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Trying to remember my mindfulness

Anicca - change

Recently, I realized it’s been over a year since my 10-day silent meditationretreat. There have been little reminders popping up in my everyday life that have been nudging me to remember the things I learned during this 10 days. I have forgotten so much. It’s so easy to slip back into the everyday routine. The things I learned and the uplifting feelings seem to fade like remnants of a dream.

I’ve been feeling downs more often than normal. I’ve been dwelling in the past too long. I’ve been worrying about what-ifs that may never happen in the future. I’ve forgotten how important it is to try and stay in the present; To enjoy what’s going on around me now. My attachments to the past and the future have been growing stronger, and today, the universe reminded me to be more mindful of my present.

So today, I have set a goal. When I find myself disappearing into the past and bathing in things I cannot change, I will pull myself back. When I find myself lost in worry about possibilities of the future, I will bring myself back and try to enjoy a moment that is happening presently.

Things I can enjoy in the present:

  • The way the sun hits things and brightens how everything looks
  • The feel of my dog’s fur as I pet him
  • The taste of a chocolate chip cookie dancing across my tongue
  • The smell of a favourite flower or scented candle
  • The feel of a refreshing, hot shower
  • The feeling as you drift off to sleep
  • A good stretch
  • A good book
  • A good hug

I need to literally pull myself back on track… it won’t simply happen on its own. Being in the present: I’m out of practice. And you know what they say, practice makes perfect!

Mlarrrrrgrawrrrrrrgrrrrwaaaaaaaaaaaggggrrrr

A primal growl for first thing in the morning.

I haven’t been able to figure this one out. Intrinsically, we are all connected. We are interconnected. By nature, we are social and reach out to others. When someone is in a bad mood, you try to cheer them up. When people are smiling and happy, it’s contagious.  So what is this conductive nature of moods? And how do we keep the good ones and stop the bad ones from affecting us, and others around us?

My thoughts…

  1. Keep on truckin’ Do what you need to do. Do what you’d normally do. Moving forward keeps the cogs oiled and keeps your mind off of things (often things you cannot change or do anything about).
  2. Find a distraction Go to a movie. Call a friend. Do something out of the ordinary. Read a book. Changing the pace might snap you out of a rut, or keep you from channeling the moods of others
  3. Accept it Accepting what you cannot change (and even things you can change, but haven’t gotten to yet) is not easy, but definitely will help. It’s useless to worry about things you have no power over, but we all seem to do it.
  4. Let it out Talk to someone about what’s worrying you. They might not have a solution, but I always find that venting to someone who is willing to listen really does help.
  5. Let out a primal growl Relieving the pressure by growling, screaming, crying, or smacking a pillow can help too! It sounds silly, but feels GREAT!

While we often think of ourselves as so separate from others, so individual… we really are very connected to those around us. Moods of friends, co-workers, family, and loved ones affect us. It’s inevitable. As long as we don’t sponge up too much of the bad stuff, and make sure to bask in as much of the good stuff as we can, it’s all good. Unfortunately, we almost always let in the good with the bad (and sometimes we more readily let the bad affect us!). Try a primal growl on for size… and remember that only you can make you happy!

Notes from the universe and stopping to smell the roses

A while back, I somehow found this site www.tut.com. I don’t remember exactly how I found it, but I’m glad I did. I signed up for their “Notes from the Universe” and started getting these happy little notes in my inbox. Here are a few samples of what I get:

It’s not the day you have to manage, but the moment.  It’s not the dragon you have to slay, but the fear.
And it’s not the path you have to know, but the destination.
What a relief, huh?
-The Universe

Love every moment; nothing can make you less.

All that you need to have all that you want, will be provided, as if by magic, once you know what you want and do something about it every day.
No matter what,
-The Universe

They are not always all fantastic, but it’s nice to have a little booster now and then in your inbox. Eerily enough, sometimes these little tidbits of advice and little gems coincidentally align with things that are happening in my life at the time. Sometimes reading them helps me look at a situation in a different way. In any case, it’s a neat little thing that I thought I’d share. There are other cool resources on the website, and I’m sure it’s not all for everyone… but the Notes from the Universe are my favoutire.

And with no segway at all…

I was thinking about this morning while walking the dog (apparently I do a lot of thinking while on my morning walk). I was walking along, looking at the cars race by me. I could feel the sun on my skin, and a small breeze blowing over me. I could smell fresh cut grass (and garbage) in the air. Then I sort of slowed down my thought process a little. I stopped the chatter that was going on inside my head (thinking about what to take to work for lunch, remembering that I have to run some errands later, deciding on what to do for dinner, reminding myself to do that thing at work first thing). I even stopped walking. And I focused my attention on those basic feelings. I FELT the sun on my skin. I SMELLED the air. I FELT the breeze.

Every day I’m constantly rushing through things and, while I DO feel these things, I DO taste my food, I DO have happy moments, they are glossed over. So this morning as I stopped dead in my tracks – I remembered to stop and smell the roses. It’s as simple as just slowing things down, and enjoying that fact that you are ALIVE. It’s as simple as slowing your mind-chatter down and feeling how that delicious fruit or coffee or lunch feels on your tongue, and the tastes that are brought to your senses. Everyday experiences can be so wonderful…

I encourage everyone to stop and smell the roses (or feel the sunshine, or taste your raisins, or just slow down the racing highway that is your mind… ) and enjoy life!

Incidentally, I LOVE the smell of roses… absolutely beautiful.

Too positive?

Recently, certain commentary has been recurring that has spurred me to wonder – but not for long 😉

In the past 3 or 4 months, I’ve had a good amount of people comment on how happy and positive I am. There’s been a lot of good stuff happening in my life, mostly self-development, that has drastically changed my attitude, and how I look at things or approach situations. Since this change, I’ve also had a good sized sample of people (friends, acquaintances, strangers) offer me a whole different set of comments that I wasn’t expecting.

While I have enjoyed the comments from people appreciating my positive spin on bad situations, and my generally cheery nature – I have been puzzled by the following comments (and others, this is an abridged list):

  1. You are too happy
  2. Why are you so positive all the time?
  3. Can you please stop being so cheerful?
  4. Must you always find the glass half-full?
  5. Don’t you ever get upset or sad anymore?

For a while, I let these comments and questions percolate. I wondered about them, and about myself. I pondered the changes in my life and my overall outlook, and took the time to check myself against this particular line of questioning. And I have come up with answers for all of these.

  1. I am not too happy, I am exactly the right amount of happy 🙂
  2. I am positive, because I have learned that there is good in everyone and everything… somewhere. Sometimes you have to look harder. Sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh at an insane situation. But what it all boils down to is that it’s easy to be positive when you don’t take things personally, and you keep your mind open to things.
  3. No. I refuse. Being cheerful is fun! And generally speaking, I think that people prefer to be around cheerful people rather than grouchy ones.
  4. It’s not imperative for me to see the glass half-full all the time, it’s just the way I happen to see it first. Sometimes my instincts have me seeing the half-empty scenario first, but it doesn’t take long for the positivity to swoop in. It’s all about perspective, and knowing how to properly prioritize how bad a certain situation is – or could possibly be 😉
  5. Yes. I do get sad. I do get upset. Particularly around that time of the month (let’s be honest, the hormones do rage). Things do upset me, but it’s so much easier for me to take a step back and have some perspective. I do get angered or impassioned about certain things, but I have begun to take my time and approach things with an educated stance, rather than simply setting things on fire and stamping my feet. BUT these instances of sadness and upset and anger are fewer and further between each day.

There have been other questions and comments about my happiness and positivity, but these 5 pretty much encapsulate the main themes of what I have been questioned about. It’s really easy to find happiness, to live it, to breathe it, to bask in it. And I’ll be honest, it all started about 18 months ago, when I Googled “How to be happy.”  I didn’t gain much from that search, but simply wanting it was the first step on my current (fantastic) path.

So get happy! Be happy! Find the glass half-full! Stop expecting the worst! Stop assuming that people are out to get you!

Life is good – and only you can make it that way 🙂

single Synonyms: distinguished, especial, exceptional, exclusive, individual, isolated, lone, loner, odd, one, only, original, personal, private, rare, restricted, secluded, separate, simple, singular, sole, solitary, special, specific, unalloyed, unblended, unique, unitary, unrivaled, unshared, unusual, without equal

I’ve been single for a year now. Over the past year, a few friends have asked me “Have you met anyone yet?”

Early in the year, it was easy to simply reply “it’s too soon,” and not be pressed on the subject. I got advice from lots of people:

  • You should just start dating to get a feel for what’s out there
  • Do what you feel is right for you
  • Make sure you’re cautious and date for a while before jumping into anything serious
  • Have some fun – get out there!

All of these pieces of advice (and more) are valid, and wonderful. I received them all and filed them away.

I’m 32 going on 33. I’ve been in and out of a few relationships. I think I’m entering a really cool phase in my life where I’m starting to think about and BE about me… in a good way. For the first time I’m living on my own (I’ve always had a roommate or partner to live with). I’ve been reconnecting with old friends and connecting with new, as well as reconnecting with myself. Now that I’ve finally moved to a new place on my own, I’m really starting to enjoy single-hood.

For one thing, there’s a lot more time. More time to do the things I want to do. More time to read. More time to work on projects (of my own!) I have so much more time for me, and it’s becoming a big benefit 🙂

I’ve also been doing a lot of inner construction work. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in the last 18 months. I’m happier… much happier. I’m enjoying life. I’m stressing less. I’m smiling more.

What aren't you interested in? Love? A relationship?So, when recently another friend of mine asked me “Have you found yourself someone yet?” and I replied “No, I’m not really interested,” it was easy to defend the following question: “What aren’t you interested in? Love? A relationship?” I simply replied “I want to make sure that I’m happy before I expand my boundaries to include another person in my life.” It was short, and to the point. I didn’t have to explain myself any further 🙂

I love my friends. They are protective of me. They are concerned. And I love that they question me, prod me, push me, and support me. I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

At the ripe age of 32 years and 10 months, I have finally realized that I do not NEED a partner. The only thing I need, or will ever need, is me. It’s a concept I’m exploring and cultivating. I don’t need to be in a relationship, but it is definitely a wonderful thing to be able to share your life with another person. Removing that imperative makes the entire concept of a relationship so so so much lighter.

I’m sure that, eventually, I’ll be ready for another relationship. Right now, I’m honestly not worried about it. I’m happy being me, and I’m happy with my life. I’m really enjoying single-hood. That’s not to say that I think it would be excellent to have someone to share things with, but for the first time, I’m really enjoying just being me and having only me to worry about. Once I get really good at single-hood, and at being me and being fantastic and being happy, then I’ll take a step towards sharing myself with someone else.

Plans and rants… or are they raves?

YAY! Post number two. So I am formulating a blog plan, based on my to-do list from yesterday.

I officially dub Wednesdays to be drawing day. All the drawings I have done all week will get scanned in and posted on Wednesday with commentary. I Officially dub Fridays to be photo day! Every day I will take 30 (or a bunch) of photos. Out of those, I figure I’ll pick top 8 or 10 and post them Fridays with commentary. FUN!

Other days I think I’ll just write something… like today:

OK. So stress. It’s really in the eye of the beholder. It’s all about survival – and what we’d do to survive. And it’s about how we look at what we need to do.

*how manageable is it?*

How do we react when only 7 out of 10 things on the list are accomplished and we have run out of time? This gets compounded with how much importance we put on the finished and unfinished tasks. It makes us CRAZY! We don’t need this stress!

So I suppose we need to accept what we can and cannot accomplish. Only if we are not doing our best, should we stress about our performance. If we are doing everything we can to get our tasks done, and we only get to 7 out of 10 on the list, we should be proud of those 7 tasks – not disappointed at the three we missed 🙂

My question is: What will be finished when we are dead? Will it matter? I guess what it comes down to is: I’m here! I might as well enjoy it!

So rejoice at your 7 tasks completed! (or even just one!)

Stress BEGONE!

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