WWW – Romans in Spain!

Where shall I take you this week my pretties? Why, Spain of course! Below is an ancient Roman aqueduct in Ronda, Spain.


Ronda, Spain


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Thoughts for Thursdays – Fill in the blank & Steve Jobs

While rubbing on my suncream just now, I thought simultaneously of two things: the song, ‘wear sunscreen’, and a quote by Steve Jobs. This was the quote:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I actually misremembered the quote as saying something like “Life is too short to waste it by living someone else’s life, or by their dogma”. And since I had misremembered it as “life is too short”, that got me to thinking about what else life is too short for.

:: Life is too short to potentially shorten it by smoking. Or driving without a seat-belt. Or not exercising. Or eating poorly.

:: Life is too short to waste time and energy on the small, inconsequential mistakes and foibles we all face.

:: Life is too short to restrain yourself from saying ‘I love you’ to anyone, and everyone, that you love.

:: Life is too short to live by someone else’s dogma.

:: Life is too short to pass up on happiness wherever you find it.

:: Life is too short to put off those things that you know in your heart are really important to you.

:: Life is too short to spend all your best hours working a job you hate.

Maybe you’d like to take a minute now to re-align yourself with…yourself. Maybe you’d like to take a minute to take a deep breath, and listen to what it is you want for your life, being careful to notice if some of the desires that creep in are coming from someone, or something, outside of yourself. Maybe you’d like to take a moment to fill in the blank:

My life is too short to ______________________________.

Finally, my Thursday gift to you: Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford: “How to Live before you Die”. It’s where I found the quote above. And it is worth 15 minutes of your short life. Believe me.

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WWW – Dolomites, Italy

One of my oldest and dearest friends is spending some time in Milan, Italy. Just the other weekend he visited Venice. Now, I’ve never been to Italy, but let me tell you: it’s high up on my list!

So, since it’s been on my mind, please enjoy the view of Carezza Lake, Dolomites, Italy.


Carezza Lake, Dolomites, Italy

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How do you refuel? (I’m not talking about your car. Or your stomach.)

I joined a local gym recently in an effort to get my heart and lungs going again after more than a year of neglect. The gym’s policy is that every new member takes an initial introduction/assessment session with a personal trainer.The most valuable part of that session for me went like this:

Him: “So, what do you eat before a workout?”

Me: “Uh…I don’t know. Nothing? Nothing heavy?”

Him: “Ok. What do you eat after a workout?”

Me: “Uh…I don’t know. Fruit a couple hours later?”

Him: “So…what exactly do you think your body is running on?”

Touché, Mr. Trainer. Touché

source unknown

He informed me that it was important to both fuel up before working out and refuel afterwards, so that my body got what it needed in order to provide me with energy before and strength-building replenishment afterwards.

So tonight, sitting on my bed refueling on my plump blueberries & plain yoghurt with honey, in the golden glow of my fairy lights, I suddenly thought to myself: when our cars run low on gas after a lot of travelling, we refuel. When our bodies are low on stores to break down into energy, we refuel. Why is it that we don’t also apply the same principal to our emotional selves?

Some parts of life are emotionally exhausting, like running a marathon (often with no training!). Others are more run of the mill; tough, but more routine, like an extra-long morning run. We sustain injuries: broken hearts and the grief of loss. We run out of gas: being emotionally drained by a person or a situation. Yet we somehow seem to neglect the idea that our hearts & souls need replenishment in the same way our bodies do.

I asked myself: what is my soul-food? What is my heart’s equivalent of blueberries? I think it depends–after all, you wouldn’t want to eat only blueberries for the rest of your life! Sometimes it’s a cup of tea, quiet, alone, steaming and flavoured with freshly-cut lemon. Sometimes it’s a phone-call with a beloved friend. Sometimes it’s an old favourite movie. Sometimes it’s crispy-chewy chocolate chunk cookies straight out of the oven, or the methodical, slow baking of a latticed pie. Sometimes it’s writing in my journal. Sometimes it’s people-watching. Sometimes it’s a cuddle from someone I love. Sometimes it’s strolling through the visual paradise of my Pinterest. Sometimes it’s a nap.

Over the past year I’ve come to realize just how vital it is to my wellbeing to make sure that I refuel my emotional self. I am whole, after all: body, mind, heart, soul. I have the most wellness when I attend to all parts of myself.

What about you? Do you notice the need to replenish more than just your body? Do you pay attention to this need regularly, or only when it is truly overwhelming (the emotional equivalent of a broken leg, for example)? What tried & true loves make your heart fill up again?

source unknown

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Thoughts for Thursdays – Kate Winslet calls out GQ’s lies: ‘I don’t look like that’

Keira Knightly gets a boob job, Jessica Alba gets slimmed down, and Cindy Crawford doesn’t actually look anything like…Cindy Crawford. In this short video, Jean Kilbourne talks to us about the female body in advertising, illuminating the ways in which the female body is over-sexualized, over-‘perfected’, and dehumanized, and shows us just how extreme the photoshop-changes are to the women we are told we should emulate in order to be beautiful.

At the end, she tells us how Kate Winslet stood up to GQ when they distorted an image of her for the cover of their magazine.

Enjoy. Or should I say…be repulsed.


Interested in knowing more? This is a trailer for Jean Kilbourne’s ‘Killing Us Softly’ DVD. Check it out!

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WWW – Hungary

Uhhh, at exactly 23.59 yesterday I remembered that it was in fact Wednesday, not Tuesday like I’d thought all day. Now it’s 00.05 today, being, of course, Thursday, and I’m once again tardy with my wordless Wednesday. Tut tut. On the other hand….who cares? Beauty is beauty, whether it’s shown off on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. And I’ve been busy writing about gratitude and the most powerful gift I’ve ever been given in friendship. More on that later. For now, I present to you Boldogkovaralja, Hungary!


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Twisted Logic Buster or This Probably Should be a Diary Entry (so you might all be bored by it)

I always thought that I had to do something that makes me unhappy now, in order to be happy later.

Nobody really enjoys the stress and deadlines of university, do they? Or the grunt work of that incredibly inane and boring office job? But it’s the necessary evil that gets you through to the first rung on the ladder to that job. You know the one…the one with the stability and progression and status and salary that are going to take you to that place. You know…that place where you are happy.

I looked at a lot of people doing what made them happy and thought to myself ‘Ha ha! It’s ok that they’re doing something they love and that makes them happy, while I’m doing this thing that I know I should be doing, even though it doesn’t make me happy. Because I’m going to get the last laugh. I’m doing this grunt work now to get me out to that place, while they’re going to reach a place where, because they haven’t paid their dues, they’re unhappy’.

Ok, so I know you’re probably thinking (and it probably isn’t the first time you’ve thought this, if you’ve been reading other posts), that I’m a little crazy. That my logic is clearly, fundamentally flawed. Mostly, I’ve been thinking bullshit.

I should note, in my defence, that I don’t I was aware of this all before… It was more of a subconscious feeling. A kind of self-justification that allowed me to continue to do the things that were what I ought to be doing, instead of what I really wanted. Instead of what made me come alive. It was the story that let me look at all of those people who were doing what they loved, and knew it, and not be shaken to the core at the disparity between what I saw in them and what I was missing in myself.

I told myself that if they were happy now, doing all that they loved, then there was no way they would be happy down the road. You know…because they hadn’t paid their dues.

It never occurred to me that maybe they would be happy down the line, because the had discovered something important: that ability to follow what was right for them. It never occurred to me that this ability might stick with them and continue to allow them to make the choices that were right for them.

But then I had a thought.

When exactly was I going to get happy? When was I going to stop doing what didn’t make me happy to follow what I wanted? When was I going to make the brave decision to move out from the grunt work and into what I love? How many years was I going to spend saying to myself, “It’s ok you aren’t happy now, you’re setting the foundation for happiness later”?

Here’s a hypothetical example of what I’d been saying to myself. It’s particularly exemplary because I almost did it, too.

“I’m in a big name university. I hate it, but that’s ok, because it’s going to pay off later when I can get into a big name law school. Of course, I’m going to have to study and write the LSATs first, which I’m going to hate, because I hate standardized testing and studying for it is stressful and worse, it’s incredibly boring. But that’s ok, because it’s going to pay off later when I get a spot at that law school. Then I’m going to get into my big name law school, and I’m probably going to hate that too, because I don’t enjoy big programs, the competitive academic settings, or the stress of recruitment into a law firm. But that’s ok, because if I do that, then I’ll get into a big name law firm in some high-paying area of law. And I’ll probably hate that too, because of the pressure of performing well, and the office setting, and the paperwork. But that’s ok, because if I do that, then I’ll probably get offered a job at that law firm eventually, and after the hard work (which I’ll find boring and stressful), I’ll get to finally work on a project that I believe in. And I’ll be paid well. And be a lawyer. And that will make me happy…because I’ll have stability and status and wealth. That’ll make me happy…right?”

Thankfully, there were a myriad of reasons why I didn’t go down that path, although until now none of them included recognizing this bizarre framework that I keep that somehow equates current unhappiness with future happiness.

But looking back at that law-school path I almost took, I have to ask myself…why did I ever think that if I keep following the things that make me unhappy, that that will somehow pay off into something that makes me happy?

If I am unhappy every step of the way, why on earth would I think that it would culminate into something I loved to do? When does 1+1 ever equal 3?

Why can’t my happiness now be the foundation for my happiness later?

I should point out that I don’t imagine that there won’t be steps along each of our paths that we don’t enjoy. Sure, we’re all going to face some stressful deadlines, and there will always be parts of what makes us happy that we like less than others. I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about when the heaviness of unhappiness is routinely and totally outweighing any small happiness.

So. Hello, Happiness. I’ve been chasing you the wrong way my whole life. I never found you under the bed or in the closet or down the back of the couch, because you were never hiding from me. I never saw you at my kitchen table or at my desk or sitting on my bed because I didn’t think I was allowed to find you there, so easily.

I’d like to be your friend, now. I’d like to show you off, just the way I find you. I’m a little scared–I’ve never let myself do this before–that I’m going to be judged for the way I see you. But I’m more scared of whiling away the years telling myself that I’ll find you at the end of the road when, instead, I can walk with you for the whole journey.


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