Monk Thomas Merton once said:

“The whole thing boils down to giving ourselves…a chance…to realize that we have what we seek. We don’t have to rush after it. It was there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.”

“The things I thought were so important — because of the effort I put into them — have turned out to be of small value. And the things I never thought about, the things I was never able to either to measure or to expect, were the things that mattered.”

Choices

I don’t even remember how the blog-o-sphere led me to this post by photographer Sheye Rosemeyer about her now three-year-old loss of her then three-year-old daughter, but she writes simply and elegantly about love and loss and choices. (There’s also a whole blog category archiving posts about her daughter Ava and their loss, but beware — the journey is intense.)

Of course I miss.  I wish.  I yearn.  Every single day.  I forget a life that didn’t include those things.  But I can also look back on thirty six months and see how far I’ve traveled.  Or, at times,  been carried.   I prefer the new me, I like the life I’ve created out of ruin.   I know less fear, I filter out the unimportant and I know what it is to truly, deeply love.  So many beautiful things to be glad of.

I don’t write these words lightly.  It has taken a lot to get to here.  I had three choices after February two thousand and seven…

For me (six, seven years ago), it seemed like there was only one choice — to keep on keeping on. Perhaps it seemed brave to strangers, but in some ways it was merely a fancy delay tactic for all the grieving that continues intermittently to this day. Sometimes when I think about the facts objectively, I get this weird surreal sensation in my mind. It makes me feel like shaking my head and emitting a tiny laugh of disbelief. How could they possibly not still be alive? It just doesn’t make any sense, does it? What…? Why…?

I don’t think it’ll ever make sense, but we just keep on keeping on with our new realities. I mean really, what else can we do?

Happiness Journal

Yesterday night, amidst a girly night of chocolate and chick flicks, I read a short Q&A about Ariel Gore’s new book Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness. As part of her research, she asked women to keep happiness journals and then reflect on the experience. She and many of the women found that journaling helped them to not only notice and appreciate the best moments of the day but also to start purposefully scheduling more of whatever made them happy into their lives.

One of the participant’s reflections (from Ariel Gore’s blog):

For me, it helped me to see more clearly how I had been unconciously thinking of and practicing happiness as somethig that comes from outside of me rather than cultivating a “spirit of happiness” that was based on my internal relationship with myself.  I intellectually knew that happiness came from within, but the daily tracking of feelings of happiness helped me to know that I wasn’t always living what I knew.  So the shift for me was a slight shift in consciousness and attention.

Some more tidbits from her blog:

Canadian positive psychologist Paul T.P. Wong defines happiness as “the capacity to rejoice in the midst of suffering.” I like that definition. Happiness isn’t the absence of suffering. Happiness doesn’t have to be about privilege or denial.

“Your definition of happiness will depend upon who you are–” Masura Emoto writes in The Hidden Messages in Water, “but do you have a sense of peace in your heart, a feeling of security about your future, and a feeling of anticipation when you wake up in the morning? If we can call this happiness, then would you say that at this moment you are happy?”

So I’m starting a happiness journal: http://sodelightful.tumblr.com/

And I’m making it public because 1) I want to share the joy 2) I hope it makes me more accountable for updating it at least close to daily 3) I like the idea of its coexisting online as a record of joy and gratitude alongside the angst, stress, and conflict in these postings 4) I’ve been needing an outlet for my random photos of “things that just make me smile” or “this food that I’m proud to have made,” etc.

It’s my heart’s yin to this blog’s yang.

THINK GREEN: Bring your own…everything

The trick to thinking green when it comes to preempting the need for one-time-use conveniences is just a little bit a foresight to integrate reusables easily, seamlessly, and habitually into our daily routines.

So go ahead. Bring your own…

  • Reusable bag to the store. Location is key. Buy a bunch, and leave them in your car or on your doorknob or near your grocery list or by your shoes or in your purse — any place where they’ll end up back where they need to be to be not only on your mind but actually near at hand the next time you find yourself in a check-out line (whether that be buying groceries, clothes, tools, supplies, or baked goods.)

    Baggubag.com or Blueavocado.com
  • Travel mug to the barista. Saves a cup, a lid, and a cardboard sleeve. Keeps your hot beverage warmer for longer and is better protection against spillage. Some shops even offer discounts for bringing your own container. Make it a new part of your morning routine.

    Oxo travel mug
  • Tupperware to the restaurant. We love leftovers, but leftovers mean styrofoam, plastic bags, and unfortunate sauce leaks in the backseat. We now tend to walk into our favorite restaurant with a couple of our own containers hidden in a reusable cloth bag. So take some tupperware along, or leave some spare containers in your car or bag…just in case.

    Tupperware FlatOut (mixed reviews but interesting idea!)
  • Silverware and cloth napkin to the office. Leave a set or two in your desk for your everyday use — whether you remember to bring your lunch and forget your silverware, or you need to order take-out, or your afternoon snack requires the use of yet another spoon…get into the habit of saying “no thanks” to plastic! Chopsticks would be useful, too!

    Silverware for lunch
  • Water bottle to everywhere. Includes the gym, hikes, work, going out for a quick bite, for rehydration after a night out, at multi-day conferences, even to airports (empty them before security, refill at water fountains, save yourself five bucks for bottled water). Really, everywhere. When it becomes a habit, you might even forget how good this one little change can be — for your health, for the environment, and for your budget!

    http://www.earthlust.com