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Archive for March, 2013

Be My Sea Otter

I read an interesting article the other day about sea otters. The article said that sea otters hold hands when they sleep so that they don’t drift away from each other. What a beautiful thought! And how applicable to us humans, in our busy and oh-so-distracting daily lives.

  • How many times have you felt as though something was getting between you and your partner?
  • How often have you felt as though the world is coming between you and your loved one?
  • Have you ever felt like your loved one is slipping away from you due to the madness that you feel all around you, and the pressures that are exerted on you both from society on a daily basis?

I have felt all of these stresses at various times in my relationships. Sometimes the requirements of work mean long days, exhausted nights, and too much overtime to count – all of which equates to less time with my husband. Sometimes all I read in the news is how everyone is splitting up, giving up, and refusing to make their relationships work – and I wonder how us two will every make it in this world where one seems to be the magic number.

But on days like these, and all the moments in between (truth be told), my husband and I take our cues from the sea otters – and we hold each other’s hand.

Holding hands is not only symbolic that we are united, close and strong together – but it’s a source of great physical comfort.

 

engaged couple holding on hands - view from backside

– It’s the warmth of someone you trust; holding you and supporting you when words are not enough.

– It’s the strength of the person you love the most in your life, leading you through the tough times and guiding you when you’ve lost your way.

– It’s the comfort of knowing you are not alone; you cannot be torn apart from your partner.

 

 

So the next time you are feeling a bit low, or like you need some extra strength from someone you love, don’t be afraid to reach out and hold their hand. I find it the simplest and most beautiful expression of love, trust, strength, and unity.

 

And if it’s good enough for the sea otters – it’s good enough for me.

 

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My First Sprint

I bought this great book the other day titled “642 Things to Write About”. It is literally a book with a bunch of blank pages, except for a sentence or two at the top of each page with an idea of something to write about.

The book is a cool concept; especially for someone like me who often (self admittedly) spends too much time caught up in how or what to write and forgets that the important thing is the writing itself.

So I thought I’d use this book to write a sprint, every now and then, when I want to just put fingers to paper. Here is my first of (I hope) many in this series. It is not meant to have deep purpose or meaning. But perhaps it will inspire other tentative writers out there that sometimes it’s ok to just write.

Subject: Your favourite piece of playground equipment

This one is easy. I loved the swings! They always made me feel tall, free, and happy. How else can you feel like you’re flying without actually leaving the ground?

I also loved the swings because my feet didn’t touch the ground. As a tall girl, I used to long for chairs where my feet dangled – it made me feel wild and alive. The swings would give me that sensation; wind in my face, feet swinging back and forth, and the blue sky welcoming me upwards…upwards…upwards…

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Too Much, Too Fast

I’ve spent some time thinking about why my changes in February never really took hold. And I think it’s because I broke one of my own cardinal rules to only put one foot in front of another, and always take one step at a time.

In February, I tried to change one concept about myself (attitude) but I went about it with four big goals:

  • Gratitude
  • Mindfulness
  • Blessings
  • Forgiveness

Even looking at it now, it’s a daunting list. Those are a lot of big words with even bigger connotations. And I tried to take them all on in a single month.  In retrospect, I think I would have had much better success if I had focused on one change at a time. For example – use February to work on being mindful. But instead, I tried to do it all at once, and succeeded at not doing any of them very well at all.

It’s interesting that I did this to myself; to be perfectly honest, I know better. I have been here before, with different aspects of my life. And I’ve learned, each and every time, that in order to change something big I have to start small. Some examples that come to mind are:

  • Diet. I cannot go from eating whatever I want whenever I want to living off carrot sticks and water. I will fail. I have failed. Instead, I have found great success in striving for moderation and reasonable changes, week by week, as I move forward. Before I know it, I’m craving what’s good for me and have forgotten about the rest.
  • Exercise. I cannot go from being sedentary to running marathons. I tried, and I ended up not only hurt (physically) but discouraged (mentally). Instead, I have found great success in walking a bit more each day, moving a bit more each day, until eventually, I’m more fit than I’ve ever been before.

Looking back, I can honestly see that February and I didn’t stand a chance. So, I’ve decided to adapt my March Harper-ness goal and add one of my failed goals from February.

I chose to add mindfulness. I think it fits nicely into March with my focus on perspective. If I try to be mindful of the moment I’m in and the situation that I’m facing, I believe it will help me keep perspective which will ultimately help me achieve my March goal.

So March has been re-branded, and here we go (again).

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Let me begin by saying this was published on March 6th. But something happened (thank you, Internet gremlins) and it disappeared. So I’ve re-written this post… As luck would have it, I think I like this one better and it’s an interesting example of how perspectives can change. However, no need to read on if you read the original.

____________________________

Well, I have no idea where February went. This ‘missing time’ is becoming a recurring theme for me! However, I do know that it’s gone, and with it, goes another month of my Harper-ness project. So it’s time for an update.

February was all about Attitude. And I’m sorry to say that for much of the month, I didn’t have a very good one. I struggled in February; I encountered a lot of challenges and found myself often reaching for the familiar blanket of poor me instead of for my reformed outfit of gratitude, mindfulness, blessings, and forgiveness. It seemed as though every day I would re-charge and say that today was the day, but by the end of that day, I’d been knocked over yet again. These things happen. I will keep on working towards these new outlooks as I forward.

Luckily for me, my Harper-ness project doesn’t end here. And although March is a new month with a new focus, I will continue to work on both my Health (January) and my Attitude (February) as I move into my new month.

Let’s go to it. Here comes March, in all it’s glory. My focus for March is: PERSPECTIVE.

march

 

This is another challenge for me.

 

I’m easily drawn into a black hole or a bolt of excitement, and everything else pales in the review mirror as I throw myself into a particular situation.

So my challenge for March is to get better at taking one giant step back and saying – where does this fit in with my big picture life? 

 

 

 

I remember once hearing a statement that was suggested to me as a way to try to keep perspective:

When something happens to you that you feel either over (or under) the moon about; take it in for what it’s worth and then ask yourself: will this matter in five years?

Your answer will help you shape your perspective on the event.

Another key point to perspective is always working on seeing both sides. One of the best comments my husband and I received on one of our wedding cards eight years ago was always look at both sides”.

 

perspective

 

Like it or not, there are always two sides to every story and every situation. And if I forget to keep my perspective firmly in place and hear (and appreciate) both sides of the situation, my judgement will be biased and my perspective will be skewed.

So in March, I’ll be all about taking deep breaths, looking at my five year life path before leaping to conclusions, and looking at things from both sides.

Here we go.

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Letting Go

A dear friend sent me some of her thoughts last night. She said (I’m paraphrasing) as we go along in our lives, part of our deepest level of humanity is that we try, we fail, we get up, and we try again. As we grow, as we live, we learn new things. But just as we pick up and learn new skills and new talents along our road, we have to let go of some of the other pieces of our lives to make room for these new things.

We see this most obviously when age starts to creep in. Our bodies start to fail us. We start to lose the talents we once had; the ability to run fast, walk far, or hold steady. And what can be hard to realize as those loses start to take hold is all the gains we’ve also had, and continue to have, as we grow older. The wisdom. The sageness. The confidence. The grace. All of these things come with time. In fact, many of these things only come if we let go of other things like excitement, eagerness, over-anxiousness, and cockiness; things that are often attributed to youth.

In all instances, we have to give some to get some. Try as we might, we cannot have it all.

The important thing is to realize is that our gains will always far outweigh our losses.  And those gains will always be a positive symbol of our growth and the progress in our lives.

So don’t be afraid to keep making room for new things. And to do this, work hard at keepin’ on keepin’ on, and keep on letting go.

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