Category Archives: Guest posts

Contentment

Contentment. Not happiness. Contentment.

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It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, wondering how to achieve it (or, better, perhaps, how to keep it for a bit longer when it does arrive), because contentment always feels, to me, like something that goes beyond happiness, calling, as it does, to a deeper, a more stable, state.

I’ve been deeply unhappy, very unsatisfied, for many years, whilst managing to find pockets  of happiness in my life (a life which, for many reasons, is being lived way below parr).

These pockets of happiness include seeing my littles grow up and witnessing their growth and their joy in life, moments of beauty that arrive to me as and when I open my ‘heart eyes’ and moments of creative stimulation and pure creativity when I feel I’ve reached my flow and what I’ve managed to realise approximates, somewhat, my ideal of it.

But, together, and overlying, as they do, my sense of deep dissatisfaction, these moments of happiness never seem to reach what I’d label a satisfactory level of contentment.

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So I set out on a journey, to try and discover what I’d class as contentment (after all, if you want to get to point b, you need to know the coordinates for point b).

For me it looks a lot like freedom, includes a lot of beauty (external and self-made) and includes – most definitely – love (in heaps). All mixed with kindness and jumbled around with light [you can move over darkness; I’ve had enough of you already]

Then I started to examine where the lack was, to examine which areas of my life were lacking (in any or all of these ingredients for contentment). I also dusted off my dust-smeared glasses and rubbed them clean; after all, you can’t see you way forward if you’re being blocked by poor vision and bogged down by poor perspective. It was important that I come to the search with fresh, hopeful, eyes.

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Upon reflection….

I suffer from a lack of freedom: I’m stuck here, in a place I don’t want to be, a place that’s dangerous, where frightening incidents happen frequently, where I don’t want to be raising my children…. freedom is definitely the weak link in my contentment equation. That’s an immovable fact at the moment, unfortunately [meaning I’m going to have to work double hard on improving the other components….]

I crave more beauty in my life: not only am I stuck here but this place is, in general, ugly as Hell. It’s a typical developing country city, a mess at all and every levels, survival of the fittest on display at every turn whilst the rich strut, peacock-like, shaking their voluminous tail feathers obliviously, over and above it all. Ugly buildings, ugly infrastructure, ugly hearts, small small minds. But I’m a biologist and this place does have lots and lots of beautiful Nature so I make a point of seeking it whenever I can.

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I’m deprived of love. But, as Krista Tippetts states – which resonated with me at a very deep level – “I can’t name the day when I suddenly realized that the lack of love in my life was not a reality but a poverty of imagination and a carelessly narrow use of an essential word”. I can’t imagine ever again accepting romantic love in to my life but this sense that I’m lacking love has started gripping me with panic, as a lack of romantic love means, surely, endless days of ‘alone-ness’, of loneliness and a lack of companionship. And that most definitely puts a major dampener on contentment. But love doesn’t have to mean romantic love. Living with love can mean doing all things with love…showing love and compassion in all moments….deciding to live in love – with life itself, with one’s life….to walk in love to make your environment better (be this your home or your community).

My own, personal, life is awash with kindness (as it sort of forms the basis of my own personal religion) and this has helped me to forgive and it helps me to hope, to remain optimistic (despite my circumstances) and to always give the benefit of the doubt. In hindsight, I think my openness to kindness has kept me buoyant during times that should have sunk me. So kindness is definitely compensating for the lack of freedom, beauty and love.

I’ve definitely not got enough light in my life. Not enough laughter, or fun (or, perhaps, too much heavy that weighs everything down, not allowing light to breathe and to propagate). It’s sadly lacking in moments of light, those moments that come when you’re with those you love, those who’ve known you always, those people you just feel totally comfortable with.

And…the list went on….as the reflections went deeper…(I won’t bore you with any more of the stuff…)

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What I did discover from this reflection on contentment was that, for me, I could remember what contentment felt like and I could identify what was (is) blocking my pathway to contentment at this place in my life (I hesitate to label it a stage).

Following this reflection, I could then attempt to develop some contentment goals (however strange that sounded to me at first): little steps to take me away from where I am to where I’d like to be (all the while accepting that the maximum level of contentment here will be way below where it would be if I was in more desirable surroundings).

For me, these steps were (are) really important, as depression was starting to take a hold, causing inertia: if I had a set of trackable small steps to follow, which would eventually make me feel better – perhaps even content – then I’d have to force myself to take action (otherwise I’d only have my inaction to blame for my unhappiness, for my situational discontent).

People Dancing Outside That You Have Rarely Seen Today (5)

So what were my small steps? Quite simple things, really. To continue my meditation practice and to live more mindfully (not only in my actions but also in my thought and speech). To go to one new place each week. To make a new recipe (or eat something new) each week. To have guests over more often (not just play dates!). Many of them were, actually, based around self-care: trying new make-up; not skipping runs (I always know I’m in the throes of a depressive episode when I start skipping exercise); getting small treats for myself (going to see a film at the cinema, making time to read or to scrapbook guilt-free etc.).

I’ve been doing this for a month or so and it is having an effect. I feel that, whilst they’re far from being rose-tinted, the glasses through which I now view my life are definitely less dusty and jaded and that, as such, I’m walking around with a new perspective. And I hope this new perspective will lead to new places.

Contentment still isn’t viewable on any close horizon but my happiness levels are rising and that has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

Helen xxx

Note:

I asked, a few weeks ago, for people to contribute to this contentment series and many of you replied saying they’d love to. Thanks so much for that! I know I’ll be very interested to read your perspectives on contentment and I’m sure my readers will be intrigued. (I will be emailing you all back this week; I was very ill with a horrid virus last week, which knocked me for six…)

In these times in which we live, with most of us living on edge (because of world events), busy (because of our hectic lives), unhappy/frustrated (because of a disconnect with self and the environment of inherent ‘comparison’ that social media breeds), I’m sure hearing about how other people consider/reflect upon contentment will be of interest and might stimulate some changes in our own lives.

I hope you all enjoy the guest posts in this series (they’ll be posted on Wednesdays).

[Michelle will be up first on the 6th, then Gabriele on the 13th]

If anyone else would like to contribute a guest post….just email me…I don’t bite and everyone is welcome….iwillbloomblog – at – gmail dot com

How to fall in love with your world (from Liane)

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A new instalment of the How to fall in love with your world series today. How to fall in love with your world aims to offer a moment to pause, in the midst of our busy lives, in the midst of the angst and pulls from all different directions. A moment to grab a cuppa and let the words wash over you. Words of wisdom as to how other women learn to fall in love with their world. There’ll be something – hopefully more than one thing! – in each post that’ll capture your imagination, that you can take away and implement, somehow, in your lives to help you fall that little bit more in love with your world.

Today’s guest is Liane from Rosy Cheeks & Muddy Feet. I ‘met’ her during Blog-tember and we’ve become firm – online – friends since then. I’m always amazed by what a brilliant Mum she is and how much the love she has for her two children shines through her posts. Hope you all like her post as much as I did (warning: it made me cry several times!)….

Here goes…..

It’s so easy to see the bad in the world. All you have to do is switch on the news or pick up a newspaper and it’s there in black and white. It sometimes seems that it’s never good news that is reported! Because of that I think that it’s easy to get lost in all of the tragedy, the disasters, the terrible things that people do. How do I stop myself from letting it all get to me? How do I find beauty in the world and fall in love with it?

1 – My Kids.

James and Emilie are the best things that have happened to me. I love their innocence, how they both believe that Mummy and Daddy can fix anything. If I had one wish it would be that they never loose that innocence with age. Seeing the world through their eyes makes me look at things differently. That flower really is beautiful. The lady bug that we just spent thirty minutes watching crawl across the path really is amazing. Staying up an hour past bedtime really is the best treat in the world. How can you not love life when you see it like a five year old does?

2 – People Watching

I love people watching. Maybe I’m nosy! What I really love to see is an elderly couple walking alone together. You see them talking and laughing. You watch him take the shopping bags from her as they head home from their weekly shop. I always wonder to myself what their life has been like. What have they been through, good and bad, and they’ve come out the other end, probably stronger, but still together.

3 – Gratefulness

I try so hard to be grateful for what I have. Some days I do better at this than others! However when you really stop and think, we all have so much to be thankful for. We have shelter, food and clothes on our backs. We have each other. We have family, we have friends. We might not be rich monetary wise but we are rich in so many other ways.

4 – Helping Others

I will always try to help others if I can. I’ve had periods in my life where I was down on my luck and people stepped in to help me. I remember one time in particular years ago when I had no food in my cupboards, I was starving and too proud to ask for help. Then there was a knock at my door and my sister stood there with her arms full of shopping bags. She had noticed the empty cupboards and knowing that I wasn’t going to ask for help, she decided to do it anyway. I’ve always remembered that and now try and do the same thing. Realising that there were people willing to be that kind and generous really changed my way of thinking

5 – Believe

Believe in yourself. Believe in others. Believe in change. Believe that although the bad things will happen there are also so many good things that happen too. Believe that everything happens for a reason. Believe in the good in people. Believe in promises.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and also to Helen for giving me the chance to participate in this series!

[Helen here – wow, I was blown away by this post when I read it….so many wonderful observations and so much wonderful advice! Thanks Liane, thanks so much!].

How to fall in love with your world (from Heather)

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Today it’s the seventh instalment in the How to fall in love with your world series: can you believe how time flies?! How to fall in love with your world aims to offer a moment to pause, in the midst of our busy lives, in the midst of the angst and pulls from all different directions. A moment to grab a cuppa and let the words wash over you. Words of wisdom as to how other women learn to fall in love with their world. There’ll be something – hopefully more than one thing! – in each post that’ll capture your imagination, that you can take away and implement, somehow, in your lives to help you fall that little bit more in love with your world.

Today’s instalment is from Heather, wonderful Heather. She writes so beautifully at her blog Icing on the Cake. Love everything she writes. Such a tender- and deep-hearted woman with such a sensitive and beautiful soul.

Here goes with her post…..

What a beautiful series to write about! When there is so much uncertain and scary about our world today with Ebola fear, ISIS, and unpredictable job security it is good to ponder how to fall in love with our world. We don’t want to live afraid of the world we live in! Especially as we draw near the holidays it is important to consider what we are grateful for.

This fall I have been reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. It has given me all kinds of ideas of how to find happiness in our world and within our individual lives.  In her book, she quotes G.K Chesterton, who writes, “It is easy to be heavy, hard to be light.” Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to figure out how to fall in love with our world, to note the silver lining and to allow ourselves to experience a reason to celebrate. Here are just a few of the ways I have encountered that have helped me fall in love with our world.

  1. Find Out What You Think Is Fun and Do That.  

We can all too often be judgmental of what we truly find fun. We think it’s not adultish enough. Often we do what culture or society considers fun but is not actually fun to us personally. I have struggled with this myself. The media and pop culture tells me that clubbing is fun and exciting. I have not found it fun. I usually feel anxious, claustrophobic and overly hot in a club. In the same way so many people love amusement parks and crazy upside down roller coasters. I don’t think they are fun either. I hate standing in line on rock hard cement only to get on a ride that makes me feel nauseated.

Gretchen Rubin suggests in her book to think back to when we were children and what we did for fun before we felt influenced by what our fun preferences should be. We should not judge what we find fun. We have to be ourselves. “Be Heather!” I tell myself. “Heather is enough!” My husband and I recently pulled out the red wine and each individually wrote what we found fun in our journals. Then we shared so that we can incorporate these things into our regular rhythm. My husband, Scott loves puzzles and board games. I don’t have to love these to appreciate them or enjoy them with him. But they also don’t have to be “my fun things” As a child I loved show and tell time at school, I wrote constantly and loved my art class especially when it involved the use of color. I also loved to “watch weather”. Today I still love going outside while it’s raining. I love writing in my blog and I enjoy painting with acrylic.

  1. Engage your 5 senses. 

One way I pursue falling in love with my world is by noticing what I see, hear, smell, taste and can touch. This is especially a good one to pursue as the holidays draw near and we begin to smell the aroma of baking. C.S. Lewis writes, “God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it.”

One of my favorite things to do is go on a “nature walk”. This probably isn’t the rigorous mountain hike you might envision. It’s mindfulness. When I go on a walk in my neighborhood I notice the changing color of leaves (even San Diego has subtle changes). I walk slower. I take time to bend over and pick up that red leaf.

Have you ever noticed the way kids go on walks? It’s taught me something for sure. My sweet Owen, the little boy I have nannied and tutored for years inspires me to stay mindful with my senses. He absolutely loved looking for fall leaves this season, searching out the specific reds, yellows and greens. He skipped. He stopped and bent over. He ran. He stood still. He sat down. He engaged with all his senses.

On my walks I usually can find some lavender to pick and then I can also smell it’s sweet and calming scent. There is something powerful about being able to both see something and experience it in our hands. I listen to the birds chirping all cheery like. I hear the church bells around the corner. I hear the sounds of people pedaling on their bikes and the sounds of barking dogs, greeting each other as they walk with their owners.

  1. Be Kind

As elementary as this sounds being kind has been especially relevant to falling in love with my world. Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Nothing can make our life or the lives of other people more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” This is relevant to the kindness we show ourselves and the kindness we show others. The more kind we are to ourselves, somehow mysteriously, the more kind our self becomes to us! When I realize we all belong together and we are in this world together I am much more likely to be kind to the trees, the postman, and to my inner psyche.

I am a huge fan of Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog Momastary, as well as her book Carry on Warrior. Every year she does something called Holiday Hands. Holiday Hands was created to help moms, dads and families in need during the holiday season. Some need help putting food on the table and some need helping buying gifts and some need encouraging words.

This year, the fellow bloggers met the needs of four hundred mammas in three and a half hours!!!

That is amazing! This warmed my heart so much to know that people all across the world CARE about the needs of others and not just physical needs but emotional needs. There is a whole online board of people just requesting encouragement and affirmation through the form of letters and prayer. Anyone can sign up to send a holiday card to someone who is hurting!

I decided to pick a 10-year-old girl who is struggling to fit in due to how sensitive she is. I figured I could more than relate to feeling like I am too sensitive to the world around me. It’s not true though. I am just the right amount of sensitive. My sensitivity reminds me to be kind to others and kind to myself. That somehow being kind really does give back. Our kindness really does shake the heavens and something beautiful is released here on earth. Kindness causes me to be brave. It makes me create a world that is hospitable rather than hostile in only the way kindness can do.

I have loved thinking about ways to fall in love with the world around me. From where I sit I see sunshine racing through the windows, the trees are dancing with golds and browns. I smell biscuits baking. I feel my cozy and soft slippers keeping me warm (aka UGGS booties) I feel the kindness of family in their hospitality and their generosity. I find the time to do what I find intrinsically fun on this Thanksgiving break, reading and writing. I am grateful to live in a world that is worth falling in love with, over and over again.

[Helen again – thanks so much Heather! – for this wonderful post. It certainly gave me a lot to think about and I hope all my readers will love it too…..what a wonderful way to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of my American readers. May you all have a restful, peaceful and wonderful holiday, with family (or loved ones) close by].

How to fall in love with your world (from Rachel)

Today it’s the sixth instalment in the How to fall in love with your world series. How to fall in love with your world aims to offer a moment to pause, in the midst of our busy lives, in the midst of the angst and pulls from all different directions. A moment to grab a cuppa and let the words wash over you. Words of wisdom as to how other women learn to fall in love with their world. There’ll be something – hopefully more than one thing! – in each post that’ll capture your imagination, that you can take away and implement, somehow, in your lives to help you fall that little bit more in love with your world.

Today’s guest is Rachel from The Random Writings. I was a convert to her blog as soon as I read her post entitled, “To give more than we can spare“, which had a profound effect on me. She’s currently an ex-pat, an ESL teacher in China and, having journeyed through China myself, several times, and having fallen in love with it a little more each time, I’m always thrilled when she posts snippets of her experiences of living there.

How to fall in love with your world

Over 10 years ago, my mom sat all of her children down and told us that we were about to move to Malaysia, a land where it was hot ALL of the time, and that our new family rule was to never ever complain about the heat. She said, “Yeah, you might be miserably hot. But if you’re hot, everyone else is too, and saying “I’m sooooo hot!” isn’t going to help anyone feel any better, so don’t say it.”

We actually did a pretty good job of following the rule. She was right. It is hot in Malaysia. Our schoolroom was perfectly placed to catch all of the afternoon sun, and we occasionally felt like we were baking, but we knew we weren’t allowed to complain, and for the most part, we didn’t.

Strangely, that conversation and that rule about not complaining has stuck with me for a long time, and at this point, I think it’s a key aspect of the way I do life. If you want to fall in love with the life you have, right here, right now–try to the fullest extent of your ability not to complain about it.

If whatever is bothering you is fixable, exert energy to fix it–but don’t waste energy that could be spent fixing a problem on complaints about the problem. If it’s not fixable, you’ll love your life a lot more, problems and all, if there aren’t complaints running through your brain on a never-ending spin cycle.

I’m not saying I never ever ever complain…but that’s what I strive for. I believe that complaining tends largely to be a habit that one can either get into or get out of. Some people are going to complain in even the best of situations…while others simply aren’t going to complain no matter how bad their situation has become.

I make it a priority to not allow negative, complaint-tinged words come out of my mouth. This doesn’t mean that I only speak happy things. Nope. I have no fear about naming bad things as bad–but complaints are a special subset of negative talk, and a particularly unproductive and venomous subset.

That’s it, for me anyway. My secret to enjoying the life I have as much as possible is not complaining. I’ll fix what I can and learn to live with the rest, but I hope that no one ever hears me wailing endlessly about the tough stuff in my life, because that’s not the kind of person I want to be.

[Thanks, Rachel, for your post: I was touched by it because ‘Don’t complain, just get on with it’ is one of the (many) life lessons my own Mum instilled in me. During the midst of some of my worst and darkest times (my current life), I’ve found great solace through writing some of my own blog posts, using them as a way of ‘learning to live with the rest’ (as Rachel writes). I’ve been pleased, through those blog posts, to have reached out to a lot of ladies who’ve been through, or who are living through, situations similar to mine and it’s been great to find a ‘blog friend support group’ of ladies who understand and who sometimes – as Rachel suggests – don’t want to complain, don’t need to complain but who do need to work through things. It’s a marvellous thing to be able to work through things with people who understand, especially as I’m currently physically isolated from my usual (close-knit) support groups (i.e., family and offline, life-long, friends). Isn’t the internet, BlogLand, a wonderful thing, that it allows people to find each other, find solace – and inspiration – from each other, in this manner?]

How to fall in love with your world (from Kim)

The fifth instalment in the How to fall in love with your world series! How to fall in love with your world aims to offer a moment to pause, in the midst of our busy lives, in the midst of the angst and pulls from all different directions. A moment to grab a cuppa and let the words wash over you. Words of wisdom as to how other women learn to fall in love with their world. There’ll be something – hopefully more than one thing! – in each post that’ll capture your imagination, that you can take away and implement, somehow, in your lives to help you fall that little bit more in love with your world.

Today’s guest poster is Kim from Kimberley’s Quests. We met through Blog-tember and it was one of those “We’d definitely be friends in real life if that was ever possible” moments! She’s the lady who started the fabulous Kindness Counts Fridays link-up (that tells you all about the kind of person she is!). All round genuine, amazing, unique, lover of life (complete with ‘dangling moustache spectacles’!!). Here’s her post:

How to fall in love with your world

Hello Lovely People,

I am so excited to be here today, writing for the absolutely fantastic Helen- I mean isn’t she just awesome!? I’ve been reading the other posts in this series and I think we are all putting our spin on it, so here’s mine!

Every day I fall a little more in love with my world. It’s taken all of my 26 (gasp!) years, and I imagine it will take far more than the next 26 to fully appreciate the wonders of this beautiful world and where my crazy life fits into it.

I feel as though my twenty-fifth & twenty-sixth years have been filled with growth and transformation. I have a better idea of who I am, and who I want to grow into. This growth has helped me immensely to fall in love with my world, with my life and with myself.

I’ve still got a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of work to do, but here are a few things that have made a big difference for me lately.

Stopping to smell the roses. Both literally & figuratively. Taking the extra two or three minutes on my morning walk to look around, or even harder, to look UP and face the world has had a great impact on me. Those short moments of breathing the fresh air, admiring the fallen leaves or just looking straight ahead have brought me a calm I’ve never known before.

Being Thankful. I’ve spent more time giving thanks and sitting in quiet reflection in the past few months than ever before in my life. I am beginning to understand how blessed I am, and how important the words “Thank You” can be.

Being Kind. Following closely on being thankful, I’ve been working hard to be kind, to everyone and everything that crosses my path. To consider the backstory of that grumpy child in my class, or the short temper of the crossing guard or the brisk nature of the cashier. Reaching deep for patience and understanding has allowed me to practice just a little more kindness, and each time I do something to raise someone else’s spirits- I feel mine soar. It’s amazing!

Yoga. I am not a devoted Yogi, I probably do 85% of the moves totally wrong if I make the time to do it at all. But those 20 minute increments when I’m sitting on my mat have begun to bring me a little peace while also giving me the strength to face the day.

Jumping With Both Feet. 2014 was the year of adventures and trying new things for me, and as much as I hate being out of my comfort zone (I guess that’s why it’s called the comfort zone!) I have had so many amazing experiences and felt truly happy. It’s hard to step out of the box but once you’re out it’s so freeing!

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Letting Go. When I focus on really letting go of the little things that used to bug me I am able to have happier days. Not getting lost in the drama allows me to appreciate the beautiful moments in every day and spend my time focusing on the good, rather than sinking into a bad mood.

I’m still learning, still growing and falling in love with my world. My life is not perfect, my world is not perfect, I’m not perfect. But I am trying, and I think above all else, that’s what I think is most important!

Have a beautiful day!

[Helen here: thanks, Kim, for a truly wonderful – definitely very inspiring – post. Sorry to say that Kim’s taking a break from blogging but do check out the archive posts on her blog – there’s always something in all of her posts that makes me stop and think].

How to fall in love with your world (from Hope)

Today it’s the fourth instalment in the How to fall in love with your world series. How to fall in love with your world aims to offer a moment to pause, in the midst of our busy lives, in the midst of the angst and pulls from all different directions. A moment to grab a cuppa and let the words wash over you. Words of wisdom as to how other women learn to fall in love with their world. There’ll be something – hopefully more than one thing! – in each post that’ll capture your imagination, that you can take away and implement, somehow, in your lives to help you fall that little bit more in love with your world.

Today, a wonderful guest post from Hope, of Hope Carr Art. I find myself being soothed by her writing, and her wonderful way of thinking – and writing – about the world, every time I visit her online space. Her posts make me think, make me chuckle and have been known to make me cry (with happiness and otherwise, but always in a good way).

Here goes with Hope’s post:

I have never been asked to be a guest writer, guest artist maybe, but not a writer for a series of blogs.  Helen of I Will Bloom has introduced this fascinating title “How to fall in love with your world”. This heavy subject causes me to stop and chew on my pencil, to roll it around in my mind and try to spit out words polished and artistically fashioned.  The truth is I am not wise, I’m just a normal person who lives an  ordinary life, but it is one that I love.

How to fall in love with your world.

A brilliant sunset, or the blue-green mountain range that is about to turn purple, then pink and fades to lavender. Niagara Falls.  Fall Foliage in its coat of many colors, and endless fields of gold, or snowy fields of cotton that only nature can wear. A breaking ocean wave foaming into a  c a l m, still  pool of icy blue water under a Harvest Moon.  The chorus of birds at dawn that wake you from sleep. Giggles turned into laughter.  These are all the moments that we most love, appreciate, and claim as ours.

We can easily love nature and the earth with its power and glory. We are amazed by it. The beauty of it transports us into a place of awe.  Our world, as in everyday life, is not always amazing.  It is mostly  just plain and ordinary.  Our world, actually revolves around people, and I am one of them, one of 7 Billion. I cannot wrap my mind around it, except for the fact that wherever I go there are people. My world is quickly filling up around me.  I have to continuously remind myself of one of God’s Commandments, ” Love thy neighbor as thyself”.  This was not a suggestion, it was a Command and for good reason.

Look, whether you are religious or not, you and I live along side of each other, breathing in and out, needing food,  shelter and love. We are individual, yet we need the same things in order to exist.  This IS Our World.  We share the earth but Our World is our life, our experiences as we live on this earth, even on an average, ordinary day.   Question. How well do you connect with people you encounter each day, meaning do you see them? Do you look at them in the eyes? Smile? Say Hello? Or do you just walk by and avoid people all together? Do you, like my mother, have a welcome mat at the door that says GO AWAY ?

I suggest that if we want to fall in love with OUR World, we have to begin with each other.  It is easy to love a glorious sunset that does not talk back to us, but not  human who cuts in line at the grocery store?  Really.

How to fall in love with our world begins with loving humanity, respecting our differences and treating each other with compassion and yes, love.  It is a mindset, and something you and I can do.  We can argue all day but in the end, we can still respect each other.   We are all made in the image of God with different color skins but the same insides.  I owe you a smiling glance, a hello, or a recognition that we stand side by side and need each other in our changing world. I need your smile too. Tomorrow let’s begin by looking into the eyes of anyone you do not know and  kindly acknowledge them.  It could be me and it could be you, so don’t forget to respond, kindly.

[Helen again – I asked Hope if she might have an image she wanted to share with you all (she’s a painter and I wondered if she might have liked to share an image of one of her paintings). She sent me the image (below) with the text, “I wish I had a painting of this, but I don’t. This photo hangs beside my bed and it reminds me every night and every morning that I am one among billions of God’s children, where on the list I fall is not important, but that we love each other is].

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[Helen again. Thanks Hope. It’s a truly wonderful post, so much food for thought. I know I’ve been humbled, through my recent experiences, and have definitely learnt that judgement has to take a back seat in any and all interactions: as the saying goes, ‘Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”].

How to fall in love with your world – from Chelsea

Another instalment of the How to fall in love with your world series. How to fall in love with your world aims to offer a moment to pause, in the midst of our busy lives, in the midst of the angst and pulls from all different directions. A moment to grab a cuppa and let the words wash over you. Words of wisdom as to how other women learn to fall in love with their world. There’ll be something – hopefully more than one thing! – in each post that’ll capture your imagination, that you can take away and implement, somehow, in your lives to help you fall that little bit more in love with your world.

Today I’m delighted to introduce Chelsea from Hollands Reverie.

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Amazingly wonderful and beautiful and gentle soul, Mum to a small brood of littles of equal beauty and vitality.

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Love her writing, LOVE her photographs, love her take on the world, love that she helps to catch their own meat (!): hope you’ll all fall in love with her online space too!  [My heart always gives a little leap when I see a new post from her in my Bloglovin feed!].

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How to fall in love with your world

Well, to me the topic seems to call for a how to of sorts, but I never feel in the position to give people advice, I certainly don’t have it all together or figured out, but I can honestly say that I  am in love with my world and here are just a few things that have made that even clearer to me.

Photography– learning my way around a camera and practicing a lot has opened my eyes to the beauty all around me. My eye has been trained so that even without a camera I’m finding those moments, those looks that are so full of heart, of true beauty that it almost takes my breath away.  In that same vein it also has a way of proving how fast it’s all going and how quickly this- my favorite of all stages- will soon be past. It’s a constant reminder to stay present and to be in the moment.

Reflection– it’s easy to look at the world as a whole and feel a sense of fear, a heaviness or even panic. I know for me, I can start to feel overwhelmed and scared and it’s not that I try to shut all that out, or close my eyes to others suffering, it’s that I find I must seek the light, always seek the light. I find what’s good, little things that have made me happy, make lists for everything I’m thankful for and seek the blessings, the beautiful. I don’t always feel thankful to cook and clean seemingly unendlessly, to wash load after load of laundry, to sit for hours every morning doing school with my kiddos- but I am thankful that I have had the pleasure to fall madly in love with a man who treasures me, that we have created four of the most amazing creatures to ever have been, and that we share a home and a life that includes adventure and togetherness.

Writing– sometimes you just don’t even know how you feel until you write it down. It strips the soul and let’s ones true emotions come forth.

Passion– being passionate about something makes all the difference. Finding something you love to do and being brave enough to go for it. Starting this little blog of mine has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It’s pushed my creativity,  forced me to write, to look for the happy, to document. It’s something I have all of my own- separate from being a wife, a mother, yet inclusive because a wife and mother is exactly who I am, so they are my muses, my inspiration and my subjects.

I hope that is somewhat helpful, or at least gives you a small glimpse into my world.

What is it that makes you happy, something small that simply brightens your day? Let me know in the comments!

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[Helen here: thanks, Chelsea. Loved every single word of it and the last photo is genius].

How to fall in love with your world (by Britney)

Afternoon

Today it’s the second instalment in the How to fall in love with your world series. How to fall in love with your world aims to offer a moment to pause, in the midst of our busy lives, in the midst of the angst and pulls from all different directions. A moment to grab a cuppa and let the words wash over you. Words of wisdom as to how other women learn to fall in love with their world. There’ll be something – hopefully more than one thing! – in each post that’ll capture your imagination, that you can take away and implement, somehow, in your lives to help you fall that little bit more in love with your world.

So, here goes! A wonderful, wonderful, post from Britney from All Things Britney Lee. A darling of a woman, so creative and funny and honest and open. So, so divine! [She’s promised, when we make it to Vegas, to cut my hair for me (I will hold you to this, you know!)]. Love how thoroughly she approaches her blog posts; favourites of mine include this onethis one and this one. Can’t wait to see her Halloween costume and can’t wait until she starts posting product reviews and craft tutorials and MORE VLOGS on her blog!

Drum roll….

how to fall in love with your world

we each have our own little world here on this planet. it’s our bubble, our space! it is all we do, all we see, and all we come in contact with. sometimes it’s not easy to love it. our world can be a scary or sad place when outside things and people affect it. but it is oh so important that we love it, come what may!

here are a few things that i try to continually do to help me fall in love more with my world that, hopefully, can help you fall in love with yours.

realize that crap happens

bad things happen. stupid things happen. crazy things happen. things that you cannot control. THINGS KEEP ON HAPPENING AND THEY WON’T STOP. you’ve got to realize this and you’ve got to keep doin your thang. otherwise you will just be stuck in the sucky-ness of all the things and you will never, ever love your world. don’t be that person who is always thrown off and making excuses because crap happens. get your bearings and continue to do what you want and need to do!

recognize the good things

amongst all the bad things, there are plenty more good ones! whether big or small, there is good. look for it and cherish it all! maybe you had a really awesome hair day today or you didn’t spill food on your clothing! your winged eyeliner is even! the sun is out and shining but it’s not too hot! you are alive! the house is mostly clean! you got to deal with nice, polite people today at work! there are so many good things!

take a look around and revel in the beauty

we all tend to get a little too busy with life. we need to stop rushing around and take a little time to look around! there is so much beauty in the earth and even in the things that man has created. look at all the mountains and trees and the clouds in the sky! look at the giant buildings that are so tall and strong! look at the art people have created! there is beauty in the flowers and animals. in the oceans and rivers. just take a minute and look around!

fall in love with the people in it

this one is easier said than done. to really fall in love your world you have to fall in love with the people in it! not like romantically, but just appreciative love. this includes more than just your family and close friends. it’s your neighbors. your co-workers. the people that work at the stores you shop at. the people on the street that you drive next to. they are not perfect, just like you, and they will do things, sometimes bad things, but you still need to love them. they have THINGS going on in their life and maybe they aren’t as good as you are at not letting it affect you…you still need to love and forgive them. THIS will make you love your world more.

be grateful

be grateful for all that you have! you have a job that helps you pay your bills, you have transportation, you have a roof over your head, you have food in your fridge, you have people that love you, you have so many things to be grateful for. even if those things aren’t as grand or as perfect as you wish them to be, you still have them to be grateful for! be grateful that you are alive. living in your world is hard. be grateful for the things that make it easier or more enjoyable.

thanks so much for reading! i hope these help you in loving your world!

come on over to my blog all things britney lee and let me know what tip will be the most helpful for you!

[Helen again! Thanks so much Britney! I think we’ll all take things away from your post. I know I should heed lots of pieces of your advice more often, and much more consciously, than I do…head over here to find my post on Britney’s blog: 6 ways to keep yourself going].

How to fall in love with your world (by Lizelle)

I’ve decided to run a series on I Will Bloom, entitled How to fall in love with your world. The series will run every couple of weeks, usually on Wednesdays.

I’ve had the words How to fall in love with your world bouncing around my head for a while now. I’ve been wondering whether to do a blog post based around the idea but couldn’t start, because I realised that one blog post wouldn’t do the idea justice. Then, as I was mailing back and forth with Lizelle (the first guest poster in the series – see below!), trying to decide on topics etc. for a blog swap, she chose this headline and ran with it. As I read her piece, I realised that the only format that would do the idea justice – as a whole – would be a series, and how wonderful, how enriching, I decided, to invite guest posters to offer us their perspective on the topic.

So, voila, a blog series was born.

Or, rather, bloomed.

How to fall in love with your world aims to offer a moment to pause, in the midst of our busy lives, in the midst of the angst and pulls from all different directions. A moment to grab a cuppa and let the words wash over you. Words of wisdom as to how other women learn to fall in love with their world. There’ll be something – hopefully more than one thing! – in each post that’ll capture your imagination, that you can take away and implement, somehow, in your lives to help you fall that little bit more in love with your world.

Without further ado….

Today’s is the first – guest – post by Lizelle from Sandals and Sunnies. I urge you to nip on over to her blog and spend some time soaking in the many delights it has to offer: she has such a unique perspective on life, forged through facing challenges of her own that she bears with a grace and wisdom that are far beyond her years. Her Grenadian roots shine through everything she writes, all she photographs. Her blog is a little slice of the Caribbean that comes out to greet me, and pull me in, every time I visit. I hope you fall in love with it too.

For now, settle in and read her words.

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How to fall in love with your world

Lets face it, the world is not always kind to us. More often than not we find ourselves in the darkness of our despair wondering why we bother with the lot of it. These destructive thoughts have plagued souls for decades, likely even more so if yours is a creative one.

It’s taken me a long time to reconcile with the reality that the disdain I feel towards the world is often the fault of the evil intention of those who collectively inhabit it.

So recently I’ve embarked on a bit of a secret mission of sorts. I decided to fall in love with this planet. After all, it’s the only planet I’ve ever known! It’s carried me and fed me and not really asked me for much. What other planet is as deserving of my genuine love, not infatuation mind you, love.  Here is a glance at the recent strides I’ve taken as it has to do with how to fall in love with your world.

3 Ways to fall in love with your world

1.Stop

Stop blaming this planet for evil circumstances. If we’re being fair, as a quote I once heard said, earth was here first and it doesn’t owe you anything. I think the quicker we realise that we are not entitled to the sunshine, the rain or the flowers is the moment we can really begin to put things into perspective. Little of this is happening as a result of us, much less than years before as you’re hard pressed to get generations to plant a tree these days. Yet it all happens; flowers bloom and babies are born and they smile at you for absolutely no reason except that the earth continues to spin. I think that’s a reason for a little gratitude at the end of the day to be honest.

2.Look

Look around you, I’ve been doing a lot of that these days.  To be honest I’ve kind of had to force myself to as I’ve taken up the Floral Fridays challenge on my blog. Since my job has me all about my island there is sometimes a lot to notice in a day. My constant look for flowers for my posts got me to thinking about how hard one sometimes has to search for beauty. Especially on the darker days…when your insides are clouded in soot and you’d give anything to crawl back into bed and pretend that there is no such thing as morning. It reminded me that even something that seems as necessary as beauty and happiness has to be sought out and snatched up with the eyes and with the soul (obviously you can’t just go around taking beautiful things with your hands!)

3.Listen

To the sounds around you and within you. Sometimes your mental conversations need to be heard. Sometimes your worries and complaints are screaming at you because they’re searching for your strength to meet them and say ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get through.’ even if you don’t quite completely believe it yet and that will never happen if you keep stifling that voice. Then of course there is the laughter of others, the snippets of conversations that make no sense, the rain, the birds, the wind, the cracks in concrete made my happy feet hurrying down a street to loves and mothers and accomplishments. Take notice of the simplest things you can find and then, in that very moment, give thanks that you could find them.

This is how I am falling in love with my world lately. This beautiful earth we all share is so full of hidden treasures placed about for us to appreciate…if only we could learn the art of reading the map, written, I am now convinced, in the language of minimalism.

Well that’s it from me! I hope you’ve enjoyed my visit at I Will Bloom and a hearty heartfelt thanks to Helen for having me! Feel free to visit me some time via the blogesphere. Till then.

Peace. Love. Bloom.

[Helen here again…You see! Lizelle’s a gem of a woman! Hope you enjoyed the post and that you’ll tune in for the series (do people even say that anymore?!). If anyone would like to put themselves forward to be a guest poster, email me at iwillbloombloggmail.com (please figure out the correct format, I don’t want spambots spambotting me!)…I’ll be waiting to hear from you! Let’s make this something great! Together!!]