Sunshine is Healing for All

Sunshine is my quest.-Winston Churchill

Currently I live in the Costa del Sol also known as the Coast of the Sun.  I have heard that in a nearby town Rincon de la Victoria, was named after Queen Victoria.  She who would come to the area for the healing vibes of the sun. Perhaps this is legend, but I wouldn’t put it past royalty to head to warmer climates as a way to improve their health.

My home in Malaga has minimal windows and therefore lacks natural lighting.  I think this is how many homes in the Andalucian area are.  Since it gets so warm during the summer months, homes are a place of cool refuge.  But to counter that, Bella (my dog) and I will go on extended walks in the morning and afternoon to breathe in the sun’s rays. 

It’s a January morning, colder than usual.  I walked my dog to an area where we can sit on the park benches and feel the sun on our faces.  We are not alone.  Although we all have our winter jackets on, many of us are simply letting the sun kiss our face.  I see parents with their children or grandparents with their grandchildren in strollers.  I notice a caregiver sitting with an elderly woman in a wheelchair, taking in the sun.  There are some homeless people, tourists, and us.  We all are inhaling in the nature that is being granted to us at this moment. 

It doesn’t take much to feel refreshed by nature.  We may not all live by a lush countryside, the beach, or a refreshing lake.  But we can have momentary interludes with the sun.  Today, as I sat on the park bench with all these people, I realized one thing.  We come from different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, but were all seeking pleasure from the sun.  This is available to us all. 

Time is the Most Underrated Luxury

I met a new friend recently, who has travelled to 100 countries.  He works for half of the year, and the other half is spent travelling the world.  This setup of his has been going on for quite some time, and he’s quite proud of it.  As we talked of his lifestyle, he said something to me that stuck with me: “Time is the most underrated luxury.”  I couldn’t help but nod in agreement with this statement.

We are aware that time is something that we complain about in the Western world, that we never have enough of.  There’s not enough time to finish up our work load, chores, spend with friends, family, or self.  If you were totally in control of your time, how would you spend it?  Would try to get more sleep?  Travel the world? Be with your partner or loved ones?  What would you do with that gift of gold.  In comparison, he shared that in some third world countries he has visited, time is abundant.  Yet some of the people he has interacted with were wasteful of it.  They had such excess of it, they didn’t know what to do with it.  As he talked of his life, he discussed the importance of balance.  We want to be in control of our time and schedules, but not spend it foolishly, as one may do if they unexpectedly won the lottery. 

It’s an interesting concept to reflect on.  The past year I have left my traditional job, and own how I spend most of my days.  But even with this, I can’t help but wonder, where does time go? How am I spending my days?  I don’t feel time is wasted, but it is elusive.  It escapes me.  We want to be intentional with how we use it, but we don’t want to overplan every minute.  There must be space in our time for the spontaneous moments of life to arise.  As I look at this past year, the way I view time has changed.  In one year, I have fit in plentiful moments with friends, families, and strangers.  I didn’t really go to new places, but lived in new countries: France and Spain.  My holidays were spent visiting loved ones.  Collective moments were shared, new memories were made, and none of it was done in a wasteful manner.  I understand now why people take gap years or sabbaticals.  There’s a lifetime to be lived in the span of 365 days.  

How do you plan to spend your time in 2023?

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Marthe Troly-Curtin

Why Do I Do This Blog

Why I Do This Blog?

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana. 

            Why do I do this blog?  I am asked this question frequently, and it’s something I often wonder do I keep up after over a decade of committing to it.  I’ve given these positive quote cards (which may have led you to this blog) to baristas, celebrities, homeless people, airport security, store assistants, friends, ex romantic partners, family members, favorite authors, or more recently children who are enamored by my dog.  The business card which leads to the blog, generally has an inspirational quote on top of a beautiful backdrop and an image of my dogs.

            Initially I did this blog and quote cards as a way to offer a tangible form of gratitude to a passing stranger.  I copied the idea from author Cheryl Richardson, who said in a workshop that she leaves these positive quotes with her from one of her card decks she created as a form of positivity.  I liked the idea, and wanted to do a variation of it.  I wanted to make people smile too, because I knew that people tend to spread their negativity frequently, just as easily they could spread positivity.  I wanted to be part of that movement in some way.  

            What has happened to these cards over the years?  What has been the impact?  I do not know.  They may have been thrown away, re-gifted to a friend or stranger, or forgotten about and packed away in some shoebox forgotten about.  Once I had returned to a store in Arizona, and saw the staff member have placed the card under glass with other important pieces of memorabilia from fellow customers.  In London, I visited one psychic in an esoteric store a year later and he had the card I had given him placed on the wall.  After Puzo died, a friend took a selfie of him and the card to show me he still carries the sweet words and image in his wallet.  Most recently, after giving this to a store associate at a high end Parisian department store, she found me on Instagram and sent me the following sweet message offering her gratitude, here is a snippet:

“It gave me joy in my day and reminded me why I am doing this job: to meet nice people like you.”

Her finding me and taking the time out to say how this made her day, made my day.  To know such a small simple act of kindness can impact others means the world to me.  Often, we think our purpose in the world has to be something grand.  Our purpose must equate to making millions of dollars, attaining a high degree, being famous, and making a newsworthy mark in society.  But our purpose could be to simply bring smiles and joys to strangers.  We can brighten their day without much effort, and this impact will overflow in their interactions with others.  It doesn’t take much.  

So this new year, as we contemplate what goals we want to achieve, perhaps we can step back and simply smile at a stranger, open a door, leave a nice tip, or give someone an unexpected compliment.  It doesn’t take much, it only takes a smile.