Use your thoughts for good and not evil

I saw this great post on FB this week, and it hit home for me, because it’s something I really believe in.Ordinary things

I think part of it is due to my mindfulness practice (which encourages noticing all the small things), but maybe more because I’ve found that it’s doing this that brings real happiness.

My belief is that you should have lots of things in your life that make you happy – all the small moments combined should bring you a sense of gratitude and satisfaction. And if they don’t then it’s probably time to look at why, and what you can do to change it.

Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows – actually from my experience it’s usually the opposite – but if you can focus on the small things that you love then it balances it all out.

For me personally the things that have made me happy this week are:

  • Going to the shops as a family and buying beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables for the week.  I’ve found a great fruit shop that sells the most beautiful fruit – it’s always such fantastic quality.  And things like that give me so much happiness.  I adore my fruit and vegetables and knowing I have a fridge full of the loveliest produce makes me really happy.
  • Nourishing my soul with classical music.  I work from home, so I have the freedom to listen to whatever I like to during the day.  And lately I’ve been listening to cello music.  It’s something Mr ISFS and I both have a passion for.  I just love having it on in the background as I work.
  • Books.  I’ve always been a huge bookworm since I could read.  Sometimes I find I get too busy with other things to read much, but it’s always such a joy to go back to it.  On Thursday during lunch I sat with my feet up, a cup of tea, my cello music playing, and a new book to read, and it was (to me) the idea of perfection.
  • Sharing my favourite takeout (noodles) with Mr ISFS.  This is something that we have always done – shared our favourite takeout together at least once a month.  We are trying to save for a house, so we are mostly budgeting very carefully, but once a month we splurge and get all our favourites – Kway Teow, Garlic Prawns, Special Fried Rice, and spring rolls.

and lastly

  • 12599343_960538727371424_1772379474_n(1)Valentine’s Day.  Today has a heightened meaning for me today, and it’s been a chance to realise how truly blessed I am.  I bought Mr ISFS a 1st edition copy of DeadPool (the comic), and he bought me a pair of amethyst earrings.  They have such special meaning for me as he picked them specially as they are my birthstone, and he knows how much I love them.  But the gifts are really only a very minor part of the day – the day is a reaffirmation for me of how much I love the life we have built together, and how much it means to me.

I am struggling with some personal issues at the moment (health related), but it’s focusing on these small things that makes my life full, and I realise how truly blessed I am.

Much love,
Meg

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Reach for a book and you touch the stars

Sometimes you can be lucky enough to find a book that changes you forever.

I’ve always been a huge reader – I love it.  Although these days I do tend to read more non-fiction than fiction.

However one book in particular that has stayed with me since I read it is “Kafka on the shore” by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

Some of the content was difficult to read at times (as in subject matter).  However it was so completely different, and utterly fascinating, that it is impossible to forget.

It’s also the first book that I have read that heavily featured a particular piece of music.

Piano Trio, Op. 97 (Archduke) by Beethoven

After finishing the book I felt compelled to find this piece of music, and listen to it.  And I am so glad I did.  It immediately became my favourite piece of classical music.

What books have you read that have changed your life?

A peaceful life

One of the things I feel truly blessed to have is a calm and peaceful life for my son and I.

I have strived to create a very relaxed and nurturing home environment for us, and I thought I would share some of my techniques for cultivating calm.

  • Avoid watching, or listening to, the news as much as possible.  See my earlier blog post here for more.
  • Listen to classical music.  Especially the “lighter” pieces.  This is my favourite radio station.
  • Lavender oil.  Not only is this fantastic essential oil relaxing, it also helps dispel negative energy.  Use it in an oil burner.  Sprinkle it on your pillow before bedtime.  Or wear it instead of perfume (to stay calm during the day).
  • Practice deep breathing.
  • Smile – even if you don’t initially feel like it.
  • Go for a walk everyday.  As you walk, use the opportunity to really notice your environment.  What can you see?  Hear?  Smell?
  • Practice meditation
  • Write out your intentions each morning.  Including the intention to be calm.
  • Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  • Drink tea, mindfully.

and my favourite, and I most highly recommend:

  • Avoid harshness.
    Harsh speech.  Harsh thoughts.  Harsh influences.
    Be mindful of what you exposure yourself to.  For example – music, books, movies…
    Are they adding to your feeling of calm and peace?

I must admit that I used to read a lot of horror and crime novels.

Until I read this enlightening blog post:

I won’t Kill Bill

“On a personal level, I question how I can claim to dedicate myself to a life of peace and nonviolence when I’m watching movies like Predator and Goodfellas on the weekends.”

The points in the blog post can also be extended beyond movies, to what other influences you expose yourself to.

Reading this blog post really opened my eyes.  And made me aware of how I felt after reading those types of books – depressed, anxious and jumpy.

Now I tend to stick to non-fiction books.  I usually spend my time reading to learn something, or improve myself.

Remember that peace generates peace.  By cultivating calm and peace within ourselves, we influence those around us , thereby making them feel more calm as well.

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