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It’s a brilliant day

Today, it is. The heat has decreased and the humidity torture is less depressing, as well. My blog posting gaps have increased, though, thanks to all kinds of unexpected issues. It is a time when I am aware of all things I still have to tackle and bring to some conclusion, yet, I don’t do anything here and there. The privilege of older age is that you can mentally sort through the urgent things and make a reasonable decision: there’s hardly anything that cannot wait for a bit longer. For instance, posting a new article which won’t be seen by that many anyway.

It’s a wrong decision from the point of being present on the internet, but a very beneficial from the view of general feeling-and being-well-aspect. Ever since we became billions on every social media site and every blogging platform, the importance of one single post lost its meaning. Life is not long enough whatever way you look at it. I’d prefer much longer stretch of feeling like in 35-50 period. I find that around 50 it was when I had still huge energy and motivation to fight every internet battle and to squeeze myself out like a lemon to grab attention. Over time, the need to be present everywhere has really lost its attraction.

Being present in moments which matter for me personally has become more important. Sooner or later, we all realize that there will be things which we aren’t destined to do, learn or pursue. Time limits our ability to perform everything at the same level of devotion and achieve the same level of success in all areas which appeal to us. It takes huge time to achieve adequate skills in any area nowadays. However, the abundant numbers of experts and people who do counselling means there’s too much advise about everything. 

Let’s talk about how-to posts. Mainly, there are 2 groups. The first group, usually, in technical aspects of using software, app, social media or blogging platforms, writing or drawing and painting tools are helpful. The second group is where the heading says “how-to”, but the article lists reasons why and immediately takes you to the button to purchase something. We already know why, if we are looking for the practical application of this new whatever it is. I’m really interested in finding examples of using a tool, a strategy, I want to see how it looks in reality, but that’s not possible. There are immediately ads and all kinds of offers to buy. Food takes very much space on the internet, as well, too much for me personally. I stick to the old and extra simple recipes, better yet, the ones which consist of a few ingredients. That’s also very beneficial for our digestive system.

Then there are the numbers articles: 10 things what to eat and 10 what not to, 7 ways to wear an outfit, 6 ways to relax, 5 ways to prepare a particular food and to exercise. Very often it is “how to be happy” in numerous ways. It’s usually a list of things which we all know, have or do not intend to have, do or do mind doing. It’s something which we are aware about, but we have a reason not to engage in it, or we are already mastering that aspect. This type of list provides with no discoveries. One advice can never suit all. The most interesting articles for me are about personal experiences, the diverse ways we live.

Today, it is a really brilliant day. Just with the right amount of heat and sunshine. With well-formed attractive clouds sailing the bright blue sky. With bees still working blooms and butterflies hurrying from one flower to another. With tomato branches almost touching the ground because of the heavy fruit. With fantastically orange and perfectly round pumpkins. I also saw hummingbird 2 times this year. That’s so cute for my location!

The summer has been too short as always. It was too hot, we had too much rain, it was too dry sometimes, too stormy here and there. And it will be definitely too cold in the winter. No perfect weather for us, and here I laugh a little. Our feeling of entitlement has spoiled us. I personally do not complain, I take summer over winter any time. The virus has had big impact on our life here in Ontario, as I suppose, in the place where you are at. We thought it will be a fairly swift battle and we would be done with it. Maybe you have lived as you wanted, but I here couldn’t. Restrictions are still all in place, except, there is no lockdown.

I have such insanely huge amounts of produce, I’m not sure what to do with it. We are giving away part of it to husband’s colleagues, sometimes to anybody who will take it. I am seeing all benefits of growing vegetables and flowers from my own seeds. These plants are very strong, they practically do not suffer from the regular plant diseases. It makes a lot of sense to take care of your own seeding material. Since I haven’t been anywhere, only at home (almost 2 years already!!!), I am attaching a few pictures of my garden. It can be enough, but dreams and memories take me to other places; where I have been, which I will visit and what I’m not going to see. Well, the Earth is small and big at the same time, just like this life: so uncomplicated and manageable one day, but absolutely stunning or overwhelming the next.

Have a good September which is just around the corner! Thanks for reading!

Featured

The rainy July, uncertainty and assumptions

Summer never disappoints, even when there’s more rain than in the fall or more heat than in Mexico. Just knowing, that the days are long, and light stays on longer is so satisfying. Recurring certainty gives a feeling of stability, but we are not yet 100% there in Ontario. We are fairly uncertain also about the length of vaccine efficiency and what happens next and so forth. Questions which will clarify themselves as time passes by.

The last 2 years have been a huge test: they have tested our patience, endurance, tolerance and self-efficiency. I am usually aiming for predictability and certain order of upcoming events, just like in nature: summer comes after spring, and then there’s fall, and winter. Clarity, simple sequence of events. During this period, it’s been knowing nothing about what to expect, misinformation, lies, doubts and promises which often didn’t turn into actions.

Time doesn’t take into account whether we like being in this mess created by virus or not: it just runs away and, in some cases, – out. This time period will stay in our memory for quite a while. Is the pandemic over yet? In some places and countries, it seems we are winning, and then, a new variant occurs, and we start losing. It looks like this is not the end of pandemic yet. I wish it were, though.

Are you also so much used to wearing a mask that it will seem strange leaving house without it? Or disinfecting surfaces and washing hands for hundred times? I’ve heard that people are having more anxiety attacks, more upsetting days, spending more time doubting themselves and the future. I’d say that is normal taking into account the circumstances. We feel very much entitled to many things and we often take them for granted.

Maybe this is a time when we simply allow the flow to take us? I’ve been always against the flow, against the rules, against demands, commands and external control. However, I find that most current requirements make sense and I comply with them. There is a lot of scientific evidence on how we survive. I’m happy that after spending more than a full month on a computer and on the phone, we finally got both vaccine doses. It’s three weeks now. It is a relief. Some feeling of order? I’m not saying that I feel very safe now, but it’s somewhat reassuring that, most likely, nothing bad is going to happen.

We are not back to any normal yet, although, we’re trying to pretend everything is ok. It will never be the same as it was pre-pandemic. Globalization has its plusses and minuses. One of the biggest troubles: any disaster affecting health becomes global in no time. Unfortunately, global trade is fine, global pandemic – not at all because it is handled inefficiently and as bad as only possible. Do two doses of vaccine ensure you’re done with the virus? Probably not. We’ve already heard Pfizer saying they detected the immunity was weaker after 6 months.

Depending on where you are, you might be fine or not at all. We in Ontario are trying to return to life without virus. I hoped people would love to attend the outdoor art classes now, after almost two years of everything online. It doesn’t seem so. Not much response because there’s also no place where to get attention, not even one specific place. Facebook just wants me to spend more money so that they would show to somebody what I publish. Well, Facebook, it’s been two very tough years, so nothing goes to you. I won’t even mention other media sites. If you’re not an influencer, post whatever you want, hardly anybody will see it. The problem is also that everybody is selling something, and buying happens mostly from the huge global outlets, go outcompete those.

I was reading how a marketing expert said she just made a million giving advice. Have you also noticed that teaching somebody to make money always results in high profits? Everybody is attracted to read about “make-money-quick”, or watch it, or listen to it. Unfortunately, it will always depend on your location, digitalization level, type of thing you do, demand for what you do and the basic mindset of your potential customers. However, it will mostly depend on how much you can invest in what you do, how much you can spend on advertising, help and specialists and creation of your product. Do you think I’d had any problem if I could run my ads every hour on numerous TV channels or have them everywhere sneak up on you on the internet?

The presence and visibility are the biggest problem.

When I started writing this blog and created the other blog and art website, I thought it would result in some extra attention. I’ve got blog friends, nice people to talk to online, that’s true. I spend a lot of time posting, returning likes and answering to comments. For art blog, a post usually takes about 2 weeks in making because I usually have to paint what I’d like to show, then take photos (what a hassle!) and then, putting it up is easy, but, altogether – very, very time-consuming. Basically, I’ve spent abnormal hours dealing with both blogs, and return is great when it comes to online following and friendships, but financially, it’s practically nothing to show for. It still makes sense compared to spending many hours on social media and not getting any traction. Well, it is like this: whatever you do, be influencer and famous, and then even dumb things you say or publish will get lots of publicity.

Global pandemic, global competition, global trade, global profits or losses, – but the effects of all that are very personal, very individual, very painful frequently. I do sometimes long for the time when somebody just drops in, they are happy with what I have to offer, they do not run around to 100 other places before making decision, and life is so simple because everything is in balance, everything happens. I am just wondering how could life become so complex? Getting a simple “yes” or “no” is practically impossible. It takes numerous emails, text messages, back and forth, numerous explanations and waste of time, and then you still don’t know whether you achieved what you wanted.

As always, I will post this very delayed article with a few pictures from my garden. Just like summer, garden never disappoints. Even when I don’t have time, plants just do their thing: they bloom, grow and bring fruit. Compared to everything else, it’s such a winning and rewarding effort. I do take great care of my pictures, but I suppose since I’m not emphasizing the photography aspect, they go unnoticed. As you know, I used to post more frequently, but cannot right now: life is too complex. I am re-opening the studio, moving art classes outdoors, preparing materials, and that takes about 10 hours a day or more.

Wishing you to recharge and rest during the summer! Thanks for reading if you did!

Featured

June, the Midsummer thoughts

Nothing can stop flowers from blooming! Not pandemic, not wars, fights, struggles and bad economic times; not even people who are not fine with where they are and what they are. The symphony of colors flows over the backyard making the adorable petal shapes the best artful creation there ever was. To hold one’s breath and to simply adore something which is way better, more complete than humans. The nature.

Midsummer and June: the fantastic time of the year. Although, flowers were rushing, the rich and lush green is embroidered with bright colors of scattered blooms under the pure and clean sky where white and happy clouds sail towards the sun. Standing in the middle of it, my heart says to just stop doing whatever I am busy with, and look around.

So many summers have blossomed away! Latvia is always in my memories when June comes around. It would be great to spend this time over there, more than 8 thousand miles away, across the ocean.

We went a few times to the Canadian Latvian community place called Sidrabene which translated would be like “silver lined spot” on this earth. We wanted to see what Midsummer celebration looked like there, and it was interesting, but not the same what people can experience in Latvia. Singing, dancing, beer and the special caraway seed cheese were included. Singing in the second part was mostly in English, and the Latvian accents of those who at least tried to say something in Latvian had a strong English note, too. Well, obviously, many of these Latvians have lived in Canada since early childhood or are even born here.

Latvians have numerous folksongs which have travelled to nowadays mostly verbally without writing them down. In the 18th century, enthusiasts started to categorize and collect them and eventually compile in enormous volumes. It is said that every Latvian has his or her own folksong. As I have explained in previous years, Midsummer celebration in Latvia is probably the most fantastic event with traditions going back for many thousands of years, so are the folksongs. We can sometimes wonder what does one or another thing actually mean, so unusual it sounds.

Wherever I would live, whatever I would do, I remain in my heart a Latvian. Part of this tiny (all Latvians, scattered around on the globe, would not fill even a third of city of Toronto), tough, hard-working, wise nation which stays very close to nature, opening its ancient soul to song, dance, arts and everything that is beautiful.

Our roots go deep, and in this technologically advanced century we still are admirers of ancient traditions, handmade outfits, jewelry, herbal medicine and help of the Universe as we walk through the life. The knowledge which comes to us from people who lived many thousands of years ago and whose names remain unknown, makes Latvians very specific, very charismatic and talented people. If one comes from a tiny nation, they simply have to master many languages, many skills, and to stay determined, or otherwise the big global forces will smash us.

I will attach a few links from the most unique event which will celebrate 150 years in 2023: the Latvian Song and Dance Festival where tens of thousands of people from kids to very old ladies and senior citizens join in songs and dance. Every region has its own colors, costumes and they all shine during this festival.

The famous Latvian song and dance festival, a few glimpses
To my native land, watch at piano, the best Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls, lyrics by Janis Peters, a very much loved Latvian poet

Enjoy the midsummer and stay close to nature!

The waiting game

Expectations

Real life, unlike virtual displays of it, frequently requires waiting. Waiting for something or looking forward to it, takes time which can be considerable. If you have been around for many decades, you already know that the period of expectations can turn out to be more pleasurable and more amazing than the event or occasion itself. The wonderful thrills of expectations and the anticipation of whatever you desire can be illusive and lead one to disappointment. That is when we overvalue the potential result or our role in it. We frequently do just that.

Patience

I believe patience is a virtue, and in times like right now when waiting is inevitable and it lasts for extremely long period, patience and understanding that some things cannot be rushed, makes life easier if you are used to wait for something and if you have acquired, learned along the way or simply got naturally the ability to be patient. You won’t go mad, get frustrated, angry, upset and depressed because you have to wait. Wait in line for vaccine, wait to book a vaccination appointment, wait to meet your relatives and friends, wait for normalcy to return.

Protesting

Nobody gives us back the time we have wasted. Protesting lockdowns, closures, vaccines, masks and stay-at-home orders is pretty much wasted efforts and time. The reality has shown that the best way to avoid any troubles is not being around anybody else. That’s the worst part of airborne respiratory viruses: they are everywhere where there is air, and as humans we cannot stop inhaling air or exist without it. We’ve been in lockdown in Ontario for a very long time, we still are. I read somewhere, it’s the longest lockdown among the developed countries. I noticed, however, that people are taking this fairly lightly. It is spring finally here, as well, the second warm week is happening, it’s 18-23 Celsius, and this warmth feels excellent compared to what it was just a while ago. So, people have visitors, no masks obviously, there’s partying, too.

The blooming

Once the gates are open, we are flooded with waves of blooming. Almost all trees and spring flowers are in bloom. They, too, have waited impatiently when the weather will turn mild and allow them to come up with their beauty. I don’t think there can be anything more relaxing and enjoyable than quietly watching a garden or trees. For my Angel’s day, lilac is always in bloom. I’m not sure how that can happen, but it does, year after year. Birds are busy, their shadows shoot across the lawn and their voices make one listen in awe how the nature beats it all. If you ask me, that’s the best party ever. Everybody is invited, no preparations required. This time I’m sharing pictures of my giant tulips.

Lesson

We sleep away and spend in waiting big part of our life. Unfortunately, there isn’t a chance avoiding that. Waiting might drive somebody crazy and angry, but the truth is we have probably learned something during the last one and a half years. If we haven’t, then we are failing to manage the biggest challenge the globe is currently facing. The other interesting aspect of the global pandemic is that every single person is involved. The outcome is the sum of collective human actions, inactivity and reactions. It makes one also wonder how greed and wars never stop.

Whatever your personal situation, I hope you are in the driver’s seat. More than ever, one needs to be in charge of their own life and their own decisions. Enjoy the blooming and thanks for reading!

Doing nothing or nothing much

Here is what our family does this Easter: Nothing!

It’s such a cool thing to do nothing for a change. We are just two of us here at the moment, no kids, no other relatives coming over. It wouldn’t be advisable anyway even if my relatives were not across the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, we can take our time and just stretch it out over the long and lazy weekend. I used to cook all kinds of food just for the sake of cooking some years. The question I later asked myself was: how much can actually two people eat? We are not big eaters; we do not bother often with 3-course meals. If I go for big cooking, the largest part has to be discarded before we get around to consuming it all.

My purple Easter lily

How about eggs?

I boil a few eggs, they contain good nutrients, and when you have organic eggs, it’s really food which makes us feel better. Eggs are one of those products which cannot be too much modified or enhanced with extra chemicals, I mean shouldn’t be via feed. Somehow any advice on diets misses the part that everything close to its most natural state is good, not chemically improved, at lab fortified or grown through tubes under artificial light. Organic eggs fit excellent nutritional value demands. I’ve never experienced any raises in cholesterol levels or any weight increase due to eating eggs with butter and salt. We eat eggs a few times a week, not only at Easter.

They are not real and don’t go bad, ever

Keeping decorations at minimum

I don’t bother with that because for decorations I can use the artificial colored eggs which I bout maybe some 7 or more years ago. I have numerous room plants all year round. They create nice background and add a bright touch of green to our settings.

Our Easter menu is very simple: oats for breakfast (I have them every morning), eggs for lunch and pancakes with strawberries for dinner, that’s all we can handle, I might add something more as the day gets older.

I can use some of my own illustrations as decorations

Doing nothing

Doing nothing does not really mean one sleeps for 24 hours. For me, that means doing nothing important, urgent, mandatory or otherwise demanding. My husband plays guitar and sings when he has free time, he just went for a long bike ride, too. I usually spend a few hours outdoors or read. Sometimes, I look at old photos, the real ones, not on computer. Doing nothing means relaxing and lazy sitting in the backyard, listening to silence or birds and watching spring walk around and take over. In the overachievers’ society doing nothing is a sin, but who cares? I’m past that. Hopefully, our weather gets warmer soon, that would be much appreciated by everybody in Ontario.

All comes together nicely: we do love simplicity

If you have kids and big family

If you have kids and a big family, you have your hands full. I’ve been through that, too, just many years ago. You also have more fun, more tiredness in the evening and plenty more to think about. However, you still have to make some time for doing nothing. Depending on the area you’re located, it might be warm, cold, sunny, stormy, who knows, but doing nothing with and in the nature is the best. The most inspirationally killed time. We should always add something rewarding to the day, so it might be a relaxed walk or just staring out there.

I hope you have nice start of April and happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Silence heals

Listen to the silence

Stop the noise

We are almost always surrounded by background noise. If it were only bird voices and wind in the trees, that would be still fine. However, more and more often I want to stop the noise of devices and TV and pollution of mind which leaves a permanent residue. I turn off the news and TV, and I don’t scroll that much through social media sites if at all. How social are they? I just looked at Facebook, it is like this: ads, ads, ads, a hundred times repeated quote, a nice picture, ads, ads, more ads. Quite frequently, it seems there’s noise everywhere and for no good reason. Thankfully, we can tun the sound off. We can leave all angry discussions alone and head out to the park, or garden, or simply get out and turn devices off, too. Which is what most people won’t do. There are always good reasons, business call or request, kids needing something, or friend wants to talk and so forth. However, we deserve a moment of silent relaxation, and not only in sleep.

Silence as a healing factor

Listening to silence should be big priority in our life which is attacked by numerous influences every single moment, every time we look at a screen. Many people admit they meditate. Nowadays, meditation is understood very broadly as simply devoting time for going deep inside oneself and removing noise of disturbing thoughts and our internal reactions to external events. Lots of people don’t even know how to meditate or do it in a way which is not the mainstream concept of this activity. I personally think we can only benefit from detaching ourselves for a moment from active external attacks and whatever way we do that. Therefore, being in a silent environment becomes a healing experience which allows recharging.

The silent environment

Take a breath of freshness

The one advantage of COVID pandemic is being able to listen to the silence. I sit outdoors or on my veranda late at night watching stars and sky. Eternity seems so close, and the universe is straight before my eyes. I take a breath of the sky, and stars sparkle in the huge dark dome of extended purple-blue infinity. It’s very easy to get lost in this silence and forget about all troubling matters. Not a sound. In the morning, nature sounds wake me: birds, wind or rain. For a moment, there was hardly any traffic, and I thought that was terrific. What a relief! Air is so clean, the sky so pure that one cannot help but assume: we do produce and manufacture too much, and many of them are useless things. This all deepens imbalance and causes disturbance of the natural equilibrium.

Uninterrupted break from noise

We need silence from time to time, complete silence which is not interrupted by shriek alarms, screams, rude language, car and heavy machinery noises and sounds of never-ending rush. Switching from loud environment to soft and mild sound environment makes one breathe much easier. Freeing the body from chains of all-surrounding noise gives the brain the much-needed break. Remember how walking in a park or forest put you in elevated mood? That refers to moments when the only sounds are nature-related. Just like our eyes require diversion from screens, our ears need the same. We should leave specific time for music and specific time for listening to podcasts and other audio material.

Dreamy infinity

Keeping sensory organs in balance

This life is loud already; we might say, much too loud. Living life in headphones contributes to anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and restlessness. If we use some sensory body parts too much and abuse them in a violent way, the balance is destroyed. No human is supposed to listen to something 24 hours a day, that’s why we need sleep. We need it in order to recharge and heal. During sleep, our immune system fortifies our defense mechanisms, the brain clears out pollution and resets its processing ability. Sleep is the time which we absolutely need, and, especially, because the sounds and visible disturbances are turned off.

Mental problems Internet can facilitate our exposure to foreign influences so much that people start suffering from chronic confusion, lack of focus, forgetfulness, anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue, fear, dreadful nightmares and misinterpretation of reality. The latter is especially dangerous because we lose touch with reality and blunder into misconceptions. Turning off sounds allows us to think, make conclusions and look into ourselves. Not everybody is the same, but when I have to do a complex work which requires strong focus and maximum concentration, I have silence or just the nature sounds from backyard around me.

Recharge in silence

Noise interference

Lots of people or big part of global population live high above the ground and are surrounded by never-ending noise. If it’s only a distant background noise, the interference won’t be too harsh, but for those who intentionally live in a loud environment or have no other choice for the lack of better living or work conditions, it has a big impact. Yet, we often don’t pay any attention to that and we should.

Life is loud

This life is loud, but we have tools to preserve ourselves. Mind pollution is one of the important aspects which requires solution. It might be something different for different people, but, like all types of pollution, mind pollution accumulates and becomes an issue. Turning off destructive noises is one of ways we help ourselves. In always present noise, we won’t be able to hear the things that matter. Whenever possible, we have to choose natural environment, and that includes the level of noise.

Thanks for reading, take care

Red color of flowers

The price of joy

What are the things you enjoy a lot?

Is it food, fresh air, freedom, a hobby or are these things that cost a lot of money which will make you happy or so you think? Such as, new dress, shoes, boots, designer purse, perfume, new car, great vacation, superb house?

Maybe, you get most excited when you have managed something which seemed impossible before? For instance, speaking or understanding a new language, being able to play a new music instrument, or a successfully written poem or story, creation of new artwork?

Joy is the most direct way to happiness. We should save happiness for the very special moments and have plenty of joy at other times.

Do you still recall how little you had to spend when you were kid 30, 40, 50, 60 or more years ago? And, imagine how much one needs to spend nowadays to make a kid happy.
Lots of questions with all kinds of possible answers.

The truth is, however, that the price of joy has gone up a lot and keeps doing so. That is what we have come to believe in: if we cannot buy everything that somebody else has, we are somewhat less and worse.

Let us reword the question:

what is the one thing that would make you happy for the rest of your life?
Do you know the answer?

I guess it could be many different pleasant things and experiences.

You are only allowed to give one answer, however. Tough, right?

Majority most likely will choose “love”, “health”, “wealth”, “staying young” and any of these choices are great, but being rich is simply the best. The joy costs a lot nowadays.

Who says you cannot experience the joy for free?

You sure can, for example, watching sunsets and sunrises, blossoming trees and rainbows and so on; yet, you still need to satisfy the basic necessities to feel happy, to have peace of mind and to experience the joy. Nobody will be too joyfully watching all the most beautiful things on Earth if they are hungry, sick, in pain, lonely or depressed. I dare saying, that having the basic things are probably a good base for having a joyful life.

Being alive is already great

Many of us are very happy to be simply alive and that is a joy to start a day with, realizing that you still have this day and you woke up ok. I’m at such age that it is definitely a great experience.

People like me feel perfect if they can have their morning coffee. Try not to give it to me!

Lots of people do not care what the place is or where the place is, they live at, as long as there is a place.

Lots of people don’t give anything about how the food looks and how healthy it is as long as there is some food.

Ultimate joy

So, what’s the deal with tiny portions of extra special food served on golden plates at a crazy cost? The deal is that this is supposed to make somebody really happy, give them the ultimate joy.

Lots of people go out of their way to make their totally boring life somewhat exciting.

We need some joy regardless of its price, and there are these advertising guys who tell you to just buy and buy more, and maybe you will have a flash of joy for a tiny moment, too.

Joy from recreational stuff

People in Canada are able to turn themselves into cannabis lovers also. So, to speak, add a little healing joy to the boring day.

It is supposed to be recreational marihuana that one can eat, drink, vape or smoke, and all of a sudden smoking is presented as something good when you listen to people advertising it. The truth is: everything that burns and is inhaled has the same effect. Medical marihuana is supposed to cure and treat numerous conditions which nobody has ever proven for a few reasons: there is no point to prove something using a substance or its products that are available everywhere, and there is no long term research data available also because using cannabis was a crime before. Just like with everything, cannabis use has many aspects and not all of them will be beneficial.

The price of joy became the price of addiction at some point.

When the kid has fallen on the floor in the store and screams from the bottom of his or her lungs, that is an attempt to violently achieve the feeling of joy. Well, mom buys that stuff kid wanted and kid’s smile stretches all over the face now.

When we get what we want, what we believe we want or need, or what we are addicted to, we are experiencing the ultimate joy which almost equals to happiness. So, the price of joy will vary. If you can buy it because some joyful things are not for sale.

As it appears, the price of joy has a huge range: from no cost to any money imaginable and unimaginable.

Our experience shows that most things we can buy, and their price will be the cost of our joy: new face, new body shape, excellent outfits, excellent living conditions, new devices, extraordinary cars, outstanding vacations and so forth.

Our experience also shows that one cannot buy true love, respect, trust, passion, talent, skills, knowledge, memories and experience. I think this is more than we need to be happy because we can have that all if we are willing to put in some effort.

Thankfully, nobody can buy talent so far. With genetic engineering developing at a fast pace, it is probably a near future, too.

Red color of flowers

True joy and purchased joy

We need them both. We need lots of things to simply live, but when it comes to true and long-lasting joy, let’s look for it in ourselves. We should find there plenty, and especially love, respect, trust, passion, talent, skills, knowledge, memories and experience as I mentioned before.

I’m using for illustrations the bouquet my husband just gave me. Excellent source of joy!

Wishing you plentiful joys regardless of what the day (or night) has served you so far!

Thanks for reading!

At the doorstep of 2021

The year is white from ends

with flourishing green in the middle

The year

The year is what we have chosen to be our reference point. The year starts and ends in winter in places where I have lived and still live. The end and the start of the year happen to be white very often or about 85% of the time, sometimes with snowdrifts and shiny snow blanket over grasses and frost on trees, sometimes – with only ice patches and mud, sometimes bitterly cold, but always in winter. I am aware it’s not everywhere like that.

The green part of year

I am a fan of the middle: from early spring till the last green grass stem is still growing. I stop painting winter right before Christmas, and in the recent years, I am trying to stick with my decision not to paint any snow. It is easily explained: I cannot wait for the first flowers and plants to come up. I will be digging soil in the backyard when it hasn’t even completely thawed yet. That is my gym and my exercise and always has been.

Sinful idleness versus meaningful doing

The age impacts the flow of time and our perception of time settings to a great extent. The older one gets, the more serious they are about using time wisely, at least I am. I do measure my days by accomplishments, not by hours. If I haven’t managed to get anything meaningful done during the day, I’ll be upset. Therefore, spending time just exercising or walking aimlessly while I can also get done something useful in the garden, is a sin for me. Just like idle sitting around or having small talk.

No small talk for me

I avoid small talk, I certainly do as much as possible. Walking is fantastic, and I add usually a target to it: one store or another, appointment or visit. If I’m in the middle of painting, I simply cannot answer the phone. That frequently involves making small talk. Paint dries quickly, ideas vanish and mood changes. We never paint with the brush and paints only, there are a lot of other factors which go into my art.

Nobody has all answers

It’s good to believe that we know all the answers as our age grows and gets past 60, but it’s not true. The more we know, the more questions arise. I am very thankful for my medical knowledge, pharmaceutical and diagnostic skills and clinical experience. That has really helped and not only me. It keeps making life easier. I’ve also discovered how Canadian doctors are not always up to standards and protocols, and how much their diagnosis can be affected by rush, generalized assumptions and plain misunderstanding or inattention.

Superficiality

Superficiality is very widespread. The justification is that nobody has time. That is the biggest paradox of nowadays: everybody has plenty of time for fruitless scrolling through the internet on any screen that happens to be around, but no time for the good and meaningful things which make life worthwhile. Most people don’t ever read anything that’s under the picture or within the actual text, or the first 3 words at the best. Superficiality leads to sloppiness, disorganized and careless attitude in other areas of life.

Lack of quality

Quality is very quickly disappearing as the result, and lack of quality actually applies to absolutely all areas of our life. For instance, while I know that restaurants are having tough times, the restaurant and takeout food is just not for me and my family. We have gotten takeout meals a few times, and most of this food went to the garbage bin. It had no taste, no flavor, and there was certainly no love applied when cooking. High class workmanship and good skills in whatever walk of life we are looking for, are just not there. It makes no sense trying to get somebody’s help when it’s pretty clear you will have to do it over.

The year 2020

Everybody of us applies our own ratings and our own measuring tape based on experience, age, knowledge and so forth to whatever we are evaluating. Comparatively, I cannot complain about this year. The previous one, the 2019 was much worse since I lost my mom that year. Garden was doing extremely well this year. I put in many jars of preserves for winter. I had no live art classes from March to December, therefore, I was able to paint many more of my own paintings. Some of them are really excellent. Washing hands, disinfecting all items and areas, wearing a mask and staying at home was not a problem for us because we are a tiny 2-person family. Financials could be way better, but, unless one is a billionaire, that’s always an area which could be better.

December: snow and more snow
December: white and pure snow all around
Magnolias
Early spring magnolias, they blossom in my backyard
Spring lettuce
Lettuce comes up and produces early
Summer cucumbers
We were enjoying our own cucumbers in the summer and later pickles in the fall and winter
I had tomatoes from June to November, some got used in preserves
Summer flowers
Flowers in full bloom, this is already October
Bell peppers
Bell peppers or paprika were doing fine also, late October here
Last nasturtium
The last nasturtium blossoms, direct before the strong November frost
January sometimes comes with sunny days

Be patient

The COVID-19 pandemic probably will take quite a while to resolve. As we have seen, this virus mutated very quickly, thus, causing to establish whether the available vaccines still work for the new variants of this virus. It’s uncertain that more new variants won’t appear before everybody has received their immunization dose of vaccine. Only time will show how long we are staying safe and how long the vaccine actually helps keeping one safe: a year, 3 years, more years? Time is what we didn’t have so far. Being patient is very important, hence, everybody contributes to putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us.

Wishing safe, healthy and good New Year!

Thanks for reading if you did!

Meaningful life

Dimensions of time

Regardless of how fast and efficient we are, we cannot outrun time.

We learned at school how time is a measuring unit and were told later that time has more dimensions than just one and it can be bent just as any other dimension. All of us use time as a reference point. How would we be able otherwise to make an appointment or celebrate a birthday? Time is a deadline and time is freedom for some, and time is the reason we struggle so much fighting its impact.

Psychologically, time is a very complex phenomenon. Some people feel young at old age and some are born to never be young. Time becomes very relative with every single moment of our life. Waiting for something makes time go by extremely slowly and, especially, for young people, waiting lasts much longer than for the older ones. Happy moments make time sweep past so swiftly that the event might later appear as a dream. Sadness and fear slow the particular moment down. Desperately waiting for help in critical situations lasts forever.

Whether enjoyable or not, time cannot be stopped, avoided or disregarded. Certainly, everything still happens whether we know about that or not and whether we want that or not. Lack of knowledge doesn’t mean we can prevent something from taking place. There is also vice versa: we can change the flow of time and bend it in a favorable outcome for us or somebody else. Although, we are all subjected to impact and effects of time, we can still make it work for us and do us a favor.

To measure time, we do not always need days, months or years. Achievements and losses are excellent measuring units and reveal to much larger extent what and who we are and where we are going if anywhere. Zero movement in universe and nature equals regression that leads to the end of existence. Once the cells stop dividing and growing and we stop moving forward, we become captives of time and that’s the start of decline of any function. We as humans experience all dimensions of time simultaneously and in a never-ending manner.

We stick to general histories, but, in fact, the history has as many versions as is the number of people who interpret them. We carry around our stamp of time and we see the world in our unique way. So, how do we work towards a better outcome? How to make time not dash by, but stay with us in a meaningful, productive way?

Idleness doesn’t make any use of time. Meaningful activity makes it much more worthwhile. Meaningful activity is something different for everybody. Some will say that reading for pleasure is a waste of time and some will find it the best way of living. Entertainment is usually what we have made to believe we require, but it’s important what type of entertainment we are engaging in. Exercising can be useless time or the greatest achievement for somebody else. Relativity of time dimensions makes it flexible for us: bend it any way you can, just don’t throw it away.

The current time is a lesson in decision-making and responsible attitude. Blaming doesn’t help anybody. After all, it’s us personally dealing with the sequences. Being young means one can make many mistakes since they have more time to correct them. Being old comes with getting wiser: we have realized we don’t need everything we want and we are stricter with our choices. When time starts to run out, it does it very swiftly. This time is just as any other time period: while it feels people suffer for nothing, it’s never so. Until we haven’t learnt the lesson, we probably won’t be set free from bad experiences. Every single person makes difference today and now. I wish we went only for smart choices whenever possible.

Just a week ago
Fall flew by swiftly and became a memory
This was the snowy look we got 2 days ago

I hope you’re cautious and staying safe during this final stretch before the improvement sets in!

The soothing Sunday thoughts: October

If you walk in your thoughts far away enough, you could end up in a place called your past many years ago. You do not always want to be there, but as the years pile up, the memories swirl around like the falling leaves. The soft whispers have some secrets to reveal and things which you want to be always with you, are also around.

October light is sparklingly bright and untamed as it brakes through the unmoving, dense foliage and takes a spot on the backyard table next to my coffee cup. Things we want to let go and things we desperately would love to keep, yet, cannot. I always loved to paint October, but never enjoyed its arrival too much.

The question sometimes arises: did it happen for real, or did I only imagine that? The far away places of past can be anything, and it is kind of hard to keep the door to the memory gardens closed. Paging through old greeting cards is painful and sweet at the same time. I’d love to believe the ghosts are still here and silently watching over us, but nobody knows this for sure.

Things live so much longer than we do. So, we cannot throw out an old dress hence its ruffles hide some long-ago evaporated scent, and the lace fabric still remembers a touch from 40 years back. We cannot part with old souvenirs, so meaningless to people, who have no idea where they come from. Sometimes, all what remains is a small card and a dried flower or leaf between book pages.

October is like that for me: taking extended walks in the memory garden and trying to catch up with the current moments rushing by too swiftly. I, too, was convinced that I had answers to anything. That was when I didn’t have any life experience.

One more fall, one more calendar ending soon. It’s amazing how fast the years run away, but it feels like everything is still ahead. The best things which didn’t happen so far. The nicest surprises which didn’t want to come our way yet. The most adorable October which started just yesterday. Or a week ago, or maybe 2 weeks ago.

Some October leaves are meant to be kept so that our wishes could be written on them. Enclosed on a bright maple leaf is a small blessing. Simple, touchy, fading too soon. The satisfaction of this moment, the absolute essence of all things going away.

October leaves

This goes under my “The soothing Sunday thoughts” because it feels like Sunday, yet, it is Thanksgiving Monday in Canada.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!