It was difficult to come up with a blog post about finding happiness in such difficult times. My husband and I both lost our jobs this week but I consider us fortunate to have our health. In Italy, people grieve in isolation; our most vulnerable population–the homeless–are being pushed over once again; and everywhere, people are lost and frightened, scrambling for the last roll of toilet paper on the shelf, some in “Lord of the Flies” style.

Dystopian novels are no longer needed because we are and have been living in one for some time now. The question now becomes how do we get out of this reality that we’ve created. I believe that the only way out is to go inside. That is, to start living from within. As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Within all of us resides an infinite source of joy and wisdom and tapping into that source can happen naturally once we realize the fragility of life, as Cosmo learned to seize the day in “Discovery of an Eagle.”

But true happiness is not possible without having peace in our lives and as Silvia discovered in “Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees,” peace isn’t freely existing; rather, it needs to be cultivated. When she realized that outer and inner peace are inextricably linked, her peacemaking journey took on a whole new significance.

My new novel is told through the Greco family matriarch’s point of view. She learns how living authentically and free is vital to her happiness. This book asks the question, “What pictures will you have of yourself by the end of your life?” This is the story of a Renaissance man with so many creative and intellectual pursuits that he could “be on the other side of the world without leaving his room.”

In this time when those of us fortunate enough to have a home in which to be quarantined, this is a great time to pursue an old hobby or develop a new one, to read some books you’ve been wanting to read, to play a game of chess or listen to some albums you haven’t heard in a while. It’s the perfect time to create some new pictures of your life!