Thursday, February 19, 2015

a day in the life of the world's happiest people starts at home

a few of us from the drink & draw group got to talking about this whole notion of denmark as home of the world's happiest people. i still maintain that if the danes are so happy, you definitely can't see it on them. even my fellow drink & draw-ers are a bit provoked by the whole notion and they are danish! so, we are putting together a project where we are going to ask a wide variety of people of all ages, backgrounds and from all over the country, to keep a diary for a day (all of them on the same day). we will collect the diary entries and see if they shed some light on what it is that makes the danes so darn happy. we don't want it to be a scientific, clinical look, we want it to be personal and intimate. our intention is that then we will invite a variety of artists - painters, actors, storytellers, filmmakers, playwrights, sculptors, whatever - to gather and give creative expression to the diaries. in my head, there's definitely a podcast in it, undoubtedly with multiple episodes. i think that also in my head is something along the lines of the wonderful and profound humans of new york - with short, poignant stories that tell so much about the culture at large. but i'm also trying to reserve judgement and remain open, because once we have the diaries in hand, they may point us in another direction entirely and i want to be able to move in that direction.

yesterday, we all tried the task on for size ourselves. we figured we should feel it under our own skin if we were going to ask people to do it. we agreed that we would write it all out - good and bad and try not to hide anything. we have shared our diaries with one another and will get together next friday and talk about the next steps in our project.

i wrote my day on my marquee blog (see sidebar if you're interested), but i also did some much-needed art journaling to go along with it.  i think i needed both the linear timeline side of things and something more abstract and creative. and i can definitely tell that i needed those moments of creativity and the different sort of concentration that accompanies them. in fact, i've continued them today and they helped me settle down and get back to work again. they quieted some of yesterday's restlessness. i also thought it was quite wonderful that i came across the quote in the one on the bottom while paging through an old magazine, looking for collage materials. it's a bit uncanny how you often come across the thing you most need to hear at precisely the moment you need it.

i realize once again, working on this, that i'm happiest when i'm setting an idea out in the world and seeing what becomes of it. i can't wait to see where this will take us, but i'm also definitely enjoying the place it's helped me occupy right here and now. and to be bringing this to life with a group of awesome and creative women is pretty magical as well.


Feisty Harriet said...

Have you read the book Geography of Bliss? I think you should, the author visits a number of countries and culture and reports on if they think they are happy, and why, and what outside research says about that culture/country. It's part psychology part travel book and one of my favorites. :)


Shauna said...

I am not a USA Today reader, but someone directed me to it.

I am from Utah (blue for super happy on the map like all the gorgeous intermountain west states), usually live just across the Canadian border from Detroit (a gray state like all the rust belt). All the time I've lived there I have tried to make it a happy place for me, but now being on sabbatical in Utah has only confirmed it is indeed happier. Weather, outside beauty (and more months of be able to be outside to enjoy it), friendlier, stronger sense of community, culture, stronger community involvement in education, kids more welcomed are manifestations of happiness and belonging that I see and feel. But why? More sunshine, better economy, more open space to breathe? I don't know.

Is Denmark more happy than other northern European or Scandanavian countries?

celkalee said...

I just read your marquee posts, I considered joining Kyle's project when I received the email a few weeks ago and then because I was so busy, so distracted and so overwhelmed by so many things, I forgot about it. I can relate, your journal is inspired. Simply, I know what happiness is not. The standards by which happiness is measured confuses me. I should have joined.