AUTHOR | SPEAKER | PHILOSOPHER | DESIGNER
I’m in the habit of celebrating the entire month for a birthday or anniversary. Life is too short not to extend the joy in all directions. I feel the same way about the entire month of February. Let’s spend each day focusing on love – who we love, who loves us, and how we can grow more deeply in love with life.
January was an exceptionally happy month. We toasted the New Year at a favorite Chinese restaurant “Man Wah” that has the best Cantonese food I’ve ever tasted. As Peter and I sat overlooking the harbor, we felt the privilege and blessings of our amazing trip to Hong Kong. To assure that I will never forget or let the memories fade, I use chopsticks for all my meals, often ones that are color coordinated to some brightly colored costume I’m wearing. Great fun!
The day of the blizzard, Peter and I came to check on our cottage before the third Happiness Weekend at the Inn at Stonington. A wonderful thing happened – we were snowed in! The train we were meant to take back to New York didn’t run. We spent a glorious week alone, sitting by cozy fires, enjoying the beauty of the snow. When the storm was over, the clarity of the light was brilliant.
No two snowflakes are alike. No two people are alike either. But Peter and I played in the snow as though we were three. It was truly a winter wonderland. The quiet beauty was everywhere. We bought lots of daffodil and tulip plants to remind us that we’re moving toward spring … but there was great joy in the storm. We were delighted to be here.
A second snowstorm came mid-week, adding five more inches to the 18 inches from the first one. The snow was so high up our window boxes that I had to go up to the top if the window to see the water.
The sun was shining brightly on January 28th when our friends came for the Happiness Weekend. I’d sent everyone postcards to tell them to wear boots. Some did and a few bought some on sale once they arrived. The snow is still freshly beautiful because the weather is so cold. Trillions of diamonds spreading light and color; ah, the power of every snowflake!
Our third Happiness Weekend was the most magnificent. Five friends from the Omega Institute workshops came. Our weather was sunny and on Saturday night we had a romantic dusting of fresh snow. It was truly magical.
A fine journalist from the Connecticut Post came for the Saturday seminar and visited the cottage to interview and photograph everyone. I’ll share the article with you once it is published this week. We had such fun together; we’re planning to have a reunion next year.
Many people have inquired how to start a Happiness Club. Next month I’ll write more, but simply expressed, all you need is a few friends who want to talk about all the ways they find happiness. One friend from the Happiness Weekend got the idea to start an inspirational, motivational self-help book club because she prefers to read non-fiction spiritual books. Find some like-spirited friends and have fun.
If anyone has a copy of the Time magazine January 17, 2005 issue, The Science of Happiness, please send it to me when you are finished. I will pay the postage and send you a gift. Thank you. I somehow missed this issue and need it for my ongoing research.
I thought you’d like to see this article in Worthwhile magazine (reprinted below). Also, Country Living magazine has photographed the cottage and it will appear in the April issue, on the newsstand March 8th.
February is the month to deepen our love of life. Let it begin with an increasing love of our self. What is in our heart and soul is what we give back to the world: As we all sang at the end of the seminar at the Happiness Weekend, ”Let there be happiness in my soul and let me share it with the world.”
Great love to you.
Love & Live Happy
LIVING A BEAUTIFUL LIFEwritten by Anita Sharpe, Worthwhile, March 2005
"Life is a celebration," Alexandra Stoddard, New York-based interior designer and author, tells a groupd during a signing of her latest book, Things I Want My Daughters to Know. "If you make youself happy, you will make other people happy." It's a philosophy that reverberates through her 23 published books. Stoddard, as much as any living person, knows a thing or two about happiness and celebrations.
MovementMy husband and I both have writing tables in the living room. That's where my energy is.I don't really like offices. I just feel like when I sit in an office, I have to work and I don't really like that concept very much. I love the whole idea of play. I have file folders that are wicker hampers and are moveable. I totally love to move around and I don't like being stuck anyplace.
BeautyThings I need around me are beautiful paintings and flowers and tea -- just beauty. I have an irrational passion for blue hydrangea; I love daffodils, tulips, any color rose but red. I'm a real garden person. Light. Candles. Crystal -- just the fact that it catches light gives me energy. I have an emerald-cut paperweight on my desk that I doodle with.
Pen passionI have so many different pens it's quite astounding -- that's my connection to my work. I have 350 or 400. Some are old. I have a very inexpensive Mont Blanc pen called Generation; it's a bright funky yellow and I use it on book tour. I have green ink in it. I have a lot of Cartier pens. All of my pens have a story behind them; I give them away for charity benefits. I have a Cross pen right now that I abolutely love that a fan gave me. It's blue lapis lazuli with gold. It has a nice weight to it. I probably have more Waterman (pens) than anything else. Oh my gosh, you are talking to somebody who is nuts about pens.
ArtI am very taken by the Impressionists -- they showed us how beautiful our everyday lives are. My very, very, very favorite artist is a contemporary artist, Roger Muhl. He opened my eyes. I just felt a presence.
Airport timeI need a little bit of time in between events so it's nice to have a little bit of airport time. I get to airports early. I usually go to a place like Starbucks that has a table and I work. There is a whole world in airports. My tote bag has a dictionary in it, three or four fountain pens, three or four books. I really do travel heavy. I am so grateful to ever get disconnected. As a thinker, I love to not be plugged in.
BooksI want to learn, I want to grow. I want to use my earthly journey time to raise my consciousness to become more aware, to feel more connected and so I study. I read nonfiction. I'm totally the queen of self-help. I want to be better and beter and better. I'm crazy about all those meditation and mindfulness books -- there are just hundreds of them out there and they are all good. Alan Watts; Deepak Chopra; His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I love to read poety, Rumi, the Persian poet from the 13th century. I love the book, Ten Poems to Change Your Life, by Roger Housden.
A full lifeI get energy from it. I love life. My energy come from my passions, the love of what I want to do. I have fun. A lot of people have just stopped having fun and stopped doing what they love to do. They have taken themselves so seriously, they have gotten dreary. I refuse to be dreary. My schedule is daunting to almost anybody, but I know that there is more in me that needs to come out. I know that I have to write many more books. I know there are more good things that I can do. I pretty much say "yes" to almost anything that's good.
Worthwhile - March 2005 Issue
Anita Sharpe is the co-founding Editor of Worthwhile. Find her wonderful interview with Alexandra. On newstands now! A lovely keepsake!
Photo from Worthwhile - March 2005 Issue
Vanity Fair, February 2005
Alexandra with an Adrienne Vittadini model, Doreen Salerno of Adrienne Vittadini and Judy Matz of Vanity Fair at a reception at the Adrienne Vittadini Lenox Square store in Atlanta on October 27, 2004.
Mrs. Brown's Table
Good News! Levenger has brought the Mrs. Brown table back. Call toll free (800) 544-0880 to get their gorgeous complimentary spring catalogue. Turn to page 43! Choose dark or natural cherry finish.
January 2005 Happiness Weekend
The Happiness Weekend was fabulous! Thank you to all who made the journey and shared in the magic!
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
(The Little Prince)