I couldn’t help getting a little teary this week when I read his message. It was from Bruce, and he thought this quote from Thoreau might resonate.
“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
I was in my office, a cosy loft that’s been my writer’s cave, library and ‘wonder room’ for these past weeks. It seems that I haven’t budged very far from it lately. Sure there’s been a little socialising, some romantic snowshoeing through the ‘deep and crisp and even’, my weekly laps of swimming and a yoga session or two.
But for the most part, since the bustle of Christmas, I have been squirrelled away on my latest writing project. The subtext (for those who know me well), is that I’ve pretty much been holed up in my cave – call it creative hibernation – and I haven’t been on a flight since mid October!
But even in hibernation, I get itchy feet and when the opportunity came up to visit some dear friends from Denmark who happened to be in Vancouver, it was all I could do to not jump on the one-hour flight to see them. I had made a commitment, to myself and to my mentor for this new project. And though it goes against the grain to be still and focused, these few months are reserved for writing.
My next book is underway and I am now ‘living and breathing it’… fellow writers will know what this is, but essentially it’s becoming a little obsessive and reclusive. And avoiding housework; the Christmas decorations still need to be packed away and my inadequate closet space is an ongoing issue. I now fondly dream of my expansive space in India as I still attempt, in vain, to shoehorn and shimmy some semblance of order. Marie Kondo, where are you?!
And so I write; at times overjoyed, at times lonely with solitude that doesn’t sit well with the ‘gregarious me’. At times I’m distracted by an uncertain future, the possibility perhaps, of another country.
But the beauty of my task? I’m writing a ‘travel memoir-love story-collection of life’ and every day I’m transported to a different time and place. As the pages flood with my memories, it almost feels like a butterfly has softly landed on my shoulder with a gentle, comforting caress – coming to me during the long hours and whispering, ‘stay committed, stay positive’.
Of course, I realize that this is a rather magical ‘writer’s retreat’, but still, sometimes we need that little reminder. Bruce’s message was a balm and it instantly filled me with gratitude. He didn’t message from afar, just two levels in the house below my aerie, where he works most days. Even with only ‘two degrees of separation’, it means pinging each other with occasional sweet nothings. I know, a little crazy. Maybe I need to climb up and down those stairs a few more times each day!
It seems Thoreau’s quote is a perfect metaphor for this ‘writer in residence,’ and for life in general. Sometimes satisfaction and contentment seeks you out while you’re busy doing other things. There’s beauty in allowing that butterfly to settle a while; there will be time enough to ‘fly away’…
6 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musing #32 – Happiness is like a butterfly…”
It so true that you can’t force happiness to come at whim. I can feel the pain of not going on a plane since October. I made the same pledge not to fly again from October to the end of the year and failed twice in December. That pledge was about as successful as my dry January! Congratulations on sticking to your writing goals – they are the goals that are easiest to procrastinate on.
Yes, those darn pledges. My ‘dry’ Jan, didn’t go very well either, though this writing schedule has me much more sensible.I think of you often as I try to say focused… those deadlines with POP were good training ground!
Sometimes goals are too life constraining. Isn’t it better to go with the flow and remember you are lucky to be here in this world and try to make the most of the time you have. You can’t always have what you want, so you have to make the best of it. Compared to a lot of people in this world, we are extremely lucky. Gx
We are so very lucky, I know, it is all relative isn’t it? This journey from a global life to ‘what we’re not even sure yet’ is ongoing and there are many days of joys, others of adjustment still. I am one of these people who without goals, I would be even more ‘crazy’! We have a small trip coming up in Canada and then some plans for early spring… until then, I count my blessings every day. xx
I wrote ‘FAH’ that first year back in Norway after our expat adventures. I didn’t really want to face being back. It helped to sit at my desk. Day after day. Writing Took me to another time and place.
Somehow at the end of it all, I was home. I found out through my writing that I had come full circle and was happy with that.
I still travel. A lot.
Take awesome vacations. Fly home to visit my friends and family in the US, and yet every time I land in Stavanger, I feel home.
And that feels good.
I hope you can find that kind of peace, Terry Anne.
Thank you for this Maggie! I remember well, when you mentioned that FAH was your solace when you returned to Norway. It is a joy to read that you have come full circle and still have so many aspects of a global life, yet still very much know where home is. Perhaps, then, the best of both worlds; travelling and belonging. That belonging part is the stickler… thanks for the inspiration. xx
LikeLiked by 1 person