Tag Archives: Joy

Never Grow Old

28 May

She raced around the house in roller-blades.

She sang out loud in the street.

She picked icing off the cake the whole way home.

She read her book sprawled across a trampoline.

She danced to Madonna in her bedroom, when everyone had gone to sleep.

She ate half a pack of crackers and the last gherkin.

She helped herself to a handful of cherries at the market “to check if they were ripe”.

She drew a smile on her thigh, making a pair of eyes out of her two black bruises.

She was thirteen, and she was the best example of freedom that I had seen in my life.

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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…

God is 100% with You

7 Jan

This is the first time in a very long time that I have been so excited.
It is the excitement of making the right decision.
It is the excitement of letting my heart make a decision.

Suddenly, life takes on a new meaning.
Suddenly, the day has a purpose.

This is the first time in a very long time that I have felt so joyful.
It is the joy of knowing that success is guaranteed.

Because when your soul is 100% in it, God is 100% with you.

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.

Baguette

20 Oct

It was the baguette that did it.

I shuffled into the supermarket, thoughts on dinner. What shall I cook? I didn’t take my card – will I have enough change? Shall I have a small snack before dinner? Will he be back late?

I wandered through the supermarket in a daze. The day had brought with it pleasant events and positive emotions. Yet my hunger and my fatigue were overpowering all the happiness, surprise, joy, excitement, gratitude and comfort that I had felt in the preceding few hours. These magical feelings were slowly evaporating, giving in to the crushing pressure of anxiety.

I walked through the shop isles once, twice, three times. Something was missing from my chosen groceries, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. No, not jam. No, not vegetables. No, not wine. During the fourth circle around the shop, I gravitated unexpectedly towards the bread shelves.

I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I could tell that this was what my body was asking for. The choice was far from appealing: the brown loaf was dry, the white loaf was too big and the packaged bread looked like plastic.

The only other option was a baguette. I’m not a fan of baguettes. Yes, I know, it’s a crime to say this while living in France, but baguettes are just extremely awkward. They don’t fit into a plastic carrier bag, so you have to hold them under your arm or in your hand. They’re too narrow to cut into sandwich slices and too thick to toast. They are mostly made with white bread, whereas I prefer brown. They have too much crust and not enough filling. You can cut your gums if the crust is too crunchy. They dry up within a day and, seeing as they’re too long to fit into the bin, you have to take them down to the garbage individually. Too much fuss for a piece of bread, in my opinion.

But, seeing as the other loaves were unappealing, I reached out to check if at least the baguettes were fresh.

And that was it.

With my hand on the baguette, I froze. A goofy smile spread over my face and I think my jaw dropped, uttering a mild “Aw” mixed with a sigh.

My cold hands were grasping the hottest, freshest baguette that I had ever touched. The bag in which it was packaged had steamed up from the heat. The baguette was so soft that it could have been dough. I picked it up and brought it against my face. I stuck my nose into the bag. I clutched it with both hands, squeezing it slightly, to reassure myself that yes, it had just come out of the oven.

Anxiety and stress evaporated. I was once again filled with happiness, surprise, joy, excitement, gratitude and comfort. I couldn’t believe my luck: this was the first time in nine months that I had picked up a feshly-baked baguette. Boulangeries may be open on every street, but they do not bake bread every hour.

I carried the baguette home like a trophy, hugging against myself so that no-one could take it away. At home, I bit right into it, hoping that it would melt in my mouth…and it did. I spread butter on slice after slice, while sipping mint tea with honey on the side.

Warm baguette – you made my day.