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A New Year - A New Beginning

As we are ushering into a new year, there is a need for a new beginning and, like many people, I wish to fulfill my dreams and aspirations. Most importantly, I wish for happiness not only for me but also for my family and friends as well as the world at large. While happiness is very subjective, it is also about emotions experienced in the moment. There are many ways to find happiness and getting on with life makes me realize that it starts from within for it’s about following my heart.

There are different definitions of what makes people happy. Various studies demonstrated that there are people who seem happier than others, even in difficult times. They may be called Pollyannas while others are described as being Eeyore, who is determined to look at the dark side of everything, as explained by Wallace J. Nichols in his book, Blue Mind. The studies demonstrated about happiness that fifty percent account for a genetic predicament, while only ten percent account for outer circumstances. Interestingly, forty percent of our happiness is shaped by voluntarily making that choice to pursue personal goals through meaningful activities. The reason is that circumstances provide little to celebrate happiness because circumstantial happiness is fleeting, as opposed to lasting joy.

As an artist, my art brings joy and meaning to my life. I chose what evokes emotions for my whole body of work which is about the natural world. In his book, Nichols further writes that “areas of the brain associated with empathy become more active when subjects viewed nature scenes”. Many studies also demonstrate that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature. Edward Osborne Wilson, an American biologist, naturalist and writer, introduced the biophilia hypothesis whereby connections that human beings seek are deeply rooted in our biology. Eric Fromm refers to a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital, while Aristotle’s concept is summarized as the “love of life”.

As the saying goes: “Live each day as if it was your last.” Hence there is no reason not to follow your heart. In my humble view, to love life is a labour of love that brings sheer happiness every day of our short time on this beautiful blue planet. This is my wish for this New Year, happiness to all for this is about love!

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