Posts tagged ‘Love’

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?

2016, January 12

The Flos

I’ve admired Judy Clement Wall’s ability to doodle for as long as she’s been at it. Her art is beautiful, and ever since I saw her first creation, I wanted to try doodling.
Yet somehow, I almost always put it off. Sometimes I doodled, but not nearly as often as I would’ve liked to. And when I did, I was never happy with the output. My self-portrait from last week for example, looks nothing like me…

Last week, I saw an e-book on Amazon that looked interesting, so I added it to my shelf and started reading immediately. It’s called “DOODLE ART HANDBOOK: The Non-Artist’s Guide in Creative Drawing”, and even though I’m only 20% done with it, I like it.
I like that it inspired me to print out some coloring pages, and color again. (Like when I first printed out and colored some of j’s coloring pages.) I also printed out some doodle-art pocket calendars to color.
And I like that this book inspired me to actually start doodling myself.

It’s hard for me to let go and just doodle. I think that is because I like structure, rules and on any given day I am stressed (usually for time).
But after I washed my hair this week and while waiting for it to dry, I turned off my laptop, made a cup of tea, put my phone on silent, opened the book to read the instructions and started doodling. I tried to quiet my conscious mind. I doodled. And I did so in a really pretty notebook my friend Janel sent me like 5 or so years ago and which I kept putting off using in the hopes of someday getting into drawing.

doodling notebook

The first doodle I tried is the Flos, and find that it’s a simple creation which looks really wonderful when complete. It was fun following the pattern that I started, and had a rush of creativity as the blank page slowly filled in.
Halfway through the page, I switched to larger lines of the same pattern. It felt bold!
Once I finished the doodle, I went over it again and added further details which now make it look so much more complicated than it truly was to draw.
Below is my doodle, in case you were wondering. Next up? Petals! ;)

the flos

I am happy with my doodle, and less stressed. It’s as close as I could get to meditating. I like it.

2016, January 6

No Auditioning & Drawing a self-portrait

The assignments for the last two weeks in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly were to not audition for love, and to draw a self-portrait (or seven).

I have a natural tendency toward putting myself last and people-pleasing, so during the week of no auditioning it was quite hard to actually follow up on the assignment. It would’ve been so much easier to just go where I was told, do what was expected of me no questions asked and caring for everyone around me first before “getting” to myself.

Truth is, I know I have the choice of saying “No” to things, that I should act on my own priorities and values.
So I aksed myself “what are the most important things to me?” question and took it from there. I stalled when I could, and said I needed to think about things/favors when that was the case. I thought about how stressful it would be for me to undertake said favor, how much pressure I would feel. I considered if it was worth it, and if I actually had the time to do it or what I would need to give up in order to free time for that specific thing.
I also tried something new to me and gave myself a kind of time limit, like “I’m only free for this during 9 am to 11 am.” for example, I said “No” with conviction, and also did my best to not give excuses – which is always a temptation for me as I want people to understand my reasoning (but it usually backfires because it gives people wiggle room to try and help me find time, resources, etc. for what they ask of me).
I’m convinced I’m a good path, and will do my best to continue doing these things instead of auditioning for love.

As for the self-portrait? Well, I drew it this morning since I took last week off from my blog without any notice – we went on a short trip with the BF and I wanted to focus on just the two of us and sight-seeing.

draw a self-portrait

How was your holiday season? Did you manage not auditioning for love? How tough was it? Are you a natural people-pleaser, too? Did you draw a self-portrait? I’d love to see it, if so!

PS: If you’re interested in giving this a go in 2016, you can buy the 52-52 guide in the shop.

2015, December 23

Love the one you’re with

In the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, last week we were to love the one we’re with. j mentions this in the 52-52 guide thinking of encounters with people who choose to get their real-life discussions interrupted and pay more attention to their phone rather than the person they’re with. I dislike that, too. The Huffington Post has some great articles on the subject of technology overload.

So last week, I paid even more attention to not checking my phone (e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) when I was with people.
On the one hand, it wasn’t too hard – at work I had a lot to do and didn’t go out to lunch, and by the time I finished work I was already exhausted. Even more so by the time we got home, past 10 pm every night so I didn’t really get the chance to think about wanting to do anything but love the one I was with.

On the other hand though it dawned on me that it’s not necessarily only when people check their phones while with someone that they don’t pay true attention to that person in their real, physical world. You could be e-mailing your friend who doesn’t reply. Or trying to share your good news over a Skype chat with someone who’s upset and can only focus on that instead of your good news. Or you could be trying to have a conversation with someone who is not listening to you only wanting to talk about themselves.
I think the latter hurts more than one simply checking their phone during your date.

 

The assignment for Week 51 is No Auditioning. In j’s words, “There are things you should do for love, like: be fearless, trust, get vulnerable, forgive […] but you should never have to audition for love, this week… or ever.”

The assignment for Week 52 is to Draw a Self-Portrait. “Don’t worry, this isn’t an artistic thing (necessarily), it’s more of a “what do you want to capture about you and your life RIGHT NOW” thing. It doesn’t matter if the portrait looks like you, or even if it looks like a person. Here’s what I wish for you.
1) That you are able to let go of any notion of good or bad, or right or wrong here; that, instead, you are able to dance with yourself, capture the you that maybe only you know.
2) That you draw yourself lovingly. Even if your picture is about what scares or frustrates you, draw it as a friend would – with compassion, with tenderness.”

How was your week? Did you love the one you were with? Do you think people around you are distracted by their phones? Or are they just plain uninterested?

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, December 15

Going on an adventure

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to go on an adventure. Truth be told, I couldn’t go on just any adventure, because I stayed home in bed with a cold for four out of five days of the week, but on Saturday, I went to a Christmas Concert.

I went over to my mom’s place and helped her with some cleaning, took some lovely #25DayBookmas photos (since 99% of my books live there), we had lunch together, and then headed downtown. Somehow I haven’t seen Union Square in the evening yet as it’s all lit up, so we went by there and had a leisurely stroll through the Santa’s Village handmade fair looking at all the cute presents on display. From there, we headed to church for the Christmas Concert.

I’ve mentioned this concert before in a travel article I wrote about Christmastime here in my city. Each year I try to attend my old high school’s Christmas concert. The concert is held at the Downtown Reformed Church about a week before Christmas.

The church has recently been renovated, so the whole experience and concert was even more magical than in previous years. It was packed, just as always, and my mom and I managed to squeeze into a seat (both of us in the same seat, yes). After about twenty minutes though, we gave our seat to an older woman and remained standing for the rest of the concert.
It was on the longer side, they had a short performance by the middle school choir, the main performance by the high school choir, and a short performance by the former alumni choir who also performed a few carols together with the high school choir.

It was such a wonderful evening! A true, magical adventure. I took some pics and videos, go see on Instagram, as they’re currently at the top of my feed.

The assignment for Week 50 is to Love the One You’re With. I have to share what j says about this, as it’s something that drives me nuts, too.
“True confessions: It makes me crazy when people I’m with interrupt our conversation to engage with their cell phones. One of the reasons that I don’t have a smart phone is because I think it might turn me into someone who does that. Honestly, I don’t want to be that plugged in. I don’t want to make anyone else feel the way I’ve felt sitting across from someone in the wake of their decision that whatever is happening on their phone is more important than… well… me.
Because, don’t kid yourself. That’s the decision you’ve made when you answer your phone, or text, or check your email-Twitter-Facebook-stock-stats while someone sits across from you, waiting for you to get back to them.
This week, if it’s not an emergency, don’t do it. Pay attention to the people in your real, physical world. Watch. Listen. Choose, consciously, to love the one you’re with. They’ve showed up, after all. The least you can do is show up too.”

How was your week? Did you go on an adventure? Do you usually follow your heart and go out on your own for adventures? Or do you need a little push from family or friends to get out of your comfort zone or your daily routine?

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, December 8

Start a Best-Thing Journal

Last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly the assignment was to start a Best-Thing Journal. So, at the end of each day, I wrote one sentence that answers the question, “What was the best thing about today?” Here’s my week, in answers:

  1. Monday – Received breakfast in bed (and also coffee, and lunch, and tea, and chocolate.)
  2. Tuesday – Spent the evening cuddling with the BF, watching our current series.
  3. Wednesday – Slept in for a bit and woke up to kitty kisses.
  4. Thursday – Found a good Secret Santa gift.
  5. Friday – Had a great time at the firm’s X-Mas Party (tried a new cocktail I never had before, Blueberry Highlife).
  6. Saturday – Had french fries for lunch, with Fajita seasoning.
  7. Sunday – Went on a road trip to visit the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, just the two of us.

The assignment for Week 49 is to Go on an Adventure. j defines it as:
“…little adventures lead to bigger ones, and big adventures lead to new understandings, expanded horizons, accelerated upward trajectories. Evolution is all about change. It’s about leaving behind what doesn’t serve you and reaching bravely for what does. It’s not easy, but the key to personal evolution is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
This week, go on an adventure. Rename your discomfort “the thrill of discovery”.”

How was your week? Did you start a best-thing journal? What do you have on it? If you haven’t written one yet, it’s not too late – not much time has passed since last Monday! Feel free to write your list below in the comments section, I’d love to see what the best things in your every day were last week!

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, December 2

Be openly magnificent

Last week’s assignment in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Be Openly Magnificent.
Now, I don’t know if all I did this past week falls under the ‘magnificent’ category, but I did do my best to live my life to the fullest without trying to fit in and please everyone else. I guess I just needed the reminder to do so, because it somehow seemed easier this week. (Oh, and I wore red. I just needed to mention it here.)

One of the best moments of my week was when a friend from work said “You are so sweet with your passions” when I was telling her that I needed to stop by the post office today and mail the handmade Christmas cards I made/wrote for friends over the weekend.

On another note, I’d like to share an idea with you. I saw this last evening on Instagram, and thought is was such a cute idea! I’ll have to see how exactly I make it work, given 99% of my books are at mom’s place, but I wanna play!

25daybookmas

Here’s what Jenny Bravo says about it:
“During the month of December, Blots & Plots is hosting #25DayBookmas on Instagram and we want YOU to share your book photos!
How to play:
1. Screenshot the above photo + share to your own Instagram account.
2. Follow the prompts daily! I’ll be sharing my photos here, and I can’t wait to see yours.
3. Upload your photos based on the prompt + tag 
#25DayBookmas! {Add other tags to up the awareness.} #tags
That’s it! Pretty easy, right? Don’t forget to share this challenge with your friends + get your photos ready! Bring on the holiday spirit! #bookstagram#igreads @blotsandplots

The assignment for Week 48 is to Start a Best-Thing Journal. Like j says:
“This week, at the end of each day, write one sentence that answers the question, “What was the best thing about today?” Even the shittiest days contain nuggets of good – the guy who held the door open for you, the seven straight green lights, the unexpected email from a friend. This week, focus on the good best stuff.”

I actually started doing something similar several months ago, but then stopped mid-“project”.
Let’s see if I can go back and pick up the habit again. It’d be interesting to read a year’s worth of best things, if only I keep to jotting them down at the end of each day.

How was your week? Were you openly magnificent? Did you sing out loud, take a different path, or buy something others wouldn’t approve of? Did it come easily to be yourself and live life the way you really want to, or did you need reminders along the way?

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.

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