Tag Archives: Energy

Happiness Project – Week 1

10 Nov

It’s been one week since the start of my happiness project. I am proud (and happy!) to say that I managed to do 9 of the 15 activities on my list:

1) (Go for a walk every day)

I went for a walk every day. However, some of these walks were simply to get from A to B, whereas others were evening walks specifically to calm down and clear the mind. I realised just what a positive effect the latter have on my state of mind and my ability to wind down at the end of the day.

2) (Wake up at the same time every day)

I started waking up earlier. Much earlier. So early that my working day was finished by 1pm. And this is thanks to the fact that I…

3) (Go to bed before midnight, or preferably at 11pm)

Went to bed before midnight. Once I even went to bed at 10pm! On other days I managed 11.30.

5) (Do some sport every day)

I did sport…but only three times in the week. I danced in my living room, blasting Britney Spears and Black Eyed Peas music (into my headphones). I felt like I shook out all of the negative energy that had been building up in me over the past few weeks. I also did one yoga practice and went to one dance class. It’s a good start, but I feel like I need more.

7) (Buy myself something pretty to wear)

I went to a special clothes sale where I bought myself some very nice skirts and dresses for a very nice price. I haven’t worn any of them yet (still in the wash!), but it feels nice to have renewed my wardrobe a bit.

10) (Go to a new place in the city every week)

I went to an art gallery, to which I had wanted to go for months. It’s only a fifteen minute walk away from my home, so it was about time that I finally got there! Although I didn’t find the exhibition particularly interesting, I enjoyed looking through the gallery catalogue and finding out about various artists and photographers. It made me want to take photos, draw and create.

11) (Try a new recipe every week)

Today I tried a new recipe for a healthy cake. Half of it is already eaten! I also revisited a recipe that I hadn’t done for over a year. It reminded me that I love cooking; I love giving myself a whole afternoon to make something, to create something that will bring happiness to the ones I love and to learn something new. My cooking sessions are also accompanied by music and singing; today I discovered two singers that will definitely go onto my playlist.

12) (Buy a juice making machine, and drink fresh fruit juice at least three times a week)

Although I did not buy a juice-making machine or make fresh fruit juice, I did eat fruit every day, which I haven’t done for a long while. I immediately felt, and tasted, the magic of natural vitamins. I could feel my body rejoicing in having received this healthy energy.

14) (Go to one new social event a week – alone)

I went to a singing class. I met friendly and open people, I had a lot of fun and I sang out loud on my own in front of a group of strangers! I was enjoying myself so much that I didn’t even care about being out of tune and off beat. The singing class filled me with loads of positive energy and I realised that music is a sort of meditation for me: while singing or playing an instrument I am so concentrated on my activity that I forget everything else. I lose track of time, my mind clears of all thoughts and I simply let go.

***

Aims for week 2:

-Do not make ‘other people’ and excuse for not doing any of the set activities on a given day – there is always a way to make time for the things we would like to do.

 -Meditate. What’s holding me back from doing sport, considering I used to do dance, aerobics, yoga and jogging regularly? Why do I feel guilty giving myself the opportunity to do something I enjoy? Why do I resist setting aside time to pamper myself? I know I want to sing and continue learning to play the guitar…so why do I not take the step to do so?

I leave you with an awesome song that I listened to quite a few times this week. I think you’ll understand why it’s part of my ‘happy’ playlist.

 

Week 2 of my Happiness Project starts now! (Oops, it’s already past my bedtime!).

My Manicure Taught me a Lesson

1 Nov

When we’ve spent a lot of energy, time and money to make something happen, we are often reluctant to let it go, even when we realise that we are not happy in this new situation.

This evening, I decided to set aside some time to give myself a manicure. I lit a scented candle in the bedroom, put on my favourite relaxation music and set up everything I needed to pamper my nails. I was happy to be giving myself an Filing Nailsopportunity to look after myself, and was looking forward to having beautiful nails at the end of the evening. I filed, buffered and polished my nails, and was feeling very relaxed and serene. However, when it came to applying the French-manicure polish given to me by a friend, even my aromatherapy candle couldn’t stop frustration boiling in my chest. I spent fourty minutes applying the nail polish, to realise at the end that there was a fault with the brushes – they were out of shape and were creating lumpy and striped paint. I was disappointed and angry; I expected pretty nails, but ended up having to remove all of the nail polish!

After the failure of the French-manicure set, I decided to paint my nails peach, with a polish I’d bought in the summer. While waiting for the polish to dry, I lay on the bed looking at my nails. “How ugly”, I thought, suddenly. To my surprise, I found the nail polish to be plain, bland and boring. It made my hands look short and stumpy, instead of being a subtle charming accessory.

“I’ve spent the whole evening trying to make my nails look pretty”, I thought. “It would defeat the point to take the polish off”. I turned my hands to look at them from different angles; I brought them closer to my eyes, then took them further away. I was trying to convince myself that they were fine, that they would do, that after all the time and effort that I spent, I couldn’t allow myself to be unhappy with them.

I stared at my nails, but felt embarrassed rather than pleased.

“Why keep it if it doesn’t serve me?”, I thought and jumped up to remove the nail polish. I felt a sort of relief at not having to put up with something that didn’t fulfil me. “It’s better to have nothing than to be unhappy with what I have”, I thought.

I didn’t end up with what I had originally wanted or expected at the beginning of the evening, but the lesson that I learnt was worth more than two perfectly manicured hands. I realised that there are things in other parts of my life that I am reluctant to let go of or to change. I spent energy, time and money to bring these things into my life and feel as if I should be happy and satisfied now that I have them. But isn’t life like nature? We all have our seasons; without autumn and winter there would be no spring and summer. Without abandonment and emptiness, there would be no rebirth and abundance.

This week, I will make a conscious effort to recognise the things to which I am holding on, yet which no longer serve me, fulfil me or bring me joy.

Climb the Tree, Get the Fruit

22 Apr

There are those people who sit under a tree waiting for the fruit to fall down, and there are those who climb the tree to get the fruit themselves. The former group is passive: these types of people expect life to give them everything they want without making an effort to get it themselves. The latter group is active: they do not wait for opportunities – they make them; they see possibility in everything.

I have known both types of people. I had an acquaintance who spent his days regretting giving up the guitar: he was one of the most talented students in his music school, but decided not to pursue a musical career and picked a more academic subject to study at university. His regret for giving up a musical path would send him into depression every time he watched someone play the guitar. However, despite his ‘grief’, he did nothing to get himself onto the musical path once again. He had several guitars at home – he would never practice; he had connections with many musicians – he did not ask them for gig or concert opportunities; he had perfect pitch and a great knowledge of music theory – he did not try to find students to teach. In short, he expected opportunity to fall into his lap from the sky; he wanted to wake up one day and be a successful guitarist without the effort that goes into it. The people who expect miracles without putting in any work believe that they are victims of an unjust fate. Spending time with these people leaves you tired and lacking in energy, you start to become blind to the beauty of life.

As for the second group, I have been lucky to know many people who make their own opportunities and create their own fate. One friend choreographed and taught a dance for our university dance show, whilst having almost ten essays to write during the same time period of time – she managed to do both brilliantly. Another friend applies (and gets selected) to do unique programmes abroad each summer: Israel and Zimbabwe are two of the places where she has done study and research projects. A friend from school took a year out of university to live in Columbia and perfect his Spanish; “I want to plan my life in my own way. I don’t want a university course system or anything else to tell me that I can’t take great opportunities to do things like this”, he said. Other friends have run marathons, written plays and cycled across Europe. These people are full of energy, full of hope and full of optimism. It is not their ‘achievements’ that inspire so much as their love for life. It is their belief that life is abundant, life has given them everything and that all they have to do is just make the most of it.

I myself have been both of these types: there are times when I jumped at every opportunity and made opportunities for myself. But there were also times when I lacked motivation and energy, when I wanted to change aspects of my life, but took no action to do so. Now, during moments like these, I always try to think about the active people that I know:they would get their asses up and do something to create change. It could be the smallest change, but it is still something that gets life into motion, that stirs the universe and turns the wheels of our destiny. Thinking of these people reminds me that I have absolutely no excuses not to be living the life of which I dream.

Whenever you are feeling unmotivated, lacking in energy or in hope, think about someone who has inspired you, be it a friend, an acquaintance or a famous individual. Remember that one must climb the tree to get the fruit; the height may be scary and the braches may scratch you along the way, but the view is so much better from the top.

The Art of the Essential, Part II

12 Apr

For the past two months, I have been living with only a suitcase-worth of possessions. Three pairs of shoes, three pairs of trousers, a dozen tops, two jackets, three novels, two poetry books, a make-up bag, a laptop and a couple of notebooks. For the past two months I have been experiencing the art of the essential.

Living with fewer possessions has had some amazing effects on my life:

I have saved time: having a limited amount of clothes to choose from, I did not spend hours trying out different outfits for one outing.

I have been tidier: fewer things means less mess.

I have had more space: seeing as my possessions fit in one wardrobe and one cupboard, the rest of the space is free, for movement, for dance, for yoga…

I have had a lot of light in the apartment: fewer things means more open space, which means more light.

I have been calmer: in my previous home, I had around forty unread books and a wardrobe of unworn clothes. I would feel guilty about not reading the books and not wearing the clothes on which I had spent money. Now, seeing as I make use of everything in my possession, I do not experience a feeling of waste, greed or stress. Instead, I have a feeling of comfort and simplicity.

I have had more time to do the things I love: I spend less time tidying up and no time at all sorting my things out, which gives me more time to do things that I enjoy.

I have had more opportunities to be creative: rather than obsessing over the world inside my apartment, my thoughts open up to the world beyond my walls.

I have focused on the things I do, rather than on the things I own: in modern society, it is most often our possessions and not our actions that define us. Having little possessions, I have been able to concentrate more on defining myself through what I do, rather than through what I own.

I have seen others differently: now that I define myself through what I do, I also define other people by their actions, instead of their clothes, gadgets, cars, or accessories. This has given me a whole new vision of the world.

Living with fewer possessions has many positive effects on our lives. It does not mean that we should deprive ourselves, but that we should simply reduce our possessions to the essentials: what we need and what we love. Everything else has no place in our home, our mind and our body; everything else brings us negative energy.

April is a perfect time to do a spring clean, so why not take this opportunity to clear that clutter that blocks your energy?

A great book on this subject is Clear Your Clutter, which explains the negative energetic and psychological effects of hoarding and the positive ones of clearing.

Clouds in a Cup

27 Mar

We have all been guilty of looking at an object a million times, but never noticing it. We walk past flowers on our way to work, but we are in a hurry, so we only glance over them. We hear a busker playing a moving song on the metro, but we have to finish reading our newspaper, so we block the sound out. We have windows facing west, but we don’t take a moment to look at the sunset, because there is a show to watch on T.V.

In this way, we miss the simple beauty that is constantly around us. We search for meaning in material or virtual things, when real meaning is right outside our doorstep. Trying to find meaning in anything other than our everyday lives is like going on a treasure hunt across the world, with the treasure already in our hands. To notice the preciousness of life simply means shifting our attention to the small things, the tiniest details.

A few days ago, I was drinking tea on the balcony. I do this every day, and this time did not seem to be different to any other time: the view was the same, the sounds were the same, the tea tasted the same. But one thing was different: as I raised the tea to my mouth, I noticed that there were clouds in my cup.

Clouds in a Cup

The sky was reflected in the water! I had never noticed this before, yet this small detail, this minute observation, made a huge difference. I was no longer just gulping my tea down and clearing my mind during my work pause; I was genuinely enjoying being on my balcony, drinking tea and looking at the sky.

Reflection of Clouds in Tea

The Clouds in the Sky

This change in perception transformed my ten-minute break and it transformed the rest of my day; I had seen something new and experienced something original, which put a smile on my face and lifted my mood. It doesn’t take a lot to be happy!

All around us there are things to inspire us, make us smile and fill us with energy. All we have to do is notice the small details and see them for the significant things that they are.