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Posts Tagged ‘positive’

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Locarno Beach, a good place to slow down and enjoy gazing at the clouds…

It’s OK to “go slow”.

When I was a “youngster”, back in the 1950’s, I spent some time each summer with a friend’s family on the Sunshine Coast here in B.C. It was such a delightful place to visit, where everything seemed magical. Driving along the dusty dirt road to my friend’s grandpa’s place, we would pass a sign on the roadside which always made us laugh. The sign said:

CAMP

GO SLOW

Of course, we called the place “Camp Go Slow”.

Remembering that sign has made me think about the speed at which most of us seem to live today. Not only traffic has speeded up, but the very way in which our minds work is in overdrive. It appears that  moving slowly is not acceptable in 2018, nor is thinking slowly.

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Stopping to notice the sweet scent of a rose, or to look up at the soft white clouds in a pale blue sky would appear to be eccentric behaviour nowadays. What a shame! Our access to myriads of online information at the touch of a finger is filling our brains at breakneck speed. It’s no wonder we can’t remember all of what we’re stuffing into our heads! It doesn’t surprise me that so many people are suffering from anxiety and depression.

We’re even encouraged to walk quickly, cycle, jog, swim, lift weights, anything to get our heart rates up. This is all well and good, but to my mind, not at the expense of our emotional well-being. Finding a balance is key.

Pausing to just breathe, slowing down to notice the beauty that remains in this world can be very healing. Even if I can’t get to the beach, or into the woods, I sometimes just stop and really look at a flower, or a leaf, or a bird or an insect. Nature is amazing!

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White-crowned Sparrow

Getting away from our “screens”, whether it be smart phone, computer or tablet, is such a healthy way to get back into more natural rhythms of living. My own overuse of the computer has led to a gradual decline of noticing what is going on in the real world. By “real world”, I mean whatever bits of “Mother Earth” are left for us to experience in a slow, noticing manner.

Mindfulness meditation is one simple way to slow down and become aware of what’s going on around us. It doesn’t have to be complicated, this type of meditation, nor does it have to be practiced in a rigid way. Simply sitting still, being aware of each out-breath for a short period of time helps to settle our minds. Any activity which absorbs our attention positively can help to centre us, to relieve the need to rush and be “busy”. Raking leaves, painting a picture, knitting something simple, are all examples of ways we can practice “mindfulness”, and achieve a more steady pace of living.

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Crocheting can be a type of meditation:)

Practicing tai chi or yoga can help us to focus, to slow down and just breathe! I’m talking about traditional yoga practice, not one of the speeded up varieties, of course. Although tai chi is a martial art form, the way I practice it is in a slow and mindful manner. This is very calming.

On the cooking front, I may be considered old-fashioned, but rather than using a microwave or any other gadget which speeds up food preparation, I prefer the slow cooking method! Food just tastes better when it’s prepared mindfully, and is probably healthier for us as well.

With climate change forcing us to re-think the way we live on this beautiful earth, I believe it’s time to slow down and actually consider how to do that. How can we learn to (as Graham Saul asks):

“Restore the life support systems of the planet.”

—Graham Saul, environmentalist & Executive Director of Nature Canada

Well, I don’t think that we can help the earth to heal by racing around, “business as usual”, frantically and unthinkingly. It will take time and a great effort from everyone, but I believe positive changes can be made.

Slowing down will help us to once again realize that we humans are a part of the biosphere, part of the web of life!

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Columbine, a self-seeded beauty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Sunday, September 24th, 2017 my friend and I joined in with thousands of other people to take part in the Walk for Reconciliation, here in Vancouver. What an amazing, positive experience that was! And the sun shone, making it all the more amazing here on the “Wet Coast,” aka the West Coast of Canada.

For over 500 years the Indigenous People of North and South America (and all over the world, actually) have been shoved aside, downtrodden, frowned upon, stolen from, mistreated, and on goes the list of abuses they have suffered. Colonizers tried to make Indigenous People invisible, tried to actually get rid of them entirely, but they failed. The original people of these lands have not only survived, but they have kept their cultures alive and are working on keeping their languages alive as well. In fact, they are gaining in strength. Just look at these wonderful photographs of the Walk, from Reconciliation Canada:

http://reconciliationcanada.ca/walk-for-reconciliation-2017/thank-you-merci/

Two definitions for the word Reconciliation:

—the restoration of friendly relations;

—the action of making one view or belief compatible with another.

Here’s a link explaining more about Reconciliation Canada:

http://reconciliationcanada.ca/about/about-us/

The time has finally come for the true history of Canada to be taught in schools and learned by everyone. “Truth and Reconciliation,” the truth, that is, about residential schools, about what actually happened to the Indigenous People of Canada and about the loss of their lands. As Chief Robert Joseph, a survivor of the residential school system (where he spent eleven years away from his family as a child), said:

“Our future, and the well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.”—Chief Robert Joseph, Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation, and Co-founder of Reconciliation Canada.

Along with the Reconciliation process, there are so many complex and ongoing issues for all of us to learn about and try to understand: land claims, court cases, treaties, human rights, and questions around social justice.

RESPECT is key here, and learning to listen with open minds!

Hopefully, someday the First Nations of Canada will be on an equal footing with the Canadian government and the governments of other countries. Undoubtedly this will take time and a lot of work!

PLEASE NOTE: the photographs in the above link were not taken by me, but by:

reconciliationcanada.ca

 

 

 

 

 

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Crocheted wool afghan

Grey wool afghan

Here’s an inspiring little story about a fellow crocheter:

In 2009, a ninety-eight year old woman survived the earthquake near L’Aquila, Italy. She was found alive and uninjured, buried under rubble and in her bed, about thirty hours after the quake struck. She told her rescuers that she had passed the time crocheting as she waited for help. Amazing, but true!

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Crocheting has been there for me, too, since I first discovered it many years ago. I’ve taken my crochet hook and yarn along with me to so many places, including the beach, and have used every spare moment to practice this age-old craft. I find it to be both relaxing and invigorating at the same time. It’s been such an engrossing challenge to see what I can create with a little hook and a ball of yarn. Afghans, clothing, housewares, toys, and home decor…on goes the list of things I’ve enjoyed making for friends, family, myself, and others. If this is an addiction, at least it’s a positive one!

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It’s the process of crocheting that I love. Rather than selling the items which I’ve crocheted, (something I’ve done for many years),  I now agree with the following statements:

“I do not worry about the marketplace.”

—Alex Cuba, musician/singer

“Better a craft than gold.”

—Jenkins Family motto, Ewenny Pottery, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

My aim, or hopeful intention while crocheting, is to create beauty and to share what I make with others. But, to be honest, I crochet because I love it!

 

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“We are what we think, having become what we thought.”

–Buddha

As the Buddha taught, our thoughts create who we are. I’ve discovered that it is possible to change one’s thoughts, although it’s sometimes not easy! There will be challenges for all of us throughout life, but focussing on the light, the beauty, and the good things in life really helps.

In keeping with Joie du Soleil’s main aim, which is to focus on the positive rather than the negative, I’m posting another upbeat song: “Happy Talk”, from the movie “South Pacific”. Even a tiny dream, even looking forward to some small excitement or pleasure each day can be a way to live more peacefully, more contentedly.

Related links for you to peruse are here as well. One for CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and one for MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The CBT teaches ways to change our thoughts, and the MBSR is Mindfulness Meditation, which helps us to simply focus on the present moment.

“The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”

–Pete Seeger, American songwriter and folksinger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral-therapy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness-based_stress_reduction

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