“If my heart can become pure and simple like that of a child, I think there probably can be no greater happiness than this” Kitaro Nishida (From The Little Zen Companion)
The first hours of the morning are sacred to me, and I perfer to spend them in silence as I wean from an active dreamworld to the expectations of the day. An always-changing cast of winged performers flit through the living stage. This morning, as I write from the comfort of the front balcony, a cheerful wren forages along the branches of a Pico-Pico tree just long enough to have its image caught on camera.
A dozen or more swallows perform an aerial ballet across the pure-blue skies. One crisp-yellow butterfly inspects the landscaped area near the ponnd. At times the butterflies move with such precision that I think they are birds! Scanning the vista below, I spot a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird perusing the morning’s floral department while deciding which will provide the prized nectar for the day.
While admiring the hummingbird, I spot a large bird streak past the house and realize it was a Collared Aracari!Hoping it landed in the top of the ‘Aguacatillo’ tree, I bolt for a better view, but alas, there’s no sign of the aracari.
Other members of the cast provided a side show – the Black Phoebe with a just-caught dragonfly, a cowbird feasting on yesterday’s cracked corn, and a cast of tanagers feeding in a nearby tree.
Knowing that the fish were waiting, I gathered the two varieties of fish food (tiny seed-like food for the little fish and large dog-food sized chunks for the larger ones.) Cracked corn is doled out at random bird-feeding spots, and in several places I enjoy drawing simple designs with the corn. The exercise focuses my attention, and for those thirty or so seconds, all else is forgotten as the design takes form.
And corn for the birds!
One particular rock has an irregular template already in place, and almost always I draw a simple smile, one that can be seen from the balcony above. There is something magic about drawing that smile, and almost always I begin with detached seriousness, and by the time the smile is finished, I realize that I too am smiling! Yes indeed, smiles are infectious!
This week, disconnect from being too serious, and help me with a simple test. Right now, draw a slow deliberate smile on a piece of paper or with a paint program on your computer. Eyes first. Then slowly make the smile, and see if the act of drawing the smile makes you smile.
Draw smiles where you normally would not – like when serving/arranging food or putting salsa on a burger or arrange your animal’s food in the shape of a smile — and see if it makes your heart smile just a bit more than it was before you began the task.
Remember that art doesn’t have to be serious or perfect. Tap into your whimsical spirit and spread smiles with a childlike happiness; most likely your heart will smile as well.