Living day to day isn’t much different than spending a long weekend hiking in the mountains; it’s just a matter of perspective. As I went along the trails, a few things had come to light for me.
1. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.
2. Be open minded. It gives you many more great experiences to share if you do.
3. Take your time. It’s ok to be slow; just keep moving upward.
4. Do or not do, there is no try. Thanks Yoda, it’s cliché, but at the same time holds much truth.
5. Sometimes it hurts. Keep going because it’s definitely worth it.
6. Every step forward is positive. Don’t lose momentum.
7. Savour every moment. They are all fleeting.
8. Find your happiness. There are meadows of happy little critters everywhere. Look for the one that brings you joy.
9. The accomplishment will only propel you forward. Never forget how good that first one felt.
10. The first summit is only the beginning.
Find your motivation and keep going.
Being content with what you have in life is not an easy thing in the world we live in. We are bombarded with advertisement, telling us that we need to buy this and that to make our lives better, or we need to travel here and there to get the most out of life. What this does is rob us from being fully content with the life we currently live. Living without that “fear of missing out” means turning off the noise of these merchants and looking at what makes you happy – not what these companies say should make you happy.
Contentment in my life comes from having affordable housing that provides the shelter my family and I need, my pets to love and cuddle, and the fulfilling relationships with those people I choose to spend my time with. I am content with my daily walks with my dog, my bi-weekly date with one of my best friends, and the easy conversation with the man who is quickly becoming one of the most important people in my life. There are, of course, other components to this, but these things are some of the most vital pieces that keep me happy.
Gratitude for what we have contributes to living a content life. Appreciate all the good things that are present, and value the experience of the not so good things because it helps to truly see what blessings there are in life. I hope to never lose sight of the truly important things that provide me with that sense of contentment that I have found.
I’m one of those people who will think something to death before taking any action whatsoever. It’s both a blessing and a curse. There are times where it paralyzes me and I’m too caught up in the details to make a move. I overthink things that shouldn’t be overthought. I plan until the planning makes no sense.
And I worry.
What if this dream isn’t what I should follow? What if it fails? What if I fail? What if this dream isn’t what I really wanted to pursue after all?
Sometimes, we need to leave the planning and doubt behind and take that leap of faith forward. It’s not easy for people like me to do that very thing. Sometimes we like to get our toes wet first. And sometimes that is ok, so long as we propel ourselves forward.
So there is a dream here. It’s been planned to death for a couple of years now. Perhaps it’s time to put my toes in the water.
Some things bring tears to your eyes. Not because they are sad, but because they are memories in the making. Tears of happiness or of joy but knowing that these moments will not last. Tears of trying to make the most of the time in the moment yet trying to freeze the emotion and feeling so that it can be felt again when that memory comes to mind in the future.
Tears come to my eyes often. I am an emotional creature. Tears are healing. They help to wipe the past hurts away; to open the doors to new and healthier experiences. Tears are therapeutic. To soothe and hug you when you need consoling.
But tears in these happy moments are the ones that remind me that these things—these moments, are the ones to remember and cherish, because they are the ones that I will want to remember in years to come. These are the moments that life was made up of. The growing years and the happiness that made for a good life.
Is happiness a choice, or is it something that simply is? Do we get to decide if we are happy or not? Are we just a victim of our surroundings?
In my life, I believe we can choose to be happy. Yes, things happen in life that can be difficult, but when it comes down to it all, how we opt to deal with the things that have happened, its ultimately up to us whether we choose to remain sad or bitter about the events, or if we instead decide to still be happy.
Happiness is a much healthier option. I have seen people who seemingly have everything in life, yet they simply cannot be happy for themselves. Keep in mind, this is different from those exhibiting signs of depression, and I would not lump a mental health condition into the same category. I have also seen people who have had severely traumatic events happen in their lives who still chose to be grateful that they are still alive on this earth.
We all have days where the weight of the world brings us down. I try to remind myself that I am lucky to be where I am. I have gratitude for the friends and family I have, my living conditions, my job and my passions. I am grateful for having an able body which allows me to do things that others may not have the opportunity to do. This gratitude invariably leads me to happiness.
I look for the positives; for the good in the world. I avoid the news because happy news does not make money and therefore they do not play it. I cultivate my circle of friends to ones who reflect my inner light, and we bring each other up instead of drawing them down. I count my blessings.
Everyday, there is something new to be grateful for. Look for it and you will find happiness everywhere.
I spent yesterday evening thinking back to what the past five years has brought me, and how my life has changed. Yes, divorce will do that to you. But, there is more to it than that. I have realized when I look back at the past five years, I am amazed at how much I have done and how it has helped me grow as an individual.
Not only have I become free from a life (and marriage) that were strangling me, I have opened myself up and become more of who I truly am. I have taken courses and completed two certificates, with the third and fourth ones to be completed shortly. None of which have anything to do with my profession, I might add. They are simply because I enjoy them and choose to increase my knowledge in other areas that interest me. I have dramatically improved my photography skills through practice, mentorship, and coursework, and continue to do so. I have taken myself out of my comfort zone and explored places I would never have expected to go on my own before these five years. I have joined groups and met new friends that mean the world to me. I have plans and aspirations for the next five years that have spiralled off of what the previous five years have provided me.
Something that I didn’t realize when I was in the midst of it all, but when I look back, I can see how much the little bits have changed me over time. Tony Robbins says that people overestimate what they can do in a day but underestimate what they can do in a year. It’s true. I have seen it in myself, and I believe what he has said. I am grateful for my self-motivation to do more. I am glad I have not allowed my life to become passive, but instead, take an active role in what happens in my life. This is my journey, and I want to make the most of it!
Every day we have the opportunity to affect someone’s life. How we choose to do so is up to us. Will we make a positive impact on someone, or will it be negative? How we choose to approach any given situation is up to us.
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to see many different people from many different spectrums of life. I know that I have the power to make their day miserable, or to try and turn it around and make a positive impact on each person I see in a day. I know that there are people who are looked through instead of looked into. I don’t want to just look through people. Nobody wants to be invisible.
When we choose to be someone’s happiness, the effect multiplies. When we take time to truly be present in the moment, we show that person that they matter. Connect with them, lock eyes so they know that you are listening. You might be amazed at what happens!
When we show that people truly matter, their best comes forward. I was able to get a smile, more than once, from an elderly man who was perceived as being difficult by others. Beyond being able to get a smile from him, he also sang for me.
Not only was I part of his happiness, he became someone who gave me happiness in return. Will you be someone’s happiness too?
This weekend, my youngest son and I went out for a while, just the two of us. There is a local centre that has a few boutiques that was having a family fun day. We decided to go and check it out. We wandered around and looked at the fun garden pieces they had for sale, and looked at the delicious organic candies and cookies. I offered to buy him a cookie so we could sit and enjoy the moment, but he opted not to. He asked instead if we could go and find a present that he could gift to his brother for Christmas. We decided to go to Indigo, but before shopping for his brother, we opted to sit and have a drink at Starbucks. He loves the vanilla bean Frappuccino, so I ordered him one of those, and I bought one of their specialty holiday hot drinks for myself. We sat and talked about the holidays and the excitement. We watched people as they came and went. He sipped from his straw as his feet dangled and swung while he sat in his chair. I watched my youngest son as he showed pure happiness by just having some one on one time with me, his mother.
Families often do things together, but it is so important to give children one on one time with their parent too. My older son gets his one on one time as we share our common passion of photography, but there was something magical about this time with the younger one. He is still so full of holiday excitement, seeing the magic of the season. I love the shimmer in his eyes as he talks about our traditions. And the most wonderful part is that none of it involves receiving gifts. It is all the other stuff: the holiday treats, the music, the friends that we gather with, and the special dinner that we decide collectively on having.
This was one of those moments where my heart swells with pride and love. My son is growing up with love and compassion in his heart. As he grows, he is thinking of others more and more. He is becoming more like his older brother every day. They both make me very proud.
I love libraries. I love the smell of books, and seeing row upon row of books in the stacks. I love the nostalgia I feel when I enter a library and think back to my days as a preteen girl, spending my summer holidays amongst the millions of stories that lived within the library walls.
Libraries, I am afraid, seem to be losing their appeal. With the advent of ebooks, ereaders, and google, libraries seem to be less frequented by society as a whole. It saddened me recently when there was a vote in my community where a new library was proposed to be built, and more than half the votes declined building the new branch library. A part of my heart broke when the results were posted. It seemed to signal the end of an era: an era where everyday life could be escaped and instead lived in the adventures awaiting in the library stacks.
But libraries still do amazing things. They house audiobooks and videos alongside traditional paper books. They house events for writers and readers, programs for preschool, children and teenagers. They host author readings and interviews. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to photograph three published authors for my local library this past week. It was an honour to do so, and my nervousness quickly melted away as I had the chance to learn just a little bit of each author as a person, not just a master of the written word.
For those who still strive for simplicity in their lives, don’t forget about all the pleasures the library still provides. Revel in the books and stories still available within your reach without adding to the clutter in your minimalist home. Take in a book club discussion, or volunteer with other programs your library provides. It is worth it.
This weekend I have had the very fortunate opportunity to spend it with a group of ladies with the same common interest. We have all gathered to learn how to teach meditation.
What interests me about meditation is that while some consider it to be “New Age”, it seems that every culture and religion has some form of meditation; they may just call it something different. Prayer with a rosary, meditation with a Tibetan mala… really, not much difference there.
Mindfulness is a buzz word that has been thrown around lately, but what does it mean to you? Do things with intention. Recognize what it is that you are doing. Mindfulness is being taught in some schools. Being mindful while eating is a tool used for some diet regimes. All forms of meditation.
You can sit to meditate. Lay down to meditate (be careful not to fall asleep, although, that is yet another form…), or walk to meditate. This one is most difficult for me because walking is associated with thinking for me, which is the opposite of meditation.
Nature lends itself to calming and quieting the mind and is a wonderful place to sit and be still. Have you ever tried it? It is blissful. It seems to melt away the stresses of what we do during our daily grind.
In the path of my life, it makes sense that meditation and mindfulness is present. Along with minimalism, where intention of what lives or comes into my space, mindfulness is also present in every decision I make when it comes to consumerism or purging. I become more acutely aware of the disarray in my space and it affects my inner serenity. I wonder, does it affect yours also?