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Quote for the Day : The Pace of Nature

“…Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience…” 

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Lake Lechenaultia, Western Australia – Mountain Bike Trail
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Bee Happy (and a bit about Laughter Yoga)

Hello, everyone 🙂  I was back at work this week after having an extended Easter break.  Can’t say I was overjoyed at the thought of returning to work, but very grateful to have a job to return to (the current economic climate being what it is, every extra day of employment is a bonus).  It took a while to get back into the swing of things, and I was horribly nervous when people came in to ask questions about our services etc ; after just a week off, I was a bit brain-dead and stupid.  But I got through it ok and people seemed happy with my responses.  It’s probably just me who thought I was useless!

One of my tasks today was to write a book review.  The book, “Love Laughter and Longevity : the Art and Science of Wellbeing” by Janni Goss, talks about laughter and its positive effects on our health, longevity, and quality of life.  As my organisation assists people with dementia, and encourages positive thinking and celebrating the small joys in life, this book could benefit many people who are dealing with the difficulties that dementia inevitably brings.  But laughter is a well-documented medicine for many of the things that ail us, whether we are experiencing illness or not.

There are physical changes that occur when we laugh : blood flow increases, endorphins are released, cortisol levels are lowered and the immune response is improved.  Intense laughter (whether faked or not – the brain can’t tell the difference) also provides aerobic exercise, which is far more enjoyable than time spent at the gym.

Janni is an advocate for Laughter Yoga and its benefits.  Over 100 countries around the world have Laughter Yoga groups, and its positive effect on people with illnesses ranging from high blood pressure to cancer has been studied and reported in numerous medical journals.  It’s certainly an interesting topic to read about (a lot of my reading-for-work tasks are pretty dull and make me go a bit cross-eyed) and worth further investigation if you’re into self-improvement and inner health (whilst improving your outer health at the same time!).  You can read more from Janni HERE or learn about Laughter Yoga throughout Australia HERE

All that laughter and being happy reminded me of this little canvas I painted on the weekend.  At first, when I had finished it, I felt a bit unsure about the whole “bee happy” thing.  Sometimes we’re just NOT, right?  Sometimes we are decidedly unhappy and a bit down in the dumps.  But I guess what Janni’s book and philosophy encourages is to embrace the small joyful moments in life and use them to promote well-being in our bodies and minds.  It’s kinda like faking it til you make it.  Not avoiding dealing with sadness but, rather, using joy to combat it and face it head on.  And you might as well have a few extra happy hormones to help you, right?

Having said all that, it’s important to let people know you’re struggling.  No one should suggest you “pretend” to be happy if you’re not.  That’s way too much pressure!  I believe happiness itself is a bit of a myth.  It’s such a vague concept.  No one is happy 100% of the time ; how can you be, when there is so much suffering and pain in the world?

But I think it’s important to be content with your situation, be in the moment, and be happy about the small things in life, focusing on the good, and doing what you can to minimise the “bad”.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sad or upsetting moments in our life, but how often do we give the same amount of energy to joyous moments, savouring them and replaying them in our minds?  The brain can’t differentiate between something that is a memory and something that is happening now.  So, we should try and hold on to happy memories and use them to boost our spirits when we are down, rather than re-living those moments that caused us pain and distress.

Easy to say.  But I think every extra weapon we can have in our arsenal against the blues is a bonus and worth a try.  I don’t think I will be doing a class of Laughter Yoga any time soon (I’m not a joining-in kinda gal and I would spend the entire time worrying about what I look like when I’m laughing and whether or not I was doing things right) but there are definitely principles that I could use to be more positive or, at least, trick my brain into feeling happier, until I am able to feel it for real.

Be happy today.  And if you can’t be, I’m sending good thoughts your way and a wish for a happier tomorrow.  Hang in there x

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Life Balance (Collage)

Hello everyone 🙂

This collage was inspired by some of the changes and decisions I am having to make this year.  Trying to work out what works best for me, how to manage that pesky work/life balance, and making decisions about the future.  All things I would rather procrastinate about with my usual head-in-the-sand attitude.

I’m not good at making decisions.  I have trouble deciding what colour underwear to put on, let alone making decisions about employment or whether or not to buy a house.  While I have been a brave girl (sort of) and managed to buy my first home, I still struggle with the career side of things.  What am I supposed to be doing?  Am I doing what makes me happy?  Is it more important to be fulfilled and content in your work, or should paying your bills come first?  So tricky.

All I know is that I am calm and settled when I am crafting.  That is one part of the life equation I don’t want to give up.  No one else has to judge it or even see it.  It’s doesn’t have deadlines, most of the time, and no one will get fired if it isn’t done right.  It gives me a sense of achievement, and if I don’t like what I’ve made, I can just paint over it and no one else needs to know.

How do you balance your creative side and your needing-to-work side?  Or are you lucky enough to combine the two and make a living from your art?  I’d love to hear how you make things work for you.

Thank you for dropping by x

 

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Now I am Forty-Four

Yesterday was my birthday.  I have reached the grand old age of Forty Four.  Which scares me just a teeny-weeny little bit.  I still don’t know very much and have very little figured out.  I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I still keep waiting for my Fairy Godmother to grant me three wishes.

Yesterday was tougher than I imagined it would be.  I wanted to spend the day on my own, like I did last year, but then felt really lonely and sad about being on my own.  Quite a few people forgot it even WAS my birthday and that upset me more than I wanted to admit.  I felt fat and old and uninteresting and invisible.

To be fair, it’s quite possible I am hormonal (or menopausal!) and just down in the dumps for no real reason.  Birthday or no birthday.  I think this year crept up on me and I wasn’t ready.  I know forty four isn’t old.  I know this.

 

Things I know, now that I am forty-four years old

Life doesn’t get easier.  You just get more tired, so your tantrums are less dramatic.

Bingo wings grow all by themselves.  They are an unstoppable force.  You will spend the rest of your life in three-quarter sleeves.  Don’t fight it.

Elastic waist bands are key.

Music now is rubbish.  It’s a totally different thing to when your parents used to say it about your music when you were a teenager.  TOTALLY different.

You will begin to lose the ability to understand adverts on television.  Are they trying to sell you a car or haemorrhoid cream? And why are they so darn loud?

You used to laugh at women who plucked their chin hairs at the traffic lights.  Now you give them a thumbs-up signal and yell “Right with ya, sister!” in solidarity.

Cheese is your enemy and your best friend.  Don’t turn your back on it. 

That lump you’re feeling could be malignant.  Or it could just be one of last night’s cornflakes you had for dinner that stuck to you.  You know, the one that fell down your top and you couldn’t be bothered fishing it out because you were watching Will and Grace.

Your underwear gets increasingly more “sensible”.  They become less floral/pretty/polka-dotty and become more beige.

You will find yourself worrying about fibre content before sugar content.

You will suddenly realise that if you start dating again, it will have to be with men in their 40s and 50s.  Which seems kinda icky.  But if you were a man, you’d start dating girls in their 20s and 30s.  The irony is not lost on you. 

Grey hair grows quicker than any other colour of hair.  This is a scientific fact.  You will go to bed one night a brunette, and wake up the next looking like a badger. 

  If you go to work without makeup one day, people will repeatedly ask you if you’re ill.

  The fact that you’re old enough to remember macrame the first time it became popular, makes you feel like crying.

You will approach spicy food the same way you would approach a barrel full of poisonous spiders – with fear and trepidation.

You will be grateful for everything you have but still have many regrets and coulda-shoulda-wouldas.  Which is ok.  You may be forty four, but you’re still human.    

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Wishing you all a happy day (birthday or not).  Thank you for visiting 🙂 x

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Poem for the Day : Not

You are not your age,
Nor the size of clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak.
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You’re the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried.
You’re the songs you sing so loudly,
When you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places that you’ve been to,
And the one that you call home.
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of.
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems that you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.

Erin Hansen

 

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Quote for the Day : Paths

“…Everyone has their own path.
Walk yours with integrity and wish all others peace on their journey.
When your paths merge, rejoice for their presence in your life.
When the paths are separated, return to the wholeness of yourself,
give thanks for the footprints left on your soul,
and embrace the time to journey on your own…”

— Unknown

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Kokoda Track, King’s Park, WA