Nothing Like A Coffee And Some Time

I’m sitting on a lovely, ever-so-slightly battered brown sofa in my favourite bar (Cafe Cyrano) in Almería, my recently adopted ‘big city’, listening to my new favourite album (‘Hey Mr Ferryman’ by Mark Eitzel) with a cortado coffee and an orange juice.

Lovely & slightly battered old sofa

I’ve just put my car in for a service. Not a big deal for most people, but not having owned a car until recently, it feels like a strangely grown up thing to be doing. I dropped the car off at 9.30am and am told it will be 3 hours, so I’ve popped into the city to mooch around and am really enjoying it as it’s not something I can really do in the village where I now live.

I’ve been walking around for a while enjoying the buzzy morning atmosphere of a working day here. As with many cities, there are lots of ‘things to do’ here, some of which I’ve done and others that I will do, but as is often the case, I find myself doing a similar thing ie ‘not very much’ to some people.

But the joy I get from simply sitting in a bar with a coffee, listening to music on headphones, writing, reading and reflecting on nothing in particular is immeasurable.

Some people these days might call this being mindful. I don’t know why doing this works for me and maybe it’s best I don’t know, so in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the positive and calming energy it gives me.

Hope you’re having a good day too…

Como Ser Un Realista Más Positivo

Ayer yo estaba en un bar de Granada escuchando una conversación entre dos amigos.

Uno de ellos decía
“No me gusta  este compañero de trabajo, pues no puedo trabajar con él. Va a ser una semana imposible.”

Hay gente que dice ‘No soy cínico o negativo, soy realista’ y tal vez es verdad pero de hecho, ¿qué cosas realistas dicen estas personas? Puedo imaginar la conversación entre estos dos amigos que podrían tener en el mismo bar a finales de la semana que viene.

El ‘realista’
“¡Que semana he tenido!. ¡Ha sido imposible! Sabía que no podía trabajar con este compañero. ¿Te lo dije, no?”

O algo así.

El amigo realista está cansado después de una semana difícil y enfadado con su compañero pero por lo menos, él puede culpar de todo a esta persona. No tiene que tomar sobre sí mismo la responsabilidad de su vida. Al final, era verdad que no podía trabajar con el compañero  y tal vez, si, tenía razón, pero ¿cuál es el precio de tener razón en este caso?

Si tuviera una actitud diferente, digamos más positiva, ¿qué diría?

El realista antes de que comience la semana
“Es verdad que podría gustarme más  este compañero, pero tenemos que trabajar juntos esta semana, pues voy a intentar  sacar el mayor provecho de esta situación. Quizás, ¡podría aprender algo!”

¿Es diferente, no? La situación es exactamente igual pero la actitud es completamente diferente y claro está que  no hay garantías de que vaya a pasar pero la probabilidad es que cuando transcurra la semana, la conversación podría ser así:

El realista más positivo
“Podría haber sido una semana imposible esta semana pero aunque no seamos amigos, trabajamos bien juntos y de hecho, he aprendido algo de él porque tiene experiencias diferentes.”

Es como estar hablando de otras personas en otra situación, ¿no?

Sin embargo esta vez vez lo único que ha cambiado es su actitud y su lenguaje, ahora  ambos son más positivos. Más realistas y positivos.

No tenemos que reformular todo lo que decimos en positivo. Me gustaría tener 1.85 m de altura pero eso no va a ocurrir. Tengo que ser realista. Esto no puedo cambiar. Pero la cuestión de cada día es ¿cuánto soy de realista? Yo prefiero  ser un realista más positivo.

Sé que puede ser difícil pero si se usan palabras positivas en lugar de negativas, la situación puede cambiar en algo más positivo. Por ejemplo:

Negativo
– No voy a poder nunca hablar otro idioma con fluidez. No soy capaz de aprender idiomas.

Mientras, la misma situación con un actitud más positiva:
– Tal vez algún día podré hablar mejor este idioma. Será un reto y voy a intentar hablar más en intercambios  para mejorar mi idioma . Voy a valorar el progreso que hago.

Es importante coger control de tu situación y no ser una víctima de uno mismo que no puede ayudarse. Tu vida es tu responsabilidad. Es demasiado importante para culpar o dar esta responsabilidad a otro.

Pues, ¿qué es más importante?

¿tener razón porque has predicho ¿? una semana terrible?,

¿ dar la responsabilidad de tu vida y tu felicidad a otra persona que no te gusta?

O decirse al final de la semana que has tenido una semana difícil  pero has aprendido algo.

Finalmente, ¿quejarse porque no puedes hacer nada?

¿O cambiar tu actitud en positivo e intentar hacer una cosa que quieres hacer?

¿Qué opción es más positiva?

¿Qué opción preferirías?

Sé cuál elegiría yo.

¿Y tú?

 

Do Your Thing, Then Step Back

I recently spent a few months travelling across the USA and one of my favourite places was the rather laidback city of Portland, Oregon. There is a thriving food, art, music and craft beer scene and it’s also renowned for its slightly hippyness. What’s not to like?

Maybe I could sense something in the air, but it was while wandering around this wonderful city that I started thinking about the words ‘Do your work and then step back’ by Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism. 

From my point of view, everything gets done and works well in Portland but there seems to be this wonderful consciousness there that whatever you are doing, your intention is to do it well even if it takes a little longer and this includes everything from working on one of the infamous (and rather fabulous) food trucks to making coffee which is practically an art form there.

Yes of course, there are the overly pretentious, hipster places as depicted in TV comedy Portlandia, but it’s even the ‘regular Joe’ coffee shops where there is a sense of pride in everyday work. Community is very important there and after only a few days you really notice it. Portland has a downtown/centre, but the heart of the city is not there, but in the thriving centre of each local neighbourhood.

One of the barmen I met there said one night: ‘The slower you chill the ice, the fewer bubbles you get and you have clear ice’
or as I interpreted it:
‘The more slowly and mindfully you live your life, the fewer obstacles there are and so, the clearer things become.’

Being in Portland reminded me of the benefits of being more conscious and mindful of things you do each day, however small they may seem. It doesn’t have to take time, just a momentary awareness and focus on what you’re doing. A kind of mindful meditation I guess.

It was lovely hanging out in Portland and I can see why people want to live there. It’s a quietly inspirational place which encourages you to do your own thing in your own way whatever that may be. Again, what’s not to like?

Been A While…

Some of you may have noticed that this blog has been quiet for a few months. This because I went travelling across Spain, the USA and Cuba for a few months. Mrs Away From The Noise and I had an incredible time and now we’re back home in Granada settling back into everyday life again.

While I was away, I continued podcasting and posting, however after a while, I sensed the need to just be wherever I was and enjoy the experience without writing about it at the time. That was right for then, however I did make notes and take pictures on the way, so from now on I will be incorporating some of this into future posts.

It’s the end of the year and I hope you have had a good one. And if not, I hope that 2016 will be full of joy and opportunity for you. Thanks for reading my blog and for sticking around while I’ve been away. It’s always greatly appreciated. I’m looking forward to writing more posts, reading more blogs and more importantly, connecting with all my readers again.

Happy New Year!

Is The Grass Really Always Greener?

According to my taxi driver this morning, a change is as good as a rest. Maybe it was because I hadn’t had my coffee yet, but I started wondering if that was really true. Is change really restful? What are the benefits of change?

I often find that people see change as a quite stressful experience, certainly initially. The unfamiliar ‘chaos’ can be hugely challenging and quite scary, especially if it’s been imposed on you and you have for example been made redundant or are going through a relationship break up.

And yet, change can also be the most exhilarating and powerful situation imaginable! The thrill of the new perspective. You can almost literally see people and your everyday life in a completely new and invigorating way. So, this all got me thinking about whether the grass really is always greener.

Think about moving house (or even moving country). According to research, one of the most stress-inducing activities in contemporary society. I accept that many people have an aversion to moving, however a conversation with a friend made me see things differently as she absolutely loves moving and I was curious to know why.

She was telling me how when she was growing up, she would move the furniture around her room, even though with only a tiny room, she could only move her bed to no more than 3 positions without blocking herself in. She said that she loved waking up with a different view of the world after having done it as it always emotionally and physically energised her.

As she has got older, she now moves house almost every other year. The practicalities have changed and yet, she still loves the ‘buzz’ of moving and she is more than aware of the irony that the only constant in her life is the element of change, yet she would have it no other way.

Perhaps a more cynical person would say that she is commitment-phobic or that change for change’s sake is not ‘healthy’. All I know is that she’s happy and has found something that works for her. In time, she might find that this is no longer true, however I know she’ll deal with that if the time comes and if anything, embrace more change.

But why is change necessary? Is it necessary? Is the grass really always greener? Like most things, it depends on how you see it. Or perhaps how you choose to see it. There will always be something ‘better’ elsewhere if that’s how you choose to see the world, however, is that not true for us all? Is it just how we deal with it that differs?

In hindsight maybe my friend is simply always looking for a new perspective. Or maybe she’s got itchy feet and is a commitmentphobe? Either way, she’s happy with her life and isn’t that what everybody is looking for?

So, when did you last wake up really looking forward to your day?

When did you last turn your own metaphorical bed around?

Maybe you like it where it is and if so, you’re very lucky to love what you have but if you don’t, what’s stopping you?

If you love where you’re at in your life, keep doing what you are doing. But if you don’t, try doing something different, however ‘small’ it may be. If it doesn’t work, you can go back to where you were at before and maybe the grass wasn’t greener after all.

But what if it does work? You then have the choice. You can either go down the newer, ‘greener’ road or you can choose to stay where you are after having re-evaluated your situation and what’s more, you may then get what you want. And greener grass or not, wouldn’t that be the most wonderful change of all?

My First Blogerversary

I can’t believe that it’s already been in a year since I started this blog. The time seems to have flown by.

In that year, I have made some lovely blogger friends and readers, written quite a few posts, started podcasting and learned a lot about blogging and writing in general on the way. It’s been fun and I hope it will continue to be so.

Many thanks to those of you who have taken the time out of your lives to read/listen/comment/discuss. I look forward to lots more…

Have a lovely Sunday…

(Attached image is a photo taken of a beautiful sunset in Provincetown, USA last month)

Now Is The Best Place To Be

It’s Thursday, so it’s podcast day here at Away From The Noise and today I’m in Greenwich in London.

Before I moved to Spain 18 months ago, I lived here for 3 years and Greenwich is without doubt my most favourite part of London. As a tourist or resident, it really is something special.

And that is kind of what this week’s podcast is about – the pros and cons of living in the past, present and future. By the title of this podcast, you might already have an idea of where I’m going with this.

As always, the podcast is like the best pop singles – inspirational and just a few minutes long.

Listen to Episode 6 – Now Is The Best Place To Be (Ep6)

Happy listening!

Jason