Dreams

Chasing dreams

Today I watched the Wimbledon men’s singles final and saw a very controlled Andy Murray play a fantastic game that gave him a well deserved victory. The whole tennis thing is quite magnetic, you can’t stop watching it and you can almost feel the tension and the players’ strategies changing with each point that is won or lost. It’s an individual game, you are there on your own and your decisions alone can make it or break it.

I couldn’t help it but relate this to life. We analyse everything in so much detail sometimes that I think we miss the window to actually do something in some cases. It’s all good and well to analyse everything to be able to make the best decision, but sometimes life throws you a challenge that requires a quick response. Like a tennis ball that needs to be caught by a racket with no delay, or the point is lost.

In a competition, we can be winners or losers, but what makes us winner in life? If we relate the approach a player would have to a tennis match to our approach to life and what we want to achieve, here is what I think makes us win every time:

1. You’ve got to have a dream

You need to aspire to something, be something, have something, start something that you feel passionate about. Then, you’ve got to put this into action.

2. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

The second step is to get your act together and make a plan – a route that will take you from where you are to your dream.

3. Think NOW

Winners have the ability to think about the ‘right now’ and not focus too much on the long road ahead. They overcome every challenge and slowly build up victories that put them closer to their ultimate dream. They don’t spend time thinking about how difficult things might get, they focus on the NOW and just go with the flow.

4. LOVE it

Whatever your dream is in life, you’ve got to love it. This passion is what will drive you forward and what will make your journey worthwhile. Achieving a dream that isn’t yours will not feel like victory, it’ll feel like hard work and no pleasure. If you love the final destination, every step of the way will feel like a step forward to getting there, which is pleasurable too.

5. Work it

Oh yes, hard work is required, of course. A dream that is easy to achieve doesn’t feel like it’s worthy. You’ve got to put the time and effort in, to make sure you are taking yourself steadily through the journey that will lead to a deserved victory.

6. Own it

You have to take responsibility for all you do, either to achieve your dream or if you let things slip. You can’t just blame others, blame situations and find excuses. You have to own it. It’s your dream, after all.

7. Set goals

Any dream will not be achieved without milestones conquered on the way. These need to be set in advance and carefully and you need to commit to them. It’s a bit like losing weight. You won’t lose 40 kg in 2 weeks, but you can lose 2 kg. As long as you commit to each step of the way, you are moving into the right direction.

8. Carry on, always

Don’t give up. Achieving a dream isn’t an easy task. But think about achieving it. How would it feel? How would YOU feel? Carry on to find out. You won’t be disappointed, I’m sure.

9. Deal with it

Some people say that we are always in one of three positions: we’ve just come out of a storm, we’re in a storm, or we’re headed into a storm. Be prepared for any of these 3 situations and you’ll always come out on top. You might get drenched, but you’ll have learnt invaluable lessons.

10. Be positive

You get to pick your attitude, it’s the one thing you always have control over. So, choose to pick a good one. There’s no reason to be grumpy (like Andy Murray is sometimes! hehe). Enjoy the ride and have faith in the fact that the end of the road will feel amazing.

There you have it. Some inspirational words that I reckon I wrote to inspire myself, more than anything. I would like to start a project that will lead to a dream of mine being accomplished and I guess I just needed to get myself in the zone. It’ll be a long road (and many words!), I know, but milestones is my new favourite word from now on – as is word count! I shall do it. Because it’s my dream. It has been for a long time and I would be stupid if I didn’t chase it.

I hope you feel slightly inspired to chase your own dreams too.

Categories: Dreams, Energy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 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.

book shelf

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.

Plate of food on table with wine glass in background

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.

happiness-is-contagious-pass-it-on

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

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

Right turn, left turn

Today I got thinking about the choices we make in life. I was thinking about how my life turned out to be in England and not in Brazil. I have said it here before that when people ask me why I live here I don’t even have a plausible answer. I just kind of nod (‘Yep, I’m from Brazil!) and say a few sentences hoping that they will suffice. They never seem to do, though, and the reason for that is because I don’t think my answers are convincing enough. It’s hard to even convince myself sometimes. This got me thinking abot what my life would be like, right now, if I was living in Brazil.

I have discussed this with some fellow migrants before, and the majority of us agree that when we move away from home, we tend to do everything a bit later than everybody else. The process of finding our feet in a completely different country with its own rules and no family around to help takes a little time. So, basically, the time we’d be getting on with the ‘normal process’ of life in our native countries, we are finding out how to register with a doctor, apply for citizenship or how to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Now, I’m not assuming here that life has an order, all I’m saying is that people seem to follow patterns and the majority does things according to some kind of unspoken rule: the rule of ‘society’.

The word society, according to the Oxford English Dictonary, means “the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.” Ah, I see… society means that we have to live with a group of people and follow the same rules. I like that. Rules are necessary when we live in a group. And I like it because in no way, shape or form the statement says that we have to be the same. But how is it that, somehow, we seem to think that being the same is the best?

I seemed to have taken longer to find a job that I love, for example. I tried different things (like accountancy) and after hating one particular thing (accountancy), I decided to go back to what I learnt at uni: good and old marketing. And guess what? It was the right thing to do. Had I stayed in Brazil and lived there my whole life, would I have had many jobs? Would I be in my dream job now? Mmmm… I don’t really know the answer. But I can surely ask the question and spend some afternoons wondering what the answer would be.

I also seemed to have taken a little longer in finding the right person to spend my life with (did I, really?). And, again, I’m not even sure if this IS the right person whith whom I’ll be spending the rest of my life with (who knows, anyway?) but hey, for now it definitely is, so let’s go with that. I wonder if I was in Brazil I’d be married with (and here comes the third of my divagations)… KIDS! Now this is something I’ve talked about many a time before and if you read my blogs you may have already read about it (sorry, but here I go again!). The decision of having kids still doesn’t make much sense in my head. For some bizarre reason, I’m not really maternal and, believe it or not, I still feel like a teenager. I did play with dolls when I was a kid, but it was never to be cuddling them, it was to have some kind of control (now that’s a hard one to admit, give me some credit). I used to play that I was this busy mummy that worked a lot and had this busy life and had to juggle everything. I used to play that I was on my phone trying to organise people, places, ballet classes and christenings. Poor me, little weirdo.

Well, I grew up to be very far from what I maybe imagined I’d be by now. I am quite a placid person who hates confrontation. Yes, I say what I thinkmost of the time, but I’d rather never see you again than to have a full-blown argument. I just hate it. I am still the goofy person of always, though. I especially love making fun of myself. This really is my favourite. I still hate peas, but I no longer think I can live off my written word, as I once dreamt. I quickly realised how impossibly hard that would be.

As for organising everything and everyone, I think this may have been one route, but I see myself slowly moving the other way. I can kind of feel the weight of making all the decisions all the time, it’s exhausting. Let it be, for Christ’s sake! Let go of trying to have control of the controllable and the incontrollable.

I feel quite under pressure sometimes, to be doing what other people expect me to be doing. At my (tender) age of 33, maybe I was supposed to be doing this or that, but hey, I’m not (or maybe I am, who knows?). Still, though, I feel this pressure hanging around, but what annoys me the most is that I actually fall pray of this little machine called society and these unspoken ideas about what I should be doing with my own life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish it didn’t affect me but hey, it does, somehow. And this is what drives me crazy. I wish I didn’t care one bit about what other people think and I wish I didn’t worry about turning right or left and the effects such turns can have in my life.I should go for it a bit more, perhaps, and just see what happens… I shouldn’t worry about pleasing everybody, this is never going to happen anyway.

Ok, rant over! And to end it well, here’s to a life with NO RULES!

PS: right, just for the record, nothing bad happened to me, I just got really carried away with thinking about rules, expectations, ageing and reality. And then I had to share my thoughts here with you, poor reader. 😉

 

Categories: Babies, Brazil, Dreams, Living away from home | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The map of life

Yesterday we watched the movie “The Adjustment Bureau”. Please stop reading now if you haven’t watched it as I’m about to spoil it for you if that’s the case. The movie is about a “higher power”, the fate commanders. They basically decide people’s fates and make sure that everyone is following the path they are supposed to be on. If something doesn’t go according to plan, they then intervene by making little things happen (such as spilling coffee on someone’s shirt), so timings are adjusted and things can get back on track. If the little things don’t work, mainly because some things do happen by chance and by chance only, then they move on to making bigger things happen, all in the view of keeping to the plan, keeping to the map of life which is supposedly written by someone “up there”.

I didn’t think the movie had enough depth to it, if I’m honest, and if I compare it to Inception (which has a similar storyline), well… there’s no comparison, really. But this post is not about the movie itself. The movie made me think about bigger things… about destiny, about fate, about how much we are actually in control of what happens to us. Sentences like the good and old: “If it didn’t happen, it’s because it wasn’t meant to be”, “Everything happens for a reason” and “Things happen when they have to happen” are said too often, but do we really mean that or do we just say them because they make us feel better for not achieving what we originally wanted? Is there really a destiny controller, like in the movie? If so, what is the use in us planning carefully where we want to be in 5 years’ time? What is the use in us planning what to eat tomorrow?

I know this sounds quite stupid and, of course, we are in control up to a degree, but I wish I knew if all the careful planning of my own life is not just a big waste of my time. Should I just swear by the most used sentence of all, when it comes to destiny? The old “Let’s just wait and see”? I don’t want to just wait and see, I want to plan and see, I want to dream and see…

I can’t tell if there is a God of destiny… I do know, though, that some spooky things do happen sometimes and I do, like many other people, find myself thinking: “if this didn’t happen, then the other wouldn’t have happened”, and so on… Maybe there is someone magically swapping the pieces of the jigsaws that are our lives. Maybe there isn’t. I do know, though, that people do overcome their own capabilities all the time… think of athletes, think of ill people that are given months to live and end up living years and years, think of lovers that were not meant to be, like in this movie, and find a way to be together despite all the contradictions destiny puts in their way . There’s proof out there that, somehow, things do happen just as people make them happen.

My belief is that yes, there is a destiny written for each one of us, but I do believe that we can change it. It might not be the wisest thing to do all of the time, but we can do it. It’s a risk, like most things in life. It may pay off, it may not. But one thing I know: “getting there” and knowing that you mapped out your own path means one thing: achievement. And knowning that you made it happen with the careful manipulation of what was available in your life is as rewarding as living the dream itself.

Categories: Dreams | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The house by the beach dream

It’s now the second of January and here is my first New Year’s resolution accomplished: to start my own blog… once again. I have always had outlets for my writing… either on the journals that I have written all my life, or on other blogs that I still write for or had in the past. But this one is different. This is the one where I will be so honest it may hurt. With this one, I don’t really care if people think I’m self-obsessed, if they don’t agree with my opinions, if they think I’m not worth reading. And the reason I don’t really care is because this is a selfish blog. Simple as that. If you enjoy reading it, cool, I’ll be most pleased. But if you don’t, that’s fine too. One of my favourite pastimes is to find the right words to form great sentences, so if you want to be a witness of my infinite trials, I welcome you.

A  house by the beach has always been a dream of mine, and I assume I share this dream with many other people. I love the idea of a desk by a window overlooking the sea, where I could sit, observe and write. This is an utopia, of course and I sometimes don’t feel I’m doing a lot to achieve this, but my dream comforts me and directs me, even if slowly, to a place where I feel happy. And, sometimes, just thinking of it does the trick to drive me forward.

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