Bring It On…

I haven’t posted here for a while. Not for any particular reason. It just kind of happened and maybe we need time away from things or even people to reflect and appreciate them more when they come back. I always wanted this blog to be about rallying against the negativity and cynicism in the world by seeing and appreciating the positive that is in the smallest things. Today I felt the need to post…

 

I can’t believe that given my privileged position that I’m saying this, but I haven’t been happy recently. One of the primary reasons is that I got annoyed and frustrated by something somebody said and after much dwelling on this, it became a thing. Or more to the point, I let it become a thing until it sapped my energy to the point where I couldn’t see anything else for a while. And then over the last couple of days, I have been lucky enough to have been in touch with close friends I have and new friends who I have only known for a short time and the lovely thing is that I have realised that I am happy. And very much so.
 

View from house.JPG

View from my house

There will always be negative people saying negative things in the world and at this moment in time, politically the world is going through some major changes which are worrying. And yet, I feel I’m coming through the other side of this fog through which I’ve been navigating of late to see clearly how lucky we are and how lucky I am. There’s a lot in the world to rally against, but perhaps

 

if we focus more on what positive contribution we can make to the world, then the naysayers and the negative world they live in, can be beaten.

 

I sit writing this in my new studio (aka converted garage) listening to records which I have recently rediscovered and albums which I have always loved. My lovely wife Mrs Cortado and our recently adopted dog Grace are asleep in the warmth of the house next door – it may be the south of Spain, but it still gets chilly at night in November – and I’m listening to Joni Mitchell and reflecting on where we really are today.

 

We moved to the magnificent city of Granada in the south of Spain three years ago and almost six months ago, moved to where we live now, a tiny village in the province of Almeria, still in the south of Spain, which is unquestionably an outstandingly beautiful part of the world. One of the wonderful things about saying that sentence is that I/we always hoped of living ‘abroad’ and after some time in Italy, we chose Spain and love our life here. It’s not perfect. Nothing is. But the good far outweighs the bad. For example, we live in a beautiful place, have met some very kind and friendly people since we came here and are now lucky enough to have some close friends.
 

Grace Standing (1)

Grace

We loved our life in London, but we left at a time that was right for us and now that life seems like such a long time ago. We have worked to have the life that we have and though at times, it can be a challenge, I appreciate the incredible opportunity that this experience is. Some people are not open to change as it can be difficult, however I can now see that some people never want to or are simply too afraid to change and maybe that works for them. However, as a result of recent experiences, I am now reminding myself not to permit others negative filters and perspectives to distort my choices and also to have more faith in my own decisions.

 

I am hugely thankful for our life and every day, we still look at each other as if we have somehow moved into some other parallel time continuum and are living someone else’s life. But as each day passes, I see this is our life now and after nearly three years away from the ‘normality’ of our almost twenty-year old London lives, this is now the new normal and London has become the distant, strange, exotic place which is nice to visit for a few days, but then you want to get back home. In my twenties, I never thought I would say that, but I’m now in my late forties and it feels perfectly natural.

 

We’ve recently had some work done on the house that is coming to an end and the changes have made living here feel quite different and in an incredibly positive way. Perhaps it wouldn’t be that big a deal to many, but they feel more significant. It’s not just that I have my new studio, the whole place has more of a Zen feel with more space and natural light and it’s almost as if we are starting a new chapter of our lives in our ‘new’ house.
 

And so, although over the past few weeks, I have felt somewhat distant from our life here, finding the smallest things frustrating and also missing the urban-ness of the city, reflecting on recent experiences and especially sitting here now listening to the recently released late and incredibly great Leonard Cohen album – which is wonderful – I feel so much stronger to be able to deal with whatever comes my/our way.

 

bruce-lee

 

So now I say, bring on the naysayers and bring on the negativity. Like Bruce Lee said – be like the water. And if it worked for Bruce Lee, I’m happy with that too.

More Good Times…

Sometimes things don’t go well and yet other times they do. Whatever is happening in the world, sometimes it’s good to just  step outside yourself and have a good time for a while.

Jack Nicholson once said ‘My motto is – more good times’

I agree with Jack. You don’t have to sing or dance, so don’t worry if that’s not your thing. Just do something you enjoy. For you. For nobody else. Put the video below on in the background (‘Good Times’ by Chic) and do your thing whatever that may be. And enjoy it. I defy you not to smile and have more good times!

And for those of you reading this who may be thinking – ‘I can’t do that because that would be selfish’ – I would imagine you don’t do things for yourself very often, so I would recommend doing this to you even more. Put aside any negative feelings. Focus on you for once. Go on. You know you want to. Enjoy your own good times.

There’s no other reason for this post today than it’s a sunny day, it’s Sunday and I love this song. Once I’ve scheduled this post, I’m going to go for a walk in the sunshine. That’s my thing. I hope you enjoy doing your thing too…

Chic ‘Good Times’ (Soul Train USA)

WordPress Daily Prompt

What’s Going To Make Me Happy… Now?

We all know that life can be complicated and with so many elements to consider in our lives, it can be challenging at times to just get through the day without feeling like you’re not getting anywhere or moving forward in any way.

But things can be simple. From time to time at least. I’m not talking about some kind of huge life transformation and lots of life planning, but only a small step. In fact, a simple question.

What’s really going to make me happy… now?

We seem to spend our lives planning and making lists of things to do in our future and this is all very helpful, but every now and again it’s good to not get too lost in it all and remember that we don’t actually live in the future. We live now. Today. At this very moment. And I believe we can have, perhaps even deserve, some happiness.

It could be something as simple as meeting a friend for a drink, spending time with family or reading a book. It doesn’t have to be significant externally, but it needs to be significant internally, for you. Something that brings a smile to your face.

With this in mind then, I dare you. Go out and do something that will make you happy. Like that L’Oreal advert says – you’re worth it!

So, what are you going to do?

PS the image of Helen Mirren is because while researching this article, I found out that she is the new face of L’Oreal and at 69 years old, that’s rather cool.

I’ve Dreamed Of This

“I’ve dreamed of this.
This is the plane I’ve always wanted to go on.
All buckled up? Seatbelts on?
The jets have fired up! No that’s someone else’s jets. Don’t worry. We’ll be next.”
 

To many people, an Easyjet flight from Manchester to Malaga isn’t a big deal and in fact it can be a bit of a pain, but to the 6-year old boy sitting behind me, it was something else entirely. He was not only more excited than I’ve ever seen anybody about anything, but he’d also clearly done his homework as his running commentary indicated that he probably knew more about this plane than the pilot.

 

He was so enthusiastic and happy about being on the plane and all the little things that go with it. As many of us grow up, it’s a shame we sometimes lose that, especially as it’s infectious being around positive and enthusiastic people. However my mission from now on is that in those moments when I’m feeling a bit too ‘grown-up’ and cynical, I’ll try to remember that happy boy excitedly telling his parents about the flight. I imagine he had a fantastic holiday as he would have been looking forward to that too. Sometimes it’s just how we want to see things…

 

(PS This is the Day 5 task for Blogging101. I’ve experiemented with my theme many times and having tried different options and I’m happy with what I have.)

It’s The Little Things

As we live our lives, from time to time it can feel like we’re treading water and that we’re surrounded by the same old ‘greyness’ and it’ s true that the world can be a terrible place for all kinds of reasons, however there is beauty and joy in even the little things we see and do every day if we are open to seeing it and don’t take it for granted.

For example, here are a few ‘little’ things which have struck me and made me happy recently:

    • the refreshing and calming sound of gently trickling water on a hot day

 

    • planes flying you from A to B still amazes me no matter how often I fly

 

    • a child running up and down the aisle of a plane with a big grin on his face loving every second of it

 

    • the somehow magical combination of pasta, garlic, chilli and tomatoes makes everything better for me

 

    • at a public gathering, when your partner walks past you and they catch your eye and smile or gently brush your hand as they pass by

 

    • morning coffee

 

    • doing ‘nothing’ on a sunny day

 

    • seeing how happy Mrs Cortado is walking the dog on the beach while beachcombing

     

    As I write, I’m sitting in the glorious May sunshine enjoying a morning coffee and tostada while the local birds are singing away and life feels good.  There’s nothing ‘big’ going on. Just a few little things.
     

    And maybe that’s the secret to being happy…
     

    What are the ‘little things’ that make you happy?
     

    Toothbrush turtle

    Could you be as happy as this little guy?

    Above image credit Toothbrush Turtle
    Main image credit – Girl Running On Beach

Embracing The Melancholy

It’s been raining here recently and while looking out at the downpour earlier today, it got me thinking about the nature of water. In the same way that perhaps water embraces and absorbs the energy around it to move forward, I noticed I was doing the same today.

I walk a lot here in Granada and when it’s raining, I often listen to what some may call ‘depressing’ music. A friend recently described it as ‘wallowing in sadness’, which I thought was a tad strong, but I see their point to some degree, however I prefer to use the term ’embracing the melancholy’.

 

At times like this, I like to see the rain as a gently invigorating and quietly powerful reminder of how we can choose to see the world or it could be argued that how we see situations is what’s important. If it’s raining, is it preventing me from what I want to do because I don’t like it and as a result, I’m not happy? Or is the rain an opportunity to use the new umbrella we got the other day and go for a walk to listen to your new favourite song which could make us happy? The rain is the fact. That will still be there, but how we see it is what’s different.

 

As I do, perhaps you find music helps you in all kinds of life situations. For example, it’s cold and wet outside today and I’m listening to ‘Song To The Siren’ by This Mortal Coil, one of the most so-called ‘depressing’ songs ever written and yet, I have always found it incredibly inspiring in its own quiet, gentle and daresay, melancholy way. I haven’t always felt as positive about rain, but with the combination of ‘Song To The Siren’ and today’s weather, perhaps that has changed as I feel more energised now than I have in a long while. Until the next melancholy emergency…

 

How Can Hailstorms Help Us To Be Happier

The weather in Granada is usually pretty good, however a few weeks ago there was a hailstorm of almost biblical proportions, relatively speaking that is. It hadn’t properly rained here in months so hail, thunder, lightning and dark, dark skies were huge news!

I popped into the nearest bar to hide from the elements and while I was in there I noticed a girl of about 5 running in and out of the bar excitedly shouting ‘Hielo! Hielo!’ (Spanish for ‘ice’ for those who may not know).

Being only a very young child, she perhaps unsurprisingly didn’t want more ice for her gin & tonic, but simply to go outside with her reluctant and rain-resistant dad to get some hailstones and carry them in her hand to take them back inside to show her rather bemused, but proud mum.

I only came in to keep dry and didn’t know I’d end up learning a lesson in how to find joy and excitement in the simplest of things from a very happy little girl. I never thought I’d ever see the benefits in torrential rain either…