Mindfulness

Changing My Mind

With the world today in turmoil — there seems to no end to the rampant cruelness and tragedy everywhere, I struggle to maintain a positive and hopeful outlook.

I needed a way to gain some equilibrium — to break out of this feeling of impending doom that was leaving me worried and full of despair.

After reading about others’ experiences, I decided to employ three strategies to help me get back on track.

Practice mindfulness. Living mindfully gives us room between our selves and our reactions allowing us to live with intent, wisdom and compassion. As Deborah Schoeberlein David writes: “…Stressed thoughts, words and actions can easily hurt others. The more balanced my emotional state, I less I risk harming others. The steadier and more emotionally healthy I become, the more energy and intention I have to contribute positively in my relationships and the world.” [Practice Mindfulness for Living Mindfully — Huffpost, May 17, 2016]

But how, you may ask, do you learn to live mindfully?

As with any new skill, there are steps and guidelines to follow as you work towards a goal. Luckily, we live in an age where information is virtually at our fingertips (have you met my BFF, Google?) A quick search brought up a plethora of articles, tips, and tutorials that can help.

Developing mindfulness can begin with learning to meditate — and learning to meditate does not need to be complicated. Simply sitting quietly for a few minutes every day while you pay attention to your body and your breath — can prepare you to build a meditation practice.

If you are interested in mindfulness and meditation, checkout Getting Started With Mindfulness 

Show gratitude. It may seem obvious — everyone knows that being grateful can help to change your attitude, but we sometimes forget to look for and recognize the good things in our lives.

Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can improve your health and the health of those around you. Being grateful can benefit your relationships, help you get a better sleep and improve your productivity. Read this, to find out more.

Practice compassion. Compassion connects us to others and is considered a natural human instinct that is essential for a healthy and happy life. Like gratitude, compassion can improve our relationships with others and benefit our physical and emotional life. Discover 10 Scientific and Medical Reasons Why We Should Be Compassionate 

Interested? Try this simple Mindful Challenge from Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

I’m already feeling better as I move to put these three tactics into action and to learning more about living mindfully.

Here are more great resources to help you get started:
12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools
mindful — healthy mind, healthy life
Zen Habits

Do you practice mindfulness? Tell me about it — I would love to hear about your journey!

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Things to do

Come With Me to Granville Island

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We love to be a tourist in our own city. We are fortunate to live in the area of British Columbia locally known as Greater Vancouver (or more commonly as the Lower Mainland).

According to Wikipedia, the Lower Mainland makes up 60% of British Columbia’s total population and includes sixteen of the province’s thirty largest municipalities. Each of these 16 cities offer a wealth of parks, forests, beaches trails and ocean shorelines to explore and enjoy. One of our favourite places to visit is Granville Island located on the urban waterfront of False Creek in the city of Vancouver.

Granville Island boardwalk

Granville Island has long been a centre of art and culture in Vancouver, steeped in maritime history. It is the former home of the world-renowned, Emily Carr University of Art & Design. The famed Public Market features local artists, farmers and fishmongers. There are many art studios, gift shops, theatres and galleries that all serve to make Granville Island a premiere tourist destination.

We never tire of making the trek to this spot and always find this landmark area a source of wonder and inspiration — a fun and exciting outing.

Come along on this photo journey — you might be enticed to journey here yourself!

There is something for everyone at Granville Island, from quaint sidewalk cafés to quirky gift shops and open artists workshops and galleries. Eat, drink, shop or take in a show — the options are endless.

sidewalk cafe image

We love to roam the Public Market, stopping at a few of the artists booths to look at the pottery, sketches, jewelery and other handmade, artisan wares. I never fail to find a lovely trinket for myself or a perfect gift for someone special.

Beautiful hand sewn charactersLike these whimsical animal characters. Who wouldn’t adore one of these ornately dressed hand-sewn beauties? Lovingly crafted by Diane Jordens from Toads World, these stuffed art dolls are definitely collectors items and you can see a sampling of her work at her booth in the market.  Find out more about Diane and her creations on her website or follow her on Instagram: @dianejordens.

We always look forward to filling a basket with colourful local fruits and vegetables, and a choice cut of small farm raised meat or a lovely piece of fresh-caught fish to take home for dinner.

Fruit and Veggies

Olives

Fresh FishJJ Bean CoffeeCakesCookiesWe usually have lunch at the market food court, which has a wide variety of specialties to choose from. My favourite is anything from the Chau Veggiexpress. Then we can’t wait to top it all off with a cookie or mini-cake from one of the delightful bakeries! And we always have a JJ Bean coffee to go with our treats.

Little BirdpigeonBirds Cement PlantBefore heading home, we make sure to walk around the Island, stopping to watch the aqua busses ferrying people to and fro in False Creek. We laugh at the comical antics of the seagulls and other birds as they vie for crumbs and bits of food that are “dropped” by visitors from around the globe. We soak up all the sights and sounds that are an integral part of this iconic place.

DuckpondMural imagewalk imageWe take one last look at the new art on the walls and spend one more minute to say goodbye to the ducks in the pond.