The Experiment: Day 17 ~ Sometimes It Takes A Mole, or, Never Stop Searching…

Heavens to Betsy! When I named this project The Search For Truth, Beauty & Happiness I had no idea that some days I would have to search so hard! I had a hard day yesterday. Today I got up a little teary and sad but determined to get past it. I sat here with my coffee and thought, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll go to Pixabay, the site where I get a lot of images for my blog, they’re free to use, and I won’t put in a specific thing to look for I will just go through the general search for images. When I hit upon something, thought I, that makes me smile, or laugh, or fill all up with joy, THAT will be it! I will write a blog post and that image will be the guiding theme of the post. There were 172 pages of images, many many images on each page, it took me all day long. I saved a handful of images that I liked that I thought might be interesting for an upcoming post but they weren’t ringing my chimes. I was so low I couldn’t even smile. Finally, the 3rd from the very last image on the final page, page 172, was the little mole above. I smiled. I thought he was adorable. Then I LAUGHED OUT LOUD! PAYDIRT! I had to go through 172 pages of images all day long to find one single image that would make me happy, and it was worth the search, and my mood has changed. This is my message to you: JUST KEEP SEARCHING, NEVER STOP SEARCHING! Somewhere, some way, some person, place, or thing, or an image, will make you smile, will light you up. I am so grateful for this little mole.

When I started this project I was coming out of so many months of profound depression I didn’t know how I would ever smile again, but I knew I had to try. I would dedicate 365 days to searching for happiness. Some little part of me that was either in denial, or had crept into a tiny little manic space, mistakenly thought that I would just start, and every single day I would find SOMETHING that made me smile, or laugh, or dance around the room full of joy. I declared that I would NOT speak about mental illness for the whole year. I was going to retrain my brain to try to, if not combat depression entirely, make it easier to have more lighter days. Very soon into the project Mental Illness looked at me with a smirk, “Surely you jest. You’re 63. We go WAY back, like to when you were 4 years old and the abuse started. It lasted until you were 18 and then we were just really getting started. A blog post a day to run me off? I think not.”

I felt hopeless, and then I felt steely and determined. No, I would have to be more realistic. When you live with a basket full of mental health diagnoses, are still in weekly therapy after many decades and on several medications you are not going to wake up in the morning bounding through the house like Maria in The Sound Of Music. Not suddenly, or all at once. Maybe I just need to have days where I feel peace and ease. Maybe I’ll be happy enough to smile, or even laugh. There will be those days but there will be lots of hard ones too. The thing is I’ve got to be here for 365 days, even if, like yesterday, all I was able to do was show up, say hello, and then quietly sink back into my solitude. Today no miracles occurred, the news I got yesterday that broke my heart has not changed, but gosh darnnit I am going to fight like the dickens to find my way, even if I have to go through 172 pages of images to find 1 I can use.

So today a little mole saved me. I just love his wee pink nose and his little pink hands and his coat like velvet. And there, struggling up from beneath the earth, he is digging his way out into the light of day. That’s me! I am that little mole. It’s dirty down here, and I’m quite a mess, but I’m going to keep on searching. Happiness is out there somewhere, in tiny bits, under rocks, behind clouds. I’ll never stop searching. You search too. Let’s do this thing, we can do it together.

Can you share with me what made you happy today, any little thing? I almost chose a hedgehog, that came close, even closer was the baby penguin peeking out from under her mother’s feet, and there was one image I really loved but it didn’t quite fit. It was a red barn covered in and surrounded by snow. It’s what I dream of, living in the country again, living some place where there is snow. This image gives me peace. What kind of image evokes peace in you? I’m going to make a vision board and this barn in the snow is going to be on it. I’m not sure what to make of this but I just know I’ve got to do it. And that alone means I am holding out some hope for the future. That is new for me. I haven’t felt that since the fire devastated my life 4 years ago.

Just keep searching. There’s so much out here. Let’s help each other find it. And your notes in the comments here on the blog really help me so much. Thank you loves…



The Experiment ~A 365 Day Search For Truth, Beauty &
Day 1 ~ Introduction To The Project
“Do or do not. There is no try.”

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…


  1. Maitri,
    I really appreciate your focus on looking for happiness in your current project. I’m not exactly an Eeyore, but I’m not far from it.

    And Tim suddenly wanting to change around some accustomed things in our main living space, just after we’ve got back after almost a month away — well, that had me in tears, so thankfully, he put back the main things (the secondary things I’m fine with moving around, curiously).

    Focusing on what makes us happy, practicing gratitude, and noticing small things that bring joy — that’s all good. Thanks!

    • Oh Lisa, I’m so glad that Tim moved most of the things back. That is the kind of thing that is very disconcerting to me, so I do understand. And thank you for your kind words about this project. It means the world to me, just to show up. Some hard days, like Saturday, when I couldn’t say much, at least I showed up, and that’s important to me. It is a daily practice, and an important one for me, not so much WHAT I write but that I show up to write SOMETHING and try to make it as positive, hopeful, and uplifting as I can. I am really trying to retrain my brain. I think it’s possible.

      Thank you so much for being here with me on this journey, it means more than you could possibly know. I love you honey…

  2. Happiness today – having a review of my book Prison Wisdom (by journalist/author Jonah Raskin) appear on Huffington Post; weeding a stubborn invasive out of my garden and stone pathway; going to see a documentary at our arts theater, on Doloros Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union (with Cesar Chavez), who at 87, is still alive and still advocating for social justice (si si puede — “it can be done,” a repeated chant during the grape boycott of the late 60’s, that won improvements for migrant laborers; cooking dinner with my daughter, diced herbed potatoes roasting with tofu, and she’s making a peach/feta/corn salad to go with; knowing i’m going back into a prison tomorrow to give a writing workshop, seeing how my struggles and victories and joys and setbacks are connected to a long line of activists and idealists — whoo whatever we do, put our heart into it!!!

    • Oh Katya, what a wonderful thing to read! And do you have a link to the Huff Post review? I’d love to see it! I’m so excited for you! And your whole day sounds just lovely, and I loved reading about you cooking with Alana, that is such a sweet thing. And good for you to still be teaching in the prisons. I’d love to read your book some day.

      Have a good day honey, I love you! 🙂

  3. Victoria SkyDancer says:

    I don’t know how little it was, but today my husband and I made it back to a support group that has helped us a lot in the past, and is still helpful today. Support groups/group therapy feels very important to me right now, and it felt good to plug back in to the flow. 🙂

    • Oh I’m so happy for you and your husband Victoria. To have such a support group is so important and can help so much. I’m glad you are “plugged back into the flow.” It sounds like a very good thing indeed. May every day’s journey at least have moments of peace and ease where you can rest to restore yourself to carry on through the day. I love you sweet V. 🙂

  4. Happiness today was helping a friend who forgot he had a class today. Then I played a couple of games that I liked and ate some delicious broccoli and cheese soup. I watched some cooking shows and ended up eating a bowl of ramen noodles with butter and cheese, one of my ultimate comfort foods. I’m glad you found something to smile about today and I am so glad to know of the free site for pictures. Love, Jean

    • Sweet Jean, oh what a lovely day, those foods are surely comfort foods, my favorite kind of food! It made me feel all cozy just reading about it. I hope we both have things to smile about today, and yes, Pixabay is a wonderful resource, I use it nearly daily! Best and love to you…

  5. Paula Brown says:

    Today was a happy day. I watched my best friend marry her soulmate. I told her 5 years ago he was “the one”. Took her a while…. It was a glorious autumn day. Perfect. I smiled and as usual i cried. I Can’t hear Ave Maria without tears. It was my dad’s favorite hymn.
    She was radiant he was so proud.

    • Oh Paula what a beautiful day it must have been! And Ave Maria always moves me so deeply, what perfect music for them. I wish them much happiness, and I understand the tears, surely, the joining of two soulmates is such a powerful and beautiful thing indeed. I’m so glad you had that wonderful day. And thanks for being here with me Paula, it means so much to me… 🙂

  6. Godmorgon Maitri,
    Thank you for the mole, it made me too smile this morning when I’m about to get ready for a trip to my physician (whom I don’t like).
    Tonight when I’m back home, it’s quite a long trip, I’ll look for a picture that will untangle my nerves and dislikes.
    hugs and 3 kisses

    • Oh Margaretha, I’m sorry you have such a hard day ahead of you. I will be thinking of you and wishing you well all day long. I have to go out too for one of my med management appointments. I don’t like to have to venture out but some days we just have to, don’t we? And if you are looking for an image you should try Pixabay if you never have. Over a million images, free to use, a great resource, searching for images there is often where I get inspiration for a post, and it makes me happy to look through the images. I hope your doctor’s appointment goes well honey, I’ll be thinking about you today…

  7. Maitri, I was surprised when you first started this and said it was going to be all about positive things. There is no way we can do that and there is also no shame in that. I love reading about your life as it comes and as it is, good or bad. You could fake your way through it and just write something “happy” every day but that would be crap. I love and care about you because you are real and won’t be fake. So write about whatever you are feeling that day, please and don’t think you are letting anyone down if it’s not positive.

    • Thank you so much Sheila honey, I appreciate that so much. And you know when I started this project my meds had just kicked in, and what this means for a person with BiPolar Type 2 — the depressive side of the disorder — is that if it takes a high dose of an antidepressant to get you up out of an unrelentingly hard time, months on end, which I had been going through, you have to be on the lookout because the higher the dose of antidepressant the more likely it can throw a bipolar person into mania. I was not experiencing a full blown manic episode but feeling GOOD after so many months of feeling so bad I could barely function, kind of put me in a bit of a manic-y place and so I started this project with so much hope, “Things are BETTER now!!!” that I dove into a project searching for happiness with high hopes in my heart. But in days I knew it couldn’t all be happy and I couldn’t NOT talk about mental illness. Hence this is the search for happiness, or maybe hope. If on the hardest days I can show up here and just say a few words like I did on Saturday, it is HUGE for me. The showing up part makes me feel good about myself, I think it will be very good for me, but it will also be very honest, and yes I will talk about mental illness, and some days will be a real struggle with a very brief, “At least I’m here” sort of post. But I will keep on keeping on. It makes me hopeful, just doing it, even if it doesn’t make me “happy” some days, gives me feelings of peace and ease and that’s all to the good. Thank you so much for coming here and being honest. It helps me more than you know. I love you Sheila, I hope it is a good day for you honey…

  8. What a great blog post, thank you so much Maitri! You describe things so well, I can “see” you sifting through all those images until you found two treasures, the little mole and the red barn amidst the snow are just beautiful! I’m glad those moments of joy lifted your day. My moment of happiness (over and over again) is running out to the front step to watch the wild geese pass over our house in great V-skeins each morning and evening, a sure sign Autumn is here. Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” is my absolute favourite. Hugs to you. x

    • Oh thank you so much Jenny! I appreciate your kind words and yes what treasures the little mole and the red barn in the snow surely were. And ah yes, the geese, I love to see and hear them going over, and I ADORE Mary Oliver. Her poetry makes my heart sing! And Wild Geese is such a wonderful poem. Thank you so much for being here honey, I hope you have a beautiful day today… 🙂

  9. It is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. What made me happy today was cooking a turkey dinner for my husband, son and a friend I had invited. Everything was delicious and we had a lovely time. Last night I simmered bone broth on the stove all night. Having that turkey broth scent wafting through my apartment as it simmers makes me smile with contentment. I will make turkey soup for dinner tonight.

    • Happy Thanksgiving Joan! And oh, I can just smell the turkey! I love turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, my favorite meal of the year. I’m so glad you’ve had such a wonderful celebration. Your apartment sounds so cozy and cheerful. I hope your day today is bright and beautiful and full of love. I send you so much love Joan and a gentle warm hug. And thank you again, so much, for being here with me. It means more than you could possibly know…

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