When my son, Sandy (name changed for privacy), was in the 2nd or 3rd grade, we moved to a different school district. As young as he was, Sandy's grief for his former teacher and his classmates was painfully obvious. His sadness evoked memories of my own childhood when my family had moved several times. I recalled my own sadness, my uncertainty in my new surroundings, and my loneliness.
My heart went out to Sandy, but what could I do? It happened a week or two after our move, that I noticed a photo of a bluebird in our daily paper. The author of the accompanying article mentioned the popular association of the bluebird with happiness.
So it happened that I took my scissors and cut the bluebird's picture out of the paper. The next day as my young son was grudgingly getting ready for school, I handed him the picture. “Put this in your pocket,” I instructed Sandy, “and when you get sad at school today, touch the bluebird and you'll feel better.”
Sandy's smile when he got off the school bus that day and ran to my open arms, told me the bluebird of happiness was no myth. Sandy was happy,
Years later, as I sat here reading Donald Altman's, One Minute Mindfulness, I recalled Sandy's childhood experience with the photo of the bluebird when I read Altman's instructions for finding peace wherever you are (page 66):
“...bring an item that evokes pleasantness. This object can be a a picture of something you love, maybe a pet or a place you have visited or would like to visit. It's good to have something pleasant and meaningful that is portable as well, something you can carry with you and touch or look at when you need to feel calm and centered.”
Something like a newspaper photo of a bluebird...