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Archive for June, 2011

Today is the last day of the sixth month of my Happiness Project for 2011. 

To recap, I chose to focus on Prioritizing Playtime. My resolutions for the month were to:  

  • Lighten up
  • Enjoy the process
  • Avoid time-wasters
  • Begin to paint at home
  • Resurrect my sketch book
  • Complete two scrapbook pages
  • Sit on the deck and take pleasure in my surroundings
  • Canoe the Grand
  • Attend Donkey Day
  • Go for a picnic

This month has definitely been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to keep up these goals for the rest of the year (and beyond).

Lighten up

This has been a constant and wonderful mantra that I often repeat to myself. I am actually finding it quite easy to lighten up and to just go with it. There are so many simple, ridiculous things that do not need to be analyzed, fretted over or made into a big deal. It is so much healthier, and it makes me so much happier if I just lighten up and laugh about it. I honestly feel that I have laughed much more this month than any other and a huge part of that has to do with this particular goal. 

Enjoy the process

I think I’ve done really well with this. At first I had to often remind myself to ‘enjoy the process” (like I did at the walk-in clinic I mentioned in my update) but it eventually became a new, permanent thought in my mind. I seem to just be naturally enjoying my days now. If I’m stuck driving somewhere, I look at it as an opportunity to jam out to some tunes. If I’m stuck doing chores, I look at them as opportunities to do some physical work or to relax and focus on my thoughts or breath. Overall, I am living more in the moment, instead of focusing on the next thing to be done.

Avoid time-wasters

In the beginning of the month I was having a bit of trouble with this but as the month has gone on, I think I’ve really nailed this goal. I now make sure to do everything I need to do (exercising, chores etc) before I go on the computer each day so that I don’t have a ton of time left over to browse nothingness. We have also recently been put on time-of-use billing for our hydro so instead of putting the computer on sleep mode all day and night, I now turn it off completely when I’m done my once a day Facebook/email check and blog update. Without the easy to “wake” sleep mode on, I am no longer able to easily, quickly check updates so I just don’t bother. I’m really enjoying this new method and I really don’t miss checking my Facebook or email at all.

Begin to paint at home

I have painted one 16×20 canvas at home but I haven’t completely finished it yet. Frankly, I’m a little afraid to finish it as I’m unsure what to do next. I always have my painting teacher within a few feet of me during class so she can always help me when I need it. At home, I’m on my own and that’s a little frightening at times. I know it’s only a painting but the perfectionist in me really wants to make it the very best that it can be.

Resurrect my sketch book

I have successfully dug out my old sketch book and have completed three pages. I drew a fun little cartoon boy, a turtle, an elephant, a goldfish and an adorable goofy little monkey. I hope to sign up for a drawing class in the next few months to improve my ability and learn some new techniques.

Complete two scrapbook pages

Epic fail. I have done nothing. Nada. Zilch. I’ve tried; I really intended too; I even read through a few of my old scrapbook magazines but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually pull out all of my supplies. Scrapbooking is something that, for me, requires inspiration. It is not something that I can just do on the spot because someone tells me to (even if that someone is myself setting a goal). When I’m not inspired, I just can’t do it. I’ve gone months and months without scrapbooking but then I’ll turn around and complete and entire 25+ page album in four days. Unfortunately, this month was not an inspirational month.

Sit on the deck and take pleasure in my surroundings

As I mentioned in my update, I gave up on this goal. It was not happening for me. Much like scrapbooking, this was a goal that I couldn’t do simply because I was supposed to do it. I need to be in the mood to sit out on my deck, I need to want to be out there. Funny enough, this week I have sat out there for 2-3 hours each day but it had nothing to do with my happiness project, I just wanted to get outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Canoe the Grand

My husband and I spent nearly four hours paddling down 20km of the beautiful Grand River. The weather was just perfect for a morning on the water. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze and the scenery was spectacular. I got some much needed fresh air, saw a bunch of neat wild life, spent some quality time with my husband (and best friend in another canoe) and got a fabulous free intense workout (which I love!). This was a lot of fun and I will definitely be making this a routine hobby of mine from now on.

Attend Donkey Day

My “little sister” and I attended Donkey Day on June 12th and had a terrific time!  We had fun watching the very entertaining dog agility competition, we got our picture taken with Marci the miniature donkey, we ate some delicious chip wagon fries (yum!), played some carnival-type games, bought some used books to support the sanctuary, shopped at the donkey store (I bought an adorable donkey figurine for my desk at work) and visited with the donkey’s. It was a wonderful day and I hope to go back again next year.

Go for a picnic

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to go for my picnic yet. We were rushed for time after canoeing and I haven’t been able to get my “little sister” the last couple weekends to go with her.  I thought about going by myself this week while I’ve been off but I just couldn’t bring myself to picnic all alone. I’m still planning on going for a picnic sometime soon, it just won’t be in the month of June.

Even though I didn’t have great results with a few of these goals, I still feel that this has been a very successful month. I have certainly had fun and as a result I have been a lot happier. 🙂

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Yesterday I took my dogs for a walk by myself. I generally don’t like walking them by myself as there are two of them (weighing over 170lbs combined) and there is only one of me (weighing 120lbs). I put halti’s on them to help control their extra weight if they choose to pull me (which they ultimately do) but it still proves to be a very stressful experience for me.

Yesterday I decided that since I had free time (vacation week!) I’d give it a try. This time, however, I changed my thoughts to ones of peace and enjoyment, instead of thoughts of stress, anxiety and fear. You know what happened? I actually felt at peace and the dogs responded by walking right by my side. No pulling, no fussing and no dragging me to other people or dogs. Because I was no longer worried, I was able to turn my focus to the moment (and the dogs followed suite). For the first time on our walk, I could pay attention to all the wonderful little things and it helped to soothe me even more.

I choose to focus on my senses and was genuinely surprised at what I found. I could hear the serene trickling of the water in the small creek beside us, the sound of the birds in the trees and the scrapping of our feet as we walked along the gravel trail. I could smell the pollen in the air and the smell of the rain not quite fallen. I could see the beautiful full green trees, the last remaining phlox colouring the bushes and the bright yellow snapdragons along the edges of the path. I could feel the warmth on my skin as the sun peaked through the clouds, the cool breeze in my hair and the texture of their leashes in my hands. Most of all, I could feel the incredible peace flowing through me as I simply ignored the fears and embraced what was a beautiful, calm morning walk with my favourite dogs.

So the next time you are feeling a little anxious or stressed, try talking a walk. Forget about all the nagging thoughts in your head and just be in the moment. Use your senses and see, hear, smell and feel all the beauty around you.

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Be Happy!

Whenever I’m feeling a little down, this is the song I play.

It’s super cheesy, absolutely ridiculous and so, so fun!!! 😀

Crank it up, dance around the room and be happy!!!!

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The Trouble Tree

This is such a beautiful story…

The Trouble Tree

~ by Unknown Author

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and then his old pickup truck refused to start. 

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. 

Afterward, he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. 

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing is for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.” 

“The funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

🙂

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‘Help Others’ Story

Here’s a wonderful story from helpothers.org. You may need the tissues for this one.

Helping A Friend Dance With The Stars

-posted by crosby2126 on May 28, 2011

I wrote an earlier story about a friend who was put on hospice care. I would visit her on Tuesday nights and we would talk and have some “girl time”. I would do her hair on those visits. I couldn’t heal her but for a night she felt beautiful! We would talk and laugh.  And after her hair was done on one of my last visits I put lipstick on her lips and some color on her cheeks. When I held up the mirror for her to see how she looked she smiled at me and told me she was going to go dancing. I told her to be home before her family got up in the morning!

How nice to be at the end of your life and have a sweet dream of getting out of your wheel chair to dance!  When I went for my visit this week the dancing was over. She was weak and in bed. I stood by her and did her hair as I promised I would. Our “girl time” was different. It was Tuesday, she knew I was there. I struggled to keep myself together. I knew deep inside that this was going to be the last time I could make her feel beautiful.

I didn’t hold up a mirror for her to smile at her self because when I finished her family was standing there. Their smile said it all, they knew it was the end. They were happy I made their Mom look like “Mom” again. I cried as I left because I knew that I would not see her on this earth again. She passed away today and as sad as I am I know she no longer is dreaming about dancing, she is dancing …with all the stars in the sky…

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Quote of the Week

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” ~ Og Mandin

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Vacation!!!

I am officially on vacation for nine glorious days!!!

I am so excited to get a much needed break from my day-to-day work life. It will be so rejuvenating and healthy to get away from the negativity and unnecessary drama! I’m lucky in the fact that I can keep work at work and don’t have to spend my evenings and weekends finishing projects or worrying about specific tasks or duties, however, the negativity that I experience while at my job is like a contagious virus that sucks my soul and impacts my personal life. I am so stoked about getting away from it all and filling my days with smiles and happiness!

I am also really looking forward to having oodles of free time to play and also tackle a bunch of my nagging tasks. You see, I’ve never had a week off before where I could stay at home. In all the past years that I have been working, I have only ever taken a week off when my husband and I were travelling somewhere tropical. But to have a vacation while still at home, with no real plans, is something I am quite thrilled to have! 

I plan to split my time between my to-do list of chores/nagging tasks and my to-do list of fun. I desperately need to organize my bedroom again and I want to try to tackle a number of “Home” items on my Day Zero project. I will definitely be making time to just sit and relax, lay out on the deck absorbing the sun (with sunscreen of course!) and catch up on my reading too. As well, I will be gearing up my creative side for some drawing, painting and scrapbooking. I may also watch a movie or two, go to the park and/or wander the mall…the sky is the limit and I can’t wait! 🙂

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