Don’t interrupt me, I’m on a roll!

Headphones

It’s pretty hard to be efficient without being obnoxious – KIN HUBBARD

Obnoxious. Even the word sounds obnoxious, like onomatopoeia or something. This is so true isn’t it?

At the moment I’m efficient. I have almost reached my diet goal, my house is looking less cluttered and fresh, my ironing is up to date. Yada, yada, yada. I start my day with a run and I am even today blogging before work again (yay) now that the clocks have changed and it’s lighter in the morning, my favourite time.

So why am I obnoxious? I called my sister in London and cut the call short (45 minutes, in my defence) to get my morning started. I should mention though that she has just completed ‘the works’ in terms of breast cancer treatment over the last few months 😦 and we don’t speak often enough.

At work I guess this quote pans out also. As a customer service consultant I start every call with ‘how are you going?’ and my callers also ask me how I am too most of the time. This is hardly efficient and I used not to do it but I realise it’s a good way to build rapport, just by showing that you are spending those extra few seconds exchanging pleasantries and I like to vary my response when they ask me from ‘Great!’ to ‘Excellent!’. I even tell the full truth sometimes! My colleague usually says ‘I’m so well, it’s scary’ which always raises a laugh with the rest of us. There is always a way to inject your personality. Have you ever said ‘Fine thanks’ when they didn’t even ask you, or worse, had them do that to you, so you feel you should make them feel less stupid? We have so many laughs at work on the phone! I do love my job.

Anyway I digress. At work, the less ‘popular’ people are the more efficient ones it seems. They don’t always reply to your emails or your calls, or make conversation at the coffee machine. Basically they don’t take time to connect, which is what life is all about to me. 

How else can we be obnoxious? Cut in front of someone else’s car while driving, not give way when someone has clearly been waiting a long time, steal someone’s parking spot, why don’t you? Leave the toilet (or anywhere used by others) in a mess. Tell your kids not to even talk to you while you are blogging?  (oops!) All my examples seem to involve time and being efficient which proves this quote.

So are you going to be efficient or obnoxious today? Will you take an extra few seconds of your day to ‘give’ to someone else? Will you be a little more considerate on the roads, or take the extra time to clean up after yourself?  Will you dress or behave in an inoffensive way, thinking of the good of all or will you be on your own little mission?

Better still, will you realise that most people aren’t actually obnoxious, they are just caught up in their heads, thinking that they have to be perfect, do everything to the absolute best of their ability and that the race to the end is what counts? A kind word to someone so ‘efficient’ may make a big difference and release them perhaps.

time to do it right

And because I’d rather end with a picture, how could you ever look obnoxious doing this?

smell the roses

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Why don’t you?

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A house is a machine for living – Buckminster Fuller

Bucky, if I can call him that has a point here. A house is a machine with parts that are connected and hopefully relate to one another, with fuel that is added to it so that it may fulfil its function of being of service to people. Or are we the fuel? I guess we are ‘inputted’ into our homes and hopefully leave it calmer, fed, organised and ready for the big world again.

But what kind of machine do you imagine this house to be? What do the jolly colours imply; about the people who live here, what could be inside, where it is and how happy they are?

For to me this is nothing but a happy house, with jolly people, crazy goings on, holiday type living and much laughter. I would like to paint my house like this. Seriously!! But why don’t I? Why don’t you?

At age 18 I went to Bali, Indonesia for 2 months and was so taken with the colourful clothing that everyone wore. I brought many items home with me to wear in London and give to friends but the clothing really looked so out of place.  I think I may have worn something twice and that’s all, but only because I lost my nerve, not because it wouldn’t have been great to wear, I now realise.

Obviously if I lived here:

Colourful Mexico

I would have whipped up a suitable palette for my home in a heartbeat. But I don’t live in Guanajuato, Mexico 😦 and I haven’t yet had the nerve to even fill my living room with all things pink, orange and tropical lime, this Summer, like I planned, let alone repaint my outside walls and stairs.

I even have an outside wooden staircase I am soon to paint and as it’s my home I can do what I darn like, yet I will probably stick with the pale grey/green ubiquitous in Australia as reminiscent of the gums. BORING!! Or will I? Watch this space. I just went and had another look at it and am beginning to imagine the staircase above…

So why don’t I really do what I think I want? Why don’t you? Am I afraid of being too happy every time I come home and see the jolly colours? I made a similarly colourful large butterfly collage recently and I smile every time I see it on the wall facing my bed. It’s proof that colour changes your mood. I even studied colour for a whole year just to prove it!

Am I worried that others will think I’m a lunatic if I do the whole house? It hasn’t bothered me so far. I look forward to being the eccentric old lady, but perhaps I don’t ‘look old enough’ yet to think I can get away with it.

So for now my home remains neutral, pretty monochromatic and peaceful inside, all pastels and cream, interrupted only by the brights on the walls in the form of paintings, and flowering plants along a windowsill. They are hints at the colourful past I’ve had and even more exotic thoughts I entertain.

But if you ever hear of a dastardly delicious multicoloured house such as the one above, nestled near a national park, about 45 minutes from Sydney, you will know I have gathered my courage and come alive; as vibrant as the colours themselves.

And I will be inside with a ridiculous grin on my face, being wickedly creative day and night and eating these for breakfast every day with hazelnut coffee, living the life I was born to lead, irreverent and happy, childishly so!

Brownies kebabs

So that’s my Happy Life but what about you? Are there any colours you long for, things you wish you would dare to do, or could your ‘machine’ possibly be running on empty these days?

 

Anyone for Coffee?

Love Coffee

Thanks to Yaz Rooney for inviting me for coffee and for the tag. I would absolutely love to come. Only $1800 Sydney/Doha return 🙂

  1. How many cups of coffee per day? 4 – 5 though I am trying to replace my last one with Green Tea more regularly. It sounds worse than it is though as my idea of coffee is pathetic to everyone else. They joke about waving the coffee jar over the water, or the fact that it looks like dishwater. I like my coffee really weak.
  2. What is your favourite caffeine delivery system? If this means how do I usually have it – at home I have just discovered Moccona instant flavoured coffees (not sweet) – Caramel, Hazelnut and Vanilla. I am just trying to decide which one I like best and how to combine them. I don’t think I will go back to the normal stuff now. My life has actually changed for the better. I am an addict. At work it’s just the coffee machine, but I don’t let myself have the frothed milk as it’s too fattening, even skimmed.
  3. What was your best cup of coffee? When I was 15 I went to Sicily and discovered  Café Granita. OMG I still dream of those. Every cafe you went to made it slightly differently and it was refreshing, sweet, creamy, everything!! I must have had about 100 in 2 weeks. I have seen the recipes and keep meaning to make it at home but I daren’t. I tried once when I first got back to London but all I had was a hammer and ice and my stepdad’s revolting Chicory coffee. Yuk. But here is a Café Granita.  Kind of similar to Affogato – hot coffee with ice-cream.  YumCafe Granita
  4. What was your worst cup of coffee? Probably that one I tried to make to recreate a  Café Granita. If I get a slushy machine though I am trying again.
  5. What does your favourite mug say? My current favourite mug is almost like a ball, really large with pink starbursts on it. If a cup is too small I regularly finish the coffee without noticing and get really disappointed as I reach for another sip and it’s gone. It happens all the time when I am not in the present. I therefore have a big collection of large mugs. My favourite was a Christmas stocking gift from the kids one year and I get cranky if anyone else uses it. It doesn’t say anything on it. I quite like a cup at work that says OMG on one side and WTF on the other. Sorry for swearing!

The people I would love to invite for coffee are:

Yaz of course from Free Your Mind – we could compare all the countries each of us have lived in and then I would just let her do all the talking (almost impossible for me though when I’m happy) as she has so much to teach the world

Diane from The One Thing I Know for Sure – as she is already a fan of Yaz also, it would be amazing. Diane and I could discuss notes on writing fiction and crafting and a million other things

Little Miss Wordy – I like people who talk a lot so we can bounce off each other and I don’t feel I am hogging the conversation. If I haven’t confused my bloggers I think she lives in Puerto Rico at present (please confirm) so I think we should hold the coffee at her place

Colin DeWaay from uberbeastmode – He’s my biggest supporter on my other blog – Blog Myself Thin so he’s lovely and encouraging and would stop me eating tonnes of cakes and biscuits with my coffee

Adriana from Bent People – I gather she is in Sydney so this may become a reality one day. She might even get this naturally stiff old body into trying yoga again

Sara Jane from 140 Days of New Me – she has a beautiful singing voice and is fantastic at make-up too (has a second blog) so she could make us all over and entertain us as well as be part of the conversation. She also has a big heart!! Malta‘s not too far is it?

I’ve decided that the best part of blogging is not just the insights you get as you spill whatever’s on your mind day after day but the friends you make. These are just a few of the people very close to my heart that I have come across through blogging. But I love you all 🙂

Everything ripens at its hour

What we have done will not be lost to all eternity. Everything ripens at its time and becomes fruit at its hour – Divyavadana

I found this quote, in a tiny American book published in 1965 on Springs of Indian Wisdom,  at a garage sale 10 years ago. I loved it. I came across the concept again yesterday in a book I am reading by Tama Kieves – Inspired and Unstoppable, where she describes doing our ‘inspired work’ (what we were born to do) as planting seeds, some of which take root immediately and others which need to store a lot of energy from the soil before they burst into something spectacular. Just because we can’t see what’s going on out of sight doesn’t mean it isn’t gathering force on our behalf. Tama says “Relax and take the long view. You know you will get there. You will succeed in what you are meant to do. You have been given a guarantee. Just add devotion and time.” To me the guarantee means a guarantee of happiness, of inner fulfillment in some shape or form if we are open to it.

I experience this concept of eventual reward for sowing a thousand seeds at work constantly. Every day I get to be nice to people for a living, on the phone and by email. It’s the best job in the world, helping people. Most often you don’t get any thanks or comeback but yesterday I got spectacular thanks, even when I didn’t think I had done anything different. Of course it depends on the person receiving your help, not necessarily what you have done for them. I find the angriest customers are the ones who will be the happiest in the end. I even got an invite to come and stay with a customer in Canada after protracted correspondence.

In the absence of outside reward, I generate inner reward.  I appreciate my own good work. I enjoy sowing my seeds and tending to them. I give myself praise, a pat on the back, and encouraging words. I even get a little emotional when I know I am giving my all and coming up with inventive solutions. The first time as a teenager that I put my own money into a charity jar I got choked up, even a little teary. I remember it like yesterday and where I was (outside Sloane Square Tube station in London). It really surprised me, the strength of my emotion at that simple act.  Why was I uncomfortable with it?

Anyway I digress. This quote is about Karma, the law of cause and effect, nothing new there. But the concept of timing and therefore the value of patience is laid out here in a way I can understand. Nature teaches us once again if we only examine it. Everything ripens at its hour, including us!

If we focus our time and attention on what we are inspired to do, we enjoy the process even though it looks like work in disguise. We need not wait for the harvest, though it will surely come, one seed at a time.

Look and Change

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change – Wayne Dyer

Quantum physicists (or is it quantum mechanics?) back this up on a physical level. I am no expert on the subject of course, but it says that as we are all ultimately nothing but vibrating energy. There is no such thing as mass, nothing is solid. Objects therefore have a range of possibilities of position of where they could be and it is not until we look at something and our eyes lock onto it, that its position is defined. You might need to see the movie ‘What the bleep do we know‘ to have that one explained better. They explain all sorts of wondrous proven, scientific things that seem like magic, like how something can be in two places at the same time (they use light) and how if you talk to two bottles of pure water differently and look at them under a very powerful microscope the water will actually look different. One will look scary, for want of a better word and the other looks all beautiful (I would love to show you the images, once I learn how, maybe Google it). They then go on to explain that as we are 80% water ourselves, that negative talk and energy arranges our own water in such ways and can really affect us, so be careful what you allow yourself to be immersed in. This movie is linked to the secret which states the law of attraction, that what you think about most (with feeling and believing if you can manage it) will come to you, positive or negative. I can’t say for sure that it works but I know I would rather focus on the good and positive.

And of course I digress. For a more obvious example of why this quote is true for me, look at another person with love and then hate in your eyes and see how they react. They will change probably. Their body language will get defensive or welcoming or they will simply look confused. So simple, yet scary stuff. Similarly put on a pair of coloured sunglasses and see how things ‘change’. I always choose a certain colour brown lens when buying sunglasses because it makes the water look greener and I feel I am in Tahiti or somewhere more exotic.

One way to change the way you look at things is to focus on them and think about them, like actually listening to music in depth instead of using it for background music that barely registers. It’s the difference between hearing and listening, looking and seeing.

For example you could look at an inanimate object in a new way and think about its good qualities. You might decide that a simple piece of art that any child could have done or thought up, is actually a Picasso like work of art, brilliant on the deepest level. Then the thing you are looking at may change. You may want it, pay lots of money for it and convince others to do the same if you are a respected critic. It will become a valuable piece of work. The same object. Art galleries often leave me scratching my head but I think I get it. The art that gets you thinking and is the most original is sometimes worth the most. I think. Who looked at the works in such a way to deem them valuable enough to put in there?

I am always reminding myself that as thinking humans we have a huge filter on life, a unique paradigm that it is just as well to recognise right now, to avoid argument with others. Stephen Covey brought this to my attention 17 years ago with his story about the father and kids on the subway. The kids were playing up and onlookers saw it as bad parenting and were irritated until they learned that the mother had just died and the family were on their way home from the hospital, each acting out their grief in different ways. The onlookers then saw the same events differently.

For example my life’s experience has taught me to see a crumbly old building in Spain as a thing of great beauty and architecture, somewhere I would like to stay. However my kids, when shown the same image, deemed the building old, crumbling and therefore cheap. (I was amazed, we were playing a game called ‘Compatibility’ at the time and it brought this ‘filter’ to light. I thought we normally have such similar views).

How we look at things, this filter, changes gradually over the course of your life, hopefully to bring you peace and happiness. Remembering to make an effort to look for the good, rather than the bad will slowly change you. With Stephen Covey’s example the change was immediate. Snapping out of your critical thinking, realising it serves no one, especially yourself, and taking responsibility for your own filter is important. Examine it from time to time. Why do we cling on to beliefs that don’t serve us?

Have you ever had people to stay, maybe visit your country for the first time or your house and you start to look at your familiar surroundings with what you imagine to be their fresh eyes, to guess what they will think of it? I love doing that. When I go for my walk each morning (soon, now the sun is up) I try to remember that when I was growing up London, I would have given anything to come to this beautiful place and walk by the water to see the sun twinkling off it. When I change the way I am looking at my surroundings, the beauty then astounds me all over again. It is too easy to walk along, trapped in my thoughts and and miss the whole damn point of the walk. I can tell when I am off with the fairies because my iPod has shuffled to a song I don’t care for that much and I haven’t noticed until the end of it, let alone appreciated anything about it. I remind myself that if I were retired, I would truly enjoy these walks, that they would be a highlight of my day. So why aren’t they a highlight right now? So recently I have changed the way I look at my walk. It is no longer something to force myself into in the hope of getting thinner or fitter. It is something I want to do now. The walk has actually changed. It is so pleasurable. I hate to miss it now, in fact I even walked in the rain this week. Before I would have gone ‘Whoopee, good excuse not to go’.

Talking of which, I must go soon. This quote has reminded me once again to look at things with fresh eyes, to change the way I look at things that will serve me and my happiness levels. I don’t think I am naive or unrealistic or some kind of Pollyanna looking my hardest for the good. I see the crap and the injustice, the nonsense the hypocrisy etc in this world also. But it doesn’t have to be a source of huge immediate worry if you look at it in the right way. It serves no one if I watch all the sad stuff on the news and cry all day (as well I might). I would love to say I am the kind of person that goes on protest marches and has changed the course of history, but it is not going to happen just yet anyway. I won’t beat myself up about it and go around with a long face. That serves no one. I like to think that just as valuable a contribution, if on a very small level, is bringing fun, silliness and energy to the people around me. Get them smiling or thinking or even laughing. I will have to be content with that. Mother Theresa said ‘If you can’t feed all the poor, feed just one’ (or something similar).