What can we learn from the Laponian Lifestyle?

Winter is one of the best time to head to Laponia because it means that you will wander in winter wonderland. It’s time to contemplate the snowy trees along the frozen lake. While walking in the forest or mountains you may not meet so many people but when you do, you can learn a lot about their way of life!

Adventure

A prevailing aspect of their life is the closeness to nature. They live surrounded by endless forests and wide range of mountains and take advantage of it. Wilderness is the place they resource in, have fun or work. In fact they can go for a walk where they enjoy the calm, the beauty of the landscape and sometimes they may observe animals appearing behind a tree or a leaf. The more sporty appreciate nature through skiing, hiking, ice climbing or even dogsledding. They don’t undergo their environment but rather delight in. One thing they really like is the feeling of adventure they can have. For them, it’s fun to challenge your body and even bypass fears you may have. It’s exciting and it makes you feel alive!

Simplicity

They are also living simply in the sense that the natural realities come first. It’s about being warm and not about being good looking. They are better not worry about superficiality, that actually makes life easier sometimes. A big and old fashion puffa jacket is perfect. Besides they live simply because they go for the natural instead of the artificial which means that they don’t have to make something up or get it from somewhere. They appreciate what they have around them. And this year the northern lights replaced the firework on New Year’s eve!

Wild Warm Heart

I also found interesting the fact that in spite of the cold and rough environment they are warm and welcoming over there.  Well, it does warm you up to be close to people! But anyway I don’t think that’s the main reason. I talked about it with a Swedish girl. She told me that they have their space and are not surrounded by a crowd all the time. So according to her, they are more likely to smile and say hello when they encounter someone rather then ignoring them.

How to love the cold and dark winter?

Of course they face some difficulties. It’s cold, isolated or dark most of the day but still they find a way to enjoy life up there. Here are some of their simple and lovely tricks:

  •  warm and cosy lights such as candles and garland which definitely create a place you want to linger in.
  •  go for burgundy tinted chalets which contrast with the white and soft colours all around
  • warm up in the sauna (it’s more common in the north of Sweden, Finland and Norway to have a sauna next to the bathroom, convenient and really pleasant!)
  • far from everything, enjoy the calm or make as much noise as you want it won’t be a big deal

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16 Guidelines for a Happy Life explained by Alison Murdoch

I have visited the 16 Guidelines office in London recently. I heard about it thanks to a friend who showed me a book they had published. I won’t tell you anymore about it because Alison Murdoch explains it to us!

”The 16 Guidelines are a direct and practical tool for making life better. They provide a simple yet robust framework for reflecting on the way we think, speak and act, and for creating the causes to experience lasting happiness and meaning.

The latest research being carried out by neuroscientists suggests that each of us has the potential to continue developping and transforming our minds, from birth right up until death. The 16 Guidelines show us how to do this in a way that will benefit both ourselves and others.”

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You can learn more about it there –> The 16 Guidelines

A purpose to wake up every morning

     From the ancient wisdom to the modern sciences, meaning in life seems to be a key to happiness. The Greeks were already wondering about it and more recently positive psychology uses it to help people find a more fulfilling life.

     Some say life is absurd, others that life comes before eternity… Who is actually right? And who knows the truth? We sometimes see something as true, true enough to make it known to everyone. But it happens that later on we finally realize that what we have believed in is based on inaccurate information. Truth is not true anymore but will evolve, it changes along with time. 

The truth about life is mysterious. The theories about our origin which would give a purpose to our existence are only hypotheses. Even science, seen as an objective and faithful reference, is only temporally true. We thought the atoms were the smallest particles until we discovered quarks.

We are definitely not born with an explanation for our existence. What we aim at in life can be defined by a culture, a society, certain institutions and by ourselves. We are meaning maker. Since ancient times, we have been created stories to give sense to the world and to our life. With our ability to think we are conscious of ourselves, it goes beyond instinct and feelings. That’s how we can wonder why are we alive or what do we want to do in life.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how” once said Nietzsche.

And the meaning or meanings may not be so obvious. However, sometimes it’s simply something or someone that we love. For the musicians, music is a reason to wake up every morning, for a mum it’s her children and for others it may just be to experience life one more time.

Happiness is linked with purpose which actually arises from fulfillment and pleasure. Those are two things personal that vary for each one of us. So motivation comes from inside. If we want to find a purpose to our life we should look inward and see what drives us.

Meaning is what is intended to be and when we think of meaning as a message the question would be: what do we want to say? We all have one voice and an advantage of not having a predetermined purpose is that, to some extent, we are free.

A helpful equation to remember is the one from Scott’s Dinsmore, the founder of Live your Legend who thought that “the intersection of your true values and super powers, backed with relentless passion, is where the magic happens”:

Your Values + Strenghts + Passions = Your Purpose.                                            

Life is mysterious and it’s a journey which leads us we don’t know where but in the meantime we are the one with the compass. ☸

 

      What’s your purpose to wake up every morning?

Fascinating Autumn

I haven’t really noticed being in autumn last year as I was living close to the centre. I’m now in a pretty green area with several parks around and trees along the road. So I can observe the change of season and I’m finally amazed by the paradoxal autumn. It’s a cold season revealing warm colours.

During its months, the pavement becomes a bed of purple leaves and when the wind is blowing they swirl all around. It’s raining leaves slowly falling down on our feet, covering up the gloomy concrete. I enjoy going out just to hear the leaves crakling  and see them flying away. It can be really pleasant to contemplate nature.

It is a pleasure, a delight and a fascination.

We tend to think that we are above nature but if we have a look at other cultures such as the Native American culture we have an example of a different relationship with nature. They remind us that we live within and as a part of it. We are born from it, after all. And just like us, nature is life. It can give us a lot and that’s why we use it. But we could find a deeper enjoyment in our relationship with nature. “You say that I use the land, and I reply, yes, it is true; but it is not the first truth. The first truth is that I love the land; I see that it is beautiful; I delight in it; I am alive in it” once said N. Scott Momaday, a Native American writer.

A simple walk in a park is source of happiness…

 

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Autumnal walk in South London © 2016 Eva Bonneville
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Autumnal walk in South London © 2016 Eva Bonneville
Autumnal walk in South London © 2016 Eva Bonneville

4 reasons to cultivate your hobbies!

    I’ve always been amazed to see how people can be so passionate about football, dance, piano or drawing for instance. When we hear a dancer talking about dance, it’s just part of his life and he actually needs to practice. Hobbies can be so beneficial to us. Even though we may have to work, to study or some other duties to be done, we should take time for our hobbies. At first, we may think that’s a waste of time but finally we can get much more than we expect from it.

1- Cultivate enjoyment!

Yes, we all know a hobby is a past time, a leisure something that we do with pleasure. But sometimes we may forget to engage with it that way. The dancer, for instance, may dance not anymore for fun but for perfection, efficiency or even worst dance as an obligation. It can be caused by an external pressure but it also comes from an internal one. We can personally decide how we engage with things and with which things we engage! A hobby is pleasure first!

2- Cultivate fulfilment!

Either we suck at football or we can’t hold a pen in our hand it doesn’t matter after all, that’s for fun! And if we go for it and try we will eventually do something that we didn’t think we were capable of. As a child who is so content with the colouring he has just finished, we will have a better self esteem knowing that we can achieve something. Imagine the painting which could be created. We don’t necessarily need the technical skills if we aren’t aiming for a masterpiece we naturally know how to draw or paint something.

3- Cultivate a stress reliever!

When life is a rush, stress is inevitable. Nowadays, things go faster. We have the possibility to over come the distance, the lack of space or the lack of time. We have access to trains, we can store virtually and we can program repetitive works to be done for us. The result is not spare time, regarding to those possibilities we are finally being asked more. But if life is a journey, as we usually hear, and not a sprint, slowing down and taking time to relax come spontaneously. Practicing a hobby enables us to disconnect, we focus on that activity and live the present moment. We unconsciously reconnect with ourselves. Hobbies can calm us down.

4- Cultivate an activity!

We may spend more time in an office where physical activity is lacking or on the other hand doing physical labour and seeking for different intellectual stimulations. Having a hobby is a pleasant way to find a balance. And in fact taking up a hobby or going back to one will either require a physcial or intellectual activity. That will be beneficial for our health. And the less sick we are, the easier it is to handle life and enjoy it!

Have you ever seen ‘la vie en rose’?

We sometimes hear the expression seeing life through rose-tinted glasses. The translation in French ‘voir la vie en rose’ makes me think of Edith Piaf’s fascinating song. When I listen to ‘La Vie en Rose’, I have a feeling of lightness and pleasure. Piaf makes life appear delightful . Her words convey a deep joy of life. What strikes me is her positivity. And it arises from love. Love of people and of life. This a pretty romantic vision which can seem to ideal but shows how lovely life can be when it’s filled with positivity. Here are the song if you want to hear it:

In our everyday life it’s less romantic and more realistic.

The world is not only rose but also dark, blue or simply grey. Such as a painting it’s made of different colours. However any painting as a prevailing tint, that could be a positive one after all. I’m not thinking that life should only be pink. In fact, joy would not exist without the contrast of sadness so positive emotions wouldn’t either without negative ones. But a more positive life is just more attractive. And it’s the same with people. It’s so pleasant to spend time with a positive person, it makes you feel good. On the other hand when you are surrounded by sadness or anger, your mood usually goes down… Here is some tips to feel better!


Negative emotions, sadness, anger, hopelessness, fear … make us complain.

I gutipsess you’ve already heard about the cliché that French are grumpy, I can’t say that it’s completely false. Hearing a French complaining about anything
and everything is quite common. I think it has even become an habit. But finally after having met people from different places, I think that everybody tends to naturally remember more the negative events. It can come from a survival need because those are dangerous and our lives depend more on avoiding them than having pleasure. Even though, we sometimes react negatively without purpose. Like those days, when we completely freak out and later on realize that we had no reason to do so. It’s just that at that moment the fear completely blurred reality… How could we come back to reality?

  1. Let the negative emotions go. It is not pleasant but it can be useful.When we are aware of the clouds disturbing us, we can do
    something against them.
  2.  Breath and calm down. Take a time to be aware of what’s going on inside to be conscious of our feelings and thoughts.
  3. Think about solutions and act instead of going in circles and procrastinating. When the mind is less foggy it’s easier to take action. But well, the concrete solutions depend on the situations.

Positive emotions, joy, gratitude, serenity, love, … We flourish.

It is said that for every negative emotion, 3 positive are necessary to cheer us up. Indeed with negativity we languish more than we flourish. And usually we close ourselves. Being positive suggests openness. With hope for instance we open our mind and heart. When we become more open we get ride of the rigid expectations that we can have and we are more thankful. Plus, good news, being thankful seems to improve our health. Some studies showed that gratitude is bound with a better sleep, amelioration of blood pressure and stronger immune system.

  1.  One way to be more grateful is to write in the evening things that you are thankful for. It’s writing down what did you like, what interested you, what amused you or what inspired you, … It’s quite similar to the morning and evening rituals we can find in  some philosophies and religions. Actually that can be really pleasant and beneficial to take those moments to reflect on each day.Once the negative emotions are away the positive ones can come in.
  2. And in the morning, I learnt that the Stoics wanted to remind themselves of what they were going to face today, so they would be prepared and less anxious about it. Well, why not trying to clarify our mind before setting off. And if we see some positive events it will had some rose shades to our glasses.

 

Some interesting articles if you want to read more about it:

Do you use rose-tinted glasses?

 

 

When I grow up I want to be happy

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy‘. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”  John Lennon

We are usually asked ”what do you want to be when you are older?”. And people expect answers such as teacher, pilot, fireman or even fisherman would not surprise them as much as ”happy”. When I heard John Lennon’s story I was striked by the accurate simplicity of his answer. It makes me think of the time my friends and I were sharing our dreams in the playground. We have never spoken about happiness as such but we were dreaming about things that would make us happy. It’s as if we had ”sub-aims” to reach happiness. For instance, we were looking for an amazing work, a lovely city to live in and a cosy home to nest. We had a future full of joy and pleasure but in the meantime the bell rung… we had to go back to class. Since then, most of us focused on how to achieve those dreams and sometimes we forgot to simply enjoy life. As we say, happiness is a journey, not the destination.

If, like John Lennon as a child, we essentially wanted to be happy we may have done things differently. We may have think about happiness and wonder about it as we did about the job of our dream.

A research even showed that people studying happiness tend to be happier. Let’s do that!