As much as I love running my creative business, I also love a good vacation. But now I’m back and the online shop is open again!

Traveling to another culture can be such a refreshing reframe. It can also remind us of our values. Right?

On a recent trip to Belize I was reminded of the the simple things in life that make us human, make us whole.

Groups of children walking arm-in-arm through the village at dusk, no parents in sight. A soccer game in the church yard while dogs and goats roam nearby. Laundry line on the front porch, mothers, aunties, grandparents, friends~ crowded together sharing food, sharing chores. Little brother on the top of the bike handles while sister peddles with ease, laughter, silliness, and of course~ no cell phones in hands.

A few words come to mind~ happiness, ease, tranquility. 

I know it’s not that simple, I know there is poverty, inequity, and much more that I won’t pretend to understand. But I can’t help but wonder what is it that makes up happiness.

As I continue to struggle with contemporary American values, I am reminded why I struggle. Why I don’t allow my daughters to have social media accounts, why I feel uneasy when I see kids staring into their glowing screens. As our children are given everything at their fingertips~ easy access to quick food and quick comforts, to guns, to air-brushed filters on their phones that POOF make them ageless and sexy, they try to live up to impossible norms. They are in-turn harming themselves, and all-too-often harming others. With their loneliness and lack of ability to live up to those pressures they get ahold of their parents’ assault weapons. They take their weapons into school and shoot their friends and teachers. Pain transferred, pain averted. A permanent hole for those who lost. And the rest of us are left wondering whose children will be next?

Our children witness their parents model impossibly stressed lives, with each passing day getting faster. No time to talk, to breathe, to laugh. Stress has become a sort-of badge of honor. And all for what? For wealth? For that gnawing need to be perpetually young and beautiful? We’ve slowly traded simple happiness for an insatiable bottomless pit.

Complex problems have complex roots, and require even more complex solutions. And I can’t help but wonder how or if we can dig our way out of this.

But I keep asking myself what does make us feel alive, healthy, less alone? And how can we live in that place more often? For me it comes in the form of creativity, dancing, singing, running down a dirt road, or a long meal with my family.

All I can do is to try to fight against the grind and continue to practice those things that bring me happiness. And, it IS a practice. Each day I try to remind myself to live a little slower, to pick up my paintbrush, to call my friend. I don’t always succeed, but I have to keep trying.

So tell me what brings you happiness? What makes you feel alive, free, at peace? Please share! We’d all love to hear…

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