Posts tagged ‘living’

2016, January 15

My Happiness Jar of 2015

In her first blog post of 2015, my friend Judy Clement Wall stated how much she loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s Happiness Jar idea, and that she’ll be doing it throughout the year. I read up on the idea, and here’s what Elizabeth wrote about it on Facebook:

What is a Happiness Jar? The simplest thing in the world. You get yourself a jar (or a box, or a vessel of any kind) and every day, at the end of the day, you grab a slip of paper and write down on it the happiest moment of the day.
Even on lousy days, you do this. Because even on lousy days, there is one best moment (or at least, one least-worst moment.
You stick that little piece of paper in the jar.

Over the years, you have a record of your happiness…

Over the years, my Happiness Jar has taught me much. What continually amazes me is what ends up on the slip of paper every day. Not awesome events, not huge achievements — usually just a small and tiny thing, a moment of awareness…that moment when you step outside and between the house and the car you get hit on the top of the head with a beam of sunlight, and suddenly feel awash with gratitude simply for being alive, and you think, “Yes. This is it.”

It’s usually something that small — and something that grand.

Don’t you just love that? In every day there must be at least one little glimmer of hope, love and happiness which lights you up inside.

Not wanting to put all of this into an actual jar and use up space in our already small apartment, I kept this online by saving a draft here on WordPress of this very blog post. And on some nights before bed this past year, I’ve been scribbling down something to add to my virtual Happiness Jar.

Here it is:

My Happiness Jar of 2015

  • An outing with friends is wonderful after a failed (for the day) sewing project.
  • Marshmallow Lattes.
  • Looking at pretty houses while walking to buy honey.
  • One nice word from a colleague trumps any bad-mood-causing remark.
  • A full inspiration board.
  • Toffee topping, my morning coffee’s new best friend.
  • Ponytails with a twist, I love easy to do hair ideas.
  • Looking up at my furry alarm clock, Pixel on the nightstand, after waking up.
  • The way the BF looked at me before I got out of the car to head for work.
  • Walking fifteen minutes off my usual route to get the lunch sandwich I’ve been craving for a week.
  • Watching the BF play with Pixel, laughing all the way.
  • Girls’ night out.
  • Getting a new friend’s phone number.
  • Cooking lunch with the BF.
  • Quiet time at home with Pixel, and doing a little bit of writing, too.
  • Laughing for ten minutes after reading a “Dog Rules” list.
  • Visited with my ever-so-crafty friends and had an awesome time catching up. Their home was truly in the Christmas spirit.
  • Dinner with mom.
  • Watermelon Lemonade.
  • Homemade salsa.
  • Picking up my fixed boots.
  • Pockets on my knitted scarf.
  • Became friends with lovely people.
  • Getting Pixel neutered.
  • Fresh orange and grapefruit juice.
  • A colleague greeting me with a Happy New Years hug upon arriving to work.
  • Laughing all evening with the BF.
  • The BF having my back.
  • Three beautiful earrings, a Christmas present from a very dear friend.
  • Quiet day in, cuddled in bed with the BF and Pixel.
  • Visited Sighisoara Citadel, and even though the guys weren’t interested, they waited while I took a tour of the Evangelical church there.
  • Had a Tiramisu and a Gingerbread Latte at Bibliotheque Pub.
  • Took sunset pics of Bran Castle.
  • Got a nicer phone.
  • Night-time, relaxing massages.
  • A surprise package in the mail, with the most beautiful angel inside it.
  • A new tea favorite, Lemon Macaroon.
  • Snowdrops blooming.
  • Although tired, the boyfriend helped me prep for the job interview.
  • Really thought of and believe I could have a career as Technical Author.
  • All the Christmas decoration fit back into the existing boxes.
  • Had an awful cold, but the boyfriend took care of me all day long.
  • Found/bought coconut milk.
  • Pixel slept on my tummy while I read.
  • I am now a Technical Author.
  • Took two trips to London (for work, and some fun on the side).
  • Followed the 52-52 Guide’s suggestions every week in 2015.
  • Read 10 books for my Goodreads challenge.
  • Read more than 50 training manuals which I also edited/re-branded for work.
  • Saw the Queen of England!
  • Visited Buckingham Palace – and got all teary.
  • Had a wonderful afternoon walk in Mamaia, on the Romanian seaside.
  • We got a new car.
  • Took several lovely road trips.
  • Visited places I’ve never been to before.
  • Had some great trainings.
  • Came in second in class at the end of the SQL 2012 training.
  • I won a prize at work, which no one in the Cluj-Napoca office has won before.
  • Got a raise and glowing performance reviews.
  • Tried a ton of new recipes and international dishes.
  • Found my mother a job.
  • Went on a short trip to Hungary for New Years.
  • Achieved several things on my Life List.

Did you make a Happiness Jar, either virtual or an actual one? Or did you keep a journal noting the good things that happened to you? What would go into your Happiness Jar today?

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.

2010, November 11

What do you do for a living?

Until I started, when someone asked if I was working and I answered no, I felt terribly guilty.
I could hear them judgingly thinking: “Why isn’t she’s working? Unbelievable.” But I was ok, I didn’t really care, I hid behind classes and courses, which, between you and me, were virtually non-existent, with easy courses in a few weekends a year without too many exams.

Instead now, when the same question gets asked and I answer: “I’m a floral artist. I have my own crafting business. And, well I also tutor English. (And I write flash fiction and poems in English.)” I don’t feel guilty, but downright embarrassed.
I can see myself labeled and shoved into the same pot as “losers” who aren’t able to find a job in their field, fitting their training and education, or even a job where you can sit down from time to time, and have the only required exercise of bowing to clients.

I think that any job where you have to deal directly with the customer, a customer who automatically is on a higher rank because “I don’t like what you have here, I want you to make me something else” is a job where your value is determined strictly by the degree of kindness that you are willing to offer. And yes, especially on days when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I don’t have too much courtesy. Yet I’m still kind and patient despite everything thrown at me, while I just feel like running towards a more “noble” job, where you only have to sit at a desk all day long and think instead of sweating over hand making something quickly.
I would like to be paid for what I think (or even for my writing someday), and not for how quickly I can move my hands. And though this business can seem so dreamy and calm and relaxing and involving tons of creativity, I’m guessing that most of the world couldn’t care less about my/our creativity. We’re here to make the customer’s creativity reality, which more often than not is questionable, because in some people’s opinion you can mix red with yellow and orange, purple, green and white with pink and I know how many decorative birds and ribbons and hearts and butterflies and still end up with something nice.
And yes, the reply I heard most often to the question “Wouldn’t you like any of the bouquets already made?” was: “No, I want something more spectacular, more interesting. Make me a bouquet of three roses.” (red of course). And that’s even without mentioning those customers who don’t even ask “I’d like you to make a such and such bunch of flowers” but who say “I want to make a bunch so and so”.

Perhaps it’s not quite so bad as it seemed to me at the moment, and yes, I should be happy that I even have jobs, with the financial crisis and wages cuts and everything else going all wrong. But I sometimes feel all sad and I can not find a tangible reason, the rain doesn’t seem to stop washing me of everything; thoughts, ideas and especially the joy of the holidays that are getting closer with each passing day.

So… I’m waiting for sunnier days (in a lovely place (more on that to come)).

And Christmas! :)

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