Tag Archives: Enjoy

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.

Start the Day by Doing Something You Love

18 Feb

When we start the day by doing something we love, the rest of our day is utterly transformed. By doing something we love first thing in the morning, we set our mind and soul into a positive mode. We dedicate a moment of pleasure to ourselves, before dedicating the rest of the day to less enjoyable activities. This leaves us more relaxed, as we are not constantly worried about “getting some free time” to do what we want later on.

Setting aside even ten minutes for yourself in the morning will have positive results. This week, before starting work, I have been reading poetry or an article in my favourite magazine, I have been updating my blog, and I have been taking some extra time to pamper myself.  Any of these activities take as long or as little as I choose, but it is not their duration that makes a difference, so much as their simply taking place.

When we start the day by doing something we love, we are more likely to approach our daily tasks with calm and concentration. At work, we stop watching the clock to check how long we have left until we will be free to go; we stop worrying about the fact that we never have the time to do what we love; and we stop being frustrated when, in the evening, we are too tired to do something for ourselves.

By doing one small thing that we love at the start of the day, we are giving ourselves permission to enjoy life, to regain our sense of self and to see the rest of the day in a more positive light. There’s nothing better than waking up and knowing that we have something interesting to do!

Read What You Enjoy

9 Feb

“My time is precious; I don’t want to waste it reading books that I don’t enjoy”, said one lady at a book group recently. There was a mixed response from the group: some nodded their heads, others exclaimed that once they’ve started reading a book, they have to finish it, even if they’re not enjoying it. I had always been taught to plough through books until their end, because we’d always learn something from them, even if we don’t enjoy them. However, looking back on my literary past, it seems like enjoyment plays a huge part in a successful learning process.

I have recently had to compile a list of my favourite thirty books of all time. Considering the fact that almost all of the books that I have read in the past four years were compulsory university reading, only one or two of them made it onto the list. I was in disbelief when I could hardly even remember what, apart from those two favourites, we had read over the course of my degree. I realised that I had spent four years reading things that I didn’t particularly enjoy, simply because they were considered educational, or classics, or ‘what every intelligent person should have read’.

There’s no doubt about it – those four years did bring me a lot of knowledge…but my knowledge came through sweat, persistence and obligation. Unfortunately, it did not come from curiosity, interest and, most importantly, enjoyment. I thought about the amazing books that I read in the months after my graduation: those books that make you stay up into the night; those that make you late because you can’t bear to put them down; those that you can’t wait to finish, but at the same time don’t want to end; those into whose world you wish you could be transported. I realised how different my university education would have been had I been reading things that I enjoyed. Studying would have been a pleasure, not a chore. Lectures would have been enlightening, rather than tiring. Essay-writing would have been inspiring, rather than depressing. Had I enjoyed what I was doing, I would have naturally put in all my effort to do it brilliantly. Had I enjoyed what I was doing, I would have appreciated and made the most of every single moment, rather than simply seeing it as a means to an end and pushing myself on with the thought that ‘it will be worth it in the end’.

Although I realise that I have gained a lot from my education, I strongly believe that I could have gained even more had I actually enjoyed the literature that we were made to read. True, had I not been ‘forced’, I would never have got through the classics on my own. But on the other hand, out of all the classics that I have studied, there are only a few that I truly enjoyed and would consider rereading. On the other hand, most of the books that I have read for pleasure are books that have had the most impact on me, whether philosophically, creatively or emotionally.

Today I abandoned a book that is considered a modern classic, because my complete impartiality to what I was reading wasn’t bringing anything positive into my life. No matter what we’re doing, we’re more likely to get something positive out of it if we’re enjoying ourselves. So let’s make a bit of time each day to read something that we enjoy!