simple beatitude

It’s been almost a week since I came to stay with my sister and her family, to meet my new niece and help with child-minding duties while my sister and brother-in-law do other (non-child-related) things. Not everyone’s idea of a restful holiday, but if you’ve worked where I do, you might understand (not to say I don’t like work; it’s just frickin’ tiring sometimes).

As a guest, I’ve been following the routines of the household. Well, most of them. My nephew (who is two years old) has breakfast at 7am, but I don’t sleep anywhere near as early as he does, so I get up a bit later. Still, everyone has lunch at 11am, and then dinner is served at 5pm. Continue reading

passing gratitude

Along some of the streets in my neighbourhood, the footpaths are bordered by grass on either side.* Sometimes this grass gets a bit overgrown, and, at some parts, there isn’t enough space for two people to comfortably walk past each other without someone walking on the grass a little (especially if everyone is carrying bags of groceries, shopping or other items).

Often, without really thinking about it, I step onto the grass to allow the other person passage along the footpath. I’m usually wearing sneakers, and I guess I move pretty quickly, so I suppose it’s not a big deal for me to walk on the grass, and I probably just step aside faster than the other person (not much point in us both stepping aside onto the grass). Continue reading

kindness drive

I’m generally not an aggressive driver. I try to be aware of other vehicles around me, and always let others merge into my lane, provided it’s safe to do so. There’s a certain point on the freeway on the way to work where a lot of lane changing occurs. As we approach the CBD, there is a tributary of traffic flowing steadily in on the left, and then, up ahead, there are exiting lanes on the right and left (depending on which street of the CBD you’re headed to).

This means that there are almost always people in one of the righthand-side lanes that need to move all the way left, and people in one of the lefthand-side lanes who want to get across to the right. It’s at this juncture that I’m on high alert, and will generally leave enough space between me and the car in front to allow someone else to merge/pass by if needed.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you about a car accident. Continue reading

voice of reason

Brisbane’s West End is, as one friend has described it, an interesting mix of gentrified and dilapidated. There are classy restaurants and bars, modern apartments, and office spaces, all interspersed with casual pubs and bars, run-down houses, and thrift stores. On a night out, you might come across any range of people from the very well-dressed who drive fancy cars, to high-end hipsters, to shoeless hippies, to homeless beggars.

It is an interesting suburb. Continue reading

and the haiku-writing continues…

Looks like July has become the month of haiku-writing for me. I’m really enjoying this, and it really makes me smile to be able to look back on the haikus and the little memories they contain. I’ve tried the 100 Happy Days Challenge before, and I’ve kept daily gratitude journals before, but I think those things always focussed on the obvious joys (e.g. went to a concert, hung out with a friend, had dinner at this place, watched a movie, had a sleep in, etc)

And some days I had to search for little things to be happy/grateful about, but I also feel like it got repetitive after a while too.

It’s only two weeks into this daily haiku thing, so maybe it’s a bit too early to judge, but it feels like this challenge is making me look outside myself more, to seek wonder more so than happiness. I’m sure there’s a scientific paper somewhere that says wonder is an important feeling/sensation that all people should try to experience as much as possible.

But I think the other thing that sets this apart from other gratitude projects, is that instead of just taking and captioning a photo, or simply recalling every good thing that happened that day — instead of these relatively quick processes, haiku requires you to take inspiration, and then mould that to fit your finite syllables. In this process, you might have to shuffle words around, find alternative ways of describing something, and really focus on the most important aspects that you want to convey.

In short, there’s a lot involved! But it’s still pretty simple, and I maintain that anyone with a basic grasp of language can do it. Continue reading

adrift

As we enter a new year, and a lot of people are contemplating what they want to achieve, what they want to change, or what they want to keep and nourish; I, quite honestly, feel a little lost. But maybe not so much lost as “adrift” or “suddenly aware that I’ve been adrift for a while, riding the gentle waves of a lake, no longer sure what shore I left from or which bank I need to go to”.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the situation – there’s no storm brewing, no predator beneath the surface of the water, no structural problem with the boat, or shortage of supplies – but I feel a little adrift. Continue reading