This Will Make You Happy
This Will Make You Happy
It may sound silly, but if you're in a funk or having a creative block, it’s the best prescription there is.
Most kids look forward to Saturday mornings. My brother, Eric and I dreaded them. Saturday mornings we had to perform hard labor before we were allowed to play with our friends. Our father, raising us on his own, ran our house like a military boot camp. So the goal was to perform like the perfect soldier, completing assigned chores as thoroughly and quickly as possible. If they weren’t done to my father’s liking, I’d have to start over until they were. If he heard me complain, or sigh, he’d heap on more to do. Without a mother around to soften his blows, or pick up some of the slack, it was hell. Even the neighborhood kids learned real quick to stay clear of our house on Saturday mornings. They wouldn’t even wander close to our yard for fear my father would grab them by the collar, toss them inside, and put them to work mopping the kitchen floor with Janitor in a Drum, or scrubbing the bathroom with Clorox. Since this actually happened to Todd Calderone and Frankie Dragotto, I'm pretty sure they were the ones who spread the word to avoid the Fusaro compound on Saturdays.
So it may seem absurd, cause it certainly does to me, that today I am grateful for the chores I have to do. They are the most effective way I have found to boost my mood. A little over twenty years ago I heard a bit of advice that, when practiced, never fails to improve my attitude: “Move a muscle, change an emotion.” It may sound silly, but if you're in a funk or having a creative block, it’s the best prescription there is.
This past Saturday morning is a perfect example. I felt unmotivated, and began scrolling through Facebook, which did more to depress than inspire. I knew exactly what to do to feel better: “Move a muscle, change an emotion.” Since there were dishes in the sink, I had the perfect chore. But, as usual my thinking usually balks at any remedy that takes effort; “Doing the dishes will just kill time and get in the way of the more important and worthwhile things I should be doing, like writing or cartooning.” Thanks to years of experience, I know this kind of thinking never improves my attitude, nor motivates me to do anything worthwhile. So with a force of will I started to wash the dishes, when finished with the dishes I cleaned the counter top. The sense of accomplishment was so incredible I continued. It was somewhere between making the bed and cleaning the windows, that I began to feel so good I was inspired to write this article. Once again, I was amazed, and grateful, that doing something so simple and unrelated to my emotional conflict actually resolved it.
Another miraculous by-product of this exercise is that it always seems to expand time. Not only do I have plenty of time to perform these unrelated tasks that lift my spirits, but many other unexpected creative endeavors get accomplished as well (like this article and the cartoon I drew to go along with it). This reinforces the belief that, as my mood lightens so does everything else. Acting on, “Move a muscle, change an emotion,” has contributed to my most productive days, even if they didn’t start out that way. Proving that although my day may have a rough start, with a little muscle it can end incredibly well.
“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.” – D. H. Lawrence.
Fuzzy Fusaro, aka Darrell Fusaro, is an author and keynote speaker who's documentary, THE BASEMENT will be screening in Los Angeles and New York City this fall during HITWEEK. As an artist he has exhibited with Andy Warhol and has been featured in American Artist Magazine. For more information visit www.TheBasementTheMovie.com