Tag Archives: happiness

Solar-powered – a poem by Anna Wawrzyniak

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We are powered by the sun
Yes, humans are solar-powered
And if you don’t believe
look at green grass we lie down on
the fruit that ripen for us
the holidays we take to recharge
the pets we walk in parks
and the strangers we meet when we’re in a good mood
Vitamin D doesn’t grow on trees
We are solar-powered
  

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Sadness matters. How to embrace your tears.

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Sadness. The “blue creature” that’s inside your head and makes you notice gloomy things. Something that makes you emotional, nostalgic and down. Shoulder-length hair, round glasses, a sweater… here we go. That’s Sadness character in the Pixar’s movie “Inside Out”, speaking (and crying) with the voice of Phyllis Smith. I love how fairy tales can simplify and depict complex concepts in a way that is amusing, fun to watch and has a grain (or two) of truth.

Sometimes we think sadness is not welcome. It takes our power away and makes us feel miserable… It can take away our pleasures and cause us to be lonely… It can make us cry instead of enjoying our day. But should we really distrust sadness, hide it and treat it as a guest who comes uninvited and stays for too long? Do we really (as numerous self-help books suggest) need to strive for joy and think positively most of the time? I am not so sure.

Sadness can mess up many things, right? We are bombarded with pictures of happy people everywhere. Celebrities with perfect smiles (and lives, seemingly); success stories to hold onto (when we’ve just seen end results of someone’s achievements); pictures on Facebook that show only the best moments of someone’s life; self-help sections in book stores that lead you to believe that you must feel upbeat all the time to achieve fulfilment of personal and professional goals; job offers that accentuate traits such as being outgoing and bubbly… because you need to emanate happiness in order to attract customers to a brand, right? Well, that sounds a bit unreal to me.

We all experience all kinds of emotions. Sometimes at the same time. It may be easy to think that to keep up with all our obligations, commitments and activities, we need loads of positive energy all the time. However, life is not as sweet as a movie. Why struggle to be happy all the time?

Sadness has many benefits. Our tears are cleansing both our emotions and our eyes.

Forcing yourself to stay constantly “upbeat and positive” in your job can lead to frustration or even a breakdown, because it is an unattainable ideal. Everyone has bad days at some point, so why not feel them instead of trying to hide them? People actually connect with you when you are having a bad day. Sometimes even more than when you are emanating with happiness… Practiced. People like to show compassion to other human beings.

Feeling down always tells us something. Like pain. Physical pain is an indication that something is not going right in our organism. If you kill the pain, you kill the symptoms. The causes of it might still be there. Same with sadness. If we try to hide it under a fake smile, under “I’m alright” or under tons of work/entertainment, it will not automatically disappear. Well, it may, for a short time. But it may still be there when you check next time. There is a Zen practice of “looking deeply” that helps recognise the exact emotions we are feeling and what they point at. It is a really useful practice.

Sadness can sometimes bring fear, but running away from it doesn’t help. Fear is an elaborated fantasy of what may go wrong. Only embracing your sadness and trying to understand it can help shine light on what is really going on inside. This can bring marvellous results. Otherwise this unexplored emotional terrain might be scary.

Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels. (Goya)

 

Goya – The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (picture from Wikipedia)

Featured image photo credit: Sadness via photopin (license)

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“Sometimes”. About the dream we keep holding on to, in spite of the rain.

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Sometimes clarity just doesn’t come. It’s obscured by clouds, by dreams, by fantasies. Obscured by magical thinking of “that something” which will wake us up from a dream and make us feel special… Whereas all we want is to make peace with ourselves and feel “our own creative spark” that we didn’t feel before. Sometimes that’s all.

Sometimes life brings you flowers. And sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s not the reason to not wake up every day happy. It’s not the reason to stay down. A flower is waiting for you right where you are. If you just manage to discover it.

Sometimes even compassion is not enough. You can get angry by not understanding something and nothing will help. Getting angry is healthy if you channel it the right way. It can cleanse your fears.

Where am I going with all this? To the point of nowhere. To stir you up a little bit, to make you find out where your own “sometimes” lies, that you’ve forgotten about, that you aspire to… Where is your magic “tomorrow” where everything’s gonna be alright and the spell will last? There is no such place. Yet we do this all the time. We create the whole worlds of illusions to dive into, like a swimming pool on a fairy island. You can have one too. But it’s good to know that you’re in a tale, a cartoon. And when this episode ends, you will remain right where you were, in the greyish shape of your reality. Grey is beautiful though. It’s a neutral state that allows you to notice all other colours; it’s a perfect background to all emotions. It’s the world that will last.

I guess you know now what your fantasy world is, but please be assured that the world of “normality” is so much more gratifying in the end. Fantasies are amazing but they are exactly as they are – fantasies. If only we could notice them sooner.

That’s where Zen comes in. It helps us recognize the “mind chatter” from the presence of our being that is available to us all the time no matter what storms are raging or what creations we are led to believe. It’s sustainable. It’s connected to your breath. It takes you on a journey that is real. Mind can trick you and bring you to a lot of unusual places. But at the end of the day the place is one – Here and Now.

I might end up with a flashy conclusion or a catchy phrase, but no. I’ll end up with a space. A space for your thoughts. Here you can write your own “sometimes”. If you dare to listen to your fantasy. It can tell you the truth of what you’re missing.

 

MY FANTASY: ________________________

 

Good luck,

Anna

 

 

photo credit: Mystischer Koloss via photopin (license)

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Scared of Making a Wrong Choice? How to Make a Choice Among Endless Possibilities

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Have you ever had enough and thought something like ‘If only making this choice was easier?’ This article might shed some light on how to make right choices when you’re overwhelmed by data and possibilities. Here are some of the ways (among loads) of how to deal with the influx of information from here and there and everywhere, and this, and that… Stop that! 

There is a lot to choose from. Everywhere. Literally. Instead of reading this post you could choose a million different things (online), or another few thousand offline (the numbers do not correspond to reality ;). I know that feeling. Having some time to spare and scratching your head over all these things you could possibly do. And that’s just a decision of how to spend your evening.

How about making bigger decisions? Where to live, who to hang out with regularly, what interests to pursue, what career decisions to make, not to mention romance-related decisions… If only it was easier, right?

Not exactly.

It’s not easy, and it’s not difficult either. It’s what you make of it. You can spend the whole evening thinking what to do and eventually spending the evening thinking… (yeah, it’s happened to me, I confess…) or, you can choose something randomly, ask a friend, throw a coin into the air… Maybe there is some better way of making decisions during this constant influx of information, possibilities, options, things to do, read & think about. It’s called Informational Age, but I guess that means what it means – instead of overwhelming you with choice, it’s supposed to give you all the information you need to make the right choice. At least in theory.

We are sometimes confused if we have too much choice. There is a book called ‘The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less’ by Barry Schwartz, a psychologist, saying that the more choice we have (as consumers), the more anxious we are…And it’s true that if we have loads of choice, we might not know what to do and end up not choosing what we want. Or even if we do, there is this fear of not making the best choice… Have you ever had it? I have.

My options of how not to get lost in the abundance of possible (and impossible) choices are the following:

- mindfulness. I hope you don’t get impatient by me using this word quite often. I do it only because… it works. As a busy skeptic in her head all the time (before I started practicing mindfulness), I can say it brings gigantic results in the long run if practiced regularly. So if you don’t know what to choose, start breathing. In… and out. At your own pace. NOT thinking about the choice you’re making. Just allow your body to rest and relax into whatever comes to you. You might discover many different things while doing this. I’m not gonna tell you what they would be – only you can find out. Everybody has their own means to do it. For me, it clarifies my choices in a significant way. You can find out more about it here. I hope it helps you too.

- go for a walk instead. It works for me in terms of shopping. If I’m undecided about buying something, that means I’m not 100% sure (because when you know you need /want something, you know it). In this case, walking (especially in nature) helps. I would suggest a park or a quiet street. It may help you make the decision and, maybe even you would find that you don’t need to buy anything after all. It happened to me many times. There is so much consumerism anyways and sometimes we get influenced by adverts and juicy displays. We do that. They know it. And it’s ok as long as you’re conscious of it.

- doing one thing at a time. Multitasking is overrated. So if you want to do many things at the same time (to avoid making the wrong choice), please try to focus on just one thing. Sometimes even a random choice of one activity/thing to do helps your attention to not drift but stick to it and eventually you can enjoy it more than if you were doing several things at once.

- this one is a ‘freak’ option, and it works sometimes :) If you’re stuck between choices, how about choosing neither of them, but something completely different? You’re going against your ego then, that is trying to win your internal battle with itself by making the best choice possible. By circumventing its ways, you may choose  something new. And you might like it.

The above mentioned ways apply mainly to small choices that wouldn’t make a life-changing difference, however, you can use some of them for big decisions. I wouldn’t suggest flipping a coin when deciding whether or not to marry someone, for instance, but I would definitely suggest mindfulness in making a decision concerning your career. After all, your ‘inner self’ knows already what you want to be doing, so if you could only listen to it beneath all these distractions… It would be different, right? So… why not do it? Like, …now? :) (after reading this article)?

Making a choice doesn’t have to be scary. And even if your choice isn’t perfect, you can change it by making another choice. There is always a way to thrive in the abundance of information coming from all directions. If you trust your internal compass (intuition), you are likely to feel more secure while doing it. And it’s likely to pay off in the long run.

 
photo credit: Sweet One via photopin cc

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