Monday, April 12, 2010

More on Happiness

These blog awards may be a gimmick that does the rounds, but this most recent one has set me off on a process of thinking and a journey around a few new blogs. The kindly Cusp bestowed the award on a few of us PWME/CFS (People With ME or CFS for Those-Who-Don't!?!*)

One of the other "winners" was Michael Nobbs. I visited Michael's blog over a year ago and was interested in his drawing and approach to living with CFS, and returned a number of times. Unfortunately Michael was on a bit of a health-related hiatus at the time, and I seemed to lose track of him. So when I returned recently to check out his blog, it was great to see how far he has come. By that, I don't mean that he is cured or even mostly better, but rather that he has worked out a way of living with his CFS that feels very authentic to him. It looks as if he is managing to set meaningful goals and achieve them, by just working away in small chunks and not putting his health or happiness at risk.

There are a few things about Michael's story that run parallel to my own, and I've found many of his posts and mini-podcasts about his thoughts and approach incredibly pertinent. For starters, Michael "came to art", in his case drawing, after he became ill. Secondly, he felt a need to go back to uni and actually study art, to be able to really call himself an artist. The third thing we have in common is that we both recently lost our mothers and we've both written books about how we are working to deal with that fact.

When you visit Michael's website, the front page announces that his fourth issue of  The Beany is available, this being for want of a better term, a zine that Michael publishes. The current edition focuses on the time after the death of his mother, and is titled "Looking for the Joy". You can read excerpts online here, but I want to share the quote that really caught my interest and which prompted me to buy my own copy.

I just really wanted to know what changes Michael had decided to make and how they are working out. While I was waiting for my copy of  "Looking for the Joy" to arrive (which it has now - and it's a lovely read) I explored Michael's blog and mini-podcasts. The first thing I noticed was this:

Could that possibly be right? 20, 000?
But it is, so he's obviously doing something right, offering something that people want, or more likely need.

I have to say I think it's fantastic! Michael has re-worked his life and he's leading it his way, and making it work for him, while giving so much to so many other people. Personally, I love his use of  Audio Boo to make his mini-podcasts.  They are only a few minutes long, and in a sense, not that different from his blog posts, but hearing his voice, which is very friendly and chatty, just cements an instant connection. Did I say I think he's fantastic?!?

As you can tell, I've found the man and his story very inspiring. Obviously, he represents something that I am sorely in need of at the moment.He hasn't been afraid to slow down and to take a good look at his life, his direction and make the changes that felt positive to him. That's all stuff that I feel the need to do too.


  1. Hi, Amanda. I did get your message via Flickr.
    So glad the book arrived intact and I'm pleased that you like it.

    I thought you had my email? Oops!
    will get me.
    Well, when this silly computer is not having a hissy fit!5.30am is NOT when I want to be jerked about by recalcitrant IT stuff!

  2. He's a brilliant chap and rather treasured though I don't know if he realises it