Tag Archives: Courage

120 Day “Do What You Love Challenge”

24 May

Two weeks ago I signed up to the 120 Day “Do What You Love Challenge”, choosing writing as my daily activity (this includes poetry, blogging, articles, short stories, songs etc.).

I decided to take the challenge for several reasons. Despite loving writing I:

  • do not write regularly
  • feel guilty spending time writing
  • do not consider writing as an ‘important’ or ‘useful’ activity

Yet despite all of this I:

  • wish I could spend more time writing
  • feel unfulfilled when I do not write for a long stretch of time
  • always have writing on my mind

Quite a paradox, isn’t it?

Just like Pollyanna Darling says – we often feel guilty doing what we love, because doing what we love has no goal apart from enjoying ourselves and feeling happy. We have become used to doing activities that bring a certain visual or material result, and we think that everything else is ‘pointless’ or ‘a waste of time’.

Indeed, writing won’t make the house cleaner and it won’t speed up the flat-hunting. Writing won’t give me a pedicureWriting in notebook on footsteps and it won’t find me a new flat. Writing won’t fill out the forms I have to send and it won’t buy me summer clothes.

BUT…it won’t get in the way of me doing those things, either.

I seem to have always had the false belief that in spending some time writing, I was choosing writing – a ‘pointless’ activity – over another – ‘useful’ – activity. After two weeks of writing every day, I realised that it is not a question of choosing one activity over the other, it is a question of making time for both.

Although I’ve only been spending ten to thirty minutes writing per day, I feel more fulfilled and calmer. I’ve seen that I have enough ideas to produce something every day and that every day brings new ideas. I’ve also started writing poetry again – something that I had abandoned for many years, giving the excuse that I was ‘not inspired’.

Perhaps it wasn’t inspiration I was lacking all along, but the courage to do what I love…

Happy International Women’s Day!

8 Mar

“I have worshipped woman as the living embodiment of the spirit of service and sacrifice.”
~ Mohandas Gandhi

Today is International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate the feminine energy that gives us so much love in life. For men, it is a day to show how much the women in your lives mean to you; for women, it is a day to rejoice the goddess within.

Once, in a yoga/spirituality class, my teacher asked us to write down what it means for us to be a goddess. Here is what being a goddess means to me:

Kindness

Understanding

Care

Nature

Love

Laughter

Dance

Touch

Softness

Lightness

Wisdom

Flow

Water

Earth

Patience

Healing

Air

Song

Rhythm

Movement

Creation

Courage

Faith

Beauty

Humility

Breath

Energy

Life

Peace

Imagination

 

What does being a goddess mean to you?

The Extraordinary Ordinary

23 Jan

“If I died today, I’d be happy with the life I’ve had,” my friend said at the age of eighteen. “I’ve had everything I needed: a good education, a roof over my head and food in my belly”. Her words have stuck with me since. At that age I had never heard anyone be grateful for such ‘basic’ things; most of the young people around me measured their happiness in clothes, in popularity, in money, in parties, in status, in partners. In my school, students avoided being ‘average’ at all costs. Now, this trend is spreading like a disease across the continent.

In Western society, being ‘happy with what you’ve got’ is often interpreted negatively as ‘settling for less’. Leading a life of calm contentment and simple pleasure is considered as lack of ambition, laziness, cowardliness and generally being a bore. We have become obsessed with the idea of ‘a life worth living’, which has come to mean living fast, achieving lots, having wild adventures and ‘trying everything once’. With so many opportunities and options open to us, we have come to believe that the way to enrich our lives is to fill them up with as many things as possible. “Quantity, not quality” seems to be society’s current motto.

The American golfer Walter Hagen famously said: “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way”. He recognised that we should make the most of life, but his vision of the way in which this can be done is very different to what we witness today. His quote evokes a life of slow and calm movement. The pleasure he portrays of ‘smelling flowers’ is one that represents the simple pleasures of life. Hagen is encouraging us to appreciate the everyday things, and in doing so to turn something ‘average’ into something amazing.

Those who have tried this know that it takes effort, patience and courage to love the smaller things in life. Yet the rewards are much greater. When we realise that even plain objects are beautiful, that even ordinary events are meaningful and that even (so called)  ‘unexpeptional’ people are precious, we learn that everything we experience is a gift. Nothing and no-one is average – everything and everyone is exceptional. When we see the miracle in everything around us, we begin to love everything around us. Calm contentment and simple pleasure become our saviours; they are what give us energy, hope and happiness.

Most of our life is made up of what we call ‘everyday’, ‘mundane’ or ‘routine’ things. Therefore, we may as well make friends with these constant companions. When we stop taking things for granted, we realise that the ordinary is actually quite extraordinary.