Focus on Less

It’s a mindset, an attitude, a lifestyle.

My current read is: Everything that Remains, a Memoir by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, also known as The Minimalists. If you haven’t heard or checked them out, I totally encourage you to do so. They’ve got tons of resources and ideas that focus on minimalism – truly focussing on things that matter and ridding of the things that don’t. YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/jmillburn / Blog: The Minimalists , they also have a podcast which you could find on their blog. (No I’m not sponsored, I just love them and admire their  attitudes about life!)

A consistent theme and question throughout the book is: “Does this add value to my life?” So much so, I’ve been asking myself this question more.

Last Saturday night, I went out to a coffee shop with my friend and we spent nearly three hours just talking. By just talking, I mean just talking. We were classmates last semester and become closer friends. By the beginning of January, we promised we would make time to see each other within the next week. But our plan got pushed back, day, after week, after month… until last week!

As we conversed, I had a lightbulb moment. I realized the true value of genuine and authentic conversation, minus distractions. Our choice of seating had been super comfy single couch chairs, adjacent to each other. Customers came and gone while we took delight with our time. We talked about life. We caught up on our semester, shared dreams of travelling, our hobby and interest in improving our photography, and much more. Before we knew it, we got the 30-minutes to close warning. Wow, so that’s what “living in the moment” means. Being present. Appreciating the now. No distractions. Just, be. 

Back to Everything that Remains, a Memoir. These guys believe growth happens through experimentation. In chapter 8, A Well-Curated Life, Joshua shared the idea of growth to stop living a goal-oriented life, rather live a happiness-filled life. Living for goals meant waiting to achieve something, and always playing catch up. Throughout this personal experiment, Joshua confidently said, “I choose to be happy. I choose to live in the moment. I choose to live a healthy life. I don’t need to measure these events; I simply live this way… Living goal-less has changed my life, adding layers of happiness I didn’t realize were possible (p. 147).

They share 3 things that changed their lives when they decided to give up their goals:

  1. They were less stressed.
  2. They were more productive.
  3. They were more happier.

Setting goals is great. But now, I’m challenging myself to use my vision board as a reference to what I want to achieve. However, I’m not going to limit myself to the infinite possibilities that could result as I focus on a small piece of progress each day. This means I’ll have to be okay with not meeting them, because I’ll focus more on making progress and enjoying life by being less stressed, more productive, and happier.

You’ve heard the saying “Life is too short”, well yes it is. Don’t spend your time doing things you know aren’t truly adding value to your life. Do use your strengths and abilities to make an impact in the sphere of influence you have. Cultivate and develop the opportunity to make a change in the world. Focus on the things that matter, not things that would rob you from true joy.

Don’t doubt yourself. Trust yourself. And see where that goes.

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

A Million-Piece Mosaic

 

Photo: OAG Annex, Ottawa, ON. Ft. Art by Leenie Minifie. Ft. my cousin 🙂

Broken, damaged, cracked, shattered, to a million pieces. Started as a small crack in the mirror, eventually broke. How could the pieces be put together again? How could this broken piece of ugly be assembled back to its original design? Will it ever be whole again? This is about to get deep.

Question for you: What is a mosaic? Google defines it as a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass — different pieces that make for a beautiful piece of art.

So let’s think of it like a puzzle.

The puzzle pieces comprise of pieces that make you, you.

Pieces of your talents, skills, dreams: a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep, goals: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result., and aspirations: a hope or ambition of achieving something… These make you, you. 

Pieces of your outward glow: your eyes, your hair, your smile. Bits of your experiences: your education, your work experience, your volunteer hours, your relationships. Segments of your achievements: your awards, certificates, medals, and pins. These make you, you.

And you know what? You’re beautiful. You’re clever. You’re the best. You’re exactly where you need to be. That’s the beauty of your mosaic.

Since the word ‘mosaic’ itself means ‘beauty‘, take a look inside of you and give this word a definition. Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I can’t speak on your behalf to describe this word. Side note: One of the reasons I had included ‘beauty’ in the name of my blog, is because the definition of beauty differs from person to person. My vision was to allow my followers to read/listen/see what is beautiful to me, but to redefine what ‘beauty’ they see in the content of my posts.

The Bible says:

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4.

Let’s go back to that crack in the mirror. Pick up the million pieces that have crumbled to the floor. It’s gonna take patience and perseverance. It’s gonna be painful as you pick up every slice of glass. But would you rather well up in your brokenness and collect dust and dirt on that floor? Or would you rather put yourself through the time, energy, and creativity to put the pieces together? You don’t even have to make them fit in exactly the same way they used to be. That’s the beauty of the mosaic. They’re literally small pieces of glass that make a beautiful piece of art.

Are you willing to rearrange your brokenness into something great?

“It’s the images and moments that inspire and represent the most distinct and remarkable attractiveness of our souls. It’s the moments we feel free and real. It’s the moments we feel proud and eminent. It’s the moments we feel alive. It seems like that element should be inherent, but it isn’t.” – Lexi Herrick, What is the Real Definition of Beauty?

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

Stop. Wait. Then Go.

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Gramps ❤

Cozmo is turning 11 years old in exactly 1 month. He used to be this energetic, spunky and charismatic pup, once upon a time.

As the years and months go by, his excitement dwindled to a distressing bark, and a slight tail wag. He used to run to other dogs while we walked, and couldn’t wait to greet them and make a friend. But now, nope. He’s not like that anymore.

We used to be able to walk around the block and some, but now, all we do is walk down less than 1/4 of the block and walk back (sometimes just half of the 1/4). His energy and strength has died down, and it saddens me.

While at home, walking to his water bowl sometimes can even be a struggle. The vet says it could be arthritis, which comes with age and we should not worry. And I’ve kind of worried in the past, but I know it’s part of the aging process. Sigh. I’ve accepted that he’s ‘just getting older’ and this is just part of him ‘getting older’. However, there’s a behaviour that my family and I have noticed while we walk. Most of us simply see it as annoying because we just want to get back home and continue whatever it was we had been doing before going out to walk Cozmo; sometimes we tug on him so he just starts walking, just so we can go home. I’m the intuitive thinker… so I pondered his behaviour and imagined what Cozmo could be thinking…

Cozmo now walks ever so slowly, and often stops and just stands there. He isn’t sniffing anything, nor aiming to get anywhere – he’s literally just standing there. So I call him my Little Gramps. He limps every so often, too, so I call him Limpy Lou…This is love guys! LOL

Remember the saying, “Stop and smell the roses”? (or coffee – for you coffee lovers LOL). This implies that we should stop this go, go, go pace and slow down for a brief second. In my head, I’m like okay Cozmo… let’s go. I have some things I’ve gotta do at home. Ugh, laundry, watch another episode of Gilmore Girls, read another chapter of the book I’m reading… let’s go! But, as I stared at him, I couldn’t help but shake my head and think… wow Coz, you’re one smart cookie. When was the last time I actually STOPPED and ‘smelled the roses’? Profound lesson from walking a dog, eh?

We live in this society that never sleeps. We walk through our days like we don’t want them to end. We have this lifestyle of having so much to do, so much to accomplish in so little time. Will it ever end?

Cozmo reminded me that life isn’t about getting to your destination/completing a task as fast as possible. Rather, it’s the journey and the process that comes along with the experiences and lessons you gain from it.

Paul writes in Romans 12: 2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Our bodies are living sacrifices to God, and if giving up our strength to be renewed by Christ isn’t enough, I don’t know what is. Paul emphasizes that this ‘sacrifice’ is a “holy, acceptable, and reasonable service” to Him. This means even our obligations and responsibilities. Those things you had to do at home, work, or school – it all belongs to Him. Remember that.

I pray that this post is a reminder to you all, to step away from the tasks at hand for a brief second, and pray for a transformation and renewing of your mind. Set your goals and dreams for 2017 and the rest of your life, the the hands of God. You will not be disappointed.

Shoutout to Cozmo for being so inspiring 😉

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

Which Car?

15856967_10154276472111589_324234576_oJust the other day, I had walked out of the gym thinking… which car did I bring today? (Since I’m home for the holidays and we end up playing musical cars – whichever car is out, that’s the one you use). As I continued walking, I searched my gym bag I glanced at the keys and realized that it was my dad’s car I had driven.

This made me really think about being spoiled and overly blessed. I mean, how many North Americans actually have at least 1 car in their driveway? How many drivers are there in every household? I don’t know the facts nor the stats, but I can confidently assert that approximately 9/10 households have a least 1 working vehicle and 1 driver.

Then this made me think even more about how many pairs of shoes I have: dress shoes, flats, runners, casual shoes, heels, boots, booties… and the list goes on. We have so much, yet we still want so much. We have all we need, yet we say we’re incomplete.

I’m an undergrad, as many of you know already, and seeing as I’m in my 3rd year, going into the second semester of it – I just can’t wait to be finished and receive my university diploma! About 2 months ago I had watched a documentary entitled “College Conspiracy”, talking about how school has been around all this time, but not necessary to be successful in this world – which I totally agree with. The documentary emphasized the amount of debt that a student will have after approx. 4 years of post-secondary education – which reached up to $100,000 + of student and government  loans. However, my thought process couldn’t settle on this point.

I struggled to accept the fact that, yes, after 4 years I will definitely have debt and hold that against my name for several years to come, but it’s not a ‘sad’ reality. As a matter of fact, I dug deeper into this idea of having to take loans from front, back, and centre by watching more documentaries, looking for articles to inspire and motivate me to continue in the path that I have chosen for myself, and thankfully, I had found it.

The college conspiracy of being in school, obtaining an education (which, yes you may also get from online sources), paying excessive amounts of dollars for textbooks, ‘hidden’ fees, etc is by all means, was all true. However, the truth and humbling acceptance of this education system, the way of teaching, and the grades to obtain do not define me. I’ll admit, there are some professors that I wish were never professors, there are some policies that sometimes just don’t make sense – like the bus pass versus parking pass situation my school mandates for every student to pay $200+ for a bus pass, even if they don’t use the regional transit, but have to pay EXTRA for a parking pass — yes, I’ve done it. 😦 It’s all part of it. Would you compromise your job contract because there were things in it that just didn’t match with what you expected? Probably not. But, here’s my argument — the standards are in place for a reason. Just think about our society and the way our government has legislated laws – had we not had enforcement of any of them, our society would be in complete chaos, right? – The same goes for education guys and gals. It all brings a sense of order to society. It gives us something to work for and towards.

We’ve got the syllabus, we have the professors and TAs, tutoring, online resources, etc – all at our disposal. Question is – are we really using them to their fullest potential? Professors, TAs, tutors – they’re getting paid to help us, and when they don’t, we feel as if we’re not getting our fair end of the bargain, right? So… change that! Get our of your dorm room, get your shoes on, and visit your professors and TAs. Pay $20 to see a tutor to clarify your understanding on a subject – you’re not getting farther from obtaining your degree, but closer, so why not raise the quality of obtaining it? It’s like receiving compensation for a gym membership with your workplace – would you not pay an extra $40 for a full body massage on top of a free membership? Heck yeah I would. 

So where am I getting at? Going back to the car scenario: we have options out there and we’ve got to work on obtaining them. We have cars to choose from, but which one will it be? There are thousands of undergraduate degrees out there, which one will we pursue? There are millions and billions of occupations ready for hiring and maybe even creating, which one will you try to fill? – We can own all of these things and call them ‘ours’, but remember that nothing truly belongs to us.

We’ve got a God out there, and He’s waiting for us to surrender our plans to Him; He’s our owner. We’re just the managers of His blessings.
“God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.” – 1 Corinthians 7:23.

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

 

Lessons Learned in University, Thus far

This post is inspired by BU’s post on ‘Things you Learn About Yourself while in University, by Abbey Morris. http://www.studentpowered.ca/things-you-learn-about-yourself-while-in-university/

In the last paragraph of this post, Abbey concludes, “Discovering who you really are is what university is all about.”

This is just SO TRUE. Hence the SUPER long delay on my next blogpost here. I’m SO SORRY! Today’s the last day of Final Exams, and I PROMISE (wow, I just said ‘promise’) that I will post at least 2x per week throughout the Christmas break! I’ll have more time to think, reflect, and share some life lessons that I hope you, too, may gain something from 🙂

So here it is, in a nutshell. Lessons learned in university, in addition to all the things Abbey had mentioned in her post. (BTW, check out studentpowered.ca when you get the chance! Brock’s got a whole team of bloggers with stories, ideas, and tips on anything and everything that happens in the life of a uni student.

  1. Look up and smile at people, it might just be what that other person needs. On the plus side, you’re decreasing your own stress by doing this. (https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-smiling-a-guide-to-humans-most-powerful-gesture)
  2. Don’t assume things about people. Be honest and upfront. What have you got to lose? #intentional
  3. Appreciate the mistakes you’re making. You’re learning from them, duh! #nuffsaid
  4. Encourage others. Stuck in a rut? Text or message a friend and see how they’re doing. It’ll help you forget about what you’re struggling with and realize that you’re NOT ALONE.
  5. Try something new. This year I tried something new by working in ‘respite’. What’s that? It’s basically relieving PSWs/caregivers who are working with individuals with disabilities. I definitely came out of my comfort zone while working in this field, and I learned things about myself such as: I’m actually pretty patient, I realized that children know how to tug at my heart strings, I love cafes (wait, I think I knew that already… LOL)
  6. Be honest with yourself. If there’s something that you’re not liking, drop it and reassess/change what needs to change and go with it. I dropped my first university class, that was kind of required to graduate… mainly because I really couldn’t engage myself in the class… As much as I had tried, it was just nearly impossible to do so because of my lack on interest. Note: If you’re not ‘in’ it, you’re not gonna get ‘with’ it. #ohsnap
  7. Laugh at yourself. Oh, my roomies know this about me. I laugh at my own jokes, and most of the time, when they’re laughing, they’re not laughing AT my joke — they’re laughing AT the fact that I’m laughing at my joke, which obviously wasn’t sooooo funny. (Idk what they’re thinking, my jokes are too good!) LOL
  8. Get outside. I’ve got to say, this was the year/semester that I’ve spent the most time outdoors as possible. Just in the Autumn alone, I think I went out for a hike at least 5 times within 2 months… What can I say? It’s a breath of fresh air. Literally. LOL
  9. Write it out. My friends call me the “Journal Queen”. I write, often. I am a strong advocate for writing things down, and not just to-do lists… I’m talking about recording what happens in your life, your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams, your prayers, and your goals. It makes a difference, 1, 2, 5, days, months, years from now. I still have some journals from when I was in grade 11! (yeah… believe it). No, this is not hoarding LOL. It’s a way of remembering how much you’ve grown and changed through the years. It’s a great way to look back and understand that who you are today is the product of the choices and actions you made yesterday and the years prior.
  10. Love. Love is defined in so many ways. But for me, the definition of ‘love’ has been ironed out this year: it’s a verb, an action, that comes after making a choice. As a Christian, I believe that I am loved because God chose to create me because He wants to love me. He gave me His only Son to die for me so that I may live. God IS love (1 John 4:8) and the reason why I love, is because He first loved me (1 John 4:19).

15146812_10154144322386589_1260209997_oWell, there you have it. Lessons learned in university thus far. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here.

Comment and share with me what you’ve learned thus far! It could be throughout the semester or the year of 2016. What is it that you’ve gained more insight on this year?

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

Look again.

Hey followers!

Anyone who knows what midterm season is like? Day in day out, you’re attending lectures, participating in seminars and tutorials, studying your notes, researching articles, writing essays, blah, blah, BLAH. Yeah, go ahead, hate on it. Because it IS BLAH.

School will always be school, just like your home will always be home. But you know what else is constant? God. God and His presence in your life. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” If you’re like me and you’ve transferred schools more than 5 times in your life, you know what it’s like to have to adapt to a new environment. Maybe you’ve had new jobs every year? Perhaps you’ve gone in and out of relationship – Idk what change you’ve had to encounter, but I’m happy that you did!

Why? Well, I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not a scholar, but I’ve got faith! I’ve’ got faith that those changes have allowed you to become more mature, more aware, and more educated of the world around you, yourself, and your abilities. These assignments and papers, don’t get be wrong, they’ve bogged me down enough, to make me think that I’m not smart enough to get them done on time or well enough – but who’s to say that that’s all? Is school your end-all-be-all? Heck to the no!

This past week, the theme of conversation amongst many of my close friends can be summed up into this: there’s more to life than school and work. #nuffsaid

Yeah, right… is that what you’re thinking? Well, stop thinking that way and change your attitude friends! If you’re in school like me, it may seem like this is IT. This is ALL WE HAVE right now. Which in a sense is TRUE, but it’s not ALL. – don’t you have a family? Don’t you have hobbies? Don’t you have friends you haven’t really talked to in a while? Is there a recipe you wanted to try out a couple of months ago? What about that movie you’ve been meaning to watch? Or that book waiting to be cracked open in your shelf? Bottom line is there’s more to life than school and work. 

I’m not encouraging you to stop focussing on your school work or work work (LOL). What I am trying to say, is that you’ve got to stop focussing in TOO MUCH. You know what it’s like to fully zoom in? – you’re basically doing some macrophotography and seeing only what’s in front of you. Which is great because you get all the details, but you tend to miss out on the bigger picture. Take a step back and un-zoom a little bit. Realize that there’s more to life than school and work!

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Be a diligent student and a responsible employee, but don’t let your role, performance, or abilities define you. “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”” Ecclesiastes 12:1.

Remember why you’re where you are in the first place. If you don’t know why you’re there — then take time and think about why you are where you are. Reflect on the struggles that you had to go through to get where you are. Appreciate succeeding through your failures – they weren’t all useless.

Consider yourself being refined day by day to become a better person. Strive for your best, everyday. Each day is another opportunity to be better than you were yesterday.

As I always say, “I am who I am today, because of my yesterday.”

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

Making sense of life.

Hey Followers!

To my Canadian followers, (and Canadians at heart) I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving weekend! It’s Reading Week for me, so I’m pretty much in “vacation” mode, while finding myself kicking myself in the butt! I have work to get done man! LOL. It’s all good, as long as you’re able to balance it out. Spend time with your friends and family, but remember to take care of your responsibilities. That is, if you’re a student — get to work son! Be accountable for your occupation/role. Cool? 🙂

I look at the calendar and it just surprises me how fast time is passing. We’re nearly in the middle of October. Soon enough, we’ll be seeing some of those movember staches growing out. (eww, but power to ya!)

You’ve probably noticed that my posts have often been centred on motivating, encouraging, and inspiring you to do what you love, what’s best for you… you, you and YOU! And for that, I’m sorry. Why are you sorry? Well, let’s just say I have a friend who reminded me that my life’s purpose doesn’t start with me, it starts with God. – Which I was definitely well aware, but you know, I’m human. I get full of myself, and focus on what I want, what I need.

Isn’t this the society we’ve come to know? The “me” lens. I once wrote a post on Facebook, ages ago, about looking at life from God’s perspective, He knows you – after all, He’s you’re creator. How am I supposed to do that? I’m not God. Exactly. We can’t see what’s in our future, we aren’t psychics; we can’t dictate what will happen in our future, nor can we determine the exact purpose of our lives if we look within ourselves. Our profs, textbooks, and scholars articles cannot define what our purpose is. As Rick Warren puts it, “If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn’t know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn’t be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner’s manual could reveal its purpose.” (Purpose Driven Life, p. 22, 2002). The only way to know our purpose is to look to our creator, the engineer of our lives – God.

Join me as I start reading The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren. I’ll share my reflections and insight as to what I’m learning from this book, as well as about myself and why I was created, what my purpose is, what the point is to this life.

If you’re interested to get the book, there’s actually a free PDF version online you can find with a simple Google search 🙂 It’s worth it, because you are 😉

Happy reading!

-LifeisaBeaut ❤