Tag Archives: Family

The Simple Things

18 May

Last month I made a wonderful discovery – a magazine called The Simple Things, which turned out to be a printed version of the types of blogs I love to read. It has beautiful photography and articles about lifestyle, interiors, food, friends, travel and all the other Simple Things that I love.

I make collages of my favourite images from every magazine I read. These were my favourites from the no9 issue of The Simple Things:

The Simple Things Magazine Collage

Advertisements

My Magical Christmas

22 Dec

What will make a magical Christmas:

A meal made together.

Spending the day with those I love, or spending it doing things I love.

Conversation and activity that includes everyone present.

Gifts given with love.

A kind word to those who have brought something positive, however small, into my life.

A prayer.

Candles and silence.

A thought for those with whom I could not celebrate.

Gratitude for each of the gifts I receive.

Joy for this wonderful day that reunites families, giving us an opportunity to give, receive and share, mindfully, consciously, at least once a year.

Form One Good Habit at a Time

11 Mar

Forming one good habit at a time is the best path to the lifestyle that you desire. When we have a list of things we want to improve in our lives (eat healthier, do more sport, get more fresh air, spend more time with family, learn an instrument…), it is very easy to be overwhelmed by all of the changes we need to make in order to make them happen. This can paralyse us into not doing anything at all, because we can’t imagine being able to manage everything at once.

Yet when we form one good habit at a time, we allow ourselves the time to introduce a small change into our lives. Our everyday life isn’t overthrown by this new habit, which makes it easier for us to integrate it into our current routine. A month ago, I stopped drinking coffee in the morning; two weeks ago, I started eating a healthier breakfast; and last week I started doing regular exercise. Giving myself time to get used to these changes made it easier for me to keep them up.

Modern trends advertise fast results, that require extreme changes in our lifestyle. However, a study carried out by Phillippa Lally showed that, on average, it takes around 66 days for us to form a habit. Lasting results come about from continued effort. If we persist, slowly but surely, with a new good habit, we will benefit from all the positive things that this brings into our lives. And to make this easier, we shouldn’t try and achieve everything at once, but take it one step at a time.

Help Another to Heal Yourself

26 Jan

“The best way to heal emotional turmoil is to do something for someone else,” my grandma always tells me. In recent years, it has become fashionable to be egocentric. Phrases such as “Spoil yourself”, “Give yourself a treat”, “Go on, you deserve it” and “Me, me, me” have become extremely widespread in the world of advertising. And worst thing is: we buy it.

Doing things for other people is now viewed in a negative light. Family life is seen as a sacrifice, rather than the greatest gift; doing chores for friends and relatives is seen as a favour, rather than a pleasure; helping out a stranger is seen as a burden, rather than a natural act of compassion.

The most common cure for emotional turmoil has become ‘taking some me time’: going shopping, treating ourselves to a nice dinner, taking a week-end away to cool off. However, in doing something for ourselves in order to get a worry off our minds, we are channelling energy into ourselves. And because this energy is fuelled by a negative primary thought, the energy inside us gets clogged up, never blossoming into something positive. It creates the opposite effect to what we desire: we become more obsessed with our problems and even more frustrated because our ‘cures’ haven’t worked.

If we do something for another person at a time when we’re in emotional angst, the result is completely different. Firstly, our thoughts move from ourselves to another person. We not only stop thinking about our troubles, but we realise that everyone around us has problems of their own…and that ours are often ridiculous in comparison. Secondly, when we do something positive for another person, we do it out of genuine good will. Our blocked negative energy transforms into positive energy. Thirdly, we return to a loving way of perceiving the things around us: we see the wonderful effects of our positive actions on the lives of others and we realise that love is more important than anything else.

Doing something for someone else can be as big or as small as you want it to be: doing the housework for your parents, cooking dinner for your partner, helping your younger sibling with their homework, doing the shopping for your elderly neighbour, doing the dishes for a flatmate who’s late for a date, completing work for a colleague who has fallen ill, replying to the long-forgotten e-mail that your friend sent you. When we do even the smallest things for someone else, a weight is lifted off our chest: we see that there is more to life than our internal world and there is more to life than the problems running through our heads.

When we feel frustrated, anxious or confused what we need the most is to put things into perspective. And the best way to do that is to remind ourselves of the bigger picture: we are surrounded by people who love us and who also need our love. Unfortunately, just reminding ourselves of this is often not enough to dispel the agitation that our minds get into. But actively doing something positive for someone else is not only a sure cure for our own emotional turmoil, but quite possibly a cure for someone else’s too. After all, doesn’t it make our day when someone does something nice for us?