What’s your Cheese?

The other day I read an interesting book called “I Moved Your Cheese.”  It’s a book that follows on the famous “Who Moved My Cheese?”  and I find it interesting for it tells a story of three mice in a maze that challenged the maze in which they lived.  It’s fascinating.   The story is simple and you could finish the book in one night, yet it makes one think.  It is a reflection of what life should be.

The three mice in the story were not like the other mice for they thought outside the box.  They questioned the fact that “cheese” was indeed important for everyone and if they should in fact pursue this “cheese” just because everyone else is pursuing it.   Follow the cheese and find it.  Adapt so that one can consume this cheese.

To put things short, the story basically teaches us to do some self reflection.  Think about what this “cheese” is for us.  To some, it may mean getting that limited edition bag, to others it could mean going on a trip, or for some it could just mean sitting at home on the couch with a good book with the person they love.  Discover what it is in life that makes you happy and pursue that. 🙂

Follow your own dreams not other people’s dreams. (or other people’s dreams for us) 🙂

Gut, follow it.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Even if you don’t celebrate it, I think it’s a great day to just go out, reunite with family friends and have an awesome day. 🙂 Today what comes to mind is how we humans are indeed funny creatures (or maybe it’s just me). Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make a decision, yet a zillion different choices come up? Which choice do you choose?

What happens to me is that at first instinct, I say “This is what I like.I choose “A”.

However, to be sure that THIS is the choice that I really like, I end up going through all the alternatives in meticulous detail. I go through the pros and cons, check details on websites, read reviews and think about the choices day-in day-out.

The result? After painstakingly looking at all the details and having a pile of information, I go back to “A.” The first option I decided on.

It makes me wonder, why do I go through all these motions of checking, going through details, only to revert back to the very first decision one made months or years ago? It reminds me of the book “Blink” I read before by Malcom Gladwell. It talks about the human instinct and how instinctively we sometimes know the difference between a fake and a real work of art. It tells us that from our past experiences, our accumulated knowledge, our store of knowledge, our “instinct” or rather our gut feeling is often correct.

I suppose one should follow one’s gut more often. However, it takes gut to do this so it isn’t very easy to do. If you can,however, it will stop you going through all the motions of looking at every possible choice and save you much time. Choose what it is you want and follow your gut 🙂 It doesn’t lie.

The Child Inside

It’s a new year and I’m getting older. Yes, these are two facts that one cannot avoid. Especially the painful truth of getting older. You sense it more when some of your colleagues no longer recognize the songs you listen to nor recognzie the ones that were famous years ago when you were still in school. No matter, I believe there is still always a child inside each of us and age are but numbers.

Amidst the different New Years present I received this year, I have to say one of my favorites was a box of 120 crayons. Of all the stationary and art supplies I’ve accumulated over the past few years, I have to say crayons are something I just didn’t have. Never thought of buying. Now I have them. Thank you 🙂 Ever since I could remember I have loved to draw and colour and cherished my box of coloured pencils and markers. To this day I still have my complete set of coloured pencils and do occasionally still take them out to use, although those times are now limited to once or twice a year.

Playing with my crayons the other day, I abandoned by adult self, threw away the mask, and became a child once more. I admired the different colours and how neatly they were arranged in the box. I looked at their names and wondered who thought of all these names of these varying shades of green or pink. I wonder if these names ever changed or if there was a standard for them. Then I started to just scribble and randomly drew a few pictures. I know I’m way past that age where you sit down with a piece of paper and draw, but who cares. If you can’t have a little fun and be a child at heart every now and then, life would be so boring wouldn’t it?

So what was something you loved doing as a child? Maybe this year find a little time out and do something you used to love. You might find that it can be quite fun! 🙂 Let the child resurface. Maybe climb a tree or jump on the trampoline. Do becareful though. Our bodies aren’t that flexible anymore. 😉

Here’s a positive thought…catch it!

A strange kind of peace seems to have transcended since the New Years. Maybe it is because I am just getting a little older and a little calmer. Or maybe it’s because I have been enjoying the time truly having some much needed “me” time reading books and being alone with my thoughts. I think being able to just stay home with uninterrupted time for a few hours on a weekend is indeed a time to cherish and value. It allows one time to really prioritize and define what is indeed important in life.

This year I thought about why we all like Christmas and New Years so much. I always enjoyed it but never really gave much thought to why we can’t spend the rest of our year thinking it’s Christmas or New Years. Wouldn’t life be so much more pleasant?

For me, I discovered that Christmas and New Years are a good time for one to re-tune and get back in touch with those most dear to us. It’s when we often go out to eat with our friends, reunite with those we haven’t met for a long time and truly enjoy the company of others. It’s a time of positive thinking and positive energy. It’s when we have the chance to just sit back and enjoy a good conversation without feeling rushed. It’s a time of catch up and make amends. It’s a time when we get to ‘slow’ down a little.

It’s also when we gladly buy gifts for others and enjoy seeing others’ happiness upon recieving gifts. It’s when the focus shifts away from only thinking out “me” and towards “you.” It makes the mind clearer and lighter. What’s more important is that this positive energy is contagious. Positive energy given out will result in more positive energy generally, I find.

Why can’t we all be such pleasant beings the rest of the year? Let us remember this positive feeling. I want to, so am sending everyone positive thoughts tonight!! 🙂

Catch it before it falls!

A Christmas Carol Blessing

It’s ten days until Christmas and I’m counting down even though I’m a buddhist.  I like the Christmas season because it brings with it joy, happiness and brings out all the good things in people.  It makes us think of others and not only of ourselves.  I suppose I also like it because I grew up in Europe where we had Christmas trees decorated along entire roads, Father Christmas roaming around giving out presents and of course we had the Christmas market at the Old town square.  Christmas songs played everywhere and television showed Christmas movies.  A favorite of mine is always “A Christmas Carol” for I think the lessons it teaches us are ones to remind us of what we have.  Thank you Charles Dickens.

The story teaches us to not only think of ourselves but to also think of others.

At the beginning, Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old man who disregards Christmas and is so stingy he lives in a cold room with but a few coals on the fire.  Although previously engaged,  Belle had left Scrooge because his love for money rendered him unable to love another.  He had since continued on through life alone, miserly and an unhappy old man.  He gets a shock when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be reveals to him his lonely and uneventful death.  People are happy rather than sad at the lost of this creditor who cared not for anyone else.   Scrooge learns his lesson well and redeems himself with the Christmas spirit.  He gives to the poor and celebrates Christmas with all his heart for the rest of his years.

Christmas is a time for celebration. It’s also a time for self reflection. No one is perfect, but if one tries to be a better a person, more giving, more loving and to think more of others than of oneself, then I think that in itself is already an accomplishment.   So this Christmas, lets look to those around us and have a little Christmas Spirit!

Share the Christmas joy and spread the happiness far and wide!  Merry Christmas!

A closet too big

I want to write about so many things, but I cannot do it all in one night so today I thought I’d write about a little revelation I had today. It has to do with clothes. Yes, girls never have enough clothes, shoes bags and accessories.  We love our little fashion items and do not hesitate to buy more even though we have closets full of similar stuff at home.   Then we run out of space and need more.

Today I went to pick up a suit I had made.   On the way out,  I passed by some stores and spotted several nice dresses.  Thinking to myself that I am always wearing the same style of clothes, a dark skirt and a shirt,  I thought to myself that I should get something different.  (I suppose that’s the excuse I give myself.)

I went in and tried on dresses, pants and shoes.  I eventually bought myself a dress and a jacket. Yes, I now have something new for this holiday season. I am happy.

Upon returning home, as I always do when I get something new, I decided to take out something old from my closet and put it in the bag for donation.   As I started going through my closet, an idea struck me.

I will rearrange my closet into outfits so that it is easier and faster for me in the morning.

(I do this before going to run, but I have never done it for my entire closet.  Some of you might have already thought of this, but this is a new thing for me. How do you organize your closet?)

No longer would I sort my clothes according to type and colour:  Pants, shirts, t-shirts, etc… white, black… Arranging my closet this way resulted in me always grabbing any old shirt and a skirt that matched.   I dressed almost the same week after week.  I wore what was convenient.   Black skirt and a shirt.   My weekend clothes would be jeans and a t-shirt.   How boring.  I started getting bored of myself.

The revelation that came to me through all this was not about putting clothes into outfits, but that I had so much clothing, just work clothes alone, I had enough outfits to last me five weeks!

This means that for five weeks (with five working days each) I would not repeat a dress, a suit, a skirt, a shirt, a cardigan, a scarf nor a belt.  I even had shirts to spare.

For someone who always felt like she did not have enough clothes, especially work clothes, this is a HUGE revelation. For the first time I realize do have enough work clothes.  I can dress everyday without repeating my clothes and best of all, I can wear and utilize my more expensive clothing.  My nicer clothes had previously been saved for “special” days but those do not come that often so I might as well just take them out and enjoy them before they get old!

Weekend clothes?  I could go many months without repeating. Different styles too. Not just jeans and a t-shirt. It’s crazy. I have too much clothing.

After today, I think I will continue to arrange my closet by outfits.  This way I know what clothes I need and what needs to be donated.  I hope it works!  (This has also literally put a stop to any excuse I have to keep on shopping.)

This holiday season, why don’t you go through your closet and see how much you have? (You might be surprised!) Take out old clothes that haven’t been touched or don’t fit anywhere and donate them to those less fortunate.  Happy Holidays everyone!

Future Not Past

I can hardly believe the year is almost over already.  In just a few days it will be December and along comes with it Christmas, parties and New Years…Today I write about a quote that has been stuck in my head for weeks and believe it or not, it comes from Kung Fu Panda 2. (I know it’s an animation, but I have to say I think the creators did a lovely job of not only graphics, but the plot and content is also quite thought provoking. )

“It does not matter what your past is, but what you will do with your future.”

Master Shifu said something like this (I don’t remember the exact wording) to Panda when teaching him about “inner peace.”  Despite Panda’s success as a Dragon warrior Master Shifu says one needs to achieve “Inner Peace.” Inner peace is essential for without it, in the face of danger one can lose one’s grounding and fall flat on one’s face.   Inner peace stablizes us and lets us stand ready for whatever happens next, whatever comes to us.

What’s important though is not to let the past hold us down.

Many people and myself included sometimes get caught in the past. This is the way things were, this is how they should be.  We get obsessed with our own pasts, other people’s past and go about getting all flustered about it. We think our past defines who we are.  We believe that we are a product of the past. We think that we cannot change.

However, we are not.  The past does not define who we are.

What is more important is what we make of our future and who we are today.

What is important is what you learn from your past, your experiences and the path you choose for your future.

A robber doesn’t forever have to be a robber. If he realizes this is not the way he wants to live life, he can reinvent himself and find another career that is more honest.  We give them second chances.  In other ways, we can also give ourselves a new life.  Just because a certain event or certain experiences made us feel down and sad, it does not mean that our life will forever have to be that way. It is what Master Shifu says, “What you will do with your future.”

Your future is in your hands. Make it what you want.