My Happiness Project

After reading the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, this winter, I decided to start my own project on a smaller scale.

At first, I started thinking my happiness project needed to be a group, getting out twice a month to meet with others to plan and talk about our personal projects. It would be great – I’d organize it all and even thought about what cookies I’d bake.

Then I stepped back from the idea and realized that I just don’t have the extra time for all that right now. I find that I love to keep busy, but sometimes too busy so that I don’t actually accomplish anything. The result being disappointed and frustrated. So in the end, realized the group idea was one extra thing I shouldn’t put on my plate right now.

So I thought of something that would make my happiness project simple and effective, today and for the next 12 months. I decided the only rule was to give my happiness some good thought the last week of each month. Then to start the next month have two or three things I’d like to change for or about myself. Aware of and working on these things will make me mindful of my well-being, as well as will ripple this happiness to those in my life.

So here’s a recap of the last few months:

January was to cut back on a few of the foods I’ve been indulging on too often. No chips (of any kind) or take-out pizza. This was something I knew I could do and would start my happiness project off on a good foot. It was perfect.

In February, I wanted to cut my sugar use in half and track my water intake. I did great with watching my sugar, I’ve even thought of going without in my morning java. With my water intake I knew I wasn’t getting enough to start with. Having this as a resolution made me research the adequate amounts a person my size and activity level should be taking in. I found the iPhone app Waterlogged to help me record my progress. Which I’m happy to report worked great on the days I started off with a glass of water and kept recording throughout the day. I need to work on remembering that first glass.

As for March, here are my resolutions:

1. Start each day with a glass of water and record it.

2. Embrace early mornings:  love the idea of being a morning person but never really enjoyed it. This month I’m going to make it a habit to get up early and enjoy the calm of the sun coming up. Or the west coast drizzle if I must.

3. Mad Abs – I found this calendar on Pinterest and thought it was an attainable goal.

So far so good. All the best on your happiness project adventures! Please leave comments below of what you are doing to be a little happier.

Here’s the Mad Abs that I’m doing. (Not sure the source of Mad Abs March)

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Weekend in the city

Just back from a long weekend down in Vancouver, which started on Thursday. Before you get jealous, the trip was planned around Tyson getting laser eye surgery. His appointment was on Friday morning and he was seeing somewhat clearly by ten that night. He said the surgery was the strangest experience he’s ever been in and the lack of vision right after really put things into perspective (or lack there of). He’s on the mend and is already feeling the benefits of not relying on contacts and glasses.

On Saturday evening we went to the hockey game, Canucks vs Penguins. We made our way to the glass before the game to get a glimpse of the players warming up. To my surprise there was, #71 Evgeni Malkin in Plow Pose (Halasana).

He’s known for his unique style of stretching, which include poses that resemble Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) and Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana).

Also, I just couldn’t wait for the soft cover of Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert to come out. Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love. If you haven’t read this lovely memoir, I highly recommend it. This new book, Committed, is an investigation into matrimony and her coming to terms with entering a second marriage.

Reflecting on the past decade

Here we are, a decade behind us and a new year to look forward too. This past week I’ve been reflecting on the past ten years. What has transpired? Where is my life headed? What is left undone? I have a lot to be grateful for; I’ve never been so content with life as I am today. Even though the last decade had it’s roller coaster moments and even at times “how could this be happening” consumed my thoughts, I’m glad it all took place. It has made me the person I am; someone activity striving to be the best I can be.

I’m dedicating my free time the rest of the winter months to Svadhyaya, the yogic discipline of studying sacred text and studying oneself. Svadhyaya is part of  Patanjali’s Eight Limbed path (Ashtanga Yoga) described in the Yoga Sutra. In brief, the eight limbs are steps and practices that will lead to enlightenment. Asana and pranayama are both limbs in this path. Through reading and researching yoga text, a better understanding of the Self (our true nature), as well as skills of self-observation that leads to yoga or union will present itself.

One of the best text I found helpful in understanding what yoga is all about, The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar. It’s well written, in simple terms without being over welling.
A great way to experience self study is in your yoga practice. Observe your thoughts, is your mind present? How does the movement/yoga posture feel in your body? What subject matter draws your mind away?

On my nightstand

skinny_bitchOkay, I know the title isn’t at all yogic and I normally wouldn’t pick up a diet book. I first heard of Skinny Bitch in the tabloids a few years ago…someone (famous) was photographed reading it outside a cafe and sales went through the roof. I came across a copy at a garage sale two weeks ago and paid 10 cents for it. The price was right to find out what all the hype was about. Turns out it’s a GREAT BOOK. Funny, no mention of mini-skirts or platform shoes, I wouldn’t call it a diet book either, even though they do map out a meal plan towards the end of the book, it’s a lifestyle. If you were thinking of becoming a vegetarian this is a must read.

Once I got over the colourful language and “tough-love” talk I found the book very informative. These ladies did their research and tell you like it is. The picture they paint of mass food production and treatment of animals we eat is not appealing. They investigate how government agencies in the United States allow the food industry to lower their standards for profit. After reading the first few chapters I felt more educated about food and empowered to make more healthy choices.

It’s empowering to know that what I choose to put into my body, I get out. Or more simply, you are what you eat. I truly believe when I shop I’m casting a vote; paying a little more for organic, natural and locally grown foods will benefit everyone in the long run, if only myself for the time being.

Get it, read it. You’ll love shopping, eating and yourself more then ever.

New on my nightstand

Three Cups of Tea_Mech.indd

Click pic for link to Chapters

I’ve just gotten into Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, so far I can’t seem to put it down and my bed times are getting later and later.
It’s the story of Mortenson and his adventures in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 90’s. Once a mountaineer with his sites on the summit of K2, Mortenson becomes a humanitarian and opens his heart to the local people and promises to build them a school. Many schools.

The best help out there… self help.

“The only devils in the world are those running in our own hearts.
That is where the battle should be fought.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

The-Saint-The-Surfer-The-CEOI started a new book this weekend, The Saint, the Surfer and the CEO by Robin Sharma. This would be classified as a “self-help book” which may turn some off, but I’m enjoying it so much and finding that it parallels yogic philosophy that I had to share it with you.
The story is about Jack, a professional that isn’t satisfied with his life, who embarks on a quest to reconnect with his best self. He quickly realizes that our life path doesn’t happen by chance but rather every encounter is part of continued series of life lessons we chose to learn from or not.
I’m finding it a fun read, it’s a soul-searching subject but delivered in a down to earth way. It has delivered a fair share of those “a-ha” moments. The back cover reads “…guide to living your life at its most authentic level.” Where do I sign up?