It is easy to pick out the good part in any situation when you care to spot it. Call it the silver lining of the dark cloud.
We experienced the hottest day in Bangalore history yesterday, with a whopping 37 degrees Centigrade. Some may laugh at this. Why, even I would laugh – because have I not worked in the awesome heat of Andhra Pradesh where the temperature can go up to 48 degrees? Each day, when I returned home from work, my Mom would be very amused, because she would see tan marks that made it easy to guess what footwear I had worn, the shape of my neckline and the length of my sleeves. And if it was very different the next day, it would be hilarious. Imagine an arm in varying skin shades! I thought of that when I saw a band of white on Vidur’s wrist – where he wears his watch. It is so very amusing to compare tan marks.The good part? We have a refrigerator, we have fans, we have electricity (not sure when the power cuts will start, but until then…), we have a sense of humor, most of all.
My friend phoned me the other day, as usual and as always, it was a laughter riot from start to finish for about an hour. Naturally we discussed the weather, and talked about how our long hair never has a chance to be dry – it is always wet with sweat – the only difference being clean sweat and smelly sweat. Clean, when we’ve just washed our hair and…oh, imagine the rest. Of course we wash our hair every day, if only to feel the coolness of the water. But again, that’s something we have to do before 9 am because the water in the tank becomes very very hot and we end up sterilizing ourselves every time we open the tap. Nice to do the washing up – but even that can be a little too much if we do it around 2 pm. The water starts cooling only around 5 or 6 pm depending on how hot the day was.
The good part? I’ve got everything sparkling in my kitchen and it so much easier to clean and wash when the water is hot. I’ve got friends who will be there when I want them.I realized I was allowing myself to be overwhelmed by all that I had to do. My son is a pretty good fella to talk to. Each day, after he returns from school, we sit down and enjoy a glass of chilled juice. It is one of my favorite moments of the day. We discuss life, share things that upset us. Then he tells me about the fun stuff that happened in school. Then he goes off to bathe after we decide what to have for lunch, which we have together, watching Tom and Jerry.
The good part? I am a work at home Mom who has the pleasure of spending time with my son and I enjoy creative cooking. I have a wonderful son who is turning out to be a wise friend and who sounds just like my Mom sometimes.
Of late, I’ve been freaking out over my to-do list. Sometimes I think it is the weather that makes me lethargic. I often feel drowsy through the day. Especially when there’s a power cut. The moment the fan goes off, the sweat instantly starts pouring off me. One might think we live in Chennai or Mumbai because Bangalore is reputed for its “gorgeous” weather. Not anymore. Not with all the construction going on and the trees being felled. Added to that, there’s the Metro construction all over the place – and am dreading the monsoons. The roads will be an awful mess.The good part? I work freelance and can actually choose to take time off from whatever doesn’t work at the moment and focus my energy on other things. I have a husband who tells me there’s no need to do remunerative work. He says just do what you enjoy. And of course, I enjoy my freelance writing work. Am I lucky or what?
“The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Happiness does not cost much when you take it up as a D.I.Y. project.
And that’s the truth. Here are some ten-minute ways that work for me, when I feel a bit low. I set the timer at ten minutes and choose things that keep me away from the computer screen:
- Quickly make a list of all that things that make me happy. Good things in my life. My gratitude list. I swear, by the time the ten minutes are up, my mood has escalated.
- Pull out a few old photo albums and enjoy looking at them. I have hundreds of digital albums – but the problem with that is the time limit. I can never stick to ten minutes with those. With the physical albums, though, it is easier. Moreover I am yet to scan all my physical albums. This one is guaranteed to lift my spirits.
- Take a sheet of paper and write a letter to myself/my friend/my Mom
- Write a short story, 55 fiction or haiku. This one works for me and sends my mind on overdrive
- Organize a shelf that I’ve been putting off for some time.
You know what I mean. Make a list of what works for you.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi
- Take three empty boxes
- On a sheet of paper, make a list of things you have been putting off for want of time. Just free your mind. Who knows, this could become your goals list.
- The list must have fun things that you enjoy, help you relax and leave you feeling happier
- Against each item on the list, jot down the time you need to do it
- Take another sheet of paper and divide it into small sized notes
- On each note, write down one item from your to-do list with the time
- In one box, put all the notes with activities that take less than an hour
- In the second box, put notes with activities that take more than an hour
- Label the boxes accordingly
- Each time you finish an activity, put the note in the third box and label it “Mission Accomplished”
I tell you, this works. A variation of this is my “Happiness Project
” where I have a “Happiness Jar” on my shelf where I can see it all the time. It has a big smiley on it. Whenever Sury, Vidur and I are happy about something, we write it on a chit of paper and drop it in the jar. Once a month, we shuffle the jar and pick out random notes and read. The joy is tremendous. Try it.I have learned that it is so important to focus on the present
. Dwelling on past hurts
or regrets can really drain our precious energy. There’s really no point worrying about the future. It makes more sense to live in the here and now as it is the right place from which to tackle life’s situations
. Because we are free to make choices!
Most of all, it is the power of beliefthat keeps me going.There will be lemons
, folks! But remember there’s also lemonade and tequila.
UPDATE on May 1, 2012
I would like to highlight Marien’s valuable comment to this post here as she shares an idea. Here is what she says:
I also love the idea of using jars. I once used them for saving money. I know, money does not necessarily give us happiness, but for me it certainly helps. Here is the way it works:
1- think about what you’d like to save for. Things you are excited about – no “must do’s” here! This could be a holiday, a course, or getting your website up and running.
2- make a label for each “saving project” and stick each label on a jar
3- place the jars where you can easily see them
4- each time you pass you’ll feel compelled to contribute to your jars. Maybe you can do without the cappuchino on the corner shop today, or skip the cinema and invite a few friends to watch some YouTube videos… be creative!
Isn’t that a great idea? Thank you, Marien!