Tag Archives: happiness

Content with Contentment – a seriously underrated state of bliss


I don’t know about you, but I love newspaper horoscopes.

Even though I am generally quite interested in the politics and reviews and general goings-on sections, after I pick up a paper I  thumb through its inky recesses immediately, looking for the best morsel in the whole thing: Pisces.

It’s not that I really put a whole lot of faith in horoscopes, being as generic and vague as they are (a joy-killing skeptic once pointed out to me that, since there are twelve signs of the zodiac, then that Pisces horoscope would have to apply to approximately one-twelfth of the population…). I just think there’s something kind of cool about something so outrageously esoteric having such an exalted position along with serious news of the day.

It is rare, however, that any particular horoscope really stops me in my tracks. A few months ago, however, one did. I wish I’d cut it out or copied it down, because I felt like it had been written specifically for me.  It went something like this:

Pisces: The Portugese have a word, “saudade”, which does not really exist in any other language. It is defined, approximately, as a “…vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist … a turning towards the past or towards the future.” Get over yourself. It’s time to let it go, and start celebrating what you have.

For whatever reason, this really punched me in the face, and got me to thinking about my life. At 27 years old, I have had innumerable amazing and fortunate experiences. I have sailed halfway around the world; skiied in the Alps; lived in the woods; camped in the high desert; waltzed in Vienna; owned my own boat…. and the list goes on. But somehow, nothing has ever been enough to quell the fierce case of saudade which has brewed inside me for as long as I can remember. Nothing has ever been quite intense enough, no adventure is extreme enough, no relationship perfect enough, no job interesting or challenging enough, my body never thin or fit enough, no living situation exciting or edgy enough. For as long as I can remember, I have lived with an aching dissatisfaction with my life – for absolutely no reason. Not anywhere near as debilitating as genuine depression, but always there nonetheless. Even logic continually failed to cure it. No matter how many times I told myself that ‘there are millions of people out there who have it worse off in every possible way’, I just could not seem to get over that ever-present, background saudade.


Cry me a river, well-educated first-world healthy-bodied well-loved princess!


Until now.

I’m not really sure where it came from, but for the first time in my life, I am really starting to feel content. I realize “content” is not a very strong word, but it’s not a very strong feeling. It is the absence of the saudade. The saudade has, for once, retreated with its murky shadow and left me with this very foreign, airy-fairy feeling of contentment.

I have so much to be thankful for! I have a man who loves me more than life itself. I have a rock-solid family who have and would support me in anything. I have a great career, doing something that is not always exciting and challenging, but definitely can be. I have a car that runs. I am blessed with health and fitness. I live in a place that is begging to be explored. Right this very minute, I am being paid an absurd amount of money to do absolutely nothing – legitimately!

I am not sad to see you go, saudade. I hope your vacation is lengthy, if not indefinite.



Hypnosis app for iPhone – it’s a winner


This is a cool photo, but in no way represents my experience, which is not creepy or intense at all (whereas this guy is both)

I am a bit embarassed here to admit that I recently downloaded three hypnosis apps for my iPhone. Hypnosis! You are saying, what a bunch of cheesy schlock. But I have to say – to anyone – I would highly, highly recommend you try it! I listen to it right before going to bed, with my headphones, and am ALWAYS in a deep sleep before the half-hour session is over. Not that I have ever had problems sleeping, but sometimes, in the past, I have been known to wake up in choking, panicking states or yell in my sleep or toss and turn violently; and since starting this, I haven’t done any of those things. In fact, the one night that I skipped the meditation this month (it was already really late – just wanted to go to sleep) I DID wake up in that choking, panicking state. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Anyways, there are a variety of different programs to choose from – the one I got (for a few bucks) is by Andrew Johnson (who has this wicked Scottish accent) and I got a Success-themed one; along with Happiness and Lose Weight. How well these actually work specific to the content, I have no way of measuring – but I know I get the best sleep of my life after listening to it, and wake up feeling awesome.

I am not really sure – and maybe someone can answer this for me – what the difference is between meditation and hypnosis. I have meditation apps as well, and they seem to be remarkably similar, except that in the hypnosis ones I definitely go much deeper, the whole floating feeling and all, pretty trippy stuff. Definitely has the same calming, relaxing, releasing effect.

He says right in the intro, that it’s OK to fall asleep during the session, and that the message will still come through to your subconscious – good thing, because every night when my boyfriend comes to bed, he has to gently pry the earbuds out of my ears and wrestle my phone out of my hand while I am happily snoring.

A trip to my Happy Place


I have to say I am feeling extremely blah and uninspired right now! I am well into Week #11 at sea and it is taking its toll on me physically, emotionally, etc. I mean, I know the last thing the internet needs tacked onto it is more whining, but MAN, I am truly and utterly exhausted! I know I am stressed out when my Mystery Jaw Pain appears, it is like this weird stabbing sensation probably due to clenching my jaw and neck. Ok, Self, enough already! But needless to say, it is not a pleasant sensation, so out of total self-indulgence, I am going to describe myself away from this whole scenario, to a place which even in my imagination brings me total peace. I am actually shockingly close to it right now, but in a strange way because I am at sea. So are you really close to something when it is totally inaccessible to you? I mean if I tried to swim there, I would most certainly die of hypothermia first. But I am close. So where is this magical place? It is the Queen Charlotte Islands, also known as Haida Gwaii. I ended up there quite accidentally when I was 19 years old, after going through some pretty hellish times, I had a dream one night, that I should go north. (I mean this sounds really prophetic and profound and shit, but I think it has more to do with me reading a lot of Robert Service than with any kind of psychic ability). So basically, having no obligations, job, friends, or anything to keep me in Victoria, I took off with my backpack northward, the very next day. Various aligning chance meetings and meanderings and lack of fundage led me to the Queen Charlottes, where I arrived on a ferry and knew just by the smell of it that I was never going to want to leave. The whole experience of being there was incredible for me, it healed me, it changed me, I spent two years there, most of the time living in a little cabin in the woods. This cabin is instantly what I picture whenever I hear the words “paradise, solace, peace, quiet, home,” because it was all of those

This is not it, but it could very well be.

things, for almost two years. It was a half-hour or so hike up into the old-growth spruce forest, and when I first started living there, it had tin cans to catch drips through the leaky roof, plastic sheeting instead of windows in places, no insulation, etc… but over the time I was there I slowly renovated it, putting on a new roof, cedar shingles for siding, re-doing some of the supports, painting, putting in proper windows, insulation, and walls…. I mean you might be thinking “Wow, how did you know how to do these things?” But trust me, the result was pretty crooked and skewed. But I enjoyed every minute! Anyways, I am going way off track here, because what I really wanted to talk about was my vision of peace, which I need to recollect for myself right now, but you are welcome to imagine right along with me! I am generic-ifying any one of hundreds of awesome mornings in that cabin, particularly summer mornings, although the winter there was equally beautiful and splendid in its own way. Ok, so summer morning…. I roll over and wake up to the sound of absolutely nothing. The sun is just rising over the trees and I stretch and roll over to look out the huge loft window that I installed myself, overlooking (or rather, being overlooked by) a forest of colossal spruce trees, with their fish-scale bark closed tight today because of the dry weather. I toss off my warm feather duvet, throw on some random clothes (I don’t care, at this point, whether they match or look terrible or even if I am wearing a bra, because I know there is no chance that anyone will “happen” to wander up there — it’s out of the way and hard to find, to say the least!) I climb down the ladder from the loft, which is made of sturdy tree branches, and with my bare feet feel the slight morning chill of the floor. I pause with some satisfaction looking at the bright, Mediterranean blue that I just painted it the day before. Since I am a caffiene-oholic, I go straight to the stove and open up the valve on the propane tank, striking a match and surprising myself with the loudness of the POP as the match comes to life, and the whhhhoooosh as the propane from the burner ignites. The cabin is tiny, and it takes me exactly four steps from the stove to the porch, where I tip over a bucket full of freshly collected rainwater and fill up my big steel kettle. Coming back to the stove, I plunk it down on the burner, and then space out for a moment or two, staring out at the beauty of the sunbeams starting to strike the mossy, grassy clearing, inhaling the smells of the crisp, summer-dry forest,

Ah, divine liquid, how I love thee!

spruce pitch and earthy muskiness. A couple of ravens crawwwwwwwk as they fly by, and it is so still that you can hear the sound of their feathers raking the air. I will pretend for the sake of my peace of mind right now that it is the first day of my three days off (I was only working four days a week at the time, as a reporter for the small but mighty local newspaper) and I have no plans whatsoever, my only priority at this point is to find my coffee cone and put a filter in it and fill it up with coffee and then wait for the kettle to boil. The sound it makes is so distinctive, that popping, pinging noise of the metal expanding as it heats up, such a great sound because it means “coffee, soon.” I crack a new can of Pacific condensed milk (I have no fridge up here — and although it’s not hot most of the year, the past few days have been warm enough to curdle) and get my coffee all rigged up, and then go sit cross-legged on my porch and light a cigarette. Wait a second, you are saying — smoking? That’s gross and nasty. And I agree, wholeheartedly, but I also have to say that, in the circumstances, there is nothing better.

So bad but sooooooo good

So anyways, I sit there, still in the shadow of morning, looking out over the dewy grass, drinking my super hot coffee and smoking. I stare at my garden, with its multitudes of infant vegetables. I stare at the trees. I stare at the moss. I breathe deeply, and relish the joy of thinking about my project of the day, without feeling stressed or anxious about it, but just enjoying the process, like, what shall I do today. But, generally, I will sit here for at least an hour, until the sun is on me fully, warming my skin, before I spring into action on my Project du Jour. I wish I had a picture of this place for you guys. It is so super cool. I miss it so much!

Gosh, I feel so much better just describing this! I could cry right now with relief! So thanks, all my non-readers, that felt great. My Mystery Jaw Pain is pretty much gone, for now.