Creativity

Take it all in

It was my birthday this week. I’m not as excited as I used to be about my birthday for whatever reason, but it’s always something to celebrate all the same. I didn’t think about my birthday until the day before, really, so it was with great surprise that I ended up having a magnificent day.

There is a programme on at the moment on BBC. It’s called The Voice, and I’m sure lots of countries around the world have done their own version of it (through a costly franchise, that is). Yes, I’m a sucker for singing programmes. I just watch them all. Yes, yes, yes, you can think whatever you want. I just like it.

The judges in the UK always say something to the contestants when they finish a song and the audience is going mad. They say: “Take it in, take it all in”. I, for some reason, remembered this on my birthday. I had such an amazing day and just kept thinking to myself: “Take it in, Marilia, take it all in, you deserve it!”. I felt so good about myself and, literally, felt the love in all the messages I received and in all the celebrations: at work, with my boyfriend, with my family, with my friends. It was a superb day and the best of it was that none of it was planned. It was a spontaneous day, full of joy and love.

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Alternatively, birthdays can be planned and filled with quirky things to do. Here’s a list to get you inspired (if your birthday hasn’t come up yet this year):

1. Buy gifts for other people and wish them happy birthday.

2. Wear a cape!

3. Make people sing the Happy Birthday song to you. (backwards)

4. Tell people your new age + 10 years, just to watch their jaw drop.

5. Randomly scream “It’s my birthday!!! Woohoo!” at odd moments (be creative).

6. Ask stangers what they got you for your birthday. If they respond in any way, run and scream, “Ahhhhh, I’m not suposed to talk to people!”

7. Hum (or whistle) the birthday song all day.

8. Take a picture of yourself (and do the same every year after that). You can check out your wrinkles. (nooooo!)

9. Make yourself a birthday cake. And eat it all on your own.

10. Throw a proper party (maybe I’ll do this one next year).

So there you have it. A few tips about what to do on your birthday and an overview of what made me happy on mine. Getting older is not so bad after all…

Categories: Birthday, Creativity, Love matters, Quirky thoughts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy? So be it!

As with many of us, the approach of a new year makes us look at life and analyse where we are, what we are doing and how we want things to happen in the future. This thinking is what forms goals and plans for the times ahead. However, no matter how great it is to have a plan for the future, it is also an amazing thing to be in the present, feel it and discover happiness in it.

The happiest people aren’t the ones with the most money, things, friends, power, attention, health or even love. Neither are they always the ones with the least. The happiest people  are the ones who practice gratitude and focus on loving life consistently (and ok, having goals and trying your best to achieve them helps too!).

So in this post, I would like to take the opportunity to list a few reasons to be grateful and HAPPY about this crazy little maze that we call life.

1. Nature: who doesn’t love the sunset? It’s my favourite part of the day. I like all the colours turning into one, the sun going smaller, smaller and smaller until it disappears into the ocean or behind the hills. It makes me feel calm. And it’s free, with access to anyone who cares to open their eyes to appreciate it.

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2. Random kindness: a chat with the neighbour, some unexpected help when you need it, a smile when you don’t expect it. These little surprises make life what it is, a little magic trick waiting to happen.

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3. Art: it’s everywhere, even you make it, I bet! Again, it’s a case of opening your eyes to the new, to the crazy, to the inspiring and let your newly found perspective broaden your mind. Seeing it, reading it, listening to it, watching it will only enhance your life.

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4. Nice food, especially if cooked in good company. Chop, chop, chop, chat, chat, chat (drink, drink, drink). The greatest recipe I’ve ever known.

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5. Great people around you. Happy people are infectious, so the more ‘happies’ you have around you, the more are the chances of you being happy too. Surround yourself with positive people and your mood will reflect their joyful spirit.

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6. Great working environment. Working with people that inspire you, understand you and value your work makes the 9-5 part of your life a pleasure, not a chore. If you love what you do, even better! Just don’t forget to count your blessing here, as many people work for the weekend.

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7. A great network. A big family that likes to interfere in everyone’s business (like mine), great close friends and a partner that ‘has got your back’ is all you need anytime: when you are down, to pick you up; when you are happy, to celebrate with you.

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8. Fun times. Appreciate having fun when you can. Our crazy daily lives don’t always allow specific times to have fun, but you can make the time for it. Have a laugh with your colleague at work, make a joke when you can, do an impromptu little dance, laugh with others. And always remember to find the funny side of things. There is always one.

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9. Good health. Be grateful for being healthy and enjoy looking after yourself.

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10. Live in the present and savour every moment as if it was your last.

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So there you go: these are my reasons to be happy and grateful. Would you care to share yours?

Categories: Creativity, Dreams, Energy, Friendship | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear London…

I recently went to London to celebrate a big birthday with a very good friend of mine. I live in the North West of England but I lived in London for 3 years, nearly 10 years ago. I loved it then. Now, every time I go, I experience a mixture of feelings about the place. One is nostalgia because I remember things from the past, places I had good times at, people that enriched my life back then. The other feeling is one of dispair. As soon as I step off the train, I’m quickly reminded of how busy things can get in London and how rushed people are on the streets, on the tube, everywhere! Then, something a bit strange happens: I start behaving a bit like everyone else and get agitated if things start getting in my way. Maybe I’m just a true Londoner at heart and the calmness of the North is just a disguise…

Thinking about the place, I compiled a little list of what I love and hate about London. Here we are:

Hate number 1: People that stop in front of the barrier to find their Oyster card

You’re in a tube station and your goal is to get the train. You know that an Oyster card or ticket is required. Why then do you wait until you reach the barrier before you try and find it? It would be so much easier if people just planned ahead a little so as to not to let a long queue pile up behind them.

Hate number 2: Not letting people off the train first (or not moving down the carriage)

This should go without saying as it’s just a case of common sense, really. If you want to get on a train, you wait until everyone that wants to come out is out before you step on, right? No, of course not. Some seem to think that there’s no need for that. Just go in, sod the rest. Not very nice. Tuc, tuc, tuc.

Hate number 3: Escalator etiquette

Sorry that this is about the tube again, but it does seem that the most annoying things about London do happen underground. Must be the air. Now here there is only one rule to obbey and it’s so easy to remember it hurts: all you have to do if you are lazy to walk down the stairs is to stand on the right hand side. This leaves the left hand side for the busy London people to rush down and not miss that train, even though there will be another in 2 minutes. Never mind. Just stand on the right and you’ll avoid lots of grumpy faces. Simple.

Hate number 4: My purse is empty!

Whenever I go to London, I budget to spend a certain amount and always (but ALWAYS) come back and realise I spent at least half as much. I blame it on the cafe culture. Everyone eats out in London, it’s just the way it is. I love going to a cafe to catch up with a friend, but in London people seem to have every meal out. My over budget spending might also have something to do with musicals (which I love), museum/art galleries entries and shops. So, in reality, I shouldn’t blame London, really, but my lack of control near temptation instead. Now that’s a confession!

Hate number 5: Where is the bin?

Back to the days of the IRA’s bin-bomb campaign, the lack of bins was understandable, but nowadays it’s practically impossible to find a bin in London. They say that they would make it far too easy for a terrorist to just plant a bomb in them. However, it would be just as easy for a terrorist to plonk a bomb in a rucksack and leave it on the street, since Londoners don’t really take much notice of whatever is not right under their nostrils. Bins everywhere, please, no excuses!

Love number 1: Southbank

Now I can start talking about the reasons to love London and Southbank is a really good one. Walking along the river Thames is just so beautiful. There is art, there is nature, there is civilised people (people actually seem calmer in that part of the city than anywhere else). And just a short walk around the corner there is my beloved Tower Bridge, my favourite London sight. Can’t ask for more.

Love number 2: Affordable World Food

From Indian to Italian to Spanish to French cuisine, you’ll fnd it all in London and at affordable prices – depending of where you go, of course. The many food markets are just incredible and you have more ways than one to awaken your taste buds. Just listen to what your palate is asking for and go for it. Experiment. Dare. Enjoy.

Love number 3: Art, everywhere!

Photography, theatre, museums, galleries, take your pick. London can offer whatever floats your boat. If you are clever, you can go into places for free, although certain exhibitions can set you back a few quid. Money spent on appreciating art is always money well spent in my view, though, so whenever I visit, my budget always allows for this. It’s just such a pleasure to see new things. Art keeps you thinking, it shows you new ways of seeing the world and motivates you to be creative. What’s not to love?

Love number 4: Friends, friends, friends

London is home to some of my best friends and nothing is better than visiting them. Some of them are from my university years and others are from the time when I was discovering London as my new home. Memories are everywhere and the fact that we have the city in commom somehow just makes it all the more special.

Love number 5: It’s London!

What more can I say?

So there you have it, my little list of things to love and hate about London. I put this together quite quickly as if I was to spend a long time thinking about it, thew list of what to love would be a lot more extensive than the list of what to hate. London is magical, you have to go and feel the magic for yourself. There will always be something you haven’t seen before, a place to go, something to experience, an undiscovered gem. So, my advice is: if you haven’t been, go and become a lover too. Pronto.

Categories: Creativity, Living away from home, London | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Home bug

I am such a home bug, me.

I love staying at home. I love looking at my home, I love making it feel cosy and pretty and like a nice little frame for my little life. I know, I am sad. It’s part of me, though, so hey, be it.

My home is my temple. Everything I own is here (apart from some boxes full of childhood and teenage years stuff that my mum kindly keeps for me in Brazil). Everything that I care about in material terms is here somehow. My pictures, my books, my cd’s, my various notebooks, my ornaments and my many shampoos (you’d probably think I’m a shampoo collector if you saw how many I have on the go).

I can’t have enough of my home. I like putting new things on the walls, changing what is already there for something different. I like changing the position of the furniture, I like playing with the lights and creating cosy corners that serve a different purpose.

Maybe I would have loved to have been an interior designer. One of those with a different approach. Like, I could go and live with the people I’d be helping for a few days to see how they use the rooms, what they like, how they dress… as all of these things have an impact when you create your home space.

A good home is a home that is practical. Our time should be used for things that we love doing, not going round some decoration that always seems to be in our way. A good home helps you use your time better and enjoy the space, using it to your advantage.

I have many ideas for when I have my own home; things that I’ll probably only be able to do when I own some place instead of renting it. There’s only so much you can do with a rented place. It’s not worth painting a wall for e,xample, if it just means that one day you’ll have to paint it back in the original colour. Hey ho… one day.

Feeling at home is a special feeling. Feeling a sense of belonging is warming and makes life comfortable. I like to make the space around me as friendly and in line with my thoughts as possible. I like books, so they are everywhere. I like pictures, so they are everywhere. I like colours, so they are everywhere.

Someone’s inspiring home

I guess the more YOU your home is, the better you feel in it and the more inspired you feel to do what you love. As they say, home is where the heart is, so to make a house a home, you just need to somehow translate the emotion of your very core to where the eye can see.

Categories: Creativity, Dreams, Home | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Just a matter of time

I find myself with no time. And when I say no time, I mean no spare time. Of course, I have time to go to work (since I have no choice in the matter), I have time to brush my teeth and time to clean the kitchen floor. But I don’t have time to BE. I have no time to just sit and watch the world go by, to just look out to the sea and day-dream. I have no time to do the things that inspire me because everything else takes over.

It’s quite sad when you realise that your life is passing by and you are not being able to take control of it, to take the bull by the horns and say: “Hey, I have a say here! I want to spend my time differently!”. I want some time for creative idleness. That time that you use to do nothing or do a lot. That time that you use to do whatever floats your boat, to make you happy, to inspire you and make you productive.

Some people like to drink, others like watching TV, some people eat to pass the time and others go running. I like to just BE. I don’t have a specific activity that I like doing to be in my creative idleness zone. I go with the flow. Sometimes even cleaning gets me in the mood to create something and that’s fine, as long as I feel like I’ve achieved something from time to time.

I know that we all suffer the pressures of not having enough time in the day – and I’m not even considering the ones who have children (honestly, can’t figure out how they manage!).  We all have things that if we don’t do, we feel guilty about. I feel guilty when I don’t give myself the time to exercise, for example. I know that my body benefits immensely from it and I know I like it after I start it but, most of the time, I simply can’t be bothered and then I feel really bad for not making the effort afterwards. I also feel a little guilty if I don’t keep the house clean enough or if I don’t give enough time to my friends. We need more hours in the day!

I always give 110% at work and although I consider this a good thing, I get home with my brain cells smashed. Some nights, I get home with no more energy than the necessary to make something to eat, shower and go to bed. Yes, it is demanding because it’s always so busy, but it does drain me and affects my life outside work. And life should NOT be just about work, there is so so so much more to it!

I wish my time was spent more wisely. I wish I didn’t care if there are clothes to be washed or a sink to be cleaned. I wish I was more of a ‘happy go lucky’ kind of girl. But I’m not. No matter how much I try, the dirty sink will get on my nerves if I leave it, so I’d rather go and spend 5 minutes doing it than worrying about it for the rest of the day. It’s just the way I am, I guess.

I’m not sure what I can do to make this better, rather than writing about it, which always helps in my case. I don’t know if there are things I can leave out of my ‘to do list’. I simply don’t feel able to cross anything off at the moment. I just wish I could get ‘in the zone’ a bit quicker. By being in ‘the zone’ I mean getting to that place where your mind is clear, ready, inspired. That moment when I feel I can create something out of nothing, something I can call MINE, something special, even if only to me.

This quote kind of explains how I feel about time:

“The soul requires duration of time – rich, thick, deep, velvety time – and it thrives on rhythm. Soul can’t be hurried or harried… We may go through many events in the day and experience nothing because the soul has not had the opportunity to feel them from many different points of view.” Roberto Sardello

The choices we have to make every single day on how we divide the hours in the day into what deserves our attention can be overwhelming. And I know when I’m not making the right ones because I basically feel crap if I don’t do the things I like to do. It’s simple maths really:

Time + things I like to do = Happy Marilia

Time + things that I have to do but don’t necessarily like to = Unhappy Marilia

My commitment to myself from now on must be, I guess, to try and declutter. I must try and erase from my life the things that don’t deserve that much of my attention. Like cleaning, for instance. Maybe I can clean less, so I can read more. Maybe I can worry less, so I can day-dream more. Maybe I can just apply this newly found maths to everything that requires time in my life. This way, I’ll know straight away if spending time on something I don’t really want to do is taking away time that I’d be using to do the things I love, so I’ll feel more empowered to saying no to a few things here and there. If we think about it, even the person who has absolutely nothing, has time. Time is universal, everyone has it, even if only a little left. This makes us pretty powerful. We ARE in charge.

Right, enough talk, I’m gonna go make a nice coffee and read my book for an hour. Sod the washing-up.

Categories: Creativity, Dreams, Personality traits, Quirky thoughts, Time, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The wall

I’ve always been a creature of the night. I like being awake until the early hours and, when I was a teenager, my dad used to get extremely mad at me because I enjoyed my afternoon naps when the sun was out, so I could stay awake at night, reading, writing or watching movies. I’m not averse of daylight, in fact I really enjoy the sunshine, but my favourite part of the day is when the stars and the moon are out. I think I particularly enjoy that part of the day when it’s getting dark but it’s not entirely dark yet. Everything is washed by this magnificent blue, like a dark royal blue, and the whole world just looks so beautiful. You have to be careful to catch it, though, as this bit of the day usually goes quite fast.

I’ve been meaning to do something about our corridor wall for a while now. However, same as with writing, it takes time to find the inspiration to do stuff like that. I used to look at the wall every single day and imagine some possibilities for it, but never felt completely ready to actually do something. Until yesterday. Yesterday, starting at my favourite time of the day, I got all my pictures, bits of art in postcards and cuttings that I had and went for it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not an artist or anything like that, but I do enjoy putting things together. I like colours, I like compositions and I like the effect of some things when they are next to each other.

So last night I got all my frames, my pictures, scissors, paper and imagination and started my wall project. It took a while. I don’t normally do a composition on the floor, like maybe you should at first and then hang it all on the wall. I hammer the first picture up and then the rest kind of flows from there.I don’t know what the correct way of doing this is, but I’m not sure this matters, really.

I was very pleased in the end. It’s probably nothing too special, but it is a quite accurate translation of what was in my head, which is why it is already so special to me. I love it! Lee loves it too (thank God, since he had no input in this one!).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that creativity is something you can’t force. Sometimes it just comes to you and you feel so totally compelled to do something with it that things just happen in their own way. I could have tried to do this ages ago, but I’m sure that the result wouldn’t have been half as good as yesterday’s. I am pleased to look at it, especially because every single picture has a meaning to me. The wall is below. I hope you like it too.

 

Categories: Creativity, My home | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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