Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Share, Savour and Be Satisfied

My intentions here may be blurry as a result of the imperative mood used in the title; however, I would like to make it perfectly clear that this is not meant to be read as a piece of advice wherein I assume that readers will follow what I state as if it is some kind of maxim or mantra. Advice is not something I consider myself ready to offer. Instead, this piece is a reminder, or message, that I would like to send to my future-self; just in case this moment of clarity does not last forever and I need a gentle shove back to this place where I can see.


I want to share exciting, precious, sad, hopeful and boring moments with someone who wants to share those moments with me.

I want to love sharing my own joy with others and share their joy with them.

I want to learn to share what I have, what I think I may need and what I truly don’t need with those who need.


I want to learn to savour a meal for so long that everything around me drifts away seemingly forever.

I want to savour silence by turning down the volume of my thoughts and enjoying pauses. 

I want to savour simple pleasures; like holding your hand.

Be Satisfied

I want to be satisfied with simplicity; sometimes less really is enough.

I want to come to a point where my life meets my own expectations and I can rest.

I want to always to be satisfied with what I’ve said and done; savouring moments and only sharing who I really am with those around me. 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Fast-Forward, Pause and Rewind

Fast forward ten years from now to kids, a mortgage, life insurance and a crossover vehicle with frustrating car seats that you can never get to close. Now twenty years: teenagers, marital challenges, career changes and a handful of what if questions. Is this what we wanted? Is this it? If happiness really is what we make of life and how we see the world, all perception, then does that mean action too? Does that mean we should make drastic changes in our lives so that we can see how good we had it, or does it mean acceptance of what we do have, here and now, our partners, careers, homes and other life choices?  Some one once said, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” So why then is life so scary, I think, “there is nothing to fear but life itself.” These are scary times (and I don’t mean that we are living in a scary period of time historically speaking) I mean the time between the age of 25 and 30. So many major life decisions are being made at such a rapid pace that I can hardly keep up with them; I’m missing the details because they 
are too hard to see. Everything is macroscopic and the small stuff, that I love, that I think we all love, is getting pushed aside and that itself is scary, because those details are what makes us who we are.
            Today I decided to stop. I stopped marking students’ work, planning up coming units or even the lessons I need for next week, I did not make wedding plans, or look at interior decorating ideas for our new house. I had to stop, because my mind and my body were so angry with me that I had to listen and stop. We tend to get so wrapped up in the comings and goings of our lives that we leave so little room to stop, breathe and reflect. Another great person said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates had something here, its not that we need to be re-hashers and think, reflect and pine over every decision we make. Or that life without question is a problem, but rather that we might understand ourselves a little better if we listen to ourselves, stop and take a moment once in a while to think about where we are at and where we’ve been so that we can have a better understanding of where we might be going and what it all means.
            Life has thrown me a few curveballs so far and I’m not upset about them, nor do I regret what I’ve done and who I’ve become. I think this piece would sound a little different if I was regretting my choices; it’s just that I see things a little differently now. I see people a little  differently then I used to, but I’ve passed the point of “bitter distain for humanity” and have started to accept that we (humans) are flawed, make mistakes, hurt each other and even that some of us are just plain spoiled (like the apples, not in terms of overindulgence). So what now? I’m ok with all of these things, even the spoiled people, but there is still so much more. I guess at this point there is much more to look forward to and then to one day look back on, hopefully with a simile. The sun came out today even though the forecast called for thunderstorms, life’s funny like that

Friday, 9 March 2012

Creatures of Habit

Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice.

            Where do you sit on the bus or train every morning, do you have a table at your local coffee shop, that if occupied leaves you tense and confused?
            I will admit that in the past I experienced all of these scenarios at least once. When in school it was a library table, a spot that I associated with comfort and focused study. If by chance I came to that spot intending to study and someone happened to be occupying that space my whole day was off and I some how thought that my studying would be less productive as a result. As got older this became a train seat for the morning commute and, most recently, it is the communal table at my local coffee shop. I associate this table with productive work and comfort, just like the library seat.  I think about this spot before even walking into the store, hoping that at least one chair will be free. I don’t think this is problematic, in that I have not come here and been forced to work at another table for a very long time, but I do want to make a change, shift my own thinking about habits and try something new.

            So next time I come here, not today as I am already sitting comfortably in my regular spot, I will try the bar seats by the window and I’ll let you know what it’s like and whether or not change is really all it’s cracked up to be.

Are you a “creature of habit?” If so share your story here and give change a try.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

I Don't Need this Much Space

This might sound strange and even selfish, but in the past two days I’ve started to really learn and appreciate two amazing things: “Kindness really does make a difference”, if only in a small way and even if you are the only one who can appreciate the choice that you’ve made; and “only take what you need.” Living in a world where we want “to have it all” and  “take what we can get,” the ideas of moderation, simplicity and modest living really can be really hard to appreciate, understand and apply. So continuing with this theme of Kindness and finding the “it” in life, I am going to try my best to live by these two very real concepts as much as possible. Saying yes to favours I would normally not want to do and giving up my space at a big table especially when there are others who need it a lot more than me. Just to touch on the last topic in a real way and explain what inspired this entry, I am going to tell a short story about only taking what you need and the difference that can make.

Today I sat down at the larger table in my local coffee shop (knowing that I often need a lot of space to complete the work I bring with me). I did notice the smaller table by the window (with a lot more light) but I immediately thought, I need the bigger space because it’s there, so why not take it. Within five minutes of sitting down, a family of three came in looking for a big enough table to sit at. Now there were a number of smaller tables available, so at first I figured they will be fine, I’ll stay here. Within seconds of that first though at light went off and I realized, today I don’t need this much space, but they do. I picked up my bags, books and tea and asked would like this table? The dad looked shocked and thanked me three or four times, offering to help me move my stuff. He seemed so surprised by this offer, genuinely not expecting anything from me, or anyone in the shop. Five minutes later the rest of the family came to sit down, there were seven of them (three of which were very young children). If I had not moved, there wouldn’t have been enough space for that family to sit together. This was a small gesture that had a fairly large impact. I know that my moving was no act of social heroism, but rather an act of common decency. So I want to keep giving a little, not to change the world, but to change the way I (maybe we) see It!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

So Close, and Yet So Far

 Coffee shops have incredibly small tables, generally speaking. So small that if you lean across, the small circular space you and your partners’ noses can touch. Touch, see, and smell: three things that we hardly do anymore. What do I mean by this? You might be wondering. Well, in the digital age; the age of enhanced communication via technology; we have become so close, and yet so far. Far enough that it takes multiple steps to finally reach face-to-face interaction. As if we have created a social etiquette for communication boundaries wherein some people are worthy of our “real time” and others are only deserving of a status update, constructing an endless stream of miscommunication and distant discussions.  We can reach each other and send messages through social media outlets, BBM, texting and even see each other through mediums like Skype and Face Time (the option of video chatting offered by the iphone) and yet we are so far from one another. The need to connect has created a series of digital communication streams that ultimately lead to an inherent disconnect.

Solution: The Café or Coffee Shop.

            Whether you are dating, want to meet new people or just want a space to chat; the coffee shop, depending on its design, gives us a chance to escape the lonely world of digital communication and physically connect within the same space and time. It offers us a real room where we can connect and communicate through spoken  word and body language. But more importantly, we can reach out our hands and touch, we can lean across the small circular table and kiss noses.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A Place to De-Stress “Stresses Spelled Backwards is Desserts” ☺

            I consider the coffee shop something of a middle ground; a space between home and work. A place where there is too little to do to distract me, and enough going on to keep me interested, focused on my work and somewhat de-stressed. I recently saw this picture (see above) and realized that yes, the key to de-stressing is finding something pleasant to distract you from the stressful things in life. We should all find our middle ground and enjoy those moments where dessert is the perfect remedy. For me it’s a sweet drink, during the day this could be the usual London Fog (also know as the Earl Grey Latte), Vanilla Latte, Tea with milk and sugar, or a treat like; hot chocolate, or a mocha. A night a cool Pinto Grigio does just fine.
            Whatever you consider to be the “dessert” or sugar in your life, whether it be a sweet drink and some time to calm down in your middle ground, or cookies and milk with your favourite book, just remember that “Stressed Spelled Backwards is Desserts,” so enjoy yours and take time to de-stress!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Space for "Us"

As I looked up from my work I could see an old group of friends gathered on the comfortable chairs, meeting to discuss their past, present and future. You can see who they are now and who they once were, all frozen here over a cup of coffee. Just to the right of them at a small table sits a beautiful couple, coffee in one hand, their free hands clasped tightly. He looked deeply into her eyes they way they had for more than 40 years now and as they left, he held out his hand for her and she, so naturally, slid her hand in his. A small moment, a snapshot in the history of their love. Behind me two friends, it’s been a while since they’ve seen each other, both starting their careers, both dating other people, but somehow drawn to the social elements of their connection. In such a public space they’ve discussed their political views, personal trials and perspectives on various institutions. Her voice much louder than his, demanding the lead and holding it until her breath runs out.  Across from me, sharing this table, sits a young man exhausted from a long week of work. He’s been working for a while, stopped. Reading for a while, paused, and is now enjoying a short nap. All this happing here; private moments shared in this open, public space for us. The beauty of what can be shared over a cup of coffee.