Summer came yesterday. The day opened and closed with rolls of thunder, clouds charcoal behind purple jacarandas, and in between it was still, humid and warm. When I woke up I noticed three things – the sore throat that had stuck with me night and day for four days had gone, the conjunctivitis that had come with it had not woken me up during the night, but had still glued my eyelids shut, and when I had washed my eyes, I saw the sun had birthed itself in a fiery red sky heralding the storms to come. It got hot enough for my first river swim for the season. I was hanging the clothes out in the afternoon sun, debating with my daughter the value of her pet guinea pigs and the ethics of keeping animals in a cage, when suddenly I stopped talking and said, hey, do you want to go for a swim? She readily agreed, if only to shut me up.
We swam and splashed, gave ourselves a salt foot scrub on the rocks and admired a pretty fantail couple in the callistemon who had built themselves a tiny, tiny nest. We wondered how small their eggs must be to fit. Contrast that with today’s river trip with my 12 year old son and two mates, who proceeded to discover all the most dangerous spots in the river and jump from them, half drown each other and find a huge patch of mud to wrestle in. Relaxing!
I’d been at home most of the week, leaving only to take my daughter to swimming or gymnastics, outings I appreciated. I was happy enough, even with my gunky eyes, sore throat and all the things, studying Sociology (gender inequality this week) and Politics. I was actually studying Political theories, concepts and models on Wednesday, while out in the world, the US was gnawing on itself, thrashing and wailing in that quiet, gentle way they do, voting in a new President. It occurred to me, as I was curled up on my verandah lounge, reading and taking notes, that I vastly prefer the study of politics to the reality :).
I’ve also been inspired by this TED talk by Sarah Trimmer, recommended by two of my favourite writers, and her idea of start and end the day happy:
To get through the deaths of both her parents and multiple cancer diagnoses and treatment, Sarah used structured journaling, morning and night, where she asked herself five questions:
- Today I am grateful for…
- Today I helped someone by…
- Something that made me happy today…
- Today I learned…
- Tomorrow I will…
She discovered that even on the most horrible days, she could answer those questions and raise her happiness levels. Most of us, me included, are not facing the kinds of challenges that Sarah has done, but we could all do with a focused daily practice of some kind that helps happiness become second nature to us. So, this week I’ve been taking some quiet time at the end of the day and answering those five questions, all except last night when I was inspired by a post by Anyes from Far Away in the Sunshine, where she asked herself five different questions, which I thought were so interesting I wanted to share them with you:
- What’s your favourite childhood memory? I am not sure I have just one favourite, but most of my happy memories seem to include the river, my favourite Jacaranda tree, being lost in a book or enjoying mealtimes with my family.
- How old would you be if you did not know how old you were? Such a funny question don’t you think? Probably the age I am right now: 40. All the signs are there – grey hair, a newly popped out vein behind my knee and sun damaged skin – plus the fact that I ‘do’ life so much better now than at any other time of my life, means I look and act my age, and I am happy for it.
- If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Just one? Let things unfold, working with the Universe to create your life rather than being under the daft illusion that you have to do everything yourself. Actually, that’s probably too complex for a baby. Maybe just be and do the things that bring joy into your life, because joy is the clue and the key to your purpose.
- What is your favourite quote?
Only one quote and one piece of advice? Do you know me at all? 🙂
Let me keep my distance, always, from those that think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say ‘Look!’ and laugh in astonishment and bow their heads.
– Mary Oliver
- What is your current 3 word memoir? Trust-faith-patience
So, what do you think about structured journaling? Care to share any of your answers here?
I hope you have a beautiful week – hey, enjoy the Taurus Super Moon tomorrow (Monday 14th, Australia time), the closest full moon to the Earth in 70 years. Here’s an article from astrologer Sarah Varcas with a pretty cool take on it: Supermoons and Black Moon Lilith – you can’t have one without the other!