You often hear people escaping mentally to their happy places where they can reconnect with who they are meant to be for a moment; rewriting some chapters, rearranging some priorities and for just a short moment, just ‘being’.
I found my happy place when I went to Myanmar. I could not stop smiling there, it was a wellness trip of sorts where I met the ‘me’ that Life had made me forget.
Have you met your happy place?
in the joy of doing
In a world of texting, emailing, and ‘elf yourself’ video cards sent around for Christmas, it is so amazingly soothing to go back to basic crafts and to spend hours cutting, coloring, gluing and handwriting Christmas cards for loved ones. I suspect that as we speed into the future, taking the time to be invested in hand-made craft projects will be a thing of the past, when most things as we know them would be mass-produced and the charm of uniqueness lost forever. The last two days, we took the time, we played Christmas songs, created cards, ate cookies and had lovely long conversations. Another memory for the treasure box.
Eighty five and exploding with stamina~ the bund~ Shanghai
Every once in a while I meet an incredible human, and they remind me that aging is a natural process that only claims our physical body. The spirit is always effervescent if we allow it to be, the soul is only more experienced and our mind can only grow richer if we feed it in the right way. This lady I met this morning, early at sunrise was giggling while doing her morning exercise and very proudly telling my friends and I that she is 85 years old and still feels young and full of energy. She was infectious in her enthusiasm and bright spirit, light as a feather and innocent as a small child. She renewed my hope in life and its beauty and easily added herself to my list of unforgettable people.
Malaysian child in the waters of Penang
It can be found on the shores of innocence.
and till the end we walk alone
Alone (O-Lane), the planetary lane, the way of the planet, how we are born and how we die. These truths are what make human connections we build while alive so utterly important, otherwise life would be nothing but a long cold walk. Our friends make it warmer, infuse it with joy, with pain, with sadness, with passion, with challenges, with drama and most importantly with companionship along the way.
to laugh with the whole of you~ farmer~ Yunnan
Do you remember the last time you laughed with all of your heart while shuffling papers at work in your office? Does the stress in our lives allow us the luxury of a real body shaking laugh? Simple people who lead simple lives have the precious access to simple happiness, the best kind of happiness there is. When we have so little to lose, there is so much less to worry about and the sound of our laughter is lighter, more musical and has the ability to get reflected in our eyes.
Italy is one of those countries where you find yourself humming while you eat. Some places are just like that. In fact it is a place where you instantly decide you want to live if you had any choice in the matter. As soon as we arrived there, my 8 year old daughter asked me to help her buy a postcard. She then asked me for the address of her new teacher back in Shanghai and went on to write her a nice paragraph letting her know that she will unfortunately not be attending her class this year as she now lives in Italy. Italy captures the heart of children too 🙂
When life is simple, even a little dog with a few tricks can make someone laugh with all their hearts, because the less complicated the life, the more room there is for happiness.
photo taken: old man and dog in Hanoi~ Vietnam
selling happiness~ one balloon at a time
In the streets of Phnom Penh, this lovely young man was content selling drops of joy in floating balloon forms…
to each child their playground
There is a magical thing about children, which is the ability to use anything around them for creating a unique playground. I remember playing near our house in a Lebanese village jumping down a terraced field from one level to another hoping that no bones were broken, and making glue from tree sap and flower milk, and creating a small world from moss, stones and twigs. It is no different in Cambodia. I saw children creating games that fit their environment and adapting to make the most of what is available to them. The children I saw in the floating village had not heard of ipads or nintendo yet, and their fun appears to be just as great if not greater than our children’s in the west.
photo taken: boy running back on forth between the stilt raised structures in the Tonle Sap floating village