Monthly Archives: July 2014

Living in the Moment

This past weekend, I was at a folk dance camp. Here’s a taste…

Imagine this:

You are in a community hall. On the stage, a band is playing traditional folk music, led by a fiddler. In the hall, people are dancing until the wooden floor bounces — the whole room moving in unison.

You’re all grinning like fools and sweating and your eyes sparkle with sheer joy and you are alive, right there in the moment and nowhere else.

(Read the rest here.)

What I’m describing is something called flow. With flow, you are wholly present and aware. You’re not thinking about anything but what you’re doing. You are doing it fairly well, and you’re enjoying doing it well.

If you find flow while doing something like dance, you are really inhabiting your body and your surroundings. Flow can also arise out of an intellectual exercise like writing, in which case your body and surroundings might tend to disappear as you dive deeper into the page. Either way, you lose track of time and you’re living completely in the moment.

Some other places where I’ve found flow include:

  • outdoor adventure sports — hiking, canoeing, kayaking
  • exercise — ice skating, rock climbing, swimming, yoga
  • physical chores around the house — gardening, building furniture
  • anytime when I’m outside of my routine, maybe walking somewhere I don’t usually go, and not too busy rushing to pay attention to where I am at that moment
  • partaking in the arts — reading, singing or playing music, attending a really good concert
  • travel

I find flow to be essential to my mental health. It can also make time seem longer — so if your weekends feel too short, maybe try chiselling out some time for flow and see what happens!

Your turn! Where do you find flow?

 

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O Canada: 7 Things I Love About Canada

Happy Canada Day (plus one) to all of you!

maple leaf

Copyright Siri Paulson, 2011

I’ll be the first to tell you that Canada isn’t perfect. In fact, we Canadians sometimes have an inferiority complex. But we also tend to forget how great a country we live in, or at least we forget to stop and celebrate it.

Here, then, are just a few of the things I love about Canada and Canadians…

7. The way we say “sorry” constantly. I bumped into you? Sorry. You bumped into me? Sorry. I swear we say it more often than “eh”.

6. The cleanliness of our cities and streetscapes. Having travelled widely, I can tell you…it’s unusual. Some places don’t have traffic lights, or clear sidewalks, or garbage-free streets. I’m grateful that we do.

5. Our quiet national pride and patriotism. We’re not much for flying flags and strutting our stuff, but if you ask us? We’ll tell you that we believe in this country of ours.

4. Our diversity, and our commitment to being an accepting nation. Here’s one very small anecdote: Yesterday there was a street party in my neighbourhood because Argentina won their match at the World Cup. Last week Mexico and Brazil both won matches the same afternoon, so we had TWO street parties, alternating, for blocks. Yes, multiculturalism is our thing. We’re also cool with different religions and different sexual orientations, and that makes me proud too.

3. Our health care. And our other social services. Again, these are far from perfect, but when we look at some of the alternatives…we’re grateful.

2. Our wide-open natural spaces, from the prairies to the forests to the mountains to the tundra…and the ways we have found to (mostly) use them without destroying them.

1. Our people. Canadians are known for being nice. We take pride in it. And hey, as a defining national characteristic, that’s not bad!

 

Your turn! What do you love about Canada? If you don’t live here, what’s your impression of Canada?