What to do in December

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relax mountainsCan you believe it’s that time of year again when we have an opportunity to slow down.  This year seems to have come and gone and I hope that I can drag out the holidays for as long as possible.

Some tips for making the most of your holidays whether you are going away or not:

Do nothing
Make sure you spend some time each day doing absolutely nothing.  Nothing important.  Nothing technological.  Nothing that HAS to be done.

Do nature
Spend some time in nature.  There are beautiful parks just around the corner or a short drive away.  The other day my mom and I spent an hour in a park in our neighbourhood and I’m telling you it was relaxing and uplifting.  I noticed the details, colours and smells of trees I usually just drive by.

Do noticing
When you are out and about take special notice of how beautiful the world is that we live in.  Notice the trees, the flowers, the beaches, the mountains, the sky, the people, your family.  Be present in the moment.

Do spending
Spend quality time with your partner, children or pets, spend more time with people you love, make special dates like movie night picnic in your garden.  Spend time cooking together, going for walks, holding hands and hugging.  Spend less on material goods and shopping malls.

Do sharing
Share chores with those in your family, don’t do it all yourself.  Find a way to inspire the others to help you.  Get the family involved when deciding what fun things to do.  Share with people less privileged, take a sandwhich in the car on trips to give to the hungry man or woman begging at the traffic light.  Everyone needs a break.

Do decluttering
Getting rid of stuff while you have a bit of extra time on your hands is liberating.  It opens up the energy in your home which will be a great start to next year.

Do time out
Make sure you do things just for yourself.  This is your holiday too.  Put a “do not disturb” sign on your door while you read your book for an hour and drink a cup of hot milo or cold iced tea (the weather is so weird it could be either one).  Find someone to babysit now and then if you have small kids.

Do tolerance
Everyone being home at the same time for a month or more can sometimes get overwhelming.  Look at your home mates from a soul level and open your heart with compassion.  Let this be a month of peace, understanding and love.  That sounds cliched but I’m serious.

Do laughing
On a serious note, stop being so serious.  Have some fun and enjoy yourself.  Put music on while doing chores, dress up as a prince or princess and prance around the house letting everyone think you are a bit crazy.  Laughter spreads and makes us happy (watch this hilarious clip).  Be happy.  Do funny.

I will be taking a break from writing until the middle of January but will still consult a couple of times a week so don’t be a stranger.  Have a wonderful holiday.  I’ll miss you.

With love
Eve

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Creative Boredom :)

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boredom curiosityYesterday I had to go to SARS* to sort out some issue which has been going on for some months now.  I have spent about 9 hours there altogether and believe me they have not been the most exciting 9 hours I have spent.

This time I took a book with and some work but I couldn’t concentrate because they keep calling out numbers and I’m scared I’ll miss mine.

I decided instead of being bored I would do some people watching.  I also wrote down what I experienced as a story on watzapp to my children.  It was a funny story which included the people who work there and had me in stitches laughing at my childrens’ reactions.

Before I knew it I was finished.  The two hours I was there became something that was creative and fun instead of the normal time waster that it had been in the past.

Here is an excerpt from my watzapp story.

“Well I am finally here.  After many weeks of procrastinating.  Surprisingly when I arrived at 12:20ish there was no queue at all, I just walked in.  You can never tell with SARS.  After getting my ticket – number 384 – I sat down with time ahead to do whatever I wanted to do with these empty moments.  I unfortunately ate my snack in the first three minutes of being here so now I am officially snackless……

Getting uncomfortable in these airport seats I shift to the side, lifting my boot clad feet up on the row of empty chairs beside me.  The steel arm of the chair cuts into my back and I have to turn back to my original sitting position.

Just when I thought this place was unusually quiet, a loud drilling noise emanates from somewhere yonder.  Perhaps that is the room they use to force people to pay their taxes.

I regret not bringing more snacks…..

Finally I’m at the counter.  The machine won’t read my finger prints, something I had planned all along.  The lady picks fragments from my memory to be sure I am who I say I am.  She tells me I can’t use the papers I have brought to verify my address even through I received them from SARS at my home address.  This is a mystery to me…….”

Anyway, that’s all for now.

I hope you have some opportunities for fun this week.

With love
Eve

 

*SARS – South African Revenue Services

JOY and how to find s0me

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Joy  is hard to find when we focus on what went wrong in the past, what is wrong now or what will possibly go wrong in the future.

past present future

If we focus on what went wrong in our lives and keep that in the forefront of our minds, then we are living in the past and if it wasn’t a good past then why choose to live in it?   If the past was better than the present we can tend to live there too.  We must of course learn from our past mistakes and reminiscing isn’t a problem, as long as we don’t long for those times so much that we can’t live in the now.

If we focus on what is currently wrong in our lives then we are not seeing what is currently right in our lives.  This can cause great unhappiness (that sounds like an ancient proverb).

Seeing and enJOYing what’s right in our lives right now is the trick.

People need meaning in their lives as well.  Depression and addiction (just to name two) are prevalent if there is no meaning in a person’s life.

If you really can’t see much that’s right in your life then you need to create it.

Here are some ways:

  • Volunteer your help somewhere. When you give of yourself life becomes more meaningful.  (If you struggle with your health then volunteer once a month instead of every week).

dad and kid (2)

There are:

 

  • children who need help with reading or homework
  • elderly people or neighbours who are lonely
  • dogs that are left alone all day
  • people who can’t manage to do their shopping
  • sick people who need a visit to cheer them up
  • people who can’t manage to mow their lawn or do their washing
  • young parents you may know who would love a babysitter so that they can go out

Or….. how about a list from your senses to bring you some joy?

Write a list of all the things you like to do relating to your five senses, then choose one of them to do. Here’s my list with 3 examples of each…..

 

Sight Sound Smell Touch Taste
*A cloudy sky

*Nature

*Anything I can photograph

 

*music

*laughter

*inspiring talks

*flowers

*baking

*aromatherapy oils

*soft fluffy blankets

*purring cat

*holding hands

*ice cold water on a hot day

*chocolate

*miraculous juicy fruit (it’s amazing, it comes off a tree!)

 

  • pomelo

These are just a few of mine.  What are yours?

 Gratitude – focus on your blessings

  •  Write down five things every night that you are grateful for. When you notice how many things are good in your life you will start to see things differently.  If you struggle with this then start with the things you may take for granted such as “I have a blanket to cover me with” or “I have fresh water that comes out of a tap” .  Watch your life change when you start to notice what you DO have.  Ophrah Winfrey talks a lot about gratitude journals – here is a link to her short video.

Lastly, if we focus on what is going to go wrong in our lives we spend our time worrying and feeling anxious and how can that be enjoyable?  We can work towards something we want in the future, true, but spending all of our time worrying about it is soul destroying.  And can you really tell the future?  How do you know what’s going to happen?

I know I said “lastly” but this is important…… Loving and accepting ourselves and others is key to creating joy in our lives.  If we judge and hate ourselves, how are we going to love our lives?  If we hate and judge others, how can we have meaningful connection?

If you struggle to do this yourself, find someone who can help you.

Sending love

Eve

p.s. I’ve added a TED talk here called Cloudy With a Chance of Joy. It’s worth the watch.

 (Photos by Author)