INSPIRATION begets creation. A pond of water lilies and a Japanese bridge in his garden inspired Claude Monet's beautiful Water Lilies series. It is said he even built a studio in his garden so he could continue to paint the water lilies rain or shine. In the early '70s, a rocker took a break from a concert his band was giving in Rizal Park. He entered the comfort room and minutes later, came out with what was to be an anthem of a generation. Pepe Smith had just written "Ang Himig Natin." The best creative spark comes when you're most inspired. When that positive force begins to move you, you cannot help but pick up a pen and begin to write, to pick up your guitar and strum a tune, to grab a blank canvas and start preparing your palette. The moment inspiration strikes you to create -- ah, this is one of the simplest yet most thrilling experiences one can have. An article from the DailyOM talks about being "Compelled to Create." The piece shares how muses inspire our creativity, how to identify our muses and how to embrace them. Do check it out and be inspired.
June 2007 Archives
SOMETIMES words just don't do. No matter how powerful the written or spoken word is, there are things we want to say to others that would be difficult to express through letters and scribbles. Perhaps cooking for them can help, maybe even just going for a drive with them. A quiet but potent way of making your emotions known is also through touch. I remember this one time I was watching TV at my parents' home. My Dad was walking around the room where I was in, fixing some of his things. Before leaving the room, he went over to me and patted me on the head. It was one of my favorite moments. We have a quiet relationship, my Dad and I, and even if he doesn't say "I love you" out loud as much, I know that's what the pat on the head meant for him. I remember my late grandfather, a military man with a booming laugh. He wasn't demonstrative, but that didn't stop me from giving him a kiss on the cheek and one-way hugs. That's why when he reciprocated one time with a strong pat on my back, I was pleasantly surprised. Soon after that, when I'd tell him I loved him, he'd say "I love you" back with those strong pats on my back. I remember a time when my Mom was recovering from a gall bladder operation. She was very much in pain and called for me to be at her side. While she lay in bed, I smoothed her hair and lightly stroked her forehead, the way she did when I was sick as a child. It calmed her, she said. I watched the pain in her face disappear as she drifted off to sleep, to the rhythm of gentle caresses on her forehead. With the right person, in the right situation, and with the right intention, touch effectively expresses so many thoughts and emotions that words just can't. Maybe it's because that with a touch I am made to feel "You're alive, I'm alive. We're alive together!" -- less alone, comforted, more loved. "It's the first sense we experience in the womb and the last one we lose before death," it says here. Perhaps that is why touch therapy is very important for babies and for the sick. Maybe it's because sincerity can be felt most in a touch. Words can be abused and taken advantage of, but touch could be less gullible. Quiet and potent, that is the beauty of touch. When was the last time you sincerely and quietly touched someone? When was the last time you were sincerely and quietly touched by another?
DID you know that the color turquoise can brighten up your face? I read this tip from InStyle magazine a long time ago. A rough night, a way too early morning or just plain getting stressed out can take a huge toll on the way you look. Your lips turn pale, dark circles under the eyes come out, your skin becomes dull. In one word? Haggard. One quick way to lessen that haggard look is to wear the color turquoise. It brings a little color to your cheeks, hence it makes you look a little less tired. Try wearing a turquoise necklace and see if it works for you. I wear turquoise-colored earrings or a turquoise-colored shirt on days when I'm in the doldrums. I've noticed that it does bring a little color to my face and that I feel a little bit better too.
A MENTAL block, a brick wall, Blank paper, stressed out ball, There is one thing that can help you out, That doesn't involve tantrums or shouts -- Take a walk. Take a walk, breathe easy. One step forward... there you go! In the middle of a fight, after one, To let off steam from an argument undone, Instead of screaming, cursing, crying, Just do the thing that'll stop more fighting. Take a walk. Take a walk, breathe easy. Baby steps, little steps, giant steps, you're striding! There you go! Nervous energy bottled inside, A weekend's regrets of too many fries, To shake off the nerves, to lose the pounds, There is a solution that has long been found -- Take a walk. Take a walk, breathe easy. Follow the yellow brick road. There you go! Wear your sunscreen, hat or glasses, Bring an umbrella, poncho and galoshes, Do it in a park, mall or beach, Any place is within reach when you -- Take a walk. Take a walk, breathe easy. Move forward. There you go! Then take a seat and fill the blanks, Make peace, make love, or just hold hands, No more fat, no more nerves, Walking too can give you curves! Do come back, don't walk away. Your problem isn't here to stay. Walking does help ease your load. So take a walk now! Hit the road!
"PINK is good for negotiations," our workshop speaker said. "Wear this color if you want to win someone over." I was in the middle of one of those career-building workshops several years back, and the talk on color was one of my favorites. My colleagues and I were being taught the psychology of color and how the right shade can help make or break a meeting. Red was for power, blue for good thinking, and pink was for good negotiating. While I haven't come across any quantitative data to support the negotiating power of the color pink, it did make interesting food for thought. Pink is a very peaceful color. It is not as loud as red or as submissive as white. Pink is also strongly associated with the gentler sex. It is not as bold as black or as blank as beige. Pink is a tranquilizing color, one that soothes and sympathizes. It does make sense how pink could be good for making negotiations, or at the least in assuring that a peaceful one takes place. Three hours into that workshop, a colleague came in late. Ironically, he was wearing a pink shirt. Giggles were heard from the audience as our speaker gave him a dagger-like stare. While we did see them talking amicably when the lunch break came, we didn't know whether it was his pink shirt that earned him forgiveness or the fact that he turned on his charm. Nevertheless, I've taken the color pink into consideration for situations that would benefit from a boost of gentleness. While color is not the be-all and end-all of a deal, playing a little game of color psychology, especially if it's one that helps bring a little more sympathy and caring, isn't such a bad thing.
WHEN confronted with a question that: a) borders on the insensitive, b) makes you uncomfortable, or c) is just plain nosy, I've noticed a good reply would be to say: "Why do you want to know?" Say it gently, with a smile. It usually makes the person who asked you do a double-take on his or her question. This reply works well with questions like: "When are you getting married?" "Are you getting fat?" "Why are you still employed there?" "Why don't you have kids yet?" "Do you still have feelings for me?" Some love being put on the spot, but I am not one of those people. To help temper becoming cross by such questioning, try the "Why do you want to know?" reply. I've noticed it helps me weed out those who are genuinely concerned about you and those who just want to dig up some dirt. It's a gentle and graceful way of dealing with the pressure of being questioned, especially by nosy ones.
"THERE'S always a song in my head," a friend once said as he bopped his head to a beat only he could hear. "What goes on in yours?" "Words," I replied. "Lots of words. Stories usually fill my head." As I watched him go about his paperwork in an engaging rhythm, I began to see his actions were marked with staccatos and slides. Nice. That must be one happy song he's hearing, I thought. It sure looked like it was helping him deal with the mechanical action of fixing his papers. While music doesn't fill my head most of the time, I have noticed how a happy song can make a difference when doing something ordinary. While taking a walk for example, I like singing quietly to Lily Allen's "Smile." It's quirky, puts a spring to my step and helps me weave through the mass of fellow pedestrians more patiently. When getting out of bed in the morning, I think of Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out." It's my happy morning song. When the chorus kicks in, I'm a bit more awake and my energy level has picked up a little bit. This works especially well for me on Mondays. Happy songs also work well with chores. Washing dishes, a chore I am not too fond of, becomes easier to bear when the song "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" by The Beach Boys plays in my head. I remember Drew Barrymore's character in the movie "50 First Dates" also sang this song while painting a mural. An online test I took said the song that suits me best is "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves. Perhaps I'll use it one of these days -- maybe when stuck in traffic or an extra load of dishes has to be washed. For now, I'm good with Lily Allen, Franz Ferdinand and The Beach Boys. Their songs give me a little kick of happy. So tell me, what song gets your head bopping? What song in your head turns an ordinary task interesting? What is your happy song?
COME in, come in, and make yourself at home. We have some happy thoughts to share with you! Happy Nest is about positivity and the good things that can make our every day better. My name is Toni. I chose to write about happy thoughts on Happy Nest because I am passionate about positivity. I am an optimist. I believe that happy thoughts can go a long way, and that even the smallest good thing can make a whole day a lot better, a lot happier. So come join me as we build for ourselves a little home for positivity -- a little happy nest!