So i've tried to write the start to this blog several times now. I feel I need to just go with it and not overthink it (a great talent of mine) and just be myself. I'm Jacqui and i'm on a quest of self-love and happiness.
While waiting for a computer to become free at the Public library this morning I picked up a book called the Happiness Project. I thought that is a bloody great idea. I could do that.
So here I am starting my very own blog. I feel like a character from one of the many chick flicks i've watched, sitting here typing as I listen to the sound of the rain fall on the path outside, the fridge humming and car tyres parting puddles as they go by.
I want to live a good, happy life and to do that I know I need to find happiness within myself. Each day I plan to do something to better myself.
Day One - New computer and printer and start a blog
Have a good night everyone :)
The Happiness of Others...
My boyfriend is a bass player in a few New Zealand bands called Looking For Alaska, WingMen and St Bernards Cricket Club. He 'really' likes basses!
Last night he won the auction for this beautiful Modulus Flea Bass and is super stoked about it. I felt really happy for him. It feels great to see the people you love being happy too. Happiness is infectious! I want to start actively looking for moments of happiness all around me. What happiness will I find today?
Boyfriend + new bass = happiness 😊
Day 2 - The little things :)
This morning I started listening to the podcast by Gretchen Rubin who wrote the book The Happiness Project which is called Happier. Every week she does a new podcast and reccomends something for the listeners to try to increase their happiness. Today's was to make your bed in the morning. I have to say I do feel happy that I have and feel proud of how nice my room now looks. I guess it's all the little things we can stop and take time to do that adds to our daily satisfaction and will lead to a greater sense of calm and joy in our lives. By making my bed this morning I feel like I care about myself. A sense of pride. What little things do you each day that make you feel a little happier?
Day 3 - Early bird gets the worm...
Had a great sleep last night - got a solid 7 hours! Which is unusal for me.
After a good sleep I was keen to get up and go for a walk, first I made my bed :) I set off at 7.15am - it was soooo beautiful out there this morning. The air was fresh, the sky was an amazing palette of pastels and the birds were singing. I had a spring in my step all the way to the ocean. The cool dew on my bare legs felt refreshing as I hiked over the sand dunes to reveal the sun rising from the cool blue water. I marvelled in the beauty that the warm orange sun posessed. I felt peaceful within myself and wondered if happiness is found in beauty or do we see more beauty in things when we feel happy?
I think the Greek philosopher Plato hit the nail on the head a very long time ago with this quote about happiness "The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily" — Plato, lived in 4th century BC
Day 4 - Playfulness
Happy Easter, happy Sunday, happy eating of chocolate bunnies and eggs. Did I miss something in science class, do rabbits in fact lay eggs?😉
So the solid 7 hours did not happen last night! I woke at 2am and again at 4.58am, which is why I’m now deciding to just go with it and write 😀
Since separating from my Ex-husband a little over 6 months ago my life has been turned upside down and now slowly feels like I’m starting to get back on top of things.
A marriage ending is a strange thing, as you go through the 7 Stages of grief (https://www.recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html) yet they’re still alive and if you have kids that you still share with your ex like me, you still have to sometimes talk to or physically see them. I feel this can delay or even upset the order of the stages of grief. What are your thoughts?
I feel like during this time I got so caught up in everything that was going on for me that I forgot how to just enjoy my girls when I have them and have fun, hence playfulness as the title today 😊. Anyone relate to this? Any ideas on things to do?
Last night I thought I’m going to set up an egg hunt! My girls are 12 and 14, so will be interesting to see this morning if they are into it! Although can’t go to wrong with finding and then eating chocolate can you? Especially Lindt chocolate, OMG 😮, love that stuff!!!
I felt happy and almost a sense of normality setting up the egg hunt last night. I know my girls have been hurting since the separation and I want to keep doing kind things for them from now on. I love them both very much ❤️.
”A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal” Steve Masaboli.
Day 5 - De-cluttering - a.k.a Sorting out my s#%t!!
I've been listening to a few different podcasts on Spotify recently, one being Happier by Gretchen Rubin (worth a listen) and The Minimalist Podcast (also worthy). Both have talked about the importance of decluttering. For obvious reasons the Minimalists encourage decluttering in all aspects of your life. I agree with a lot of their ideals, but i'm not ready to go full on minimalist, yet anyway! I do love the concept of everything you own either having a specific purpose or being beautiful to you. It's very freeing looking around you and enjoying the environment you have created. This is the biggest thing I have learnt - we are in control of the life we create for ourselves, noone else. Isn't that awesome to know?
What choices will you make today to create the life you will be happy to live?
Day 6 - Growth Mindset and 'Frequency Illusion'...
Good morning :) I've just gotten back from a brisk walk and kept thinking about the Splendid First Truth Gretch Rubin talks about in her book The Happiness Project. It is this "To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth."
The last few weeks I keep coming across the term 'growth mindset', which is about always striving to learn and believing that you have the ability to become smarter or improve upon the skills that you already have. This concept was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck (https://www.edglossary.org/growth-mindset/). The opposite is having a 'fixed mindset' where you believe that the intelligence, skills or abilities that you have are what you will always have and a belief that you can't better yourself or situation.
I do think that Gretchen is onto something about the correlations between a growth mindset and happiness. When i'm in a funk or feeling down, i'll tend to stop doing all the things that make me feel good about myself. My exercise routine will go on the back burner and i'll instead binge on Netflix series...'just one more episode'...'just one more episode'...'just one more season!'...lol! But I guess it's now having that ablitiy to reflect upon what I'm doing when I do feel bad and recognising the signs that i'll be able to pull myself out and do the things that make me feel good again.
I have to say, i'm loving doing this blog. I guess i've always enjoyed the feeling of putting my thoughts into words. I've always kept journals and will tend to write pages and pages when my mind is overflowing with emotions that I don't want to say out loud to anyone. At times, especially after I first left my marriage I would write furiously before heading to bed and then rip the pages into tiny pieces! It felt amazing!
So why did I write 'frequency illusion'? This is what has been happening to me with the word 'growth mindset'. Now that I know about this concept, I keep seeing it everywhere! It's the same as when you buy a new model car and then suddenly you are seeing the same model as yours everywhere.
Have a great day everyone. What mindset will you choose to live your life by, fixed or growth?
Day 7 - From the heart ❣...
Today I went to the bookstore to find a card for my boyfriend’s birthday. None of them seemed right for what I wanted to say. So I thought, hey I could make him one at home! I really enjoyed making something for someone I love. Really looking forward to seeing him tomorrow xxx
When did you last make something for someone you love? How did you feel?
Day 8 - Self Love and Love for others...
I like to listen to podcasts as I drive, and popped on my favourite ‘Happier’ by Gretchen Rubin for the 1.5 hour drive to see my man.
The topic was loving yourself as you are right now and loving others as they are right now. A lot of the time we are waiting to feel happier in the future when we’ve completed a particular thing (maybe study) or bought a house or new car etc, thinking once we’ve achieved that particular thing - then we’ll feel happiness. Instead we need to enjoy each day and love ourselves as we are. She also spoke about setting goals but to enjoy the journey to achieving them.
Day 9 - Laughter really is the best medicine...
Treat yo self!! Go and see a funny show, movie or stand up comedians! Last night we went to The Classic Comedy club in Auckland. Very enjoyable! My favourite act was a female comedy duo called Fan Brigade - fricken hilarious! Very cleverly written lyrics, great voices and comedic delivery. Check them out for yourselves here - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ70ciuXQXQ
I’m a big Flight of the Chords fan so these girls really hit the spot with their RSA song...”Have you signed in?” 😂
Have a great day out there, what makes you laugh?
Day 10 - Having fun together...
It’s been such a great weekend! I surprised my boyfriend with tickets to watch The Warriors play at Mt Smart stadium. He’s a huge fan and was stoked with his birthday present. I felt really happy that he had appreciated the gift and seeing the enjoyment he got from seeing them play. The Warriors have been on a winning steak - 5 games in a row!
We had a lot of laughs this weekend and I remembered to focus on enjoying the present moment. This made such a difference.
Day 11 - You don't have to finish that book!!
Good evening! While listening to the Happier podcast the other day they were talking about a subject that was very close to my heart- reading. While I love reading, I tend to stick to authors that I know or have been reccomended by close friends or family. Often I feel obliged to read a book all the way through, even if i'm not enjoying it. The Happier podcast announced that we need to stop doing this! Just stop! If you aren't enjoying what we are reading you do not have to finish it. Wow! I felt liberated! So i've done just that and stopped the book I was reading and now i'm reading The Testament of Gideon Mack and its great.
What book have you read all the way through even though you hated it?
Day 12 - Join or start a group...
I was thinking about how much I enjoy reading and then remembered how much I loved being in a book club in my early twenties. Books and meeting new people, two of my favourite things joined together. I decided today to put my feelers out on our local Facebook community page to see if there were others out there interested in joining a club and already i've had a response! Just goes to show we really can create the life we want to live by making it happen :)
What is something you are passionate about? Do you belong to a club?
Day 13 - Knowledge goes a long way...
7 months ago I had the courage to finally leave a marriage where I was emotionally abused. It took me a long time to see that I was in fact in the cycle of emotional abuse and I had to reach a place where I said enough is enough.
It’s not been easy leaving, but I’ve now read a lot of books on the subject and attend a wonderful course called WAVE (Women Against Violence Education). It has been so good to have love and support from the course counsellors and other women who have been or are going through similar experiences.
I will strive to keep learning all I can to stay strong as a woman and mother to my beautiful girls, who I want to have healthy relationships when they get older.
Day 14 - Make time for your friends...
I'm so blessed to have a small group of beautiful people i'm proud to call my friends. Some live near by and others far away. Having these people in my life has enriched me in so many ways. These people have been there for me through the good times and the bad.
I'm so lucky to have also have reconnected with my best friend from when I was eleven years old. We got in touch about 4 years ago. It was great to catch up with her today and I feel so lucky to have her in my life again.
Who do you feel blessed to have in your life? Have you contacted them recently?
Day 15 - Music 🎶
I love music 🎵 I love listening to it, playing it, singing it and dancing to it.
Lately I’ve been practicing playing the piano every evening. The more I do it the more enjoyable it’s becoming. Some songs I’d been struggling with are now coming to life and sounding as they’re intended too!
Tonight I decided to make my piano area look all fancy! It felt really good playing with it set up like that. Maybe next time I might dress up fancy too and pretend I’m playing to a room full of well to do people who’ve paid good money to see me? Watch this space...
When was the last time you did something special for yourself?
Day 16 - Getting creative...
I recently got to join the last half of my boyfriend’s band ‘Looking for Alaska’on their tour. On the way home we stopped at the amazing Gordon Harris art supply store in Wellington. So many awesome products! I found some Pebeo watercolour paints. Haven’t done much with watercolour before, but am really enjoying them so far. I’m inspired to do a series of fruit paintings. Will add them as I complete them. What do you like to do to be creative?
Day 17 - More art!
I’m feeling proud, I wanted to do more fruit paintings and I ended up doing 3 in one day! I think I have found my art style, I’m really enjoying using the watercolours with black ink over top.
Doing art is making me feel happy
Day 17 - More art 😀
Day 18 - Listening to Jazz on Spotify and a confession...
So, I have a confession, it's been awhile since I 've posted on here. I have trouble with my iron levels and don't notice until I start getting really sick. I finally went for blood tests after being run down for over 7 weeks and multiple days of being unable to work. Not sure if you've ever experienced low iron yourself, but it's pretty horrible. My poor boyfriend got to see me at a really low point over the weekend and was amazing! He was so supportive, loving and took really good care of me and I am truly grateful to have Stephen in my life.
Today after binge-watching Grace and Frankie (love this show) on Netflix, I decided to take a break from staring at the TV and put on some classic jazz. If I still drank wine, this would be the perfect occasion, instead, I'll settle for a pot of lemon and ginger tea, with extra honey, honey.
What do you like to do to relax?