Monthly Archives: June 2012

Happiness is…

I’ve been over at Matt Madeiro’s blog, Make Every Day Count this week, reading about Happiness. Matt shares his definition of happiness, and offers a ‘homework assignment.’ I decided to take on this challenge, and share my thoughts with you. If you’d like to share your thoughts on these questions, you can either do so below, or pop back to Matt’s blog and comment there. If you’d like some inspiration as to what happiness might be, you could even buy Matt’s e-book, Happiness is… It’s available from amazon for less than £1. That’s something to smile about.

Matt – here’s my assignment.

I gave this a lot of thought and had some long discussions with friends and colleagues about the human nature and what makes us happy but the answers, in the end, were quite simple for me…

“What’s my definition of happiness?”

Happiness is acceptance.

I used to think that my happiness depended on a wide range of factors, from the weather, to whether people liked me and a whole host of other things in between. However, as I’ve grown (a bit. I still have a lot more growing to do), I’ve realised that for me, happiness is about accepting who I am, who others are  and the way things are in the present moment. This can mean accepting that I’m having a crap day, for example – instead of complaining about it. I’ve found that it’s only once I have accepted things as they are, that I can do something about changing them. Or not. Sometimes it’s not that things need to change, I just need to change my perception of them.

“Am I there yet? Do I fit that description?”

Yes. No. Sometimes.

This one was harder to answer. Some days I’m there. I equate happiness with being content rather than being in a permanent state of joy, and some days I am content. Some days I am even joyful. I have a lot to be grateful for. However, I’m only human and sometimes I get caught up in ‘stuff.’ It’s hard not to. It helps to stay in the present moment as much as possible, but when things look bad, sometimes looking to the past or future can help. I always keep in mind what has become a bit of a mantra for me: ‘This too shall pass.’ I can look back and say ‘I’ve been in worse situations than this and got through it.’ Or I can look to some unspecified point in the future to when the crapness has passed.

Today, it was sunny. I spoke to a couple of good friends, caught up with my Nan, spent some quality time playing with my son, sat down for a couple of hours to do some writing and when I have finished, I am going to eat a delicious meal. Sometimes it’s just the little things.

Today, I am Happy. Are you?

100 WCGU week #47 – Hope, Joy and Love

Ok. This week’s challenge is an image prompt:

If this is your first time here, and you’re wondering what 100 WCGU is all about, click on the image above, or the 100 WCGU badge at the end of this post, for more information and to read other interpretations of this week’s prompt.

Hope, Joy and Love
Laura pulled up at this strange looking petrol station and got out of the car. She hadn’t seen anyone approach so the voice, although quiet, made her jump.
‘I’m sorry but we don’t sell petrol here…’
‘Oh?’ Savannah frowned
‘No. We don’t sell anything. If you need something, you’ll get it for free. We have Hope, Joy and Love on tap. What do you need?’
‘But… I don’t…’
‘Honey, how do you think you got here?’ She took her hand and led her inside. Made her a cup of tea.
‘Hope.’ Said Laura ‘I need hope.’ And burst into tears.

Ten people, ten questions – an update

If you haven’t already, you might like to pop back to this time last month and read my original post on this ‘project.’

So far, it’s not exactly gone to plan – well, not at all in fact.

Here’s where I’m at:

Signed up to take part so far I have one friend, one family member, a colleague (potentially – well, I have asked and they haven’t refused. Yet), two volunteers and of course, me.

I have approached someone in the street – well, in the park but that still counts, right? – but she wasn’t online. At all. Not even email. Yes, really. Her kids confirmed this. I have yet to approach someone else but I will do once I have my questions finalised (see below).

So – what’s the hold up? Well, I still need four more volunteers. I thought at first perhaps the idea isn’t interesting enough… Then a lovely twitter friend gave me this helpful feedback:

@Honestlyspeakin Fact is, it’s scary. I can think of questions I wouldn’t want to answer. No even anonymously. Can’t everyone?’

So, I have revised my project to this:

I will ask ten big – but not too scary – questions and offer multiple choice answers, with the option to add any additional info if you’re feeling brave enough/have something to say that’s not really covered by my multiple choice options. Rest assured the survey really will be anonymous, I just thought that this might help those who may be afraid if being identified by their writing style, for example.

Here’s a couple of sample questions:

Do you believe in the death penalty?

Do you vote?

Yes, always
Yes, sometimes
No, and I feel guilty about it
No, I don’t see the point
I don’t care about politics

See, not too scary (right?)…

So far I have seven questions including some from Stylist’s list… I can make up the rest, but before I do – I just wanted to put it out there again… Do any of you have any questions you would like to see added to my ‘survey’? If so, please either leave a comment below, or email me (honestspeaks(at)yahoo(dot)com) – or if you are on twitter, DM me with the hashtag #10questions. The survey will open on Friday 6 July so I will need your suggestions before then.

Which brings me to the final part of this update… As I haven’t had so many volunteers, I have decided to open the ten questions to anyone who would like to answer them. This means you can take a look at all the questions before you decide whether you’re going to take part. Once open, the survey will run for two weeks after which I will take a look at the results, and share them with you here!

Sound interesting? Even if you don’t want to take part, if you’re interested in the results and think other might be – please spread the word and check back here on 6 July for the survey link. Hopefully see you then!

100WCGU Week #46 – In the dark recess of my mind

Here’s my entry for week #46. If you’ve just arrived on this page and are wondering what 100WCGU is all about, you might want to check out last week’s post, which explains a bit more.

This week’s prompt was the title above, which I have also used as the title of my poem. This time the text also had to be included in the entry, hence the italics in my entry below. For more details about this week’s prompt and to read other entries, click on the image and the bottom of this page.

In the dark recess of my mind

It’s where I keep the demons
That deep within me sleep
The embodiment of those thoughts
Of which most of us don’t speak

It’s where nightmares are made
With the fear from which I hide
It’s where repressed emotions lie in wait
Growing ever larger inside

It’s where I keep the anger
I should release more often than I do
It’s where I keep my shadow side
So I can pretend it’s not my truth

I don’t venture down here often
Because I know exactly what I’ll find
When I shine a light
In the dark recess of my mind

Free Write Friday – Twilight Tiger

This week’s Free Write Friday prompt is another visual – see below. As always, click on the link for details of this week’s challenge, and to read other writers’ interpretations of this prompt.

I venture out
Into the royal blue twilight
My favourite time of day
As it slowly turns to night

I don’t plan to go this far
But having made my way through moondrenched trees
I only top at a steam covered lake
When I feel his eyes on me

The monkeys and the crocodile seem afraid
And somehow in plain sight, all of us manage to hide
But this twilight tiger knows me in a way I can’t describe
He understands what lies beneath – the stuff inside from which I hide

I turn to away at first
Fear keeping my eyes cast down
But then I change my mind and face him
Meet his gaze and stand my ground

Somehow he then seems smaller
Less of a beast than he was at first
I myself feel stronger
This moonlit walk has quenched my thirst.

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups

So, this week I thought I would start taking part in Julia’s 100 word challenge for grown ups. To find out more about this challenge, and read other entries, click on the image below.

This week is week #45, so I am rather late to the party – but better late than never right? Julia says we don’t need to include the give text, but if you’re curious, the prompt text is:

There’s a real buzz about this place.

And here’s my offering:

Buddy’s Place 

Buddy blinked. The light was blinding.
The light took the form of a door, and swung open.
‘Buddy! We weren’t expecting you for a while yet!’
‘Ted?’ Buddy backed out and found himself on the street, staring at the shop front ‘Buddy’s place,’ his barbershop, which had closed down back in ’64! He stepped back in, inhaling the familiar smells, and smiling at the low buzz of the radio in the background. So this was…
‘Buddy? Buddy!’ Janet’s voice came over the radio. She sounded frantic.
‘Don’t you dare leave me now!’
Buddy blinked. The hospital lights were blinding.

Free Write Friday – Finish the story

Another Free Write Friday entry – this week Kellie’s prompt comes in the form of a picture, and a story beginning…. Click on the image below for more details about Free Write Friday.

‘I should bloody well hope so,’ thought Reever, ‘the advert clearly stated ‘spacious ground level treepartment – all mod cons.’ So it better be bigger inside than it looks.’ Aloud she said, ‘What about the stables?’
The agent gave her a sideways glance. ‘For your.. er.. Camel..?’
‘Yes, for my camel.’ She stared him down.
‘There are stables three trees to your North. They’re pretty spacious, I can show you after we go inside.’
Reevie was used to the sideways glances and whispers ‘She’s got a camel! What’s she doing with a camel, here..?’ She never bothered to explain what had happened. How do you explain that your lover was originally intended for a powerful tree witch who, on discovering that he had instead chosen to be with Reevie, had decided that spending eternity as a camel was a suitable punishment? Reevie was just glad that he was still alive, and had the ability to shape shift back to his original form every full moon. So once a month she had her beloved Zoltir back. She stoked behind his ear and told him to wait outside.
‘I don’t need to be told,’ he hissed, ‘…like I have a choice, anyway.’
‘What was that?’
‘Oh nothing, my camel just sneezed. Let’s go inside then.’ She shot Zoltir a warning look and followed the agent in. He was quite tall, for a Nantap – they were usually shorter than the average wood sprite – but he seemed to shrink as he walked through the opening of the tree, as did she.

Once inside, Reevie took a sharp intake of breath. ‘Oh. My…’
Narrod smiled. He loved to see this reaction. Everyone was different. Some swore, some fainted, some just stood there open-mouthed. This one was curious, though. She stood, her head to one side.
‘But. It’s…’
‘Isn’t it?’
She looked at him. He was grinning ear to ear, the fool. Obviously convinced she was going to buy. She was tempted, but…
‘How can you let this go for just 100 Prevetts?’
‘Well, the owner is hoping for a quick sale…’
Reevie tuned out his bullshit speech about the current state of the market and how no-one could afford finance to buy what it was worth and that the owner was fed up of waiting and wanted to move as soon as possible. Something wasn’t right. The place was already decorated exactly to her tastes, and Zol’s, for that matter. Right down to the deep red rug in front of the faux fireplace. It was just like the one back at Zeenan. They had lay together on this rug five years ago, the night before… Damn it!

Narrod looked at her. She wasn’t listening to him at all. He couldn’t understand it. Why wasn’t she demanding to get back to the office and sign the papers, like all the others? Perhaps he hadn’t done his job well enough. He knew the drill. Get them to sign, and get them in. What happened after that didn’t concern him. That was down to her. A cold chill went down his spine as he thought of her. One more year, he kept telling himself, just one more year and I’ll stop this. But he hadn’t. He grown used to see the Prevetts mount up, and rather than saving them as he intended, he’d been spending more and more on Sap. He needed to kick the habit.
‘Narrod!’ Reevie was standing close to his face. Too close. Wasn’t she taller than him?
‘You were miles away. Listen, I’ve changed my mind. I’m going.’
‘You can’t!’ Reevie was already walking back out of the entrance, back towards Zoltir, with a grin on her face. She stepped out in a mist of stardust and pulled him close.
‘No,’ Zoltir started to protest ‘..not now, it’s not a full moon until..’
Reevie kissed him ‘Zol, it’s ok. It’s over. It’s over.’
Zol looked down. He was back to his original form, and the tears he thought he had felt across his fur, were now running down his chest. Reevie’s tears.
Narrod’s screams started to sound further and further away as the tree started to lose its form.
Reevie and Zoltir stood and watched as it pulsed, trying to retain some kind of life, then disintegrated into dust.