Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Happiness Project

I read an interesting book this weekend called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (www.gretchenrubin.com).
She realized one day, while riding a bus in New York City, that she was suffering from a sense of midlife malaise – a recurrent sense of discontent and almost a feeling of disbelief. She realized she was a fortunate person albeit a dissatisfied one but she didn’t know why.
After doing extensive research, she developed her plan on how to be happier. She made up her own Twelve Commandments, a list of Secrets of Adulthood and Four Splendid Truths. Then she spent a year integrating what she had learned into her life.
The book starts off with the line “I’d always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations.” That really got me thinking about my own life because that is what I always secretly hoped too.
One day I will wake up more outgoing, remember how to work all of my technological doodads on my own, not be scared to drive in the winter and have a great hair day everyday. I won’t be short tempered or impatient, I’ll have time for all of my hobbies and I’ll exercise every day. And love it. And like Gretchen was looking to do, I too will laugh more and have more fun.
Am I going to every wake up and have all of those limitations be gone? Probably not.
Like most of us, I think, I spend my days doing all the things I feel need to be done BEFORE I can do all the things I really want to do.  Then when those necessary things are done, I have no energy left to do the rest of the list. My limitations kick in and ergo the resulting short temper, feeling of discontent and absence of spontaneous fun.  I cross items off my to-do lists, spend weekends doing everything but relaxing then wonder why all my days feel like Mondays. I am forgetting to be present in my own life. When did that happen?
Gretchen’s Second Splendid Truth is my favourite: “One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; one of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”  
Could it be that easy? I think I will start my own Happiness Project and see what I can do. It’s certainly worth a shot and it might even be FUN!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

More about Tuesday Night Writers

It has been my privilege the past few years to belong to a wonderful writing group that meets weekly in my local library and throughout the year in ‘writing spas’. The group has almost always been just women (we did have one male member who brought an interesting perspective to our writing). The insights we experience about each other and ourselves have been truly enlightening.
There is something powerful about groups of women. The energy in the room becomes almost palatable as we weave our words into tapestries and mosaics. With only the rare exception, we leave in a far better state of mind than when we start each week.
Each of us brings our own needs, writing styles and creative colour to the blend. Even when given the same prompt or image to work from, the resulting words are at once individual yet also a startling culmination of our combined energies. Hearts are opened honestly, privacy and personal borders are respected yet the sharing helps us to grow, to bond and to heal where necessary. It is a safe place where just the act of writing down words too personal sometimes to share acknowledges their truth and frees our souls. We emerge replenished, restored and rejuvenated.
We are all different, yet all the same.  Brought together in the common goal of sharing words we have begun to share our lives and build friendships.
What a wonderful way to spend an evening: an amazing and worthwhile adventure where we are finding sisterhood while also finding ourselves.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Why I write...

I write because
  • it calms me and helps me to centre myself
  • it realigns my chih
  • it connects me to the world, to other people
  • it silences the negative energy around me
  • it makes me listen
  • it makes me realize
  • it makes me remember
  • it makes me feel
  • it makes me whole
Sometime I don't write because
  • I think I don't have time
  • I am too lazy to bother
  • I forget how it makes me feel
  • I feel empty of words
  • I am tied in knots inside that are too tight to loosen
  • I blend into the life around me
  • I am not grounded
  • my mind won't be still
  • I worry what people will think of my words
  • I fade to grey and then to black....

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Puddles and Pink Rubber Boots

Spring is finally coming to our part of Alberta, albeit very s-l-o-w-l-y.  Massive drifts of crystallizing granules of snow still line our roads and pathways but birds are singing happily as they dip in and out of puddles.
Other little birds are also enjoying the puddles. Our neighbour's granddaughter, Sophie, who is a little over two years old, stomped happily in the largest puddles she could find in our quickly drying cul-de-sac. Pink rubber boots, pink splash pants and her pink parka kept her warm and dry while her little feet scampered through the water and her happy laugh joined the trill of the birds enjoying their own puddles (of course, sans the rubber boots!).
My own daughter, now 22 and also sans pink boots, helped me chip blocks of icy snow from our driveway today. East facing, it takes its time in melting although the neighbours on the sunny south side of the cul-de-sac are ice-free. It made me think of her love for puddles and how her pink rubber boots splashed merrily through many years of watery springs, rainfalls and unseasonably warm winters. Pink turned to purple and then to none. The past few years she has moved on to splashing through oceans in her life as a marine biologist. Who knew that her love for puddles (and keeping worms 'warm' in her pockets!) would lead to that?
I miss those pink rubber boots and our happily splashing little girl....