The Happiness Jar


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Happiness has been something that I have been actively pursuing over the past few years, particularly when I saw the film (and read the book) Eat Pray Love, a lot of you would know that this is how this blog got started and I attempted to find some sort of resolve and path to being a happier person. 

I went through a lot of turmoil and grief to get to the stage I am at today but lately I have realised that I have become extremely complacent with the stage I am at and unfortunately have turned into that whiney person who constantly whinges about everything (literally!) Not that I am extremely unhappy or depressed I am just bored and complacent. I find I am stopping myself mid-conversation all the time wondering why am I just rambling about my situation and sounding like an annoying, fat whiner? My friends don’t deserve to be subjected to this! Especially when in comparison I have a lot, I have nothing to really complain about so what can I do? 

Eat Pray Love was written by Elizabeth Gilbert who has become somewhat of a mentor to me, although I do not know her personally, I love her work, her talks, her ideals, they all speak to me and I feel if we did ever meet we would click and become lifelong friends (I swear I am not a crazy stalker!) Being a fan of her facebook page I kept seeing posts of people’s “Happiness Jars” beautifully decorated jars with slips of paper listing good things that had happened, reasons to be happy. I decided that I had to do this and include gratifications in mine. Putting things that I am grateful and happy for will keep me in check whenever my inner spoiled brat kicks in. 

My jar is clearly not that beautiful (clearly crafts are not my area of expertise) but I did the best with my limited talents and here it is, ready to be filled daily with things that I am happy and grateful for, and if I am ever in that frame of mind all I need to do is empty the jar, read the paper and snap out of it. 

I love this idea and knowing that other people around the world are doing it at the same time makes the idea more communal. If you are feeling unhappy, depressed or just a whiner like me try this out and see how you go. 

 

Holiday!


 

 

 

 

 

 

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This weekend I made an impromptu, last minute decision to head to Surfers Paradise for the Easter long weekend, see my family and my beautiful cousin who I have yet to meet and have some well deserved fun after what has been a bitch of a year so far. The plan was three theme parks in three days, including a theatre show (Australian Outback Spectacular) and some much needed family time.

Movie World is definitely one of my favourite places in the world, it combines all my favourite DC Comics characters, themed rides and so much stuff to buy in the shops it is crazy. I am proud to say I was really restrained and did not buy a thing this time around (although my brain knows that next time I will buy double to make up for it!)

After a hard day at DreamWorld going on rides and looking at A LOT of Australian themed attractions we headed off to the Outback Spectacular. A dinner and show based on Australian history. I knew it was going to be camp but I was excited for it anyway. The show started and after a 5 second oh Aboriginals were here, the show began and focusing on the british fleet and skipped over the slaughter as if it never existed. When the Man From Snowy River and Phar Lap stuff started I was still outraged, I didn’t expect a re-enactment of the atrocity but some mention of it, or even an acknowledgement of the original inhabitants of the land we were on would have been respectful or at least half decent. It was like being in year 5 history were you learn the dreamtime stuff for 5 minutes and then Australian history begins with the arrival of the first fleet. This kind of ignorance just boils my blood, and although this show was showcasing horses, it could have handled it a bit better than what they did.

The more I think about it, the more I want to do those things that crazy people do. Write a letter, take it to Today Tonight and all of that crap but I won’t (and never would, let me make that clear!) It just made me think in a lot of ways we have come so far with trying to make sense of what happened in our past with the Aboriginal people and nothing we could ever say or do will ever make up for the near extinction of this beautiful culture, we can try to move forward and pave a better tomorrow.

Enough of the heavy stuff, the rest of the holiday was somewhat interesting and while I am very glad to be home I can say that everybody needs a break at some point and this was just what I needed to refresh and recharge my batteries. I hope wherever you are you had an amazing easter and took some time to spend with your family and loved ones.

 

 

 

Meditation f%^&ing sucks!


True to my word I decided to start daily meditation, it began one night as I had the house to myself and agreed that it would be the perfect time to start.. My room was all setup ready to go, Tibetan prayer flags slung across my window, all electronic devices off and out of reach. I sat on my brown and prickly carpet and attempted to close my mind off.  I immediately began thinking empty your mind, empty your mind, empty your mind, over and over and over.

A few seconds later my mind spoke back to me “Come on now, it shouldn’t be that hard to empty your mind…really? come on, there is not really that much to think about. I wonder how many people have done this before and thought the same, like really think about numbers, it would have to be in the millions right? or maybe over a billion? is that even possible?

Stop it! Clear your mind, come on just clear it! I fought back my own thoughts and once again attempted silence.

“I wonder how many hits out websites got today? Hopefully it will be more than yesterday, based on that new content we put up”

SHUT UP! STOP IT!

Ok so obviously this wasn’t working. I decided to take myself out of the bedroom and try to get more relaxed so I ran a bath. Using the “good” bubble bath bar I just purchased from Lush, I lit half a dozen candles and slipped into the bath.

I focused on my breathing, in and out, feeling the steam drenching into my pores I finally got 1.25 seconds of silence in my head when it came at me again.

“Wow! this bath smells amazing, it smells like cotton candy, with a hint of lavender. But not too much lavender, just enough to make it calming…yes…I feel calm, I feel relaxed now. I wonder if the markets are on tomorrow? I should message Zoee and find out. I could really go a epanyata or maybe that beautiful chicken and chilli jam breakfast wrap, that is always nice, unless it is really hot..but then I could wear shorts and a tshirt and it wouldnt be that hot and I could eat it right?”

Ok this was seriously becoming a problem. How was I going to do this?? I have way too many thing zooming around in my head. While I agree that this is a large part of the problem I am having what am I meant to do to move forward?

I tried again the next few nights in a row and the same thing happened again and again. I had no idea what to do and I decided that I would message my indian friend to see if he knew of any meditation centres that can help guide you through. I didn’t just want any meditation place, I wanted somewhere that would incorporate spirituality into the practise and hopefully through a supportive environment I could move past this mind mess and actually get somewhere with this.

A few days later I received an sms confirming that there was in fact a Kundalini Yoga centre not too far from me that would be a great place to start, and he would also come with me as a support and for himself as well.

So the plan is to start next week, going a few times a week and see what comes of it. I will be throwing all of myself into this and hoping for some clarity and with the incorporation of a better diet and regular exercise I am hoping to get both my mind and body back on track.

And to answer the question in my comment about the new name, Valhalla is a city in the DC comic book universe, it is a place where tired, worn down heroes come to recharge, to find themselves, gather their strength and head back into the world fighting fit.

I found this suited me and my situation perfectly and was the best way to describe my current state and things are heading.

A new name, a new blog!


You may have notice a few changes around here, in particular the name of this blog. Formerly Eat Pray Love Challenge, I decided to change the name of this for several reasons. The first is that, while I love Liz Gilbert and her writing, I have no claims to the Eat Pray Love name or legacy. I cannot “join” Gilbert’s journey, I instead have to pave one of my own, my own journey that was inspired by this life-changing book.

The aim of this has not changed, I can feel myself shifting into the spiritual discovery of my journey, 6 months of pure pleasure has been amazing but my body and soul are crying out for some spirituality. Yesterday I had a dream, I was on a trip in Canberra with one of my friends Ryanie, we were in a jeep driving across a mountain side. The path was narrow and seemed to widen as our tyres approached, the gravel groaning and shaking out as the jeep surged dangerously ahead.

We arrived at the top of a mountain at a small village, the village was littered with people that I have known for many years, most of whom are born again christians. I was hesitant to get out of the car and as I pushed open the door and stepped out, I looked back and Ryanie was gone. The jeep fell under the crumbling ground and crashed down the side of the mountain. I just stood there looking at it in horror.

I turned around to a group of people screaming at me. I could not make out what they were saying, it was just muffled yelling and cries. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were not pleased. I fell to my knees and started crying, they gathered around me in a circle and one by one asked me “Who is your god?” I could not reply through my sobbing. The more I tried to talk, the more I cried. No not cried, blubbered like a small child who has burnt their hand on the hot stove.

The more I tried to answer, the more I cried. My breathing slowed down and I could feel myself regaining strength and confidence, it was then that I heard a cry, a battle cry, a scream of challenge from behind the group. They parted and turned towards the sound, as I looked up I saw Ryanie and his wife Nicole standing there dressed head to toe in what I can only describe as native indian headgear. Their faces striped with black and white warpaint, they wore animal skin from head to toe with a large pointy, feathery hat. The crowd began to whisper amongst themselves. Nicole and Ryanie moved forward and picked me up off the ground, I felt all my energy returning to me.

The crowd gathered around us once more and asked again “Who is your god” this time they pointed flaming torches towards my face and I screamed out “I don’t know” I woke up crying and covered in sweat. It was at this time I realised that quite literally I am ready to find out just who my god is, what I believe and who deserves my devotion. I have never any dream so vivid, so real and so inspiring before.

It was at this stage I was convinced that the universe was literally telling me to move on, to start discovering who I am spiritually as I killed off the “christian” side of me years ago and there has been a spiritual hole in my life ever since. I now look forward to the future and will start my yoga practices and daily meditation and see what happens.