One of my travel articles from this year included a visit to the pretty village of the Devon village of Clovelly, Charles Kingley’s [the author of the Water-Babies] childhood home. While researching his life and work I found this quote from him:
‘All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about’.
This got me thinking about my own enthusiasms and how these contribute to my happiness. I have a fairly wide range of things I am enthusiastic about including walking, being in our campervan, cycling, travelling, reading, spending time with Mr BOTRA and with friends, cooking good [veggie] food, eating excellent ice-cream and drinking red wine, listening to loud rock music, writing, laughing and comedy, foreign TV thrillers, tai chi and learning. Taking part in all these [and other stuff] enhance my energy levels and feed my spirit.
I am drawn to people who have their own enthusiasms; they might not be enthusiastic about the same things as I am but I admire people who enjoy doing something and clearly get a lot of pleasure from it. I have friends with enthusiasm for gardening, visiting Iceland [the country], ballet and Shakespeare; none of these are things that fire me up but I love to hear them talk about their own enjoyment of these activities.
I enjoy taking part in some of the above activities with others and I find that enthusiasms shared can more than double the pleasure. We are part of a book group and the discussion always enhances my understanding of the book; camping trips with friends and walking with other people are sociable occasions that create shared experiences we can all look back on. Our son and daughter-in-law have an enthusiasm for whale and dolphin watching and the photograph of Chanonry Point reminds me of lovely times when we have joined them on this beautiful beach watching the dolphins.
Considering the force of enthusiasm took me to Patti Smith who considers enthusiasm as a state of radiance:
‘If we walk the victim, we’re perceived as the victim. And if we enter … glowing and receptive … if we maintain our radiance and enter a situation with radiance, often radiance will come our way.’
She goes on to relate this to William Blake’s life. He was a creative genius who was not appreciated in his lifetime but who held on to his vision and radiance or enthusiasm. We all have knock backs and stumble and I certainly constantly let myself down; my cooking is often not as perfect as my vision when I start out with the raw ingredients; my writing is never good enough and I often fail to learn to the extent I aim to but I try and stay enthusiastic and carry out activities with love and joy while seeking self-improvement.
PS Iceland looks beautiful and I would love to visit this country but I am waiting for them to discontinue commercial whaling.