Happiness Means Starting Over #weekendcoffeeshare

Happiness Means Starting Over #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d wish you and yours a very happy and creative New Year. I’ll ask you how your year went and talk to you about the many things I didn’t achieve or complete in 2016 and  Some are personal, some blog related. Incomplete projects on this blog, almost abandoning the Write Tribe site in the last few months, missing my book reading target for the year, giving up my regular gratitude posts….just some of the ‘failures’ of 2016.  My word of the year for 2017 is ‘happy’ and happiness means starting over too.

Happiness Means Starting Over

Just yesterday, I came across a new blog – Christine Everyday – and loved her words about the New Year: “Don’t expect your life to change just because the year does. You have to make change for yourself.”
Yesterday, as I sat down to write my ‘vision for 2017’ and create my bullet journal (yes, I’m trying out a bujo this year), I realized that unlike past years, my feelings were of anticipation and not of regrets. Practicing gratitude and mindfulness have certainly helped me to go easy on myself and not beat myself up about things I didn’t achieve in the past year.

“Mindfulness, or the ability to be present with our experiences without the intrusion of so many old habits, cultivates our inner resources. And when we develop those resources we become not so defined by the things that are going on around us, and we’re more able to let go gracefully, we have a sense of grounded-ness, and I think that makes us very happy.” — Sharon Salzberg

I have many ideas for 2017, but I want to start over some unfinished projects on this blog.

1. My Happiness Project that I started in 2014 and shared here but abandoned
2. The Artist Way series that I started last year and didn’t complete
3. My #everydaygratitude posts.

I also want to create a lot more resourceful content here. I tried a few such posts last month and was happy with the response. In case you missed them, here they are:

1. 7 Ways to Find Joy at Work
2. 7 Simple Ways to Design Your Day
3. 7 Steps for Perfecting Your SEO Campaign
4. 7 Simple Everyday Habits For a Healthier Life

It does seem like I’m hung up on the #7 but believe me, it’s just a coincidence. 🙂

Be warned. You can expect a lot more posts from me this year.

Is there anything you would be starting over in 2017?

Failure means that I have an excuse to start over. #weekendcoffeeshareClick To Tweet

Motivational quote image via Shutterstock

Slowing Down To Get Creative #MondayMusings

Slowing Down To Get Creative #MondayMusings

In a world where multitasking is king (or queen), slowing down to get creative does seem a bit odd.

We read enough about how to organize ourselves, how to make sure we carry out all we set out to do, how to keep up and stay ahead. But what if our frenetic activity, our attempts to be on top of things, our desperate need to be seen and heard on social media to showcase our creativity is the very thing that keeps us from being creative?

There’s much to be said for mindfulness and slowing down to be creative. I’ve experienced this  in my life. But it’s easy to forget and once again get caught up in the rat race.

Perhaps our need for speed comes from a fear of missing out. Ironic then, that it is exactly what causes us to miss out.

slowing-down-to-get-creative

Creativity requires focus, attention, and slowing down. Here are some things we can do to slow down.

Disconnect

Setting aside some time every day to turn off devices and notifications is a good way to start.  Try making time for a break during the day – during which you sit down and dream, go for a walk, read a book, or trying your hand at doodling. Actually, a one day a week of being ‘disconnected’ is the best.

Try Mindfulness

Living in the present and not worrying about the future or regretting the past can do a lot for creativity. Learning to eat mindfully and being present to others or taking in the surroundings on a walk are all important too.

Saying ‘No’

Learning to say “no” more often to things that don’t really matter, helps in slowing down. We don’t have to accept every commitment and invitation. All of us need space in our schedules to create.

Start Doing Less

Life is not a competition or a marathon. We must start being easier on ourselves. Stop comparing. Stop beating yourself up. Ditch those ‘to-do’ lists and instead make ‘These are the only things I’m going to do today’….

Stop Multitasking

Learn to single-task. Take one job at a time and focus on it until completion. It takes a little time to learn, but I promise the rewards are great –  you can actually be more efficient and your mind will be less harried.

If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of creativity. It has allowed me to open up–to know that there’s life under the earth and that I have to let it come through me in a new way. Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else. – Natalie Goldberg

 

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Image of lunch at office via Shutterstock

Authentically Mindful #MondayMusings

Authentically Mindful #MondayMusings

I remember my Spiritual Director talking of mindfulness, without actually using the word, over 20 years ago. A wise old Catholic priest, he called it the Sacrament of the Present Moment. He advised me to read a book by the same name by a Jesuit Priest, Jean-Pierre de Caussade. In Catechism we learnt that a sacrament is ‘an outward sign of inward grace’. And truly the present moment can be a sacrament – because grace abounds, we just have to plug in to it.

I never did get my hands on the book, but I did attempt to understand what my Spiritual Director advised me to do. Learn to focus on the present moment and let it speak to me.

Called To Be Authentically Mindful

With mindfulness being the buzzword today, I often see that it is easy to confuse it with some feel-good, positive mumbo-jumbo.

Mindfulness is not some wonderful calm state of mind with piped music playing in the background. I wish it was.

No. Mindfulness is all about being aware. And awareness is all about being authentic.

indfulness is not trying to wish away what is going on in your life.

No. Mindfulness is about being present to all that going on in life.

The present moment is likely to be bring pain, confusion, uncertainty and dark emotions.

Mindfulness helps you to focus on these and deal with them.

It helps you ask the difficult questions. What part of me needs to be healed? Am I using being busy as an escape from what I really need to deal with in my life?

Mindfulness is not some facile ‘happiness potion’. It’s pretty darn hard work, like anything else in life that matters. It demands courage.

Do you agree with my idea of mindfulness?

authentically-mindful

 

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Joining Mel Ford’s Microblog Mondays and Mac Glanville’s  linky #mg

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Image on woman via Shutterstock

Seeking The Light

Seeking The Light

The festival of Diwali seems like such an appropriate time to write about seeking the light.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Washington Post experiment, for which Joshua Bell, one of the best concert violinists in the world played for free, for 45 minutes, on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars at a subway station. Over a thousand people passed by Bell, only seven stopped to listen him play, including a 3-year old boy, and only one person recognized him.

Makes me think of how often, we’re so caught up with what we’re doing, so absorbed in the ordinary, that we don’t see the extraordinary – that spot of blue in a background of greens.

We can get so focused on all the bad stuff going on around us that we forget there’s so much good in the world too.

So caught up in the darkness that we don’t see the light.

But must just now see the light. We must consciously seek it.

Have you noticed how a cats will find that one spot of sunlight coming in and soak it up?

I want to be like that cat – consciously seeking the light.

The light of love. The light of truth.

Even when it’s easier to choose what masks itself as the light. Because the light doesn’t necessarily show up what’s ‘nice’. More often than not it shows up things that we try to hide. Our pretensions. All those hurts and wounds we’ve tried to put band-aid up and hope that they will heal.

Healing often takes more than band-aid – it is blo*** hard work that needs courage and persistence.

I ask myself if I’m bold enough to seek the light.Like the say goes, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train! Am I  prepared to board it? Am I prepared to continue the journey of healing? Am I ready to tear those band-aids off and look beyond to see where the real wounds are.

I wish you light today. May you seek it too.

 

shine on

Illustration of burning watercolor diya via Shutterstock
Finding The Blue In The Greens

Finding The Blue In The Greens

I love how my walk down the road with our dog brings me all sorts of surprises. I told you already about the snail I met. Today it was a kingfisher – the only dash of blue, high up on the tree. Yes, I found a spot of blue in the greens…. I had to snap a picture – slightly distorted because I had to make sure that Lucky didn’t get away while I took it.

Finding The Blue In The Greens

 I love  how we can find the extraordinary in the every day ordinary events of our lives. There’s always something special to find if we look. If we are mindful.

Even when life is at its hardest, it’s possible to find that little ray of light. That small thread of hope. Grace shining through when we feel we’ve messed up our lives.

A dash of blue in the green. #trees #bird #kingfisher

A photo posted by Corinne Rodrigues (@everyday_gyaan) on

What is required to make a place holy?
The ordinary becoming extraordinary,
The common interrupted for a moment
that we wish would last forever,
God coming into our forest, decorating our trees,
Inviting us to remove our shoes.
– Rev. Robin Ringland

Feeling At Home In The Now

Feeling At Home In The Now

Last month I met a snail – a big, seemingly clumsy fellow (let’s assume he’s a ‘fellow’) who was wandering down the road right into the path of a cars and vehicles. Thinking I would ‘save’ him I attempted to push him off the road and onto the flower beds. Later that day, I found him wandering on the road again. I decided to leave him to his own devices and am happy to report that I found no snail corpse to prove my fears were right. So apparently he knew what he was up to.

Feeling At Home In The Now

Mr Snail caused me to stop and think of several things about h

  • He knew where he was going.
  • He set his own pace and was happy in it
  • When he was put off the path, he found his way back again…

Most of all, I realized he was at home. Because for him, literally home is where he was at the present.

Today, I saw this lovely cartoon from Francois Lange ,thought of my snail friend again and realized what an apt choice he was to give meaning to the words of Eckhart Tolle.

When you make friends with the present moment, you feel at home no matter where you are.

 

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Image via : http://www.sketchesinstillness.com/

Home is a space where we can most be ourselves. It needn’t be a physical space, it could be a physical state. I’m drawn to think of what Tara Brach in her book Radical Acceptance describes ‘querencia‘ to be a great description for ‘home’.

“In bullfighting there is an interesting parallel to the pause as a place of refuge and renewal. It is believed that in the midst of a fight, a bull can find his own particular area of safety in the arena. There he can reclaim his strength and power. This place and inner state are called his querencia. As long as the bull remains enraged and reactive, the matador is in charge. Yet when he finds his querencia, he gathers his strength and loses his fear. From the matador’s perspective, at this point the bull is truly dangerous, for he has tapped into his power.”

Feeling at home in the now is to be the most fearless we can be.

feeling-at-home-in-the-now

Do you feel at home in the now? 

 

Image credit for snail on the dirt track – Shutterstock

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