Posts tagged ‘Decisions…’

2016, January 29

Six Reasons to Smile in January

I think that we all need a little bit more positivity in our lives.

It dawned on me (again) the other day that we are in charge of the way we feel, so I decided to actively look for reasons to smile and mindfully notice the reasons why I’m smiling. To add to that my love of photography which I haven’t pursued nearly as much as I’d like in the past couple of years, I’ll go ahead and capture on camera said reasons.

Near the end of each month this year, I’ll post a collage of six pictures here on my blog as part of this year-long “Six Reasons to Smile” series I’m trying out in 2016. Who knows? I might like it so much I’ll continue the practice into 2017, too!

Here are the reasons I smiled in January:

Six reasons to smile in January

Did you smile a lot this month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2015, August 3

Trying something new, every day

In the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, last week the assignment was to Try Something New Every Day. Here’s something I just loved from what j said about it in the 52-52 guide: “these days absolute presence is hard to come by. With all that we have vying for our attention, it’s a wonder we’re able to focus at all, and when it happens, when you feel yourself caught up completely in exactly what’s happening RIGHT NOW, it’s ordinary magic at its extraordinary best.
This week, try something new every day. Drive a new route to work. Eat something pickled. Visit a new restaurant. Go to a movie alone. Paint a canvas. Send a love letter written in crayon. Revel in your now.”

The new things I’ve tried this week, are as follows:

  1. Had oven fried chicken with corn on the side for dinner, that my boyfriend cooked. I loved it!
  2. Started using the Expense Manager app, for Android.
  3. Had lunch alone.
  4. Started writing a travel essentials article – will keep you posted when it goes up on Milliver’s Travels.
  5. Drank/will continue drinking cappuccinos in the mornings, until the new coffee maker arrives. I chose all different flavors, like Vanilla, Caramel, Mocha and Milka Chocolate.
  6. Decided to stay for an extra three days in London on my upcoming work trip.
  7. Enjoyed a cup of tea on the balcony, listening to crickets and marveling in the full Moon.

For week 31, the assignment is to Partake in salad alchemy. I’ll copy below what j says in the 52-52 Guide, so you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.
“One year on my birthday, my friend Andrea sent me the coolest little e-book. It’s called Salad Alchemy. It’s written by Meg Worden of Feed Me, Darling, and it’s so special and different that I’ll steal the words from her site to describe it:
Salad Alchemy is 7 lovely, life shifting salads, with ingredients that hold in them legend, story, nutrients and energy to transform your body and belief system about food.
This is not your ordinary cookbook or recipe book. This is seven story-centric salad recipes that serve to guide you into a deeper understanding of how pleasurable the preparation and consumption of food can be. It can be an ecstatic experience, even if you’re eating salad. Salad! Who knew?
I loved it. The seven salads are named Creativity, Power, Genius, Transformation, Stability, Beauty and Love. Meg writes about each one beautifully, linking food, myth, science and soul. I loved making the salads, reading Meg’s words, thinking about them as I tasted. It’s not a book so much as an experience.
This week, I’d love you try Meg’s salads. You can download the book here. It’s only $8.95, but if you can’t afford that, this week, live as though you believe the adage, “you are what you eat.” Be good to your body. Eat fresh, raw, and close to the earth. Eliminate preservatives and anything with unpronounceable ingredients. Enjoy your meals from prep all the way through clean-up. Your body is an astonishing biological miracle. Slow down. Appreciate it. Feed it soulfully.”

I won’t buy the book right now, but I will follow j’s advice and eat as healthy as I can, and play with having salads every evening for dinner.

How was your week? Did you try something new every day? Or a couple of days maybe?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, July 27

Banning “I can’t” from my lexicon

Last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, the assignment was to Ban “I can’t” from our lexicon. As j said: “I can’t” is easy to say and rarely true. Or, if it is true, it’s only half the story (and I would argue it’s not the most interesting or important half). It leaves off where the real you begins, the one who is afraid of being imperfect, the one who’s been hurt and doesn’t want to get hurt again, the one who struggles with boundaries, or priorities, or confidence. Whatever the reasons you say, “I can’t” (and we all do), this week will be a challenge; you’ll have to figure out a different way to say what you want to say: “I don’t want to,” or “I’m not interested,” or “I’m not ready yet.” 

It didn’t turn out to be the challenge I thought it might be. Apparently I like explaining myself and being as clear as possible ;)
Instead of saying “I can’t”, I said the truth: “I don’t like peanuts”, “I’m reading, so maybe later”, “I’m unsure about it”, “I don’t like talking on the phone”, “I have a meeting in ten minutes”, “I don’t know how to do this, will you help me?”, “Having the AC below 21C is bad for me” and “I’ll see you tomorrow, instead.”

What I noticed is that after clearly stating what you’re feeling or the reason you don’t want to do something or try something, people might follow up and when that happens, fun and meaningful conversations arise as a product of it. Of course this wasn’t always the case, but I do like the chances better than if I’d be saying a flat out “No” or “I can’t”.

The only sentence I left and used “I can’t” in?
It was: I can’t wait! As in, “I can’t wait to see you again”, “I can’t wait to get home”, “I can’t wait for you to arrive”, “I can’t wait to have dinner and climb into bed” and “I can’t wait to see London again”.

The assignment for week 30 is to Try Something New Every Day. I like this idea! And I’m already wondering what to try over the course of this week.
Here’s what j says about this assignment, in the 52-52 guide: “Here’s what I know about trying something new, no matter what it is: you are, in that moment of experimentation and adventure, absolutely present. It’s true whether you’re bungee jumping, or learning to swim, or writing your first poem, or running your first marathon, or role playing with your lover, or tasting for the first time chocolate covered insects. It’s true whether you love or hate the new thing you try.”

How was your week? Did you manage to ban “I can’t” from your lexicon? How easy was it, or did you have a hard time with this assignment? And, were there many thing you couldn’t wait for?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, July 20

Unplug

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Unplug. It was such a good reminder!
In today’s world, it’s so easy to feel that one needs to keep up constantly with text messages, e-mails, Instagram and other social media since we are inundated by information at all times. And it’s good to separate from that!

Even though I couldn’t exactly unplug for good, given that my work requires a turned on laptop, I did my best to keep my online presence, well… online, only during work hours this week. I limited the times I checked FB, Twitter or my e-mail and what ever else after I got home. The most I “used” my laptop at home was to watch an episode or two of “Murder, she wrote” with my boyfriend before going to bed.

A friend of mine, really wisely might I add, reserves time for herself in the morning. She’s definitely a morning person, unlike me. Ever since she started working after college, she has seen it as “her time”. I love that phrasing!
For her, mornings are this cushion of time where she doesn’t have any distractions, and she wakes up really early so that she can focus on the things she loves. She puts on her makeup, does her hair and cooks herself breakfast. She enjoys her breakfast at her little coffee table set up on the balcony, people watching.
After she’s done with all of this, she grabs the remainder of her coffee, gets cozy on the couch and reads a book.
And what I love most about her morning ritual? All the while, her phone is turned off! It’s her way of making sure she has no outside distractions, no temptation to go online, no looking at any social media. It’s her time to disconnect, to unplug every single day.
By the time she turns her phone back on, she’s feeling ready to go, energized and content because she got her me-time in and no matter how the day turns out by night time, she has had a really awesome start.

If you’re not a morning person either, set aside some time in the evening, or do what my friend j does and “steal some time”. She reminded me this week, that even on the busiest days, there are pockets of time that suddenly become available. So, she highly recommends this method for basically anything, but especially for filling one’s soul.

Using her method, last week I read for 20 min while waiting for a friend to arrive, called my grandmother on my father’s side while waiting for the BF after work, did some mid-week cleaning and tidying up, read a book before bed since my boyfriend fell asleep early, took my break every day at work instead of cutting it short or working through lunch and enjoyed meaningful conversations with my friend from work, I enjoyed a back massage, worked out a little, and played and cuddled with Pixel.
I also stayed offline for most of the day on Saturday and Sunday. I wrote five love letters (you’re not too late if you want to join in), did some journaling which I’ve been neglecting, and wrote this blog post with my internet connection turned off.

For me, the weekend is that time when I do the most things which bring me joy.
On Saturdays, my boyfriend usually goes to help his dad with groceries shopping and etc., so I stay at home and do some cleaning and some cooking. You probably know by now that these activities really help me relax (I’m definitely that person who starts de-cluttering at 10pm, if annoyed for some reason), but I also try and add in some reading and writing into my Saturday or Sunday mornings. I have always found writing to be very therapeutic for me, I can release what ever it is that I am feeling, or completely dive into a different world while reading a book I love.
Sundays are usually reserved for us-time with my boyfriend. We cook together, or watch a movie, play with Pixel, go for walks and sometimes meet up with friends. It’s the most chill-paced day we both have in the week and enjoy each other’s company to the fullest. Doing what I love over the weekend really refreshes me for the week ahead.

I think that it’s important to do the things we love, no matter what time of the day it is. It makes a huge difference in one’s overall fulfillment and overall joy in life!

For week 29 the assignment is to Ban “I can’t” from your lexicon.
I really love the way j has phrased it in the 52-52 guide, so I’ll share an excerpt: “I can’t” is easy to say and rarely true. Or, if it is true, it’s only half the story (and I would argue it’s not the most interesting or important half). It leaves off where the real you begins, the one who is afraid of being imperfect, the one who’s been hurt and doesn’t want to get hurt again, the one who struggles with boundaries, or priorities, or confidence. Whatever the reasons you say, “I can’t” (and we all do), this week will be a challenge; you’ll have to figure out a different way to say what you want to say: “I don’t want to,” or “I’m not interested,” or “I’m not ready yet.” 

How was your week? Did you unplug? Do you regularly have time in a day set aside to just be present and do something you love which doesn’t involve having an internet connection or even a turned on phone?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, July 13

Say Yes!

Last week’s assignment in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Say Yes. Yes to an outing even when you feel like you’d rather go straight home after work, to helping someone with what will take you ten to fifteen minutes instead of the hour it might take them, or most especially say yes to that wild, inadvisable dream you have.
And as j explained it in the 52-52 guide, the most important thing during this week and this exercise is to “question every no. Understand where it comes from. Understand your reasons. If they’re sound, go ahead. If they’re based in fear, stop. Take a deep breath.” and say Yes.

Lately, I like the fact that I can say No more easily. Sure there are still obligations I can’t get out of, or the usual compromises that every relationship has, be that with either family, romantic or with friends, but it has gotten easier to say No when I don’t want to do something, or go somewhere.

I think that it’s important to know when to say Yes or No, because if we just mindlessly said No to everything, or Yes to everything our lives wouldn’t have too much meaning… (like in that movie where the guy says Yes to everything and things go well for him, but then ends up realizing that too much of a good thing can be bad, too.)

Last week I’ve said Yes to a couple of things and realized that I’ve said No to more things. However, the things I said No to, have freed up time for me to rest over the weekend.
I listened to my tired, achy body and decided to work from home on Thursday and Friday, felt like cooking and experimenting with new recipes so I baked some Apple Crisp and made yummy Squash Fritters, and one evening when the BF came home later instead of watching a movie or getting lost online, I read a book.
We went to a house warming party we couldn’t get out of, but didn’t stay too long, so we could get up earlier and go out to a friend’s cabin in the mountains nearby. We had a lovely walk, some yummy grilled food and just plain had fun.

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I guess by saying No to several things over the course of the week, I actually said a silent Yes to others.

For week 28, the assignment is to Unplug. 
j says, we try the following: “This week, take a hiatus. Turn off your computer, your television, your game consoles. Fill your time with things that don’t require an outlet. Plug yourself into your physical life; engage all your senses for a day. Or seven. Make some space, then fill it with the real, 3-D you.”
And while I can’t exactly unplug for good, given that my work requires a turned on laptop, I will do my best to keep my online presence, well… online, only during work hours this week and limit the times I check FB, Twitter or my e-mails and what ever else. Maybe even go for walks, or jogging after work?
I’ll try to read, and play and get out of the house more, and, every day this week I will take my one hour lunch break (and maybe go for a walk, when the weather is cooperating) instead of working through lunch.

How was your week? Did you say Yes to many things? Or have you also found that by saying No to the things you didn’t feel like doing, you made more time and had more energy for the things you really wanted to do?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2014, July 17

Wish I could say I was going to a tropical island for a vacation…

… but instead, we’re renovating the house at my mother’s. It will take a long time, it will be messy and especially expensive. It already made me give up on many things I love doing, much of my free time, and my heart is slowly breaking, truth be told.

However, I’ll give acting the way I want to feel a go and I’d like to think what I’m doing in the upcoming months is, creating space for more magic, like my friend j mentioned to me in a reply to one of her blog posts. (So I’m ending this post with her words, before I slowly sink into depression over having to put the blog on hold.)

"House renovations sound exhausting and exciting. And while I don’t always love it when I’m in the middle of it, sorting through what to give up and what to keep is always soul-filling in the long run. You’re creating space… for more magic."

IMG_20140708_144844

See you soon, hopefully. Hope you all have a great Summer!

2013, September 9

Hello Kettle, meet Pot & 5 things 4 Me

5things4me

In the “pot calls kettle black” fashion, I thought to suggest to a friend that they stand up for themselves and do what they love. Interestingly enough, I hardly ever take my own advice…

So when, during my first week off from work, I stumbled upon Cathy’s blog post about the #5things4me meme, I felt instantly inspired.

After heading over to read the introductory blog post from SemperFiMomma, I drew my conclusions and decided this was something I needed to do myself.

I know, logically, that it’s important to take care of myself. To do things I enjoy, to say no to things I don’t wish to do, and make time for what I love. However, more often than not, I notice work taking over every aspect of my life.
So that day, I made a list. Having time off from work during 26 Aug. to 8 Sept. I’m hoping to turn this into a habit I’ll keep even when I go back.

My lists:

Week 1

  1. Read before bed, at least half an hour.
  2. Write, at least one hour every day.
  3. Spend a day in bed.
  4. Treat myself to a slice of cake.
  5. (A spa-day is out of the question, but) Get a facial, manicure and eyelash tinting.

Week 2

  1. Craft – I have quite a few ideas, but couldn’t find the time to make stuff.
  2. Bake cookies (or something).
  3. Shower, and get into bed early even if I’ll continue editing, etc. from there.
  4. Paint my nails.
  5. Say “No” to something I don’t need to do. 

What I notice now that the two weeks have passed is that I managed to stay on track.

Of course, some goals were really easily kept, like reading before bed and cooking more. Some goals were skipped one day but met for longer periods of time on other days, like writing. And some goals just weren’t met, like painting my nails.

While I am happy with the overall outcome, I suspect the challenge part of this to kick in once I’m back at work starting today. This is when I truly struggle to find time for myself and not fully get lost in a workday…

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