In A Shot Of Optimism, Uncategorized

Looking at black and white photographs from the Soviet era is not my idea of inspiration!  But my friend Amy was curious, so we wandered into the gallery at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, where they are currently on display.

After looking at hundreds of photos of imposing buildings, factories and locomotives, I entered a room with a photo of two smiling young blonde women with kerchief covering their heads, holding wooden rakes.  Picture after picture showed smiling peasants working in the fields, threshing grain or enjoying a communal meal.

I approached the curator’s notes posted on the wall.  Staged HappinessThese were propaganda photos taken for the purpose of demonstrating how happy the peasants were to be living the good life on Soviet farms.

Staged Happiness. The phrase made me think – think of the pictures on social media of people “living the good life” – traveling, celebrating, having fun.  It’s easy to think that everyone else’s life looks better, more interesting, happier than our own.  And maybe it is or maybe it isn’t.  And frankly, it doesn’t matter which is true.

We don’t have to stage our happinessfor anyone.

The only thing that really matters is that your happiness and mine is genuine in the moment we experience it.  That means being fully present with yourself and the people you are with, wherever you are.  It may be overlooking the Pacific Ocean as I did yesterday or it might be digging in the dirt preparing the garden for spring, like I’ll do this weekend.

You may choose to take a picture, but the best place to “document” that moment and those feelings are in your own heart and memory.

So this week, don’t think about staging your happiness – just enjoy it.

Until next Tuesday.



Showing 3 comments
  • A Pla

    Well stated, Elizabeth. I love this.

    • elizabeth

      Thanks Ann – love hearing from you.


  • Amy

    Important question to pose these days! Happy to have participated in the inquiry …

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