Tag Archives: Reading

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!

The Gift of Intuition

8 Jan

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honours the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
– Albert Einstein

Our intuition nudges us constantly. It is a powerful but gentle force, guiding us softly but surely. Most of the time it comes to us in what we consider banal situations, so we don’t listen to it, thinking that an intuition is for ‘bigger, more important’ things.

Today, during my Saturday shift at my local independent bookshop, I was drawn in particular to one title: Twenty-one Locks by Laura Barton. I kept looking at the book, picking it up, flicking through it, reading passages of it. I couldn’t pull myself away from it.

Something was drawing me to the book, yet my rational side was trying to dissuade me against buying it: “You have too many unread books at home”, “You shouldn’t be spending so much money on your passions when there are more important things to take care of”, “You don’t even know whether you’ll like it”. Ah, the rational side of us – why does it always try to ruin all the fun? But most importantly – why do we listen to it so often? “You’re right,” we say to it, as if speaking to a scolding parent, and at the same time we turn our backs on our best friend Intuition.

I decided to research Twenty-one Locks on the internet, in the hope of finding something to help me make up my mind. I found an interview with Laura Barton …and warmed immediately to her. Laura came across as being down to earth, open and just simply lovely! She used beautiful language, including metaphors and imagery, which really evoked her persona. One phrase of hers stuck out at me in particular: “I hoped that if I just wrote as honestly as I could then people would respond to it”. Although I has sensed it already, this phrase confirmed that Laura writes for love; she writes from her heart, from her passions and from her interests. “[…] Life is too short to be nasty about things”, she said in the interview, and I knew that Twenty-one Locks would follow this motto. It would be a book created by a love for writing and a love for life.

In this everyday, seemingly banal situation of deciding whether or not to buy a book, my intuition had been guiding me in the right direction from the start. I listened to it in the end: I bought the book (and I really look forward to reading it). I just hope that next time I will trust my intuition enough to not have to use the internet for confirmation!

What I Love

6 Jan

There is an uncountable amount of things we love in life, yet we don’t even realise it!

Seeing as I am writing a blog about love, I sat down and made a list of all the things I love. The list took me half an hour to write and is almost two and a half pages long. Wow, I didn’t know that there were so many things that inspire me and bring me joy! It’s funny how we don’t even realise just how much something means to us until we sit down and make a list of it.

But, as proven, even making lists has its own beauty: it has opened my eyes to the things that I treasure in life…and the fact that my current life hardly encompasses any of these things at all. Time to get out there and start experiencing the things I love!

I L♥VE….

the sea

soft warm sand

piano music …. Ludovico Einaudi

trees

all things natural

softness

making people laugh

dacha

sunsets behind the field

white nights

spending an afternoon in the park reading

playing hide and seek in long grass

growing my own food

wild flowers

hidden streams

listening to live music

singing

guitar

people with a passion

when someone’s eyes glow as they talk about something they love

dancing

performing on stage

making collages

langauges

snow

vastness

the smell of sun on my skin, the smell of clothes that have dried in the sun

raspberry jam

pancakes

opera

writing

walking barefoot on the earth

long walks

receiving and sending handwritten letters

bikes with baskets

fireworks

being very silly

drawing colourful pictures with fat felt tip pens

my pillow

physical contact

the smell of freshly cut grass

the smell of rain on a summer’s day

autumn

waking up early, when the sun is rising and everything is quiet all around

cheesecake, carrot cake

poetry

books

small independent book shops

milky, sweet coffee in the morning

birches

huge pine tress

secret lakes

balconies and French windows

rye bread with butter

children

yoga

the echo of footsteps in a museum

feeling in the flow