What will you build?

I truly believe we are not as clueless about our lives as we think we are. Whenever I get stuck, I remember that the world always need more builders.

For a long while, I got stuck at the first question, what can I build?

This is what I found.

That the world needs builders to build …
– bridges, to create connections;
– homes, to create belonging;
– communities, to create compassion;
– tools, for the other builders to build;
– schools, so that all can learn to build & never to fear what is destroyed in the name of change;
– paths, to journey for the journey is as important as the destination;
– rest spots, because a journey is not complete when we learn to be present & rest;
– torches, to light the paths and warm the hearts of other builders;
– stages, so others can showcase their story as a means of enriching others’ lives.

Most of all, builders are needed to build new worlds, for anything is possible as long as the mind can dream, the heart believes & the hands can build.

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Ushering in the New

So Christmas just passed, and often before that there will be some cleaning and then ushering in the festivities. Where I live, we also celebrate the New Year (ol’ classic 1 of Jan) and the Chinese New Year, which typically happens in January or February (the first day of the Lunar Calendar Year varies with each Gregorian calendar year). A simpler way to look at it is that Chinese New Year is the start of spring, as per ancient Chinese traditions come by.

So by my count, each year, I clear out the old and usher in the new three times. The biggest spring cleaning operation happens closer to Chinese New Year but you can see where I get confused.

Nonetheless I feel good with the opportunity to clear out the old, broken, unusable…even if it comes in three spurts. (Decluttering and space is a particular topic I’ve been studying by myself for years and I can write a whole blog on it…. Hmm maybe I will..watch this space).

This year I’m sitting at my table exhausted, it’s late I want to sleep I don’t think I can effectively clear out the house good enough for the magazine or visitors, of which I don’t usually have either. Griping about what else I need to do, how I need to outdo last year and the year before. Somewhat a mini panic attack, without the medical conditions of it.

But this year I am choosing fun, wholeheartedness and play (themes of my year 2014), so how can I laugh at this?

Out with the old…
For starters, it’s about throwing my images of what should the house look like pre-CNY, throwing out images of me not doing enough or that I had to fix a certain amount of “work done” on the house that was acceptable.

In with the new!
And then it means welcoming the new:
1) Habits about removing the rules of what should be and opening the possibilities of what could be;
2) Accepting that I have done a lot and in that present moment, is enough for what is required that present moment; and
3) Effort and action is just important as achievement

And that, is a pretty good spring clean in its own right.

Postponing happiness

Once in a while, some events happen around me that make me feel really joyful. There are probably more than I can care to remember, but it only took me till recently to realise that I often numb most of the others in between.

It happened after a recent talk I gave about this blog (yes, people are interested to hear about Loving Monday Mornings *excited*) and how it relates to goal setting for the year. The staff at the place I gave the talk were all extra chirpy the following Monday when I swung by. They seemed really inspired and happy, and knowing that Loving Monday Mornings contributed to that just made me really joyful.

I was happy for 2 minutes, the real simple kind of happy. Smiling, at peace, feeling that all is good around me. And for some reason, I spotted it this time, as fast as the thought popped into my head:

“Better not be so happy. It will likely not last so you should tone it down a little, and leave some for later.”

What?!?!
What was the point of enjoying a moment, any moment, if you had to somehow carve a portion of it and leave it for later? What was so terrifying, the idea of scarcity? That there might be a limited amount of joy? And so it seems another usual reaction I had, just that I was somehow outside looking in again:

The need of postponing happiness to save some for later was equivalent to the scarcity mindset that there wasn’t happiness. As a result, I am not truly enjoying the moment, occasionally guilty and thereby, not happy as a result of postponing what I was trying to be – happy.

How long?
As far back as I can remember, and that is a long time to keep postponing something. It is draining, exhausting, and feels ironically, thoroughly miserable. How much had I short-changed myself along the way?

There comes a time when you get amazed at that very instant how far you have come – especially if it’s down the wrong path.

Now what?
I was still standing at the same spot, moments into my new realisation. The only thing that was left, was to stop postponing happiness. And then, to be happy now.

What if there is not enough and it “drains” out? Be happy now.
What if I get it wrong?
Be happy now.
What if I don’t know how?
Be happy now.

Being present in the moment. Being happy.
Being happy. Being present in the moment.

It’s going to be a great week ahead!

Really?

If you could sit back and monitor the voices in your head (actually, you technically could with an appropriate meditation process), that would likely pop up first.

Really? But it’s a work day tomorrow.

Really? But there is so much to clear in the office.

Really? But I have to hand up the report due (fill in the blanks).

Really? But the boss is back from vacation and has lots of work to dump on me.

Really? The client is going to be calling in with all sorts of complaints.

And so on.

Seriously, it’s late on a Sunday night (my time). I’m exhausted even listening to that tirade. And if my experience in the last few months where I have been working on certain goals, going through a coaching process for myself and a group of others around me counts – a lot of what we create around us really comes from us: our perspectives, our intention, our direction and our pure ability to create the environment we want around us.

So when you are done begrudging the week lost, come over and join me on this side, looking ahead to the week.  When I’m not stewing inward in my own self-dug corner, I can clearly see the blank canvas in front, brush in one hand and colourful palette in another, ready to paint in answer to the question:

“It’s going to be a great week ahead – what will great mean for you (not me, not them, not him, not her), but specifically for you?”

“Where has the week gone to?!”

It used to happen every weekend, in conversations and now in social media status updates “Where has the week gone to?!”

Often we look out for “cheat days” – days off from our goals.  The reasoning is that for a stretch of these few number of days, we have been driving relentless towards our goals, therefore, once in a while a break is warranted.

I think before anything has become a habit, or that if we see it as goals = work, then taking a break is where the comfort zone is and can be very enticing.

Subsequently, one day stretches to two: “another day won’t hurt”.

And another.

Just like writing this blog, a whole week goes by and a little more, almost in a flash, without nary a post.

Has it been fulfilling or restful?  Strangely, or perhaps not so strange, no.

Writing recharges and writing inspires me.  This thing that I did frequently, this blog that I built one post at a time, refreshes me.  By “not doing anything” wasn’t restful, it was allow the writing muscle to atrophy.  No wonder I got more tired as the day went by.

Of course, for everyone, it may not be writing but something else that recharges them: reading, singing, drawing, dancing, sports, photography, fishing, driving etc.  What doesn’t get recharged, gets left aside and atrophies.

 

Happy New Year in 2014!

This blog has been a work of joy, one of the new things I started challenging myself for 2013.

That’s what makes a great start to the morning, even when times are rough.

To an awesome 2014.  And more loving of Monday mornings.  The new year is an honouring of experiences past, embracing what lies ahead and knowing that we always have the ability to create the next better year or worst year than the last – it’s up to us, choose to the former.

Happy New Year this 2014!