Happiness is …

“Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.”

The Art of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill
by Ricard, Matthieu
Loc 497-498 – Kindle Edition

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All that matters and transformation

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I always feel overwhelmed at the end of the year. So I took a little break. I wanted to feel less stressed and more peaceful inside. I took a break from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. I drastically reduced the time I spend with these social networks from Christmas until New Year. There are always too many messages, advertisement and images overload. I backed away, and it was GOOD! I started to focus more on the activities that I truly enjoy and matters most to me. And I reflected on how I feel about the year that passed. So let me be happy and share some achievements of 2013:

  1. I read 33 books the whole year. My goal was 30, so that was great!
  2. I kept a regular running schedule and ran 360 km last year. It’s 30km per month, average of 7,5km per week. I usually run on weekends, at the outdoors, because the sun and wind makes me feel incredible. I know that the total distance is not THAT incredible, but quality is better than quantity 🙂
  3. I helped people with simple actions!
  4. I realized I REALLY need down time. More than I think I have known before. I like quiet moments. Actually, I NEED quiet moments. And disconnecting from the internet more often made me see how beneficial it is to me.
  5. I rediscovered music. I started learning how to play guitar early in the year, but at around half of it I put this activity away for some time because of my masters. Learning to play an instrument requires dedication, and I couldn’t manage working with my dissertation AND learning this new skill. But the spark is there, now I just need to trigger it when the right time comes.
  6. I started a morning routine.
  7. The phrase “LESS IS MORE” never made so much sense to me. I could see that even if we keep an organized schedule to achieve all that we desire, there is a limit to it. A highly organized schedule in which you can handle many activities is great, but it is important to know how much you can take. I realized I don’t like being a “multitask-er”. My energy is limited, and now I feel I know when to stop.
  8. I traveled and saw beautiful places and people.
  9. I entered the world of meditation. It is still very challenging to me, but I am now meditating in the morning to start the day with full energy and peace. And that makes a difference. Amazing how 10-15 minutes of mindfulness can rock my day!
  10. I learned to eat very healthy. More fruits, vegetables and nuts. No frozen and fried food, less processed food.
  11. I lowered my expectations.
  12. I started practicing Yoga. A whole new world opened before my eyes! It is something that calms me and makes me feel at ease. Well, I am a total beginner, but at least I now know how to do a “Sun Salutation”. It is very challenging, and that’s perfect!
  13. I read some more.
  14. I started keeping a personal journal. I don’t write in it daily yet, but I could feel how my mind works with and without this regular activity.
  15. I started this Blog this year! Yay!!

Well, these are the things that I consider as my milestones, but above all, the major lesson that 2013 has taught me is that all we need is BALANCE.

And my goal is to balance the things that make me feel happy with the time I have to dedicate on my master dissertation. I am at the final stage, writing results and discussion and formatting the final text. That requires focus, quiet times and down time to recharge.

I will just finish with a quote from one book I am currently reading. It is all about peace, love and happiness!

“Simplifying one’s life to extract its quintessence is the most rewarding of all the pursuits I have undertaken. It doesn’t mean giving up what is truly beneficial, but finding out what really matters and what brings lasting fulfillment, joy, serenity, and, above all, the irreplaceable boon of altruistic love. It means transforming oneself to better transform the world.”

–The Art of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill
by Ricard, Matthieu