When I was a little girl, I spent many a happy hour reading The Little Princess and The Secret Garden, books illustrated by the artist Tasha Tudor. The delicately drawn pictures and watercolors add to the enchanting story. I particularly remember the illustration of the robin showing Mary Lennox the key to the hidden garden. Tasha (1915-2008) illustrated and wrote dozens of children’s books during her prolific career.
A few years ago, I became fascinated with Tasha again, not just for her art but because of the unique life she crafted for herself. She was fascinated with the 1830’s and moved to a farm in rural Vermont to recreate a life from that time. She lived without electricity and wore clothes of the period. She had a prolific garden and a barn full of animals which she tended with her beloved Corgis. As an artist, she created the life she imagined and lived it to the fullest. She used the words “take joy” to express the way she experienced life. Her darling Christmas book and a documentary about her are also named Take Joy!
So in these last cold days of winter, before the spring comes, I want to encourage you to also Take Joy by finding beauty in the everyday and crafting your life to reflect your joy. I find that we are so bombarded with everyone else’s ideas and desires, or just what the culture tells us to think and do, that we don’t take the time to really create our unique world. This week I have been reading Cal Newport’s book Digital Minimalism. This is a new manifesto on how to loosen the control of media in your life so that you make more conscious choices about how you spend your time and what influences your thinking. Take steps to mindfully use media so that life isn’t spent in front of a screen but out in the beauty of the world. The constant bad news causes such anxiety and stress that the beauty all around is missed and then lost. Choose media that brings happiness to your life, not that glorify the worst of human behavior.
Enter Tasha’s enchanted world for a bit and find that Joy and Take it into your life and then consciously look at your world to find the beauty. In my world it is the chickadees having their breakfast, the wind ruffling the lake, the early spring frogs croaking in the shallow pond, the lichen on the fallen tree, the smell of the daffodils from the flower market…