52 Things to Do to Make Someone Happy

52Nice

I did the Google thing and stumbled upon Jeri-Lynn Johnson’s book 52 Things to Do to Make Someone Happy. What attracted me was not the Mother Teresa-factor to the title but the fact that she’s made the out-of-print book available online, presumably so people like me and you can actually make use of it instead of merely clicking like on Facebook.

So I shall be a noble knight and pay tribute to this lovely gesture, and maybe warm a couple of hearts a few degrees in the process.

LifeLaughs

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52 Reasons to Blog

I joined the Day Zero Project just under a month ago, and having fun (or just any) goals to strive for has gone a looong way towards putting a smile in my step. So much, actually, that I ended up listing about a hundred more than the original 101 Things in 1001 Days called for.

Some of them got bumped off and onto a 52 Things in 52 Weeks list to make things more manageable and reachable (some damn fine key words right there).

Some are super simple, while others will be major ball-breakers until I get to tick them off and feel all ‘Take that, sucker!’ Most importantly, most of them are in one way or another fun, playful or nice-to-do. And doing the hokey pokey’s what it’s all about. So for the next 52 weeks, in no apparent order, I’ll be tackling these babies:

  1. Plant a tree and watch it grow
  2. Paint a picture on canvas
  3. Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor
  4. Tie a note to a balloon and let it go
  5. Watch 10 movies that came out before I was born
  6. Get rid of 100 things
  7. Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet
  8. Carve my name on a tree
  9. Go on an overnight hiking trip
  10. Complete a coloring book
  11. Make an ambigram of my name
  12. Read 10 classics I should have read but have never got around to
  13. Camp out in the backyard
  14. Make a chalk mural
  15. Learn how to sew a button
  16. Perform 5 random acts of kindness
  17. Grow something from a seed
  18. Choose 10 countries and watch a movie from each of them
  19. Start a pressed flowers notebook
  20. Draw a self portrait
  21. Make a birdhouse
  22. Write an ebook
  23. Build a blanket fort and sleep in it
  24. Start a fire with a magnifying glass
  25. Make a video about a typical day of my life
  26. Listen to 26 bands, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet
  27. Write something in wet cement
  28. Write to a Death Row inmate
  29. Try and finish 5 ideas from Instructables
  30. Make a dreamcatcher
  31. Drink from a coconut
  32. Have a picnic in a tree
  33. Start a memory index card system
  34. Learn to make my own natural moisturiser
  35. Learn to make my own natural facial toner
  36. Learn to make my own natural face cleanser
  37. Make a playlist of my 101 favourite songs
  38. Try a Zumba class
  39. Make my own earrings
  40. Open a cookbook to a random page and make whatever is on it
  41. Decoupage an old piece of furniture
  42. Fill and bury a time capsule
  43. Make my own paper
  44. Write my life story in 25 words or less
  45. Do a papier mache project
  46. Decorate my hands with henna
  47. Decorate a holy well
  48. Write a short story
  49. Rewrite my life story
  50. Tie-dye with natural dyes
  51. Design a maze
  52. Make an iTunes playlist of 101 of my favorite songs
'Course this'd be noble too...

‘Course this’d be noble too…

When you’re young, you really do know it all

Background:

Pregnant Babycat likes playing (perhaps pregnant) babymice to death, then leaves them in the lounge uneaten.

Incident:

Babycat attempts a jump through the window, guts-hanging-out dead mouse in tow. Clearly she’s added scavenger to her repertoire. Frantic runaround ensues  to make sure all doors and windows are inaccessible to this hyena and her find.

Young Soul Wisdom:

“She was just bringing us a gift, Mom. And cats are different from people; they don’t like the same things humans do.  Don’t be mad at her. She does this because she loves us. Be grateful.”

The sage 7yo thinks for a second…

“…but I don’t want her to come inside right now either.”

Dharma the Cat

Dharma the Cat

When all you wanna say is ‘Fuck you, asshole!’

Some days are other-side-of-the-sky days. Was it something you smoked? Or did the world just turn against you overnight?

  • Traffic’s awful
  • Kids are rowdy as hell
  • Colleagues are bitchy
  • Cashiers so unfriendly you’d swear payday was two months away and you’ve just eaten their last cheque
  • Friends are being shitheads
  • Your partner’s being a dud (here’s where you should be doing a quick up ‘n down dance for singledom, gals – one less meanie in your life!)
  • And family…will be family…

Humanness being what it is, it gets on the way of all that Buddha breathing and says – after a great long while of saying silent ‘Namaste’s‘ to all them fools – FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE. And then the trouble starts!

One day, I discovered a whole other world as I fell through the closet (having been kicked so my persecutor could lock me in, no doubt). Though it might have taken more than just that one day. And the brave new frontier came at my in sections, like I was doing the Macarena and could shake just one limb at a time.

Step 1

Start saying the Big F.Y. silently, in your head, instead of grabbing the loudspeaker so you can boom it over the intercom (what can I say, shopping makes me maaaaad).

The benefit: you won’t be considered such a fool when you reach step 2.

The requirement: you need to believe in step 2 before you’ve even seen it. If you’re religious, this should be apple pie.

Step 2

Realise you’re the idiot.

Oh what is life but a play orchestrated by thine own mind.”
– Me (19 April 1986 – 2 August 2013 – so far)

The benefit: Buddha Breath comes back to hug you, saying not a bad word about you kicking it in the guts (Buddha Breath is like that).

The requirement: letting go of that little naggin’ ego-animal clawing at your aorta.

Image

Surgerise that thinking cap!
Image courtesy of LifePositive.com, a site that houses a wealth of info for personal growth or, as I like to say, ‘Oh come one, change already!’

See, lemme explain. And nope, no wishy-washy good vibes-bad vibes talk. This is simple arithmetic. Which I’m qualified to talk about on the grounds that I wrote that word without using spell checker.

Sum 1:

1 car (yours)

+ 20/47/119/308 irate cars you encountered on the road this morning

x how many cars you’ve passed since you started driving illegally

Sum 2

1/2/7 crazy kids (yours)

+ 8760 hours a year

x how many years they’ve been alive

Sum 3:

[Amount of colleagues] looking the other way

x times you’ve gossiped together

x drunk incidences

– PMS incidents

– hangovers from said Bacchus indulgences

Sum 5:

Cashiers: the friendly ones are always friendly; the rest are always acting like you stole their shoes

Sum 6:

Friends: up x down x up x down x up (which is why you still call them ‘friend’)

Sum 7:

Life partners slash husbands slash boyfriends slash anything you might or might not have had sex with in the last six months: there’s ‘OMG I’m gonna cum’ days and ‘You’re the biggest pig [of course knowing which words we *really* use – or want to use – here] I’ve ever met’ days (unless you work in maximum security or customer service, in which case I suggest you keep things in perspective)…and scientists are still busy working on the secret of how to tip the scales from the one end to the other.

So what’s the common denominator between having many frequent encounters in relative normality and being hit by the Freak of Bitchiness outta the blue…? DWYMD (Do What Your Mother Did). Ask, “What did you do to deserve this?” Because the victim card isn’t going to fly. I find that mostly works in the emergency ward and not much else…not if Love Joy Health Happiness Sparkle and all the other capital letters are your end goal. This is were that big word responsibility comes in.

Because as per my excellent maths lesson (which, if you didn’t understand it, is because I clearly have advanced numerical-genius skills), you are what binds all these people and experiences to you. It’s difficult accepting the fact that you are the cause of everything that happens in your life if you’re doing the Running Away from Awareness sport.

But ultimately you’re going to come back to this realisation and it’ll bite you in the ass when you remember that I was right and you chose not to listen. Because I myself have been bitten, and even though it was by the Hawaiians that doesn’t mean it stung any less. They have this super long word that, thankfully, I’ve never tried pronouncing in decent company. Ho’oponopono. You can google it as an excuse to not do the dishes. The long and short of it is that life is in the mind, with its good and its bad, its bold and its beautiful. There is no blame “out there”. There is only blame inside that little person of yours. But there’s also love there, light, forgiveness and power.

Exactly like Buddha Breath has been whispering in my ear all along.

Image

Image courtesy of LiveintheGrey.com, an excellent website for all things grey matter.

Eating Darkness and Light as Desert

Late last night, three weeks into my diagnosis, the brave face gave way. It had to. I was alone and in miserable pain. I’d just discovered a lump in my breast (my cancer of choice being ovarian); that after many weeks of intermittent pains in the chest area, while the literature reassured me that if it was sore, it probably wasn’t a cancerous problem. Sitting in bed reading to my son after a day of futile “sleep therapy”, I found that I could barely move my arm so great was the pain, and the shock that overrode it.

To my mind came the comment a friend had made earlier in the evening when I had told him about my diagnosis: “You’re taking it remarkably well.” And I was. I had no other choice. My partner and my best friend, the only two people I’d told at first, both thought I was going to die. I had had to be an Amazon woman in order to reassure them. But in that moment, the cancer death-wish came at me and I struggled for all I was worth between a big huge fear of death and the relief I knew would be found at the other side of all this ‘life crap’.

Darkness

I recalled an old Bible saying that it’s not a fight of flesh and blood but between the light and the darkness. And it was. Did I really think I could heal my way out of a death that was, rapidly it seemed, taking over my body by hopping, skipping and jumping? A lot of dark emotions got me into this predicament in the first place. And a lot of conquering them was the only thing that was going to save me from drawing my last earthly breath.

If you’re going to be a phoenix, you have to be willing to burst into flames.

 

DarkDawn

Cancer: A No-Bullshit Definition

I don’t know what cancer means to you. Cancer can imply many a thing:

a) Attention
b) Sympathy
c) Special treatment
d) Care
e) Love

Let’s be frank here, shall we? This post wasn’t written for everyone. You need not identify with what I’m saying, you might hate me for being so [fill in any number of bad words], or perhaps you’ll leave me a stinky comment.

Maybe you recognise the truth of what I’m saying, much as it hurts.
Maybe it only comes to you six months down the line.
Maybe never.
And who knows, perhaps this applies to only a select few.

I don’t know – I’m no expert, cancer or otherwise. But this is my truth, and if it happens to resonate with you, then my reason for writing this post will have been justified. If you don’t like what I’m going to say, don’t read it.

Cancer is a get-out-of-jail card. Not free, of course: the price you pay is high whether it be physical, emotional or fiscal. But it’s a pass nonetheless. The biggest choice you have to make, from the onset to…well there is no real end to this particular decision, is there?…is this:

Am I victim?
Am I victor?

Warning: Most people will (want to) treat you as a victim. I know I did, many years ago before I had the sort of sense I do now. You’d hear about one of the “poor cancer victims” in your life and your heart would overflow with pity. It usually would be “the last person something like this should ever happen to!”

Double warning: Being treated as a victim will feel really good.

‘Oh life! How cruel thy be! On top of it all, you give me *this*?!
Bring on those damn get well soon cards and pray hard for me now, hear?’

Some of us will be all Sleeping Beauty, falling asleep until the prince (of death) wakes (picks) us up.

Others will be little Rapunzels: maybe we’re locked up in a castle, but we sure as damn can let our hair down to help save the day. “Just look at her! How well she handles this! Such a strong brave one…” I’ll admit; this was one I very easily identify with whenever I let my guard down.

But, sweet lovely person…if you manifested this, dear one, then you’re going to have to be the only prince among the troop of white horses. See, this is the other side of the jailer’s card. And this is the really cool side. Because instead of little pink roses and a lovely frilly border that just oozes how everyone doesn’t want you to die’s and yes we all love you’s and now you know you’re important’s; instead of that the crazy little jailor has gone and given you The Key!

This is your chance to die. To die to the self you were, die to the old ideas that no longer serve you, the old beliefs that no longer fit, the old habits that, let’s face it, probably contributed to a lot of the messes you have found yourself in, life-threatening dis-ease aside. If you don’t share my ecstatic joy at this amazing gift given you, tell me one thing:

How long have you been trying to “change”?

For most of us in the poor ol’ West (that part of the world that always gets blame whenever anybody is trying to write something that sounds like it makes sense), we’ve done the best-ever self-help book, listen-and-relax guided meditation audio, who’s-who-of-who-is-doing-it exercise video, revolutionary armband, change-your-life water bottle runaround…thrice over. And yet, lo and behold, here we are, on the edge of the grave, all dying and shit. So darling, might not you see that since nothing else seems to have worked, this is your final little nudge? And what better motivation is there than the Grim Reaper? I tell ya, this one I have breathes down my neck real good the minute I *consider* doing / thinking / being remotely bad-vibed. So I smile ‘n laugh ‘n dance ‘n sing just to get away from the bugger. Funny in an awesome sorta way how I end up totally becoming that which I pretend-embodied, isn’t it? =)

I read about cancer being a subconscious wanting-to-die wish. And cried cried cried because bloody hell, it wasn’t subconscious with me! I *knew* I wanted to die. I mean seriously, who wants to deal with all this crap day-in day-out when every-fucking-thing seems to be an upUpUP hill battle? Alas I have those I love and who are crazy (but awfully sweet) enough to love me in return, and so I stick around and work with those parts of me that are eager to see new tomorrow’s. All the while knowing that seriously death would feel super good on me right now. After I read and cried and thought ‘There! Got your wish now, didn’t ya!’ I sat back (I might have been in the loo at the time, illustrating just how glamorous aha! moments can be) and realised ‘Oooooooh my goodness! I’m gonna die! Holy mother of all that’s good and grand, that’s wonderful! Because obviously I can’t *die*, like keg over, dead. After all, I do have a beautiful little earth-family whom I happen to care for too much to let go of just yet (and you – yes, you – know I’d have just blown right back to you and haunted the life of you for the rest of all eternity if I did).

So, conundrum: if cancer means death (go on, ask society, that’s its very definition), and I’m not going to medically die (because it’s what I decided and that’s the end of it, thank you very much), then what’s left to die? Why of course! Crappy thoughts will die! Emotional teary-eyed baggage will die! Ridiculous putrid fears will die! The me-who-wants-to-die will die!

ShedSkin

So look me in the eye and tell me you’re bonkers enough not to realise this is a spectacularly *great* thing.