I just wanted to write a little note about a neat little activity I have signed up for in case any of my readers may be interested in joining along. It involves strangers and love…hear me out!
I was introduced to this idea from a Facebook post that a friend of mine tagged me in. She and I are pen pals as well as being pals in real life. We both jumped at the chance to participate. That’s because it involves writing letters and I just love a good old letter writing binge.
I have posted before about the #Lovenotesfairy project that ended up sending me dozens and dozens of handwritten letters from all over Canada and the United States. This is one of the many truly wonderful ideas by Jennifer Belthoff who truly is one of our very own angels here on earth!
Well, this new activity is very much like that but it’s all about strangers. The idea is to write letters from August 1st to the 31st and leave them around in public places where strangers will find your little notes of love and encouragement.
We THINK a ridiculous number of thoughts per second with our sophisticated computer brains. This means that throughout the day, thoughts of just about anything can scan across the old noggin at lightning speed.
This, in and of itself, is a miraculous and wondrous thing that we are scarcely aware of as it is happening in real time. We quickly make an inventory of such grippers as: favorite striped socks are in the laundry so I have to pick another pair, we need bread, my student has to hand in his assignment today, and I have a dental appointment in two days at 4 PM.
In fact, coming up with thoughts is hardly ever a problem.
Most often, I write about taking time to let go of thoughts such as my post on the Insight Timer or when I write about letting things go in Two Monks.
Thoughts flow on their own
Thoughts, however, flow as quickly as water cascading over the falls and most of them just fall into oblivion. They get categorized in a sophisticated filing system in our brains where hopefully we can retrieve them when necessary. When the boss asks for the details from the lesson plans we’re presenting, we feel grateful that our internal logistics pull out the proper file and we can rhyme off in ‘education speak’ and answer with what we actually do remember from the situation.
The system is working as it should. We are said to have around 50,000 thoughts per day which makes it about 40 or so thoughts per minute according to this article from Huffpost.
What happens when I don’t think before I speak?
A few years ago, I was introduced to a fabulous little acronym that addresses a different kind of information retrieval. You may or may not be familiar with a different brain function known as: ‘I wish I hadn’t said that’; ‘Did I say that out loud?; or ‘What was I thinking?’
That function where our crazy little brains work on overdrive, we blurt out what needed to be filtered, and we immediately react with something akin to ‘Whoa! I wish I hadn’t said that!’
In comes the acronym: T.H.I.N.K
It’s super easy, (it does take practice) and it can really change your life if you use it.
It goes like this:
Friend: I’m thinking about starting a pole dancing scrabble club at the Legion.
Old Me: What?!!!
New Me: (Thinking to myself hmm….THINK…is it Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary, or Kind?)
When I can’t answer all of these questions in the affirmative…
New Me: “I’m sure you’ll succeed if you put your mind to it”.
There it is. A super simple filtering process that can save us all a LOT of trouble. We tend to offer far more advice than is solicited. When we sit back and allow others to do what they feel is right for them (and we just keep our mouths shut) we all win.
Who really is the expert?
There are literally hundreds of things that have caught on like wildflower, that the world would have originally scoffed at: ever heard of the lightbulb, the telephone, the microwave, online shopping? These are all things that were predicted to go nowhere. You can find out more about these kinds of items here or here.
Who are we to judge?
Last time I checked, I was not an expert on Pole Dancing (I know, hard to believe!), and quite frankly, anything that involves Scrabble could be a great idea! Next time you go off thinking you’re about to be an ‘expert’ maybe….
Do you have a friend that needs a bit of a boost? Could you see yourself sending out a little cheer on behalf of someone you know?
It’s getting harder and harder each year to eek out a living in this crazy changing world that we live in. This report from 2014 Workopolis reports that Canadians hold a job on average for only two to four years. Industries that we thought were iron-clad tickets to retirement, dry up and vanish in the blink of an eye. A lot of people in our society are finding themselves out in the cold a day late and a dollar short.
‘There’s nothing I can do about it’ we might say.
But is that really the truth? Is there really nothing we can do to help a friend along in life?
A friend of mine brought up this point a while ago on social media and I have been thinking an awful lot about it. And do you know what I found out?
All for one, and one for all!
Friends are with us
Our Friends Need Us to Cheer Them On
When our parents sent us off to our first jobs, or to University, we were all still under the delusion that we would get a fancy piece of paper, choose a career, work at said career, retire and drink fancy drinks and live out our retirement with sunshine on our faces and sand in our toes. That is, sadly, not the reality for a lot of people our age, and quite frankly, is nowhere close to the reality for those who are younger than we are (ahem…).
Our new reality is something completely different
We are bombarded every minute by advertisements, suggestions, and logos that lead us to a bevvy of sophisticated products. We see flashy sales techniques to get us to give over our hard earned cash (or just to troll our interests out of us so they can try again with a sleeker ad). Oh don’t tell me you thought all those ‘likes’ on Facebook were just because they wanted to count how many of your friends’ pics you liked?
The point here…if I could actually get to it…is: buy whatever your friends are selling.
If we aren’t buying from friends who are we buying from?
One quick google search will tell us that there are hundreds of articles written about home-based businesses and a large number of those are for selling products from home. If our friend has recently become an advocate of a health product and we happen to be feeling unhealthy and want a change, buy from the friend. We can all hit share and give a little testimonial about how great we think your friend is (if that’s what you think of course).
Let’s say a dear friend is selling scented candles and wants us to go to a selling party: accept the request. We know someone who is making jewelry and happen to love having bobbles to go with new outfits…we need to think about supporting her business instead of buying online or in a huge mega store. An acquaintance is selling trinkets as a charity event and a boost to their business: consider purchasing there instead of making another Alibaba purchase.
Better still, we may have a dear one who needs an extra cheer section for a play she’s putting on, a craft he makes from scratch, furniture that is uniquely designed. There are an incredible number of very creative and talented people out there who may (or may not) have a small business running from home and quite frankly they sell stuff that is a million times more interesting than 99% of what’s out there.
The new buy local is buy ‘friendal’
We are soon going to be living in a world where every town is a reflection of the next and the advent of a local store, the proverbial ‘mom-and-pop-store’, will be a distant memory. We need to help each other out.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret….
Our friends are not selling something because they like collecting money, doing paperwork, submitting tax receipts, and taking inventory. They are most likely selling a product because they need the extra income.
In no way is this a suggestion that we purchase beyond our means. We do not have to endorse every single person we know that has something for sale. We need to choose as discreetly as we would otherwise but when we have the option, we can actually make the world a better place, if we support those in our circle.
Because…we all need a little cheering section in our corner.
Do you think you could add more wonder and magic to each day? Are you finding it hard to break out of yourself and do new things?
As you know, my motto these days is to start each day knowing that something wonderful is about to happen. I love this outlook on life because it truly makes me feel that even in the hard times, it is easy to remember that good times are not far off. Searching for the good times is not hard for me. I have simply to think about the little wonders that creep into my day and it brings a smile to my face as I prepare to sleep each night.
I decided to put together a handy list of 31 Wonderful Things you can do to brighten up your month. By no means do I want you to feel that you have to follow along each day but I can assure you, I will be doing some of the following activities to spruce up my next 31 days.
Here they are:
I would be delighted if you wanted to follow along with me and share the ideas you’ve been adding to your day.
Let’s make it a great month together. And as always, thank you so much for tuning into my SOMETHING WONDERFUL blog!
Love Ingrid x
P.S. You don’t have to start your 31 Days of Wonder at the beginning of the month…why not start today!?
When I look up the word ‘Happy’ in the dictionary, this is what I found:
1. feeling or showing pleasure or contentment; 2. having a sense of confidnece in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation); 3. fortunate and convenient.
Happiness in the Age of Lightning-Speed-Everything
It seems every time you turn around, someone is gauging some new trend on whether or not it creates or negates happiness. We are perpetually on the lookout for products, apps, or fads that can increase of decrease our happiness quotient. Is all this talk about happiness making us feel more unhappy? Do we feel a lack because everyone else is talking about something we are not a part of?
I have been reading of late how ‘happiness’ as a life goal is replacing ‘success’. There is an interesting piece titled ‘Happiness In The Now Is The New Success Of The Future’ that addresses the issue. You don’t have to delve very far to find the topic discussed over and over again.
I get it, because we thought that freedom, promotion, opportunity, and early retirement were enough to lead us to believe we were having a quote-unquote “successful” life. We are learning that money, position, prestige, and power were never what our parents or our parents’ parents had hoped for us.
Our parents just wanted us to be healthy and happy
Now it seems like the bandwagon has gone off its wheel hubs and we have to join the next fad or take off to the nearest ashram to find happiness. Many of these articles and so called ‘self-help’ gurus don’t have a whole lot of advice on ‘how’ to build happiness into our daily lives.
The truth is, for me anyway, that finding happiness is right here at my very own fingertips. And just like anything else in this world, there is no shortcut answer. There is no flick of the wand to happiness. We cannot fast-track our way there in order to double-down on the happy factor #28 despite the claims in How To Get Happy Fast and similar articles.
Happiness comes one act at a time
If you are dedicated, willing, and open-hearted enough to keep doing the actions necessary, you may find that your heart feels contentment and satisfaction with how things are going for you.
10 Happy Things To Do Today:
Go for a walk:
Despite all the advertisements for this race or that new fitness fad, walking is all you need to do to stay fit, to build muscles, and to get those endorphins that make you feel so good.
Watching members of our community mull about and interact with the world opens you up to compassion and empathy for your fellow humans. People watching gets you out and about participating as a valuable member of a whole community. Plus let’s admit it, it’s fun watching people and imagining what they are up to and what adventures they’re off to.
Clean out a cupboard:
Clutter in and around our lives can cause stress. Start really small with just one part of a cupboard or closet. even one shelf at a time is ample to start the process of decluttering your life. Believe it or not, clutter does occupy your mind which causes needless stress. Plus it feel so great to have things organized. Give the things you no longer want to those who need and you will up your happy quotient even more.
Creating has the power to take your mind away from everyday worries and it releases feel good hormones. It uses a part of the brain that often is only used for solving every day problems and it thrives on the ‘new’. By creating we give the mind the opportunity to take a break from the low lying stresses we feel from our daily lives.
Connect with someone:
Ideally you want to meet up with someone but that is not always possible. Looking at someone through video messaging makes it possible to connect with others and to build relationships. It allows you to get out of yourself and build that empathy and compassion that are so great a boosting those feelings of happiness.
Laughing is a free dose of endorphins. Do it often, do it loudly, and do it with everyone you meet.
It is important to recognize the things that you think you have accomplished. Not everyone sees the efforts you put into something the same way that you see it. Only you know how many hours you worked on something, or how hard you had to work to have something turn out the way it did. This also means your treat can come from you. I do not mean that you need to give yourself a diamond tiara every single day. What I do mean is: don’t wait for someone else to recognize your efforts…recognize them on your own.
Spend time every day being completely quiet
Turn off technology:
Allot some time every day with no technological distractions. I know it’s hard to believe but we all managed just fine with quiet times when no one could get a hold of us. You can read about how I learned to be device free for parts of my day and how that lead to healing for me both physically and emotionally in Meditation Flowers.
Touch another being:
Many people live alone and are not able to get out but I encourage every one to have physical contact with a living being every day. The one thing they teach you when you are dealing with someone who has cancer is ‘touch the person’. The world tends to avoid touching people when they have illness even when there is NOTHING communicable about the person’s ailment. Hug, touch a hand, hold hands, sit beside the person. Hug, cuddle, and rub a pet if that is the being in question. Giving love has the power to produce a very large number of hormones in all of us.
Check out my handy dandy infographic to keep close at hand if you need to boost your ‘Happiness Quotient’.
The world definitely needs a focus on happiness; there is no doubt about that. I just happen to think it’s an inside job.
10 Happy Things are my SOMETHING WONDERFUL for today.