Driving down Main Street in my childhood hometown this past weekend, my car came to a screeching halt and I yanked it into reverse and said to the kids to grab the camera! Mind you, I was also on the phone with my sister at the time letting her know we were seconds from her house. I just couldn’t pass up this photo op! I know she thought I was crazy and so did my kids as I busily changed out my lens to an extended long-range lens so I could get a close up of these beauties without getting out of my car, further sealing the deal looking like a complete stalker to any passerby. Oh, the lure of peonies in full bloom – they have a way of stopping me dead in my tracks! The irony is that just prior to driving down the main drag, I had just finished a TED Talk that talked about celebrating the things that make you happy and being grateful; and bam, what shows up? A short lived flower that I absolutely love, lining a whole block of this tiny, little town! In that moment, I couldn’t have been more happy and grateful all the same time. Ironically, there are a couple pages in the cookbook that focus on happiness and gratitude and I’m starting to figure out that it is a common theme in so many books out there. Not rocket science but something that, I’m embarrassed to say, took me forever to learn. Always wanting to fit in, altering my tastes, making others happy and succumbing to the majority; instead of celebrating my own personal preferences and doing what makes me happy; and ultimately the most important lesson of all, to find gratitude in it all. Such a simple concept that took years to put into practice. I hope each of you have your own “love of peonies” moment and don’t take as long I as I did to figure out the importance of “finding your happy”. Oh and in case you are curious, this was just one of many TED Talks I listened to during the 16 hours of driving so here are a few more that I thought were worth the listen.
- David Steindl-Rast – Want To Be Happy – Be Grateful!
- Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs – The Nature of Hard Work
- Diane Nyad – Never Give Up (If you don’t remember she is the record breaking swimmer who swam from Cuba to the United States. She tried once, twice, three times to finally succeed 35 years later on the fifth try.)
- Aimee Mullins: My 12 pairs of legs
- Laura Trice – Remember to Say Thank You
- Sherry Turkle – Connected, but Alone?