Thursday, February 23, 2012


I’m reading a memoir by Mary Ward Brown called “Fanning the Spark.”  It is a concise account of her life, up to 2009.  She is 95 years old now, and my parents went to visit her a few weekends ago.  She struggled with anxiety and panic attacks when she was young.  She seems to be a searcher, like me.  Perhaps all writers are searchers.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this comment in her book:

Within the family, I’d been thinking, “Why don’t you understand me and make me happy?”When I tried to think, “Why don’t I understand you and make you happy?” the dynamics changed.  An about-face was required of me, toward anyone, everyone, anywhere.

I’ve had an about-face lately.  I had been thinking like Mary Ward Brown had before she transformed her life.  I had been wondering why everyone didn’t make me happy: my husband, my children, my Mom and Dad, my friends.  I realized that I had been transferring my pain onto them.  I stopped, and I really looked at myself and my life and I did not like who I had become: bitter, sarcastic, unaffectionate, demanding, and caustic.

I realized, similar to Mary Ward Brown’s thought process, but also a little bit different: I need to make myself happy in order to make other people in my life feel happy with me.  I can make myself feel happier by being a better parent, by making my kids laugh and smile, feeling rewarded by simply leading them in their lives. My marriage can be a better one if I act out of love and kindness, instead of hate and malevolence.  I get so caught up in my selfish wants sometimes, and I forget about other peoples’ feelings.  I want to be a better wife, mother and friend to those who know me. 

I’ve realized the importance of every single person in my life: past or present.  I’ve been striving to try to make other people happy/proud/content in order to make myself more fulfilled.  This act is hard for me, as I tend to look out for my own interests as most people do.  I tend to cling to people and memories that keep me locked in the past, unhappily ever after.  I’m learning how to let go.  I’m learning in order to feel whole I need to stop blaming others, and I need to start trusting and loving again.  There is a power to forgiveness: the ability to move on and not be trapped in a world of hatred.      

When my parents went to visit Mary Ward Brown, she inscribed a book to me and wrote, “Follow your bliss” (as previously written by Joseph Campbell).  Last year, I was caught up in being so unhappy with my life that I simply couldn’t see my bliss.  Now I’ve found it in writing, in taking care of myself, in enjoying my husband and my children.  I know how to make myself happy and from here I have to strive to achieve my “bliss” each and every day.  I’ve realized the importance of following my dreams, doing what makes me happy.  When you do what makes you happy, you are able to give that happiness to others, and transform your life into something better, something higher, giving it a purpose.  Purpose is so important, and without purpose we are lost.


  1. What a powerful quote you've noted in this entry.  Thank you for this, it sounds like a great read, too.  I will definitely look for this book.

  2. Nice post! Thoughtful.... :)

  3. I think I need to read this book.  Sounds like you got a lot out of it.  I'm glad you are being so introspective.  


Submit ExpressSubmit Express - SEO Services