Archive for August, 2011

August 30, 2011

What I Love… My Laughing Buddha

For the last couple of years I have been in search of a small Buddha to put on my desk as a reminder to be compassionate,  to love, and to be happy. I haven’t been able to find any that I fell in love with or in the size I wanted, but on Sunday, I managed to find the perfect one that I related to what I wanted in my life. He isn’t a sitting meditating Buddha, but an active, laughing Buddha. His belly sticks out as he grabs a breath of air and his mouth is open wide, laughing full of joy. This is what I want for myself.

I read an article yesterday that was about how our spaces can be a reflection of our personalities. It said that our organization shows our conscientious side or that if we have unique art and a wide  variety of books in our library we tend to be more open. I was so intrigued by the article, I added the book it was based off of to my library queue. The personality trait that made me laugh the most though was that they said those of us who show sayings and quotes in our spaces are neurotic, anxious and that we show these quotes as a way to soothe and tell ourselves it’s all right. I’m not sure I agree with this completely, but to a small extent I will admit that I can be. I tend to be anxious sometimes and when I look at the quotes that I have surrounding my desk they do put me at ease, but I also believe what I think expands into my life. I don’t mind little reminders like a laughing Buddha to remind me to have more love, compassion and joy in my life.

I know I don’t need these  quotes and sayings or a laughing Buddha in my space to remind me of my goals and what I want in my life, but they do make me smile and I will let them reflect into my life.

August 27, 2011

What I Love… Creating Something

My mind has been going  non-stop lately.  It even wakes me up at 3:30 am and doesn’t allow me to fall back to sleep. Thankfully, I managed to sleep in past 8 this  morning. I feel more normal now, but in order to attempt to get my mind to be quiet, I sat and listened to a podcast and made jewelry this afternoon. It was great to just tune out for an hour and make something, instead of worrying about everything that I need to do today, tomorrow, next week, this year, next year. I was right here, right now making something. It was wonderful. I have more projects to do, but I keep putting them off because I run out of time, but I realize how important it is to stop for a moment and get lost in something, right here, right now.

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August 25, 2011

What I Love… The Idea of Soulmates

I believe that we gravitate to like minded people or souls and that those people are messengers that challenge us, make us question our way of being and our beliefs in a way that we have no choice but to grow, transform, evolve. Although, I have previously struggled with the idea of soulmates, until recently. I thought of soulmates as being synonymous with “the one”, “the one” person we are supposed to marry and spend the rest of our lives with. How is it possible that there could only be “one” person out there for us when there are so many people in the world that we will never even meet? What if our one soulmate lived in another country and we never had the chance to meet. I always thought that would be tragic.  Although, I suppose the theory is that soulmates are meant to meet. My cousin challenged me recently by saying that it’s possible to have more than one soulmate in our lives. This opened up this whole new world of possibilities. I know I’ve had many soulmates in my life that got me to this moment here now.

Lately, I have been thinking about all my past relationships with friends, family, and ex-boyfriends. What kept me coming back to the idea of a soulmates was knowing I had grown in such a way that my life has changed forever because of the lessons I learned from those relationships. While I’m still me, I have changed, or should I say grown, in ways that it’s hard for me to even recognize myself from who I was six months ago after my last breakup. How could he not have been a soulmate?  I know I wanted to deny it for awhile, but the truth is any relationship I have in the future will be changed forever, from friends to family to lovers. There was a lot that I needed to learn, I hate to say that I was naive when it came to relationships, maybe even a little selfish, but I’m beginning to realize what’s important in a relationship for me and what’s not.

Thinking about this made me think of all the significant people in my life  that have challenged me, forced me to evolve, to open my eyes to new ways of living, being, existing. These really do encompass a broad range of people that are still in my life or once were in my life, my parents, my friends, my lovers. If we really do have many soulmates in our lives then it must also mean that some come and go quickly, while others stay in our lives year after year.

To all of those soulmates who have been there to help me grow, to all of those who have been on my journey with me, to all of those who have challenged me and forced me to grow, and to all of those that made me see my blind spots so that I could grow, thank you. To all of you in my life, thank you. I hope that I have helped you as much as you have helped me.

August 22, 2011

What I Love… Random Loves

It’s has been a random past couple of weeks and I have had many loves and no time to write about them, but here is a short synopsis of some of the things I have loved lately:

1. Listening to peoples’ conversations while out around town. The best line I heard was a domestic quarrel at the grocery store between two older gentlemen. I keep wondering if it was a father/son relationship, but will never know. The younger man asked about a bag of chips, “What kind do you like?” The older man’s response was, “Whatever kind you don’t like.” I couldn’t help but laugh a little and smile as I walked through the store.

2. Randomness. I had decided that I need more silly and random days in my life. Which has worked out in my favor. Lately, I have had to plan much of my life and weeks, because of all the traveling and family obligations in my life and I finally got a random weekend and it was everything that I had hoped for. I think changing our schedules and routines is healthy and eliminates monotony in our lives.

3. The sun. I just can’t get enough of it right now. I love summer and know I am pushing myself to my limits to enjoy it, but I also know that when it starts raining, I may not want to go outside nearly as much. Today, I managed to get to a park and lay in the sun for an hour. It was the best thing I did for myself all day.

4. Running. It has been great to get back and run after hurting my foot a few weeks ago. I realized today that I had missed being active when I went for a short run. It was fun to see all the neighbors out enjoying the weather.

5. Firemen. I really need to stop talking about how much I love them, but they are everywhere I go. I have even told my sister that when I go up to Seattle, I’m borrowing her 2 1/2 year old son to go do a firehouse tour. He is so stinking cute and personable, I know I will have a few opportunities to flirt with the firemen. I’ll just have to make sure they know he is my nephew.

6. Bubble tea. It is delicious and I can’t believe I have never tried it before.

7. Iced coffee. This is breaking my budget this summer! Thankfully my sister sent me a quick and easy way of making iced coffee in bulk, but I haven’t had time to actually make it. I should get on that.

8. Concerts at the Oregon Zoo. I had so much fun with my friends. I will be going back next year. Although, I will say I need to go back and see the animals, since I have not done that yet. Maybe in a few weeks when I finally have another day to myself.

9. Me time. I think we are all on the go and keep ourselves busy with friends and family, but it’s extremely important to take the time to take care of ourselves. Whether it’s taking an afternoon to do a spa day or read a good book, just remember to take care of yourself! You deserve it.

10. Beer Festivals in Portland. Enough said I think. Portland has a great variety.

11. Sitting on a patio with friends for happy hour after work.

12. Portland summers. While this has been a short one, it has been gorgeous and filled with great people.

13. Fedoras. Especially when it comes to hiding my big hair. I need a haircut.

14. BBQs

August 19, 2011

What I Love… The Happy Movie

I saw an incredible documentary this week which made me think a lot about my life, my relationships and my attitude.  This movie was called Happy. At the beginning it tells us that 50% of our happiness is determined by our genetics and that only 10% comes from things like our job and material goods. But what about the other 40%? Well those are things which we choose to do to make ourselves happy. That is a lot of happiness we create! What sorts of things did they recommend: exercise, socializing, trying new things, helping others and collaboration. Apparently, we are hard wired to enjoy collaboration as it was essential to ensure survival thousands of years ago.

After hearing these things, I realized when I am the most unhappy I am doing the same things over and over again, not getting out and socializing with people, and not exercising. These are such easy, small fixes. It’s easy to pick up the phone and call a friend to grab coffee. It’s easy to get up an extra half hour early to go for a run (in my case, not so easy sometimes, but I’m really starting to love mornings and will be incorporating that into my life). Most of these things are even free or can be inexpensive.

I was not too surprised that change could actually increases happiness. I think many of us are change averse, including me, even though, change can bring new challenges, new opportunities for growth, and new found passions and even friends. Change is not bad, it is good for us. I do know that I love trying new things because I can’t help but smile when I do and usually can laugh at myself if I’m not that great. The hard part for me is getting motivated to get out and try new things. Why is that I wonder? I think sometimes I’m afraid of failure or not being good at something, but I’m going to commit to myself to not allow that to hold me back when I want to do something. Nobody is awesome when they try something new for the first time. It’s all a learning process. I know that when I try new things, I am happier and I end up enjoying it.

This movie even gave me ideas on how I want to build stronger, healthier, happier relationships with my family and someday, in the future, whoever I end up with. I think instead of just spending time with them, which is always nice, I’m going to ensure that there is a little change involved to our routines, a little more collaborative projects, a little more fun and play. I’m already thinking about starting a blog with my sisters, something they have agreed to but we haven’t done just yet. I think there is a lot to say about having individual success, but I find it very rewarding when that success includes more people.

With winter just around the corner, I have this fear that when I start hibernating, as I always do once the winter brings the cold, cloudy rainy days, that I’m going to become unhappy and moody again. One of the most important lessons I learned this year, is that I can’t rely on others to make me happy. I bring my own happiness and that is why I have had the summer of my life. Not only did I surround myself with people that I love and things that I love, but I made sure to do the little things like laying in the sun, writing, or meditating. I might have done some of those alone, but they made me much happier and pleasant to be around.

One of my favorite quotes is “Funny thing about joy, is that you only really find it when you are too busy having fun to go looking for it.” I don’t know who said it, but it was on a birthday card my mother gave to me and I proudly display that card as a reminder that I create my happiness.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone – even if you are already happy. For more information about this movie, check out their website at: http://www.thehappymovie.com/film/

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August 17, 2011

What I Love…. Making Up Words

I have made up words since I can remember – mostly by accident. I always have two words in mind at the same time and when it finally comes out, it ends up becoming a single, spliced word. My newest creation was an accident of course. As I was staring at the ocean on my recent trip to the coast, it came to mind how massive and expansive the ocean was. I was in awe and wanted to express this thought with my road trip buddy, but instead of saying it was massive and expansive, I said instead, “It’s so mansive.”

I recently learned that there is a term for these types of words, thanks to my recent love of learning all about grammar. They are called pormanteaus words. The term is derived from a French word that refers to a suitcase that has two compartments. I can’t think of any other words that I’ve made up, but from now on instead of just laughing about them, I’m going to save them for later use.

Gold Dust Beach - The Ocean is Mansive

August 11, 2011

What I Love… My Retro Camera App

A few days ago I took a road trip to the Redwoods and it was amazing. While I will write another blog about it later, I do want to share what I loved down there was my camera phone. I’m not the best photographer by any means and I only had my phone to take pictures. I couldn’t capture the beauty of the Redwoods and the Oregon coast on our drive back, but I had fun letting my Retro Cam app on my phone try. I went a little wild, but I had so much fun playing with it. Here are some of my favorite images…

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August 4, 2011

What I Love… A Good Hug

I don’t think there is anything better than a great hug. I have met a few people who are amazing at hugging and I absolutely adore them for it! It occurred to me that I can be somewhat reserved, something I’m working on, but I think in the past it made it hard to hug people. I sometimes hold back, but I don’t want to! I think I’m afraid if I give a hug, it might be awkward for the other person.

Although, I will say I have come along way when it comes to hugging people. I remember my sophomore year in the dorms at the University of Utah, there were a couple guys who lived across the hall from us. One day, shortly after we had moved in, one of my roommates and I were talking to one of them. Before saying goodbye, he hugged us. At first my whole body tensed up – I was not used to hugging strangers or people I do not know very well. I wrapped my hands around him, and then I patted him on the back. He gave me a quizzical look and then proceeded to make fun of me – as he should have. He asked me if I had just patted his back and then said that wasn’t a real hug. I laugh about it now, because it’s true. That is not a real hug! Perhaps patting is okay, but combined with the awkward lean does not go very well. If that kind of a hug had words, I think it might scream “get me out of here.”

What is a real hug then? I give a lot of side hugs, I think because when I first greet people my hands are full. I think that’s a real hug though, but it’s not a great hug. I love the long hug with the little squeeze at the end; or the hug that, instead of a pat, has a loving, gentle back rub; or the hugs that last just a second or two longer than expected.  There is something about the unexpectedness of a long hug that catches me off guard. Sometimes I wonder if that person really needs a hug so at that point I know to throw in squeeze, just in case she does. Or perhaps they just really love hugging people and in that case, I love that about them.

To compare myself now to the girl I was in college is shocking, but now it is my goal to become a great hugger. It does seem silly, but a hug can change a person’s day.

This video makes my day brighter whenever I am sad, some of you may have already seen it, but it just goes to show how hugs connect people and can put a smile on someone’s face and I love it for those very reasons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN8CKwdosjE

A hug can make a person’s heart grow bigger. I believe it with all mine.

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August 1, 2011

What I Love… Color

Last November my mom came to visit me in Portland. Of course, what always ends up happening whenever I see her is that we go shopping.  I  love shopping, this is not new, but something happened on this particular shopping trip that  has stuck with me. At one of the stores we were at, I ended up picking out all neutral colored clothing: a gray sweater, gray and white plaid pajama bottoms, and a gray under-tee. Everything was gray. There was a moment when I realized that everything I was purchasing was gray, but I just thought it was coincidence. As I was checking out, the store clerk asked, “Are you afraid of color?” I can’t remember what else he said, but I remember being angry. “No,” was my answer. A short, simple and irritated response.

At first I didn’t know why I was angry. Sometimes, I have trouble determining what exactly made me angry. In that moment I had directed that anger at the store clerk. “How dare he say that? He was being pompous,” I remember thinking. Really, that was the word that came to my mind when he had said it. I felt that he was talking down to me and being snide. He may or may not have been, that’s just the story I told myself. After the initial anger wore off, I had to ask myself, why was I angry? I know that when I react out of anger there is always deeper meaning behind it.  I believe anger is an effect of deeper emotions that we are repressing. If we get to the root of that anger, it dissipates. I tend to ignore the cause and just shrug it off, but this was the beginning of many important lessons for me – it set in motion a chain reaction of realizations that have taken months to understand and even learn. Instead of shrugging it off, I had to get to the root of why I was angry and it might not have been until the past few weeks that I actually understood why.

I love color, I always have. Growing up, purple was my favorite color, then blue, and it was always changing. At some point, I think I just stopped thinking about it though. Somewhere along my teens, I started wearing gray and black. In college, I branched out and wore a lot of pinks and reds, but I would come in and out of phases where all I purchased were neutral toned clothing. Neutral tones are easy, they go with a lot of things. Even my jewelry was simple, either silver or gold, mostly silver hoops, because they go with almost anything. I was a broke college student and needed to maximize what accessories I did buy, but why did I carry that feeling with me? I think it goes back to being able to blend in easily. I don’t like to be noticed and feel self conscious when I am, which is really a ridiculous feeling, because people on average just walking down the street may see me, register me, but will eventually forget. The human brain only has so much capacity to recognize and store transient data, but I carried that feeling of wanting to hide from my childhood. I’m starting not to care anymore, but it was one of those “ah-ha” moments for me, when I realized that I even do it with my emotions: I neutralize my emotions. How boring is that! Let me tell you, it’s incredibly boring! It’s not that I don’t feel my emotions, I just don’t let them out and over time, these emotions kept building up as a form of anxiety and I felt trapped sometimes, until now.

A few weeks ago, I bought a gorgeous light green ring that I matched with my favorite dark plum finger nail polish and it was that moment how much I realized I do love color. I couldn’t stop staring at the combination and thinking about all the different ways I could replicate it. Then I bought this dress that is gorgeous, blue and orange. Two opposite colors, but when paired together, I love it. Is it just coincidence that I am now loving color and that I am now starting to own my emotions? Maybe, but I do think color can be a representation of emotion and I think it all has to do with this realization that I haven’t been myself for a long time. I have been lost for much longer than I had even wanted to admit and I was working incredibly hard to be someone I was not for years, seeking acceptance, love, and happiness from others. I had something really great recently and I lost it. I think that it was in losing it was the final push for me to address myself and get to know be better. I know it’s gone forever this thing that I lost, but I also know why it’s gone now – I can’t expect someone else to accept me, love me, and make me happy, when I wasn’t able to do that for myself. I believe what we create for ourselves expands to those around us and my hope is that these lessons I learn now will expand into my life and those around me. In losing myself, I have found pieces of me that I’d forgotten about.  I know that whatever happens along this journey is going to be great, because of this. Sometimes, we all need to get a little lost to find ourselves.

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