Thankful, creative, fun

Every Friday, Daily Creatives gathers 5 interesting things from around the web. This instalment was posted last week. If you are interested in these kind of things, head over and check it out. Don’t forget to sign up for the email list.

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Settle in and see what I found this week to inspire you! Enjoy.

The Thankful Tree

Emily Rose posted this on her Flickr feed, called “The Thankful Tree”.  Wonderful reminder at  Thanksgiving, but I would make one at any time of year. In fact, when the forsythia have set buds, (might be already here on the Coast), you can cut a bunch of twigs like this and the wonderful yellow flowers will open in the house. Maybe little tags of grateful in Spring colours need to be added to that?

washclothquartet1

My goodness. Makes me want to sit down and get knitting and replace every wash cloth I own! These are simply lovely. Free patterns on Tricksy, “Washcloth quartet“.

Knit Bag

A really great knitting bag which feeds the yarn through the big ring. The ball stays in the bottom of the bag and doesn’t roll all over the place, like normal.

Shells_Loreto

My treasures from Loreto, Baja California Sur. Alas, this is how I am remembering them this time. I didn’t want to add the extra hand carry weight on the way back and I’m running out of room in my house for another collection of shells.

80s_90s_Game

Awesome game, (well not really), but we had a blast playing it with all 8 of us in Loreto Bay. 4 adults who came of age during the late 80’s and early 90’s, (some of us still growing up), and 4 teens ranging from 13 to 16. What a hoot.

On the twelve day of grateful

  1. luck
  2. calm
  3. opportunity
  4. health
  5. social
  6. co-operation
  7. fun
  8. habit
  9. technology
  10. learning
  11. joy
  12. love

Here we are at the end of the song. What a great way to spend my days in Loreto Bay. I know that this is probably the best vacation I’ve ever had because I have cast everything about it in the glow of gratefulness. I would not have changed a thing, because it all served to teach me something important.

As we head down to San Jose Del Cabo to connect with my parents and squeeze in a few more days of fun, I turn my attention to love. I think love is at the centre for me. It all starts there. Even the act of being grateful for something, is born out of love.

For me, love is the strongest of emotions and grounds itself with an intense bond. Maybe some people cast love around with no conviction, I keep it in a more sacred place. But I’ve been a bit stingy with it, to be honest. A bit like Scrooge and his money. But like the old curmudgeon himself, this exercise in grateful has taught me something extremely important. These emotions multiply like rabbits when you recognize them. Give them a little cheer and watch them fly. They serve you well by just being released from their bonds.

And so it is with love at the fore that I enjoy these vacation days, and maybe I’ll give it a go everyday. I know for sure that life can beat you down sometimes. If you are fortified with love and other intense feelings of grateful, at least you stand a fighting chance. What better way to is there to live and thrive?

On the eleventh day of grateful

Is there a better way to start a New Year than to recognize and honour joy? Conveniently, there is an easy way to do that, with the new Disney Pixar movie called, “Inside Out”. I’ve been wanting to watch it since I first saw the trailers and I was not disappointed. I just loved it.

In fact, I was in tears the whole time, but hiding behind my glasses as I watched this movie with 7 other people, many of whom had seen it already. Needless to say, I will be watching this movie again, alone, when I can really dig in and watch with no distractions.

I think my sense of joy was lost somewhere inside me for big chunks of my life. She has not been as present as I would have liked, now as I look back. As I was watching the movie, I started to feel sad that maybe I had not experienced as much “joy” as other people had. (I know, that kind of thinking is part of my problem). But Pixar wrapped up the story with a great description of the importance of  “sadness”. (Maybe I am in the target audience age range for emotional intelligence?)

As I think about joy, for me, it is not easy to conjure up that unbridled happiness which I imagine joy to be. (Sure enough, that is a correct definition). Somehow, I’ve kind of shaved off the peaks in my emotions so that I can manage sadness and disappointment better. That is the literal trade off. A pretty harsh bargain, when you think about it.

But after last night, I feel like inviting joy back into my life with more regularity. At my command centre there has been too much democracy, too many equal positions amongst all my emotions. Time to let joy run the ship for awhile and then just go with it.

On the tenth day of grateful

As I watch the sun come up and stream into my window through the palm trees, there is a few moments to reflect on the the New Years Eve party we hosted last night. Through the friendly and outgoing personalities of my husband and brother in law, we invited 4 Germans from Hamburg and 2 fellow Canadians from Vancouver to a little gathering at our casita.

You would think that if you put a bunch of people in a room with very different backgrounds, there would be nothing to talk about. But not us. We love learning about new ideas, different histories and discussing topics of interest involving new stories. I think by sharing in this way, we learn not only about other people, but something new about ourselves. (And we tried to learn quite a few new German phrases).

Today, on the first day of 2016 I am grateful for my continued interest in learning. I think that is what attracts me to people now. The conversations and insights which interesting new relationships can bring into my day is wonderful. Every social interaction is a possibility to learn something. Then in turn apply it, in some small way to my life.

I used to believe that learning only took place in a formal institution with course outlines and teachers and tests. I resisted that setting. While I always performed OK, there was something fundamentally soul crushing in that social arrangement. With the help of technology, I can learn something as often as I desire.

This morning as I was opening my eyes, I wondered how can I have my first private thoughts of the day reflect a more wonderful and adventurous spirit? Instead of turning over a to do list in my mind, maybe a better thought would be – “what can I learn today?” In that phrase is the quest to seek understanding. I’m pretty certain my mind can learn something quite useful each day, if I give it the space and opportunity.

On the ninth day of grateful

I am so glad I thought of practising gratitude in this way while on holidays. It will be a great reminder of this trip, more so than the photo’s alone. The gift of this exercise comes from spending the time to think about what is happening here, (away from my regular routine), and frame it in gratitude. That is not how my mind works normally. Maybe I can come away from this experience with an awareness of moving more of my thoughts into a light of gratitude.

Today I am feeling especially grateful for technology. As we count down the last hours of 2015 tonight, we will be surrounded by family and new friends. It is the amazing technology of air travel that allows this kind of experience. Even the boat tour we did to Isla Coronado the other day, made possible by an outboard motor fixed to a panga. It is all these transportation technologies which make travel so readily possible. It has never been easier and with such relatively low cost.

At the same time, the technology to communicate has become a normal way of life for many of us. The ability to socialize in this new way and reach people from around the world is remarkable. I know there is a debate about how much this superpower should be used and if young children should participate, but to have the luxury of the tools, with easy access is amazing. I wonder if people debated the “health” of reading in the early days of publishing? Shouldn’t children be outside playing, rather than have their nose in a book? I might have been one of those bookworms as a child.

The creation of new technologies is what can make the world a better place. The people who are pioneering the future in this way are my version of heroes. History will thank them, as their work will leave a wonderful legacy.

What an amazing time to be alive. I am humbled and grateful to be part of the generation which grew up with limited access to digital technologies, but now can appreciate the widespread use of it.

On the eighth day of grateful

As I come down the home stretch of 2015, I am taking stock of how the year played out against my goals. This is a habit which my parents help me to form a very long time ago. We used to do family goal setting, in fact. While I think goal setting is important, I don’t think it is an end to itself, (set it and forget it).

I was listening to a fizzle podcast recently where the topic was “How to create your own definition of success.” (A great listen for your end of year personal review process). What struck me was the discussion around the habit or technique different people use or don’t use for tracking personal success. It turns out, some people don’t bother at all. They have no kind of plan and just let life kind of flow over them. There have been years like that for me, (particularly when my kids were young). Looking back, that decade is kind of a blur. Probably because raising kids and working full time is a grind that no-one can describe to you. I wonder if those years would have been different had I been in the habit of goal setting and personal review?

I have read a lot about habits and written about them here in TGLL, because I think it is fascinating.

From that research and learning I’ve tried to create, modify or otherwise manipulate my habits with varying degrees of success.

Creating a new habit is not as difficult as I thought. My exercise program of the last 10 months is a good example. I didn’t set goals, I devised a routine. So when people ask how much weight I’ve lost or what I’ve done, as if I had a secret or a magic bullet, it is hard to answer in a sentence. I committed myself to the practice, on a daily basis of more exercise than what I’ve done normally. I don’t check in on the progress with strict measurements, I can see and feel it, over time.

Changing an old habit is much more difficult than I thought. My big one this year was negative self talk. That gets me into so much trouble. First I spiral down into it and then I tend to try and draw others into the vortex. I’m not sure if other people will think I’ve done a good job on this over the year, but I sometimes am able to catch myself. When I look back at what I was thinking, or about to say, I am shocked. Who would say such a thing? Me. This is an area of ongoing renovation.

As I look out the window today and review the weather forecast, it looks a little cloudy and is supposed to be a bit more windy than yesterday, which was blazingly and wonderfully warm. So it is probably a good day to spend some quality time thinking about my habits and the year to come.

On the seventh day of grateful

Lucky number 7 which I am grateful for has to be fun. We are eight people travelling together and each having a strong sense of self interest. So it has been interesting to watch how everyone manages to have fun, within the context of the group.

Some might think that parents just dictate. In many families, I’m sure that is the case. Even when the kids were younger, we kind of did just what they might have preferred. But now, everyone has a say. Along with a vote, we all consider what others want and need.

Some people need to eat frequently. Otherwise fun comes a quick halt. The “hangry” personality is no joke. Even falsely accusing someone of this is a serious situation. I should know, got told I was hangry this morning and I most certainly was not. In fact, that conversation started to make me, plain old angry.

Some need a good night sleep, getting to bed early. Some need to sleep in. I need to exercise. All of us need some quiet time. We all make sure to get what we need so when we are together, we are fully present, ready to have fun.

I’ve been watching the kids, ours and others around us. They are able to launch themselves into the act of having fun at 100%+. There is no doubt or hesitation. No worries about what others will think. They just respond to what makes them feel good. This is so refreshing to see and I am inspired everyday.