I love to write lists, sum-ups, goals (not resolutions) – I just like to write, yes :)) And usually this period around the new year start is a typical time when even those who don’t like to write, find their pens and papers, write lists of what was accomplished in the leaving year (or post them on social media), and then some even get to writing down the resolutions for the new year too.
A lover to write, I usually would gladly join the common listing fever. However, this time I opted out. I wrote down some wishes for myself in this new year (no resolutions, I don’t like the idea of them. Whenever I think “a resolution”, I feel like it’s too hard and kinda setting up for failure. I find that setting goals or making wishes is a much kinder approach :)). I didn’t do the sum-up of the leaving year. I looked back at it and thanked for everything it brought. But I felt that sharing the sum-up would be interesting to no one, not even myself 🙂
But there is one way to look back at year 2019 that I like. As I went through some of my old photos, I noticed there was much of one particular color in them. Of course, it was pink (surprise surprise). So this is what I want to do: to review 2019 in color-themed photos. One year in one color.
Some time ago I got inspired by the photos on a site for free photo borrowing (a blogging friend of mine, Life is now, shared some links in her post). Well, what I mean by “inspired” is that I saw them and understood that I stand a long long way from them. But I want to be there too.
Still, I am glad that I have learnt the difference between envy and inspiration. They seem to have the same root – a feeling like “I want that too”. The difference is that envy adds “but I can’t”, while inspiration says “I can. I just have to work on it”. There is a great book which helped me realize this, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
So, been inspired by those photos, I decided to give myself a challenge. One photo a day. That must be easy. Of course, it will start with some days with no photos, and some days with plenty. But somewhere it must start.
And I thought of sharing some. Not to see the progress, but just so. To share. Today, as I was going through the recent images, picking some to share, I saw this pic of a book page with a quote: “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his own feet”. And I realized that a challenge of collecting images of my immediate world is in the vein with the philosophy of growing happiness under my own feet. Start noticing the simple beauty around you – and there is a feeling of gratitude and happiness in the heart.
Wishing you all a nice spot where you can plant and grow your own happiness! 🙂
Monday night I arrived home from my favorite dance event – Croatian Summer Salsa Festival. Held in the fantastic town of Rovinj which has stolen my heart from the very first sight, four years ago. Two weeks I have spent dancing, meeting people and enjoying life.
There has been so much enjoying that at times I wanted to throw my arms into the air and shout on the top of my lungs. The first time I enter the sea and it catches me in its arms like a lover, carrying me and stroking my skin. The moment I share a meal in the place from the last year, and the waiter recognizes us, laughs and brings schnapps on the house. The moment we dance and sing alone to “One love” reggae while the sun is going down over our last pool party. And all those moments I meet old friends, new friends – and then again say good-bye to them. I would come home at 6am at the sunrise and could not sleep, my heart overflowing with the emotions and gratitude. Love and gratitude have been the air I breathe in and out.
I never expect great revelations from these two weeks as I go just for fun, chill, dance and swimming. And who would say that partying all day and all night, dancing at the beach, in the pool and on the streets, could be a source of any spiritual experience! 🙂 But here I am, full of happy memories and insights. And I want to share them with you. The lessons the life was teaching me on the dancefloor (and around it).
I am a firm believer that the art of life is created by small steps. Small habits, small adjustments. I have never been a fan of resolutions like “From Monday on I start a new life”, but advocated for the small changes one can make – first as an experiment – in order to change one’s quality of life.
I believe in the health and happiness that start from the inside out – from our mind and soul. I have tried to set big goals for myself, like meditating for 20 minutes every day, but I struggled to keep it as a daily routine. However, the small practices seem to stick with me. Today I want to share those that work for me.
On our short trip to Rome we managed to catch several days of rain. I considered us really unlucky on that trip – but as I think again, maybe we were lucky? Because we could get the views that are quite seldom for this city. And catch some beauty just before it faded away. It was everywhere: in the dark stormy skies with seldom rays of sun, in the reflections on the wet pavement, in the sudden rainbow which disappeared as fast as it popped, in the raindrops on the cafe tables that got carried away just in a minute after I took that shot. Isn’t it amazing that even such a tourist misfortune as rain can teach us a lesson of looking closely and spotting beauty – because it can be gone so fast?
In the solitude of the laboratory a researcher raises her head from the microscope, eyes looking for the answer. The solemn voice in the background says: “Since the beginning of the ages we have asked the same question…What are we gonna have for dinner?” This is a Norwegian tv commercial advertising a series of readymade meals in the local food store. Funny but true. In Norway the question we ask ourselves and each other the most is this: what shall we have for dinner? A luxury problem, as they say it in Norwegian. But jokes aside, what is the most important question in our lives?
Since the beginning of ages we have asked ourselves the same question… Let me propose my version. We have asked ourselves about what it means to live a good life. What does it take to be happy? Plato starts his dialogues with the conversation of Socrates about what virtue is. Because, let’s agree, a good life is not only good food and travel, but it has also a moral bit. That old idea that you cannot be happy by being bad. That ethics is in the base of the happiness. In my eyes, the philosophers of Ancient Greece were at the core of the most important question. Talking about what is ethics, aesthetics, what is noble and what is beautiful. Too sad that in ages to come the philosophy became an intellectual game, with so much logics and theories and so little guidance about the most important question in life.
The snow has swept across Europe causing troubles and wonders. Paris looks so beautiful in the snow, and, as it doesn’t happen often there, it seems that everyone took a day off to go to the park, make a snowman, take a photo and post it on Instagram. Snow has fallen on the deserted beaches of Barcelona and has created chaos in the north of Catalonia. It was a protagonist on the Catalan news last night. Also in Moscow the extreme volumes of snow created problems for the traffic. As we sit here in our Norwegian homes and watch all these breaking news on tv, I wonder: when will they come here and film our snow?
I always make sure to walk through the flower market on my way from work. It is there even in the late evening hours, flowers keeping strong in the cold. Today I haven’t seen the usual orchids, and those red and pink beauties, today there were small fir-trees and wreaths with pinecones. Their message was clear: November has moved out, December is now in. At this very moment the church bells chimed through the square, making everything feel like a cozy Scandinavian fairytale. And I was thankful that I didn’t plug headphones in my ears like I usually do.
The Christmas lights hang across the street, and every time there is someone reaching for his phone to snap a picture. Christmas music sounds from the shops, and I think: “Nice try to make it all look cozy and nice. When it is biting cold, and the streets are icy. And the dark hours are more than the light ones”. Then I hear a kid passing by talking joyfully about “the yummy pancakes”. In that moment I envy that kid’s energy. Where do they take it in this dark period? I usually never have this feeling – but now I would like to see the world with the kid’s eyes. No Monday blues, no winter blues, no knowledge about melatonin and serotonin and their effect on our mood, no longing for another place I have seen in December, that was full of sunlight and singing parrots. Just eyes wide open, with the reflection of the Christmas lights in them, and touching the Christmas tree set up in front of the church – which must appear just the size of that church in his eyes. Not afraid of the ice on the streets, but sliding cheerfully on it. And not thinking about the distant sunny place – just living in the moment.
Why I am so afraid to feel my negative emotions? Why when I feel despair or anxiety rising up do I want to run and hide, to distract myself, to do anything but avoid feeling what I feel? I am not a good runner in sports, but I am a very good runner from my fears. Isn’t it generally a human condition? We try to stop ourselves from feeling the way we consider negative. But what if we stop stopping – and start exploring?
Feeling is healing, I have recently heard in a yin yoga class. And I loved that thought. But I am so good in suppressing the feelings I don’t like – even though I consider myself very self-conscientious and in touch with my inner life. But it shows in situations where I face really uncomfortable emotions that I have no interest for self-inquiry. I just would love to switch the channel and be in a totally different state. As much as I respect Tony Robbins and all that philosophy of quantum leaps and switching states, I want to answer to that call for facing my emotion. I feel that it can bring me closer to my true self.