Tag Archives: Ayo

Happiness Project – Week II

17 Nov

Two weeks ago I realised that I was unhappy. I started a Happiness Project with a list of activities to introduce into my everyday life in order to bring positivity back into my life.

Here are my thoughts on Week II of the Happiness Project:

1) It makes me happy to have a day with a range of activities. It is most satisfying to have had a day with both mental, physical and creative activities.

2) There is not enough time in the week to do all of the things I’d like to do. But even doing one or two of these things brings joy and fulfilment.

3) Unexpected activities can bring more happiness than planned ‘happiness’ activities. I guess we can never plan out a happy day/week/life

4) Doing things for and with others brings me happiness. I often read in magazines and self-development books that we should ‘do something for ourselves’ to feel happier, but events in the past week seem to show the contrary.

5) My Happiness Project is really shedding light onto things that are very important, important, not important and unrelated to my happiness. Trying to implement my happiness resolutions into my everyday life shows whether or not doing certain things actually makes any difference to how I feel.

6) Some of my reasons for being unhappy are stupid. Yes, I admit it. But they are also things we have been made to believe by adverts and society. They are thoughts in the mind, yet how to get rid of them? First step – acceptance.

7) Things such as the passing of time, change and the future have been causing anxiousness in me for the first time in ten months. My thoughts about these things are usually full of doubt and worry. This leads to a state of nervousness and stress. Question to ask myself: why am I scared of these things?

jumping happiness8 ) Doing nothing and having too much free time brings unhappiness. I have noticed this both in myself and in others. The people who say that they did ‘absolutely nothing’ on their day off are the ones with the least energy and positivity. The people with activities and hobbies keep their body and minds active, avoiding laziness, apathy and over thinking. The latter group have no time to worry about the future because they are constantly living in and enjoying the present.

9) We can if we want to, but a lot of times we just can’t be bothered/are scared/give excuses/settle for the easy option/take the safe path/don’t believe/don’t want to fail…the list can go on. This week, we managed to get tickets for a fully-booked concert through research, phone calls and negotiation. At the beginning of the week, our attitude was “It’s fully-booked, why bother wasting time if we won’t get the tickets, anyway?”. It seems like there is always a solution!

10) Our happiness is not the most important thing on earth, contrary to modern popular thought. Our happiness should not be more important than respect towards others, helping, gratitude, thoughtfulness, care, effort, amongst many others. We cannot let our mood affect our relationships and our communication with others. I met people this week who were homeless and unemployed, yet they smiled, said please and thank you with genuine emotions, and wished everyone an excellent day. This taught me a lesson about taking out my bad mood on my close ones.

***

Aims for Week III:

-Give more energy to doing and sharing things with the people close to me.

-Remind myself of all that I am grateful to have.

-Go rollerblading.

 

Music Monday

14 Nov

When was the last time you listened to music?

No, I don’t mean watched a music video on YouTube, but listened to music, without having any visual distractions.

When was the last time you listened to music without knowing anything about its composer/singer?

No, I don’t mean not knowing the latest gossip on Rihanna, but not knowing who the singer is, how well the band is doing in the charts, how many awards they have won, what everyone’s opinion is of them, or even what they look like.

When was the last time you listened to music for the actual pleasure of listening to music?

No, I don’t mean the pleasure of having the hum of the radio as you drive to work; no, not the fun of blasting your favourite songs as you do the cleaning; but sat down and listened to music for the sake of listening to music.

When was the last time you were moved by music?

No, I don’t mean laughing at the latest pop lyrics or being frustrated by the bad grammar in hip hop; but got goose bumps, had your body temperature rise, stood transfixed or even cried from music.

 

When I was a teenager, I bought a Franz Ferdinand album, having seen their name in a magazine. I listened to the album every day and loved the music so much that I soon knew all of the lyrics by heart and even started learning to play their songs on the guitar. I loved their music and listened to it with a passion, but I had no idea who Franz Ferdinand were. I didn’t know how many people were in the band, I didn’t know where they came from, I didn’t know how old they were, I didn’t know how long they’d been around, and I didn’t even know what they looked like. When I went to their gig, I discovered for the first time the people behind the melodies and words.

Nowadays, we watch music videos and often judge songs by the quality of the special effects, the artists’ appearance and their attitude.

We know about the private lives of most artists and such gossip leads us to make judgements on their work.

In most cases, we know what the musician looks like, dresses like and acts like, which evokes certain associations in our mind as we listen to their music.

I recently went to a concert without any prior knowledge of the composer, his life or his music. For the first time in years I closed my eyes and got carried away in my own world while listening to music. I enjoyed the music for the beauty of the music itself.

And this made me realise that listening to music for the music itself is not something we do often nowadays. We listen to a song because it got stuck in our head, or because the singer looks pretty in the video, or because it reminds us of a place/period/person, or because the band is considered cool, or because the album is advertised on all billboards, or because we simply don’t know many other songs.

If you love music, I ask you to take part on a journey of discovery with me.

Every Monday, I will post a song or piece of music that I like. Although there will inevitably be the artist’s name and song’s title, I will post these songs as YouTube videos that contain no moving images. I will give no background information about the song or artist, and will not tell you what I feel or think while listening to the music.

I ask you to close your eyes for three minutes and simply listen to the music that I have posted. Listen to it for the sake of listening to music, for the sake of being moved by music and for the sake of experiencing the world through your ears, not through your eyes.

You may like or hate the songs that I post, but one thing is sure: in closing your eyes and listening to music, a new world will unfold in your mind. It is the world of the imagination. With no videos to tell you how to interpret the sounds, you will construct your own associations and build your own fantasies. The music will have an effect that is personal to you, because it will have spoken to you through the power of your own imagination and emotions.

You are free to research as much or as little about the artist whose music I post, but please only do this after having listened to the song.

Happy listening.

(Don’t forget to close your eyes…)

 

I would love to know what you felt/thought/saw while listening to the song.

And if there are songs or pieces of music you love, please share them with me and other bloggers by posting their title in the comments section. That way, we can all open up our musical horizons together!