Cheerful Books

“I’m not happy, I’m cheerful.  There’s a difference.  A happy woman has no cares at all.  A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them.”

~Beverly Sills

I’ve got to be honest……this winter has been rough.  Between shoveling and ice and school cancellations and snow days and trying to drive on dangerously slippery roads, it’s been hard to stay cheerful.  Quite understandably, my children have cabin fever and long for the days when shooting hoops outdoors for hours and frolicking on somewhat dangerous playground equipment is possible.

gnome readingOn my own, left with enough chai tea, good books, yarn and a yoga mat, I can survive for quite a while through a snowy winter.  But, the addition of having to keep two wee ones occupied and not go insane with cabin fever makes it really difficult to truly release into winter.  I can’t really dive into a juicy novel for hours of uninterrupted joy.  Imagine my great delight at finding these two books that offer little treats in doses that even I can explore in short periods!

The first book is titled, All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours and is by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins.  Read a page or two about the drinking games of the  poets of the Orchid Pavilion from China in 353 CE, the nothing that happened at Ray Johnson’s meetings of the New York Correspondence School, the history of the afternoon nap, the method for placing a tablecloth in the Elizabethan era, or the challenges that faced nude models at the Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris in 1868.  No matter where you open this little volume, you find a treasure of creativity, experience and ways that humans have passed the time of their lives all around the globe.

The second book is titled, The Sweetness of Life and is by Francoise Heritier. I’m sure that if a gnome could read, it would read this magical little volume.  In it, the author simply lists delightful experiences of being alive.  Many are singular events of memorable joy, some are the daily cheer of simply experiencing the little things in life and some are banal and made sweet by the author’s own recollection of them.  From “….being invited to the country by friends you are fond of and discovering that the ocean lies just beyond their house (34)” to “…picturing Earth rushing through space under your body lying flat in a meadow covered with daisies (53)” to “…having an intimate conversation with a Siamese cat or a Brittany spaniel (15)” this book of thoughts and ideas can easily be enjoyed in just a minute and is a beautiful reminder of all that life has to offer us if we only remind ourselves that it is beautiful.  That THIS moment is magnificent and memorable.

I hope that you find these books as soothing and inspiring as I have.  Choose to be cheerful dear reader!  Even as you shovel, the earth around the bulbs is starting to loosen and warm.  Soon we will be given a ticket to the magnificent jewels of the crocus poking up at us through the frozen earth and the tulips and daffodils aren’t that far behind!  I hear the song birds in the early morning hours and they are chanting of the warmth of the sun that isn’t that far behind their arrival.

Posted by Sharon Fennimore, a yoga and meditation instructor and personal coach and advisor based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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