The U.S. just finished celebrating Thanksgiving Day, which is a wonderful holiday devoted to spending time with friends, family, and giving thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because I am able to take a break from work and everyday life to just slow down and enjoy some down time. I am thankful that my work gives everyone a four (4) day weekend off to enjoy the holiday, and during these days off I have really enjoyed unwinding and releasing some stress and tension that has been building up.
Too often we get caught up in the rat race of life, and we fail to really slow down and enjoy life, and the things that make us happy. We tend to push things the things that make us happy like spending time with friends, family, relaxing with a good book or a movie, to the side or marginalize them. Generally this leads to stress and general feelings of unhappiness and discontentment.
I think it is key to really identify the things in your life that make you happy, and make time for those activities, people, or groups. Even if what makes you happy seems to be mundane or a “waste of time” it is neither of those if it makes you happy, because sometimes the simplest things in our lives bring us the most pleasure. Of course it is important to make sure that the activities, people, or groups that make us happy aren’t based on attachments for material possessions, or support destructive behaviors, because that can cause the cycle of stress and general unhappiness to perpetuate itself.
While this may seem overly simplistic, we must make time to enjoy the things that make us happy. For me, family and friends are an important part of my life and bring me a great amount of joy and happiness, and so does reading, writing (which this blog is a wonderful outlet for), and driving my old Corvette (weather permitting of course). I know that no matter how stressed out I am, I can turn to these things to bring a sense of comfort and happiness, so they have become a bit of a refuge that I can turn to.
Today, on my birthday, I awoke to my iPhone notifying me that I had over 60 postings on my Facebook wall (all before 7:00am!). As I went through my morning routine I scrolled through the numerous birthday wishes, and it was a pleasure to see so many people wish me a happy birthday, many of whom I have not seen or spoken to in person for many years.
I have always made a habit of using my birthday as a time of reflection. This year I was struck by how much my life has changed during the past few years, and how many new friends I have made along the way, and how many I have lost touch with. Read more…
I have recently found the website/community www.soulpancake.com, where spiritual seekers of all faiths, backgrounds, and viewpoints discuss various topics involving faith, religion, spirituality, and life in general.
Recently there was an activity which encouraged the users to take pictures of ordinary things that would normally go unnoticed, but that are inspiring in some way. This idea really resonated with me, because living in the now requires you to slow down and really experience life and the world around you. Therefore, for the past few weeks I have tried to really tune into the mundane things that surround each of us for inspiring material.
As I have mentioned previously I have a bad tendency to put my head down and push through every task in front of me, including in my spiritual path. While I have made tremendous progress in slowing down and enjoying life, I tend to focus on my emotions, thoughts, and general awareness, rather than my individual physical senses; therefore this visual activity was extremely useful for me.
The following are some pictures that I have taken over the past few weeks with a brief description of why I found the subject material interesting and/or inspiring:
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