It can only get better

I tried starting a blog post before the week began, talking about how I was trying to pump a lot of optimism into my upcoming week. It had been a rather chaotic one. I like “busy,” but sometimes it doesn’t work too well with other distractions. Still, I capped the previous week with some much needed “me” time last Friday which was the best part of those 7 days. (Note to self: you should do this more often.)

And we’re at Wednesday. I try to write more but I really need a major push forward there.

Work was hectic as can be, and while I don’t think we’re getting a reprieve for what’s left of the week. I hit the ground running and energized. Maybe it was the quiet weekend with my not so little guy. I took the time to breathe, stayed up late on Saturday with a new earring design I couldn’t stop making (!), and slept til noon the following day to give my body a chance to bounce back.

And Friday came again.

There are times when you really just need to pull away from the fray and sit quietly in a corner.  It was one of those days, and I focused on happy and positive thoughts, and some happy time over lunch.  I needed to recharge. I needed to lift my spirits up and find those feel good moments to make up for the bad ones. I had dessert. Without guilt.

Dessert from Ortzi
Gone are the days when I would be chided for even considering one. Part of me hasn’t quite gotten used to the idea that it IS okay to indulge once in a while…I still ask if I can get dessert. (And I’m trying to get rid of that habit..)

Focus on the good things and then tuck the negative away, and embrace the thought that it can only get better. Take care of you!

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Home sweet home

Do you ever work from home? I am fortunate enough to be in a position that can occasionally take that option, and my job has entitled me to a home office set up that guarantees connectivity and access. So let’s just say I had to work from home, I have a laptop and printer/scanner, a mobile WiFi device, and my smart phone is company issued so I can have mobile access. Our phone system is configured in such a way that I can trigger phone forwarding remotely, either through my mobile or laptop. And yes, there’s the IPad. So you can say I am all set and able to work from home whenever the need arises.

The downside is that my position, by itself, is an “in person”, “on the job” engagement– I have to be there. Today, though, was one exception, because the boss is in another state, and she was even kind enough to tell me herself to work from home. While that might sound quite the privilege — working from home literally means monitoring my iPhone and/or laptop for the email traffic, and like most days, almost memorizing my boss’s calendar as everyone wants to get on it. (I am proud to say that you can ask me about a particular date in the next 60 days and I would be able to tell you if my boss was going to be in town or elsewhere. Then again, I have an exceptional memory.)

I was looking forward to sneaking in some chores (like doing my laundry.. yeah, right).. clearing the space where I usually put up my Christmas tree.. getting some grocery shopping done.. getting the poster board for Angelo’s high school audition, and maybe putting away my summer clothes. But there were early morning fires to be put out at work, and lo and behold, I just discovered my kitchen sink was leaking. I cleaned the mess up under the sink, called the management office, and decided to write here while waiting for the maintenance guys to come (to my rescue), or for the email alert to ring on the laptop.

A relaxing day, it is not.

My superheroes did arrive and the busted sink is busted no more. I did get to do my laundry, and some grocery shopping, and I got the big boy started on his audition piece, but didn’t quite get him to where I wanted us to go. But it was a start.

That’s how my day went– and I don’t think it was that bad at all, but it could’ve been better. See? Working from home isn’t always such a breeze unless the idea is not to really work.

Monday Madness

Some Monday’s are just crazier than others. Today is one of the busier than busy ones, and I’m trying to steady my footing in the midst of everything buzzing around me. And I am just hoping that it turns out To be better as the wet and windy start have way to what is now a sunny and gorgeous day. Sometimes the universe grants us a reprieve and just makes everything okay again.

My brain is rating to write because writing helps me to steady my gait, but I am thinking in bullet point instead of complete sentences and paragraphs. It’s one of those days.

The weekend. That’s something I can focus on. My “now” is still in motion and I haven’t quite caught up with it. The weekend, though, has come and gone.

We had one nice and colder Saturday and a very rainy Sunday. I stayed home with my little guy just getting things done and resting and recharging.

Someone requested a Christmas ornament which I was excited to make — but it took me a while to decide on what kind of ornament it would be. Polymer clay was an option but I couldn’t find the right colors! Then I had a eureka moment and found myself hammering artistic wire and working with glass crystals. That ornament is a blog post in itself — for later.

I skipped the usual chores and focused on preparing meals for my not so little guy anymore. We went for a haircut which, nowadays, is a neighborhood barber named Boris who is a rockstar in the boy’s book as far as “cool” is concerned. We had lunch at a Japanese restaurant we both like and bought Halloween candy. I like simple weekends when I can still take care of him like I used to when he was much younger. I know that the time when he will shun that kind of attention for time with his friends is drawing near. Sometimes I pretend like I want him to act like a bigger kid, but in truth, I wish he’d stay the baby he is to me.

That was the weekend. But back to this Monday.

So the day ended on a happy note. While I don’t think that tomorrow will be any easier, I’m thinking it will not be as heavy as today when things were revealed and big changes are looming in the horizon. Not for me, but things have a way of trickling down.

I’d rather focus on the happy and the positive. No complaining, like I agreed and promised. Yes, I know, I’m more than okay.

Gratitude

Grateful for another week with much accomplished.. for being good at what I do and loving the work I do.. for weekends with my little guy at home when I can do what I do best: being a mom.. grateful for the things and people I have in my life right now that assures me I am in a very good place.. I am more than okay.

#gothamchicksays #empirestatebuilding #mynewyork #mynyc #manhattan #nycsunset

#onmywayhome #weekend #weekendishere

Daily prompt: Gratitude

Midnight whispers

I find it uncanny that I am suddenly bombarded by these ideas I want to write about, just as I am getting ready to sleep.

So there I am, brushing my teeth, not particularly looking at myself as I face the bathroom mirror, and an idea hits me. Or, as I am putting away the things I tinkered with just before I decided it was time to heed the call of my pillows— I feel this deep urge to write. I am usually good at ignoring it, but sometimes it just keeps eating at me.

I want to write about the gorgeous sunsets I have witnessed the last couple of days.. of celebrations and the ones you choose to do it with.. of taking the time to let others know how you feel.. of missing Sydney and the warm feelings those memories bring to my heart… and how, while the daily struggle can sometimes be overwhelming, my best friend up there always manages to tap me on the shoulder and remind me I am in a very good place.. or some simple gesture reminds me I am cherished and special.

Then I missed out on my original draft by not saving it before the app could auto save— and I had to redo half the post and now I must turn in and bid the world goodnight.. but not before I share one of those glorious sunsets I want to write about with you.

Sunsets of New York

My Happy Place

A few weekends ago, I visited with a girlfriend I hardly get to see because of the distance.  I haven’t seen her in ages and it’s really because (1) I don’t drive, and (2), getting her to the city or getting me to Long Island can be quite the journey.

She asked me a question which was simple yet a tad complicated to answer:  How do I manage to stay happy?

Happiness, for me, is a continuing journey.  I think that as we get older, we have to seek or find that “happy place” in order that we may not get buried by the day-to-day hassles of our toil.  It is THAT place we can retreat to — even if only in our minds — to bask in some happy memory or thought or even just a snapshot, that brings us that feeling of bliss.  Brief, though, it may be.

I have not always been as positive or happy as I am now.  Even now, I still find myself succumbing to moments of sadness or those blah times when  life overtakes me.  But I know better now to stand up or wiggle free of the weight of negativity, and not let myself slide deeper into that abyss of sadness.  I deal with it in a way that works for me.

One thing I’ve learned is that you have to consciously seek to be happy, or you will find yourself sinking or wallowing in the opposite.  Happiness is not automatic.  How many times have you heard it said, “Happiness is a choice.”  I’m still not quite comfortable with that whole concept because I think what people label as “happiness” is relative to what they consider it to be.  As we get older, the word takes on a bigger meaning but we start defining it in simpler terms.

Each person defines happiness a different way, and I think much of the frustration or sadness about life in general is brought about by how difficult or unreachable that definition of “happy” is.  When people ask me for advice, I come back with a simple question: “What is it that will make YOU happy?  Without worrying about everyone else around you, the other people depending on you for their own happiness, just thinking about YOU and YOU alone — what would make you happy?”

I have no formula for happiness.  I envy those people who can authoritatively declare that their personal default setting is “happy”.   Is that at all possible?  Or are these people just deluding themselves about how happy they are.  Are they really happy?

I had asked myself that question many times — and I found my answer.  But the answer to my question is personal to me.  That question is answered a million different ways by the millions of other people out there.  You would answer that question your way.

I still ask myself that question when faced with a dilemma where I have to make a choice.  We have been wired to think of “what’s good for the majority”, or “whats good for all.”  But when that answer clashes with “what’s good for us” or “what’s good for me”, there arises a frustration that leads to sadness and discontent.  It leads to sacrifice — mostly on our part.  And sacrifice, no matter how noble, always hurts.

There’s nothing wrong with sacrificing or doing what’s best for others.  But it is more difficult to swallow when we ourselves, are, in general, not happy.  It all starts with ourselves.  So you need to find your happy place and go there when everything else seems to be crumbling down.

So how can you find that happy place?

Memorialize “happy” in words.  I read somewhere not too long ago, that a gratitude journal is precisely for these times when we feel at our lowest.  We need to remind ourselves that there were things that made us feel grateful, and collectively, these are the things that contribute to our happiness.  That worked for me for a while and I just don’t know where my gratitude journal is right now, but that is a good idea that might work for those who do journaling or blogging or some form of record keeping.  I haven’t posted in ages, but I used to have a “Five Things to be happy about” list here– simple things that make me feel grateful at any given point in time.

The point is to have something filled with positive thoughts that you can go back to over and over again, more so during those times when you need a major pick me up.

Find that picture that will never fail to make you smile.  I have pictures that remind me of a million emotions that wrapped together bring a smile to my face.  I love taking selfies with my boy, and even before the age of smart phones and all, I trained myself to take photos with my point and shoot camera facing us, at arms’ length.  People used to wonder how I could do that and come up with perfect framing– I simply say, “Practice.”  Of all the probably thousands of selfies I’ve taken, I have a favorite one when he was probably 4 or 5.  I love that photograph because he was still small enough to sit on my lap, rest his head on my chest, and he smiled this happy smile that proclaims to everyone around “This is my girl.”  (He will probably cringe now at almost 13 if he reads I wrote that.). I have a copy of that picture in a frame on my desk.  Some place I can always see it.  And when I see that picture, I find myself in my happy place.

Create a happy space in your mind you can retreat to just by closing your eyes.  Remember how, as a kid, you would imagine a world where you were the princess or the super hero?  Or how you had such fun vacations with the family?  A special trip with friends perhaps?  Or a time and place where you get a tight embrace, where there was so much laughter you found yourself shaking uncontrollably until you had to take a deep breath before you started tearing up?  I have my favorite happy moments I loop in a repeating video in my mind, and I go there when I feel like things are going grey.

Carry a small memento of a happy moment with you.  Some people have keychains, a matchbook, a bookmark, a table napkin — tucked in your purse or wallet – or a note from a favorite relative, a word of encouragement.  Nondescript items that symbolize a happy moment in our lives, whenever that may have been, wherever they may be.  It might be a business card, a rewards card, or some other plastic with someone’s name which brings you happy thoughts.  Have it within reach so that each time you feel you need a boost, you can fish for it wherever it may be.

Do not feel guilty about reaching out for a favorite snack or comfort food that might give you a much-needed sugar boost!  It might not be so bad to actually give in to a craving for something that absolutely bring you a piece of heaven, even if it is spelled in calories.  For me, it’s that chocolate treat, or a pint of my favorite butter pecan ice cream.  The thing is, it shouldn’t become an excuse to overindulge or overeat.  It should be enough that you satisfy the craving, smile and move on from there.  A taste is different from gorging on something you absolutely love.  Just enough to make it to “happy” and nudge you awake to do something about your state of mind.

Or it can be a reward for something you need a pat on the back for.  I know most people will disagree with this but life is too short for us to continually deprive ourselves of those things that put a smile on our face just because the rest of the world dictates that we have to be a certain dress size.

These things have helped me to stand up when I was at my lowest and even on an everyday basis.  Perhaps the shorter answer to my friend’s question about how I stay happy is that I keep my happy thoughts and happy items near.  Even on an ordinary day, I go to that happy place tucked in the corners of my mind and I visit and breathe in my bit of happy.

 I choose “happy”.  That’s how I manage to get past the pain and the chaos and the obstacles that life has made a habit of throwing my way.  

Flowers at the Grounds of Alexandria

Pre weekend

UntitledI’m really looking forward to the weekend, beyond doing my laundry and hopefully getting a few pieces done to post in the shop.  Saturdays, most specially, are sleep in days when I don’t have to worry about the alarm clock ringing before 6am. I actually set it for 9am, only because I’m afraid I will sleep through to noon. Almost impossible, but I would hate to waste half a day literally snoozing away. Plus at my age, the rest of the day tends to go by ever so slowly when I wake up way too late. I feel lethargic even with all that extra rest.  Counter productive.  (Maybe just because I’m older.)

I’m just hoping I can get down to starting to publish my poetry online over at my site dedicated to this which I’ve entitled “This Life In Verse.”  Pretty straightforward, and something I’m pulling together to have all my poetry from age 9 on in one place.  I had brought as much of my work as I can find to New York in the course of several trips to Manila over the years.  

After a creative drought of 15 (!) years, I’ve started writing again.  That, in itself, is reason enough to find the inspiration to try and organize my work into a single compilation.  It’s as if my voice was silenced and awakened from a deep sleep after so long.  Although the writing has been sparse in the last 2 years, the mere fact that I have actually started writing and completing pieces has roused me from that slumber.  
I used to sit and be able to write poem after poem about anything under the sun.  I wrote about friendship, love, joy and happiness.  Then the words stopped coming.  I didn’t even realize it that I had stopped writing.  

But I am writing again.. and that part of me came Alice and is no longer silent.  

So this weekend, I begin yet another journey in words.