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Less Pain – More Happiness

People are so creative, so ingenious I think it’s inspiring. And I got a huge dose of inspiration last weekend right in my neighborhood. That’s one of the great things about where I currently live - there is always something going on. A regular feature is the Saturday morning farmers market and we will often go just to browse to see what’s new, have a pastry and chitchat with the neighbors we meet. Last Saturday we were treated to an art festival that was set up in the middle of the main road for about five blocks.

At first we thought it was just one or two stalls but as we ventured over we realized how far up and down the street it went. And the variety of art was astounding. One fella had sculptures he’d made from bicycle chains, metal rods and an assortment of other bits and pieces. While I wouldn’t want it in my home he managed to capture the grace of a greyhound in motion and the reality of mosquito on the wall.

We heard the back-story from an artist about a painting that I admired. He had taken a photo in Ireland but later was sitting in a London bus working on his painting. A passenger had come on board but paid the wrong fare and got into an argument with the driver. The bus stood still for the next twenty minutes and he got far more work done on his painting than he had ever expected.

There was photography printed on canvas, windmill type sculptures with hypnotic moving parts, painting in oils, watercolors, processed on metal, batik like I’d never seen it before, and so much more.

But here are the three things I’d like to share with you about that morning because they can mean less physical pain and definitely more happiness.

Sometimes you just have to get out of the house and see what’s going on in the world around you. You can get so caught up in your own life, its dramas and its despairs, that you forget that there is a much wider world outside. You don’t have to go for long and maybe not even that far but the energy you feel will change and when you are inspired by what you see it will uplift you.

You don’t need a lot to get your creative juices flowing and those juices may have nothing to do with art. Just seeing what others can create will boost your desire to make the world you live in a little better. That could mean you go home and rearrange a room or even just an area of a room. It could mean that you decide to support someone else’s effort with a donation of time or money. Then the feel good factor kicks in and look out - you’re in a happier place!

People have some great stories to share. No matter where you are take the time to stop and talk to those around you. While I know the artists last Saturday were there to sell their work, many of them were just as happy to explain a process or tell a story. They had spent a lot of time and effort to be there and wanted to make the most of it. The neighbors we met on the street stopped to share a few moments and catch up. It needn’t be a long conversation; people often appreciate a word of kindness, a compliment for the work they have done, or at least a smile. Most of all, when you give that to someone else the benefits come back to you tenfold.

If you’re feeling down or a little out of sorts see if there is anything of interest to you near home that will change your routine for a little bit. Look for ways to interact with the world around you and make those you meet feel good. Consider it medicine for your soul. When was the last time you did something like that and did it help you feel better physically?

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