Browsing Tag:

happiness

Reasons for living: looking for the beauty in a messy world

looking-for-the-beauty

 

I’ve been feeling haunted lately. Overwhelmed by the frequent visits of the ghosts of anxiety and depression.

 

I’ve unlatched the windows and left the doors wide open. I’ve welcomed them in and made them tea. We’ve curled up on the couch together and I’ve let them talk me into the same old habits.

 

The moping. The dreading. The hiding.


 

I have always liked the quote by Rumi…

 

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

 

In this bittersweet world of heartbreak, delight, suffering and awe, finding this balance becomes a matter of survival.

 

I need to hold on to the sweet, the good, the lovely and the joyful. These things are like a life raft, the only barrier between me and the freezing waters below.

I must let go of the bitter, the sad, the unfair and the awful. Because holding them too long scorches my hands, blinds my sight and cripples my whole being.

 

It sometimes seems cruel to me that we were created with such inquisitive minds, yet left with so many unanswered and unanswerable questions.

 

I so often wonder why… but I am old enough to know now that there are somethings we don’t know.

Perhaps everything doesn’t happen for reason. Maybe some things just happen.

 

So as I’m wrestling with my confusion and trying to make sense of the mess I see around me, I have decided that I will refuse to let the darkness win. I won’t be overcome by sadness, emptiness or numbness.

 

Right now, I am choosing to live.  I am searching for beauty in the midst of this messy world, in the middle of my messy life and here’s why I think you should too…

 

Reasons to live:

 

One.

When you hold someone you love so much that you cannot help but squeeze them tightly. Willing them to never let you go. And that precious feeling of realising that they are squeezing you right back.

 

Two.

Sitting outside in the summer with clear, blue skies above you. The sun warming your back and penetrating its warmth deep down into your soul.

 

Three.

Going to the beach and feeling the salt cling to your skin. The way it leaves your hair matted and lingers on your tongue. The sand that squishes in between your toes, gathers in your towel and spreads absolutely everywhere.

 

Four.

Jumping into a bed covered with freshly washed sheets. So crisp and clean you feel like royalty.

 

Five.

Biting into a soft dinner roll that is still warm from being in the oven. Spreading butter lavishly across the bread and watching as it sinks in beautifully.

 

Six.

Staying outside to watch the dusk melt a glorious sunset into the dark night sky.

 

Seven.

Getting dressed up to go somewhere fancy. Feeling like a million dollars.

 

Seven.

Watching a delicate butterfly dancing lightly on the breeze.

 

Eight.

That fluttery, stomach-sinking feeling of talking to someone you like very much.

 

Nine.

When it’s cool in the winter and you can see your breath billow around you like smoke from a dragon.

 

Ten.

When you share a special smile with someone that only the two of you understand.

 

Eleven.

That floopy feeling you get when drinking cocktails on an empty stomach.

 

Twelve.

Bagels that are toasted, smeared with thick layers of cream cheese and boysenberry jam.

 

Thirteen.

Thawing out your fingers beside the fire after braving the icy wind outside.

 

Fourteen.

Napping in the afternoon and waking up feeling all cozy and yummy.

 

Fifteen.

Finding a cafe that makes a perfect cup of coffee. Inhaling the soothing scent and buzzing when the caffeine finally wakes you up.

 

Sixteen.

The satisfaction of eating something you grew all by yourself in your garden.

 

Seventeen.

Back rubs and side hugs.

 

Eighteen.

Coming home after a very long day and kicking your shoes off your tired feet. Putting on comfy slippers that melt beneath each step.

 

Nineteen.

Watching a thunderstorm roll in. Feeling the rumble of thunder echo in your chest. That violent terror that shakes you with every bolt of lightening.

 

Twenty.

Being out in the middle of nowhere on a crisp night and seeing millions of stars twinkling high above you.

 

Twenty one.

Finding that deliciously soft spot of fur behind a dog’s ears.

 

Twenty two.

Toasting marshmallows over a campfire so that they blister and crisp perfectly on the outside while remaining gooey through the centre.

 

Twenty three.

Fresh tomatoes that carry an earthy scent. Rosy-red cheeked and sweet to eat.

 

Twenty four.

Kisses that almost stop time. Making you forget where and who you are for a teensy tiny second.

 

Twenty five.

The fresh start of a new day, a new month and a new year. A blank page full of possibilities.

 

looking for beauty, life is beautiful, finding happiness, how to be happier, looking for the good, loving life, appreciating beauty, reasons for living, encouragement,

 

And on and on I go, counting my blessings and remembering the reasons for living. Remembering all the wonderful moments sprinkled throughout the mundane in my every day.

 

This world is vast.

 

It stretches on further than our minds can grasp.

There is so much to explore, so much to experience, so much to beauty we have yet to see.

 

I know that the bitter is very real. Burning our throats as it goes down. Pulling the curtains and blocking the sunlight. Turning our whole world upside down.

 

But let us not forget the sweet. Let us not become numb to its gentle caress. It is the sweet that makes life worth living.


 

There are so many resolutions we could make this year. So many promises to ourselves and to others.

But for me, there is only one resolution I will be making.

 

To search wholeheartedly for beauty in my everyday life.

 

To shut the door on anxiety and depression. To seek help when I need it and give myself grace in abundance.

To refuse to cling onto the bitter but instead, to remember the sweet.

 

When wishing for the weekend becomes a way of life

Wednesdays are the hardest day of the week for me. Mondays tend to get a bad rap but I am not convinced they are really so bad.

 

On Monday I feel refreshed after having two days off. I usually have had more than eight hours sleep the night before, my feet aren’t aching from being stood on all day and most often, I still have the enthusiasm to pack a decent lunch.

 

But come Wednesday, I’ve got two days worth of dishes piling up in the sink, clothes strewn all over the floor and I can hardly keep my eyes open when I first wake up.

 

It takes every ounce of willpower I have to muster the strength to get out of bed.

 

On Wednesdays I always end up questioning what I am doing with my life. I am always especially critical of myself. And I always find myself beginning to long for the weekend.


 

That’s the way it goes.

 

We spend the weekdays longing for the weekend and we spend the weekend wishing the weekdays wouldn’t come too soon.

 

In my family we have a special term for that melancholy, Sunday night feeling. ‘Sundaytitis’ was the simultaneous feeling of contentment from a weekend of rest and sadness knowing that tomorrow work would begin again.

 

The truth is, I spend 5/7 days each week wishing my life away. Longing for the rest, joy and fullness I feel on the weekend.

 

But I don’t just do this with weekdays and Wednesdays either, I’m guilty of doing it with whole seasons of my life.

 

I constantly find myself wishing I could jump past the boring, stressful and painful parts of life and skip to the good bits. I want to fast forward. I want every day to feel like the weekend, like the first day of summer, like the beginning of a holiday.


 

Some days I feel the tears of frustration well up in my eyes because the reality is, we can’t fast forward. There is no skipping to the highlights.

 

We can’t avoid the Wednesdays, the crappy days and the just-plain-unfair-for-no-particular-reason days.

 

To get enjoy all of the wonderful times we must live through the bleak times as well.

 

Life is this infuriating balance of dull and beautiful, dark and light, work and rest. We need the contrast for completeness. We need the variety to keep up our momentum.

 

I feel this becomes apparently clear as the days are getting longer and the air is getting warmer.

 

Summer is romancing us with lavish sunshine and an abundance of blooms. It’s sweet and makes my soul happy but I know eventually I will tire of the relentless heat.  

Soon the humidity will feel overwhelming and once again I’ll be longing for the coolness of winter.

 

We think winter is boring and cold. We are stuck inside and it gets dark far too early and getting out of bed is the worst torture known to man. But in reality, winter is a blessing.

 

A break from the play-filled summer months. A time for the leaves to die off and seeds to burrow down into the soil.

 

A necessary pause in the middle of the year to slow us down as we glide closer and closer to Christmas.

 

Wednesdays are the same. Smack bang in the middle. A chance to pause and catch our breaths.

 

wishing for the weekend, longing for the next big thing, dreaming, longing, hopeless romantic, feeling lost, dissatisfaction, living intentionally,

 

Something my Granny always says is that getting old happens much faster than you could imagine. She often remarks that one day I’ll wake up and suddenly be her age wondering where my whole life went.

 

And every time she says this, I will smile and nod at her just like she did to her grandmother.

 

But I know she is right.

 

Time is no friend of the young.

 

I see the wrinkles appearing already. They start at the corner of your eyes, just when you smile and eventually the creases become permanent, etching outwards towards the tips of your ears.

 

Our time is so very precious. I don’t want to wish it away. I don’t want to get so caught up in longing for the next big thing that I miss what is right in front of me.

 

The wonder in every day. The delight in simply being alive. The gift of another day on this planet.

 

I want to do my best to make every day special. To make every day count. To feel I have participated in a worthy exchange; a day of my life for the laughter, love, and beauty shared.

 

This isn’t easy to do, given how hectic and complicated our lives get. I think it is a spiritual practice, something that takes discipline and a sense of gratitude.

 

An awareness of those elusive, divine moments that are sprinkled throughout every day. If we blink we might miss them, so we have to practice keeping our eyes and our hearts open and receptive to them.


 

Today might be dull. It might be dreary, rainy, slow or somber. But it is a day of your life that you will never get back.

 

So make it count. Search for the goodness, hope for more, keep gratitude at the centre of who you are.

 

Before you know it, you’ll be seventy five telling your grand daughter the very same thing.

P.S. If you are looking for a really excellent movie that focuses on the same idea as this post then check out ‘About Time.’ It’s one of my favourites!