It’s good to have a happy place!  A place that makes your shoulders relax and a smile come to your face at the mere thought of it… have you ever really thought about where that place is for you?

I wrote about this last week on my art blog but think it is a really important topic for artists trying to make a living with their art.  We often work from home, have to deal with a lot of rejection (or crickets – as in, you hear nothing, not even a rejection), long hours and days where you wonder what on earth you are doing.

Those are the days when you need to have a Happy Place!

Maybe not to physically go to – but at least a place you can conjure up in your mind.  Involve as many senses as possible and help your body relax, reset, and rebalance.  I don’t know about you but I’m a much better “happy artist” than “tortured artist”.  (Yet another stereo-type that annoys me – how many people have you met think you will create your best work when you are suffering?  It’s crazy!)

In fact, I just realized that I was inspired to post this on September 11th – not intentionally but it sure feels fitting. This is a day where we remember the tragedy of 9/11 and also look for hope and peace and healing… if you become overwhelmed by the day, think of your happy place!

My happy place is Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  I remember the first time we went to the Oregon coast when I moved here in 1994… growing up on the east coast, getting to the beach was a very different experience!  In Oregon, you go over mountains, through tall fir and cedar trees… it’s a gorgeous ride!  Then it will flatten out a bit towards the coast but you still feel like you are in a forest and that Hansel & Gretel might be around the next bend.  All of the sudden, you are at the beach.

Some parts of the coast line are tall cliffs that then cut down to sand, others are more gradual.  It isn’t as warm all summer so it is never a crowded sun-worship spot like the beaches of New Jersey I grew up with.  In fact, on any given day you might see people riding up the beach on horseback – I certainly did a double take the first time I saw that!

But the most memorable and still my favorite spot on the entire western seaboard is Haystack Rock.

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach Oregon

My husband doesn’t quite understand it but I think it’s because he grew up here and it’s all he’s ever known.  It’s different to see and experience something for the first time as an adult.  For whatever reason – Haystack Rock has always been a beautiful and peaceful spot.  I love to head to the coast (we go to the coast here – not the beach or the shore) and walk on the sand with my favorite rock in sight.

I included a painting of the rock in a calendar I did back in 2011 with the proverb “Footprints on the sand of time aren’t made by sitting down”.  I think of it when I’m feeling tense – close my eyes, smell the ocean, feel the breeze (ok, sometimes it’s a serious WIND – we can talk about how the trees grow at an angle from the wind another time) and relax.  Ahhhh….

Today I encourage you to be still for a moment and think of your happy place… or figure out where it is if you don’t have a clear vision in mind.  What place or experience or people can instantly relax your body and quiet your mind?  It’s one of our best defenses against stress – breath it in!

– Tara Reed