A very wise friend of ours, who is always there for everyone and is known for his ability to give a fresh, unbiased perspective on any problem, is himself somewhat of a tortured soul on occasion. He would never tell any of us the extent of it, but what is so admirable about him is that he is smart, mature, and healthy enough to know that feeling down is ok as long as you do something about it. So he’ll see a counsellor, or change something about his life he knows is not right for him, or make an effort to lighten his own load. And it helps him, I can see it.

I have so much respect for this guy, because as much as he might doubt it at times, he’s got it all together. And having it all together, in my opinion, is about acknowledging that in life, you won’t always have it all together. There are times that absolutely suck, when you feel like you’re not doing things right. So instead of feeling sorry for yourself, do something about it. It won’t fix things overnight, of course, but it will over time. And while you’re waiting, you at least have the feeling that you’ve got some control.

This friend of ours (who I hope doesn’t mind that I referenced him in our blog) was advised by a counsellor to take 20 minutes out of his day, no matter what he was doing or where he was, for self-reflection. I don’t think it mattered what he thought about, but just 20 minutes to remove himself from everything and just be… it seems important. It seems like something we should all do for ourselves.

 

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Now for me, it’s not such a priority since I’m often alone, often lost in my own thoughts. I think that’s my problem, that I should instead take 20 minutes out of every day to reflect on others. Or what I should do for them, not for myself.

The message I take from our friend’s experience is that life can be immensely challenging, but it’s not impossible. And that I should do everything I can to make my life the way I know it should be.

-Coco

Today, at the delightful hour of 6:15am, I was doing my usual weekday morning boot camp at a park near our house. My sister and I exercise from 6:00-7:00am every day with a group of about 20 ladies and George, our ex-military, future law-student robot of a trainer. It’s tough to wake up that early and even tougher to do all the running and sit-ups and squats, but there’s something about the air at that time of day that makes it bearable.

 

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But back to this morning. As we completed a warm-up jog and began to stretch, George noticed a small, acid-green caterpillar crawling towards his shoe, which just so happened to be an identical colour to this tiny wriggling thing. He laughed when someone pointed out this similarity, but warned us that if no one moved the caterpillar, he was likely to be squashed by someone’s New Balanced heel once we started our sprints. 

 

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We all grinned as one of the more outgoing women bounded forward, found a leaf on the ground, and attempted to coax the stubborn little creepy-crawly onto her makeshift raft and out of harm’s way. After a few fruitless tries, Julie resorted to a quick sweep of the hand, forcing the caterpillar onto the leaf. She then moved him to a safer patch of grass, and we went on with our morning routine.

 

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As I stretched, though, I started thinking about the caterpillar and what he must have felt about the whole situation. There he was, minding his own business, perhaps even enjoying a morning jog (ish) himself, and suddenly he finds himself miles from where he thought he’d be. It probably took him the better part of a day to get to where he really wanted to go.

 

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He fought the change in his circumstances as much as he could, but in the end he was no match for a huge and determined human hand. What he didn’t know, however, what he couldn’t have known, is what that inconvenience meant. Sure, he was derailed from his original path. That derailment, far from being frivolous or annoying, was necessary to his survival.

And before you think I’ve gone totally crazypants, I will tell you that I realized, as I imagined a disgruntled, nagging Mrs. Caterpillar, angry that her tardy husband’s supper was getting cold, why that caterpillar had such an effect on me. That caterpillar is me. He’s all of us. 

I know that in the next few years, there will be times when we all wonder to ourselves, “Where the hell am I, and what’s this leaf doing here?” But when that happens, we must remember that there are things out there in the world that we are just too small to understand. When our plans fail, or change, or don’t turn out to be as great as we’d expected, there is a reason. 

 

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So I imagine now that Mr. Caterpillar came home to his wife, late and tired but happy, kissed her on the fuzzy cheek, and presented her with a brand-new leafy snack. And I think when he crawled into his little caterpillar bed, he realized that despite all that had happened today, he was still intact and content and satisfied with his life. (I imagine him to be a rather successful caterpillar– perhaps he is a doctor, or a lawyer. Though that does make me hope he didn’t miss an appointment or court date)

And it gives me hope, just a little bit of hope, that somehow, somewhere, there’s a (figurative) lady in a track suit rushing to save me.

-Coco

ways to feel happier

April 29, 2009

Feeling a little blah, blerg or yuck? Well, summer is just around the corner and life is about to get a little brighter! We found this list of easy ways to find the sunny side of the street, even on the worse of days…

Simple Pleasures

Once something becomes familiar, we stop paying attention to it – even if it’s pleasurable. Ever had a piece of chocolate that tasted gorgeous, but then you didn’t notice the rest of the bar disappearing down your throat? Start making a note of the simple things that bring you pleasure as you notice them. This way, you heighten the experience and focus on the positive feelings they inspire.

Yellow Happiness

Random Kindness

Positive psychologists have found that one of the most effective strategies to lift people from depression is for them to help others. As social beings, we’re hardwired to get a reward of feelgood hormones in return for a positive act towards others. It’s easy to forget this in the day-to-day chaos of life, but if you set yourself the goal of performing an act of random kindness for the benefit of a stranger, it will leave you feeling better about yourself for hours.

Count Chimneys

It sounds odd, but it’s harder to feel unhappy while you’re looking up. Obviously, don’t do this when there’s a danger you could fall down a manhole, but otherwise give yourself an incentive to look up. There’s a reason for the saying “you’re looking down” when someone seems unhappy. Try it – and things will really look up.

Sky For Two
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love, actually

April 25, 2009

 

… when they make you happier every day than you would be without them …

 

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 … when they consider your needs in considering their own …

 

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… when they make you want to be a better person and support you in trying to make that happen …

 

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… when they accept you and admire you for who you are …

 

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… when you have that moment of thinking, ‘I cannot imagine being with anyone else, because this person fits my life and who I am so well’…

 

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That’s love.

 

30 Days of Fab

March 30, 2009

This month, the meninas are seizing the day!

Nuxa found a list of 100 things to do when you’re upset, and we spent a few minutes (procrastinating essays, of course) looking through it yesterday. It occurred to us that everything on the list was unusual and not something we’d normally think of doing, so we decided to narrow the list down to 30 and spend the next 30 days doing crazy things together.

Next year, instead of living in the same house, we’ll be living exactly 24 meters from each other. Even though not much will change, it still feels a bit like the end of an era and this seemed like the perfect bonding project.

 

 

We’ll post every day about the fun things we did on our list, in the hopes that you (our few fabulous readers!) will be able to get some vicarious carpe diem-ishness and amusement from it.

Since this week is a swamp of essays, tests, responses, play-writing, etc etc etc, we’re starting with the lower-maintenance ideas. Today is…

 

the_blue_strawphoto from lasvedesina


#17 – Drink through a straw all day. If you get your hands on a straw that matches your outfit, so much the better.

hope

March 27, 2009

“Some people think it’s holding on that makes one strong–

 

remarkable

 

 

sometimes it’s letting go.”

– Anonymous