suffer not

Remember to delight yourself first, then others can be truly delighted.
— sark

the rest of that quote: 

... This was my mantra when I published my first book in 1990, and still holds true. When we focus on the song of our soul and heart, then others will be touched similarly. Sometimes people wonder or worry whether people will like or approve of their creative expression. It’s none of your business. It’s your business to stay present and focused for the work of your deepest dreams. It might look crooked or strange, or be very odd-but if it delights you, then it is yours, and will find it’s way into other hearts.”
— sark

Last week, I mentioned that I have been working with these smaller canvases. Working with means staring at and wondering what I am really going to do with them. LOL! At some point, the images, the curious creatures, began to make their call known. I sat with them earlier this week and brought them to life as best I could. It was lovely and wonderful and fun. I really love what I have created here. 

This morning, I wanted to write about loving the work that you are doing, about the pride you feel when the work comes together the way that you intended. The moment that the word pride entered my mind, the words began to leave me, replaced instead with old teaching about pride coming before the fall. Condemnation drips all over the concept of pride.

Hold on a minute. Pride can simply mean deep satisfaction and pleasure in one's work. I looked up synonyms of pride and found beautiful, affirming words. 

delight, dignity, happiness, honor, joy, pleasure, satisfaction, self-confidence, self-respect

and yet the antonyms of pride are concerning

depression, gloom, melancholy, misery, pain, sadness, sorrow, trouble

We tend to think that the opposite of pride would be being humble or modest, holding a careful weight of your worth. In my own life, I have experienced the emptiness that comes from seeking humility to the exclusion of taking pleasure in my work, my environment, myself. 
Nothing is gained by keeping yourself on the bottom stair. Life isn't going to reward you, others aren't going to notice you, and you are just going to be stuck at the bottom. 

It's OK to be good at something. It's OK to  love the work that you are doing. It's OK to want to live in a home that is warm and welcoming and reflective of you. It's OK to feel purposeful, focused, and sure of yourself. These are mantras that, at fifty-one years old, I am still saying to myself. To be honest, I didn't start saying them until recently because I didn't believe them to be true until recently. 

I am renewing my mind, thinking differently which leads to different actions and behaviors. Why would I do anything less than take pride in my work or my life? Why would I commit energy and time toward living in a way that was anything but satisfactory and pleasurable? Why do we think we must suffer through life? What good is that doing?