see them, but I sensed their vital place within Mother Nature’s rich tapestry. It was at this point that the hummingbird became something deeper, symbolising the unseen energy and interconnectedness of our world.
Normal Rockwell’s wonderful classic illustration showing a family enjoying Thanksgiving. I lived and worked in the States from 1966 til 1993 when I returned to Europe, consequently I enjoyed many Thanksgiving celebrations. However, I do wonder if I had real understanding of what it was all about. Sadly I think the running around and worrying about if every detail was correct obliterated the true meaning of the day. We live and learn…..
And so I wish my friends and family n the United States a beautiful Thanksgiving filled with gratitude.
Remember not to sweat the small stuff…..it doesn’t matter and ‘this too shall pass………’:)
magical hummingbird – watercolour
Dear Janet, what you say here is so important. I am able to join you in the celebration of Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday that I learned to appreciate when I was visiting the US. Much of what you say can speak for me too. For some years now I have tried to reach simplicity in my own life, and am still doing the work… it’s an ongoing project, but each day I suppose I’m getting closer, and that too is a source of happiness. Wishing you a beautiful holiday. xxx
Thank you dear Shimon….and here’s to the simple life. Wishing for you and dear Nechame a beautiful day. Janet xxx
The colour of water …
Watercolours of Splendour.
Thank you very much David. Hope you enjoy a lovely day – Janet 🙂
Lovely vibrant watercolours Janet – I love their loose/abstract nature and your wonderful bold use of colour… !
Thank you Evelyn. I appreciate your lovely comment…hope you enjoy a superb day – Janet 🙂
Removing fear is an amazing feat Janet. I’ve had moments and glimpses, but I don’t feel the juice of being alive and grateful as you describe, Kudos for finding that sweet spot and living with daily purpose. I love the first painting. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you Brad….I am forever grateful for that epiphany moment, which really did seem to come from nowhere. I hope that you enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving filled with peace and harmony. Janet 🙂
Dearest Janet, I am so moved by your writing here and of course by your ever-present lovely watercolors and hummingbirds that I had to stop for a moment the business I have scheduled for this day before Thansgiving and reflect on your words of deepest wisdom. How could I have forgotten for a single moment the gratitude I feel to all the people I spent time with for long or short periods in my life personally and professionally who showered me with such kindness–as a child or now grown up? Those who took me, a little ignorant sparrow, under their wing and taught me and showed me what it is like to be a decent human beiing who dispenses love wherever they go. I am lucky.
All my children and granchildren are here for the holiday. I will hug and kiss them and be thankful that they are all good people who bring something needed very badly into this world and will all their lives. And to think that I had something to do with that–how wonderful..
As always my deepest and fondest wishes to you.
Dear David, I will be thinking of you and the whole family together today filled with gratitude and enjoying one another’s company.
Thank you so much for this lovely response to my blog. What you say and our friendship means so much to me. I am most grateful that we should have met through the medium of blogging.
Enjoy. Janet 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving for you too, my dear sister in art. Its magic, how similiar our lives are. Amazing.
What you name “epiphany” I say “Awakening” and before this “event” my life was full of fears too. Oh, what a stress life, bitter life, dark life, full of tears.
I am soooo gratefull too for knowing and “not-Knowing” that there isn’t anything to reach, that there isn’t anything to fear and that there is nothing, what is seperated from “me”.
Nothing is easier after, but otherwise ALL is easier. All is more colorful, not so serious, even the “serious” things became more ease and the most important: there is really more to laugh!! Even with tears in heart and eyes there is a laugh.
Love you my dear sister in art and thank you so much for the stunning paintings. I am very grateful, that we met us. ❤
My dear Sister-in-art Vera. Isn’t it wonderful that we met through cyber space – two kindred spirits who have a real understanding of one another. I look forward to the day when we can meet in person…hopefully it’s not too far off.
Everything you say is so true – life becomes easier after such an awakening/epiphany and aren’t we fortunate to have experienced this amazing moment in our lives.
Love to you my friend and thank you so much for being part of my life. Janet your sister-in-art. xxx
Yes, I look forward too to the day when we can meet in person, my sweet Janet.
Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving?
Love and hugs for my dear sister in art. ❤
Reblogged this on davidjrogersftw.
Loved this post, Janet. I reblogged it. I’m thankful to have met you through this wonderful medium. Thank you for sharing your wisdom
Thank you so much for the reblog and I am also most thankful to have met you through cyberspace and do hope that we will meet in person in the not too distant future. I learn so much from you for which I so grateful. janet 🙂
You’re certainly welcome, Janet.
Janet, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, even though you are no longer in the country where it is celebrated. Thanks to you for your wonderful and magical art and your wise words.
Thank you very much Diana. I really appreciate your lovely comment and hope that you enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving. janet 🙂
Beautiful simplicity in life and art!
Thank you – I always appreciate your comments, and hope you enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving. Janet 🙂
Thank you very much for your comment – I hope you enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving. janet 🙂
Thank you so much Janet! Your art is always stunning
Thank you 🙂
Most welcome 😀
I love Norman Rockwell paintings too. The colour and energy in your tree paintings is incredible.
Thank you very much, Emma. I have always enjoyed the work of Normal Rockwell. If you visit New England it’s the museum dedicated to him is well worth a visit. Janet
I love the humanity of his work. He started working in advertising but he produced so many wonderful painting, lots were covers for the Saturday Post, I think? I also liked his Civil Right era work.
I love his work about Civil Rights. I landed in the States (deep south) in 1966 and what I saw there with regards to racism was really awful. We still have so far to go, but thank goodness things are much better than back then. Rockwell’s paintings express so well what was happening at that time. Enjoy your weekend and thank you.
Oh, life in the deep south in 1966 must have been deeply shocking!
indeed it was
Dear Janet, I’m so glad I found your lovely Thanksgiving wish-post. I’m truly grateful for you. I thought you had simply been to busy to post — because all I ever found was your September “renewal” post. But now I see that WordPress is giving them out of order. I know it seemed like I had been absent, so I’m sorry. Hummingbird hugs. ❤
Good morning Teagan….you never have to apologise….yes for some reason wordpress has may posts out of order…what can I say 🙂 Just glad you go to see it and am thinking of you and Crystal so much at this time. Hummingbird hugs – Janet xxx
You are very wise my friend! Such a beautiful post. I loved the art, especially that first tree and the cat.xxx
Good morning dear Dina….Wise possibly, only because of life’s experiences….maybe the most wise thing I have done is to learn from them:) Thinking of you and the family this weekend, and hoping that your daughter is doing well. Janet xxxx
Great post Janet. Sometimes it does take us years to really understand – in my case becoming a great-granddad these last 3/4 years has opened my eyes again. Funny, these are my granddaughter’s children.
Good morning Peter. That is so amazing and wonderful – I am not in the least bit surprised that your great grandchildren are the apple of your eye….and 3 and 4 years old – such wonderful subjects to paint:) Continue to enjoy them and have a lovely weekend. Janet x
I adore that tree painting Janet. I wonder if we all feel the need to simplify as we get older and feel gratitude for those simple things.
Good morning Andrea – Yes, assuming we become more wise as we age….I think this true:) Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend Janet
Thank you – Janet
A truly delightful post, Janet. I really enjoyed your watercolors here, and your warm words reminding us of the art of being thankful. That first painting of the tree is magnificent. I gasped when I saw it, so exquisite. You make us feel like we are under the tree, protected by its cover, and looking out onto the serene surroundings. Also really like the curled-up cat photo. And the final photo, the vibrant hummingbird. What a treat! Thanks so much, my prolific, joyful, thankful friend.
Good morning dear Jet. you have been so much on my mind with more dreadful fires in California. It must have brought back all that you went through and are still going through. It brings home the fragility of life, and how climate change is taking over our lives. Having said that, I recognise that I must stay positive and of course painting helps enormously. Remember when you get your home and property back in shape, a magical hummingbird will be arriving:) I do hope that you are able to write, even if it’s a diary of this whole experience. I can imagine a superb book is in incubation. Stay well my friend – Janet 🙂
Thank you, dear Janet, for your warm thoughts and kindness. I am ready to take you up on this kind offer, will email you this week.
Wonderful – I am away in Somerset from tomorrow til next Wednesday – any time after that. I am so pleased that you are now ready…because that says things are really coming along:) Janet.
I love this post, you truly are a wonderful person! ❤ Thank you for sharing.
Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. I hope you enjoy a creative weekend and holiday season. Janet xx
What a sweet kitty! Looks like she got a slice of that gorgeous turkey 🙂
My family in the US get together on Thanksgiving since it is a day off. They have a rota, and it is a great opportunity to see those who live out of state. Nothing like this turkey is ever cooked though 🙂
Love your trees! I can see some hidden hummingbirds in the branches 🙂
Reblogged this on Campbells World and commented:
Folks, I know it is just almost Solstice, Christmas, and all the rest, but darn, if this post don’t just say it all.
Read, learn, grow.
Like, Comment, share!
Love to all, and thanks for visiting campbellsworld.
Thank you so much for the re blog. I hope you enjoy a lovely Christmas filled with peace and joy. Janet 🙂 x
Thank you – Janet
It took me 41 years to forgive my father and it wasn’t until then that I first felt free of fear. After that, was when I actually felt gratitude for anything. Not that I wasn’t ever thankful before, just truly felt gratitude and the blessing that it brings.
Isn’t it interesting that when we have experienced the kind of fear you are talking about, which I understand……and once we move past it, we can really appreciate what gratitude is. Thank you = Janet
Yes, it is! In fact, until I forgave him, I never knew how terrified I felt. I was just angry. Once I was able to forgive, then the underlying terror showed up. More forgiveness and working with my current self to release that childhood fear and then I found gratitude. And yes, I think you are right, we can really appreciate what gratitude is! Thank you for sharing your path with me today. It’s good to connect with another soul who understands.
Yes I do understand and forgiveness is an amazingly healing thing to do.
Yes, it is! We hang on so tight to our anger which is indeed justified but we don’t realize the damage it is doing us. While many people tell us, anger only hurts ourselves, you can’t understand it until you actually come to a place where you are tired of the anger and you realize how it is hurting you. Then you realize forgiveness is the key.