Tag Archives: happiness

love for the library

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.

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meditation in modern life

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?

mother’s day

Mothers, enjoy your children.  While they are young, as they grow, and when they are adults.  Every stage of development for your child is special.  I don’t need to tell you that; you already know.  Every stage my children have been at has been my favourite.  Why?  Because it’s where we are in the present.

Don’t wish for the past when they were young, or perhaps before they were born.

Don’t wait for the day they’re grown up and out of the house so you have peace and quiet or a clean home.

Be present.  Enjoy what today gives you.  It is the ultimate gift.  Love your children no matter who, what, or where they are.  Love yourself too.

Enjoy this day as if there are no others.  Give thanks for the life around you.  Be grateful for the ability to have them in your life for not every woman is as fortunate as you.  Hug your children.  Tell them that you love them.  Mean it.  Every day.

simply you

The other day I went to visit my doctor.  As usual, he asked how I was doing and if I was seeing anyone.  My doctor likes to keep tabs on me since he knew the issues that occurred before and during the divorce.  He always asks how my children are coping as well.

Am I seeing anyone?  No, not really.  But do I want to be?  Well, that got me to thinking.  Then the next day I read a brief article on the benefits of being single.  That got me thinking even more.  There are a lot of benefits to being single.  You are the only one spending your income, so you choose where it goes.  You decide if you use a credit card for a high-cost item or if you decide to save up before purchasing it.  You decide how to pay off debt (like divorce debt), and how you allot your dollars.  You decide how to decorate your home.  Are you a minimalist or do you like to fill your home with things?  Your choice.  You decide if you want a pet, and if so, what kind?  Do you want to travel?  Where do you want to go?

Here’s the best one.  You become utterly and solely you.  When in a relationship, partners tend to pick up on certain pieces of the other partner’s personality.  Quirks, sayings, behaviours.  These things tend to blend.  The dominant personality tends to overshadow the less dominant personality.  You essentially become the same person.  However, when you choose a life of being single, you know that who you are is simply you.  And that is a good feeling.

soul sisters

There is something spiritual about having friends who are like-minded.  Ones that can finish your sentences just because they know exactly what you want to say, or ones that can read you in an instance and just know that all you need at that exact moment is a hug.  Until I experienced it, I did not know it existed just like that, and it amazes me how quickly that bond can develop.  It’s as if something was lined up in the stars to make it all happen.  Sometimes it makes me miss my beautiful, dearest soul sister even more because we have that same bond even with two thousand miles between us, but to feel it almost every day is a blessing.

There is something to be said in sharing each others joys and sorrows.  The pains and celebrations.  The unspoken words and language that can be said only with that look in one’s eyes.  This is the joy I had been missing all of my married life.  I am grateful for my new beginning.  My freedom from that controlling, manipulative man I now call my ex.  My free spirit that was once just a ghost in a dream has been given permission to come out to play, and she has found more soul sisters to be with.

And I am, for the first time in a truly long time, happy.

my tribe

I have been fortunate enough to allow my heart to open and find people who seem to resonate at the same frequency as I do.  It’s interesting how when life seems to be working against you, that truly, the Universe is aligning things for you.

Less than a year ago, I was competing for a position that I was certain I wanted.  I worked endless hours, focused so intently on what I was doing to make that job happen.  Even those I knew thought I was the best candidate for the position, yet it didn’t happen.  I decided for extra insurance, I would apply for another position that came available at a different institution.  Just in case.  It was a similar job, but I still felt that this was maybe not as good as the original one I was vying for.

I succeeded in landing the second job.  I can see now, in retrospect, how this was always the better choice for me.  This is where I am happy.  I feel my work is meaningful.  I have the ability to celebrate accomplishments in a way the other institution didn’t accommodate for.  I have met some incredibly amazing people that I would never have met before.  These people have become a part of my tribe.  I feel that I have been given permission, in a way, from the universe to be myself.  To allow the true me to shine through.  I hid behind the persona that I thought I needed to have.  But in the end, it did nothing for me.  I kept searching for the thing that was supposed to make me happy, yet I could never seem to find it.  It wasn’t until I allowed myself to shed that protective layer and truly allow my own inner self to bare its soul that I found happiness, and others that share similarities with me.

So, thank you, Universe.  I have never felt happier in my life.

me without you

If you pay attention, there seems to be consistencies in life.  Things that repeat, or certain days or times that seem to be relevant.  Perhaps this hasn’t happened to you, or perhaps you just haven’t noticed it?  I have.

November 12 has been a recurring important day in my life.  Some for small reasons, and others are more monumental.  The biggest one in my life is that it is the anniversary of my breaking free of my marriage.  Yesterday was my four year me-anniversary.  As I reflected back on how far I have come in those four years, I do believe all the hurt and pain, all the problems and fear that went along with it was worth it.  Breaking free from an unhealthy relationship, a controlling relationship, a manipulative relationship was the absolute best thing I have done for myself and my children.

I saw that in those four years, I have stood on my own two feet.  I have found my voice and learned how to use it.  I have stood up for what I believe in, learned to give in a little to the things that matter less.  I have learned that it is not just ok to show affection and emotion, but that it is the only way I want to live my life.  I am unapologetic in how I live, for it is my life, not yours.  I have bought a house but more importantly, built a home with love where my family can feel safe without judgement.  I have grown a family beyond blood that includes all kinds of friends and furfriends.  In those four years, I have learned to explore, to take the next step, to not let my fears restrict me, and to live on the cusp of my discomfort and continue on because this is how we grow.  I have learned to say no when I need to, and to say yes when I want to.  I have indulged myself and grown a passion.  I have let go of the things I thought I needed to be without regret.  I have learned that it is ok to have my own style and that the only one I need to please is me.

In those four years, I have found me.  So the only thing I can say to those who are currently at the start of their journey, or looking at ending a marriage is: I know where I was at and had no idea where the next step would lead me to, but looking back at the path I took, I have no regrets.  I survived as countless others have.  And at your four year you-anniversary, look back and see what it is you have been able to do for you.  You might be amazed to see that the person you are right now is not who you will be four years into your own story.

the concept of happiness

I think we all struggle with being happy from time to time.  The ebbs and flows of the emotional sea don’t stay constant in an euphoric state.  There are a myriad of quotes that attempt to explain why it’s ok.  

Without the rain, there would never be rainbows.

Insert your favourite quote here…

Sometimes I think happiness is a choice.  Sometimes I struggle with the hand I’ve been dealt in life and wonder why I’ve been given what I have, then wallow in self pity because of it.  I think it safe to assume we have all been there.  

So here I am, contemplating this concept of happiness.  As I read more and more about those who have less and less, it really does appear to be a conscious decision on whether or not we choose to be happy.  Interesting concept.  I’ve been reading how we can only have enough energy to make so many decisions in one day, so paring down to necessary items can reduce the number of unnecessary decisions being made in a day which leaves you with the energy to focus on the more important  decisions.  Maybe there’s something to that.  Less trivial decisions mean you can devote time to the meaningful stuff. By not putting off the meaningful stuff means less stress of knowing there is a weight on your shoulders waiting for you to address it…that looming dark cloud of problems needing to be tackled.

Happiness as a choice means you choose to let some things go. Like in meditation, we notice those thoughts entering in, acknowledge them, and mentally sweep them away.  Perhaps unhappiness can be something like that in our consciousness.

What if happiness truly is independent of our possessions?

There are a lot of people who would argue against this statement.  Any business who depends on consumerism. If the concept of happiness independent of material goods caught on, many of these businesspeople would no longer be making their millions of dollars a year. My materialistic ex would never agree with this statement, particularly when he bought four brand-spanking-new vehicles in a span of two years.  But there are many, many people in our first world countries who choose to subscribe to this concept of minimalism and the decision to be happy.  This happiness seems to resonate on a higher frequency. This is something I have experienced. It is incredibly satisfying. Then to find the consumerism re-enter my life, slowly at first, it has made a negative impact on my life.  Decisions to clean and declutter make me depressed. It’s like a punishment that keeps me from doing what I love.  I want to create. I want to write, paint, be creative in my post production for my photography, but it all gets put aside because how do I justify doing things that bring me joy when I have a mess everywhere, no space to work, and have problems finding the things I would need to accomplish my creative product?

So, here.  This is the concept of happiness.  I am choosing to be happy. I am tackling the evils of consumerism and materialistic ways.  I am removing these unnecessary things from my space and allowing happiness to move in.  Happiness is a much better housemate. 

I choose happiness.

inspiring youth

I don’t get star struck with actors or people on the big screen.  To me, they were just in the right place at the right time, or born into the right family. Those who have forged their own way and created their own success are the ones that I am in awe of.

Chris Hadfield spoke to a rather small community last night at their Equinox Festival.  This was a free event dealing with dark sky and celebrating the fall equinox.  Appropriately enough, last night was the equal hour point between daylight and night. Very fitting.

Chris Hadfield is a phenomenal speaker.  He chose questions from the audience, and really just focused on the children.  I like that.  He came off the stage and into the crowd.  He asked the names of those asking the questions.  All signs of a charismatic leader.  He is grounded even though he has done some of the most amazing things of anyone on our planet.  I mean, he not only was an astronaut, he was the commander of the International Space Station! You don’t meet someone like that every day.

This man didn’t do all of this for himself.  That is what impresses me the most.  He knew going up into space that he had the opportunity to do more with it than just be the cool astronaut in space.  He found a way to create an interest in students.  He performed science experiments requested from those on earth, recorded them and posted them on YouTube for the world to access.  He co-wrote a song with one of the members of Barenaked Ladies, recorded it, and distributed it to all the school music programs.  Then, once on the ISS, he sang it LIVE with students all over!  Amazing.

Back on Earth, Chris Hadfield authored and published several books.  Assuming this is an income generator for himself based on his unique experiences, I was sure he was able to retire on his royalties alone.  I have even greater respect for this man after learning that all the profits from his books go to designated charities.  And he told us what they were.  The Red Cross was one of them.  He didn’t write those books for himself.  He wrote them for us. So we can experience what he experienced through his words and images.  And so the money those books made could be put back into community programs where they are needed.  An absolutely incredible individual.

But I think I am still in awe of the fact that he came to this small community that probably most of Canada has never heard of.  The fact that sitting there right in front, being able to see him so very clearly at an event that I didn’t have to pay any money for.  I didn’t even have to pay for parking!  This.  This is what makes him worthy of awe.  He came to a place so very small.  For an event they were hoping might draw in maybe 6000 people.  And he said yes.

Respect.  On so many levels.

So thank you, Chris Hadfield.  Thank you for coming to Nowhere Alberta.  Thank you for being down to Earth.  Thank you for the inspiration and the motivation you provided so many children and adults alike last night.  And thank you for being ever so patient and gracious, greeting all those who wanted their 30 seconds to meet you and say hello.  Thank you for inspiring our next generation.

make your heart happy

Everyone needs to take time to do what makes their heart sing.  Whatever that may be for you, do it.

My heart sings when I do what is authentic to my being.  Maybe I’m creating something..painting, writing, or photographing.  Maybe I’m roadtripping with the two most special young men in my world.

Whatever it is, don’t wait.

Don’t wait for tomorrow.  Don’t wait for next week.  Don’t wait until the ‘time is right’.  Tomorrow never hits.  Next week always gets pushed back.  The time is never right.  Make the time.  We live this life once, and none of us are getting out alive.  Create happiness. Live love.  Sing and dance in the rain.  Go hunting dinosaurs.  Look for stars and chase rainbows.  Leave a legacy that people can look at your live and know that you’ve lived it well.

Namaste