Success – an update on Amjed

This is just a quick post to let you know that Amjed got a job ๐Ÿ™‚
I cannot express how happy I felt when he told me. It was just one more way the universe was reinforcing how anything possible if you believe. I had been told by some people that he would have to go home,back to Pakistan as there were too many obstacles in the way of him successfully obtaining a job and living a nice life here. In fact, at a loss for a better solution, I suggested it to him myself but he was determined to stay and find work, probably because he didn’t have the luxury of that option. And his optimism and determination paid off. When I met him the other day he was armed with a big book, a phrase book with each page divided into three columns- Spanish, English and Urdu. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair, he decided to spend his time wisely by teaching himself not one, but two new languages, to better prepare himself for the future life he just knew he would succeed in creating here. I felt so proud of him. Witnessing his difficult journey, even from a safe distance, really taught me a lot. It showed me that alot of people would rather look away for fear the poverty of others will make them feel bad. I learned that most people will assess the risk to their own lives first before attempting to help others and in fact, perhaps enter the situation with scepticism as well as caution. Imagine if we saw the world for what it really is, that we are all an extension of one another, therefore to create a better world for ourselves we must help those in need. We cannot receive what we first don’t give.
One of the positive elements I will retain from this experience is that more than ever I realise how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, a family who loves me and supports me and enough to eat every day. It has reinforced for me how we are always in the right place at the right time if we believe it. I am glad I was in the park that day and that I didn’t just walk away when I was being ‘bothered’ by a stranger. I am glad I trusted myself and my instincts and didn’t listen to people suggest that perhaps it was a scam or that I was being taken advantage of. We all have an energy system of intuition inside, available at all times to protect us and guide us in the right direction, hence I had no such negative or doubting thoughts.Amjed showed me that you can always achieve what you want, if you persevere and stay positive. I don’t know if I’ll meet him in the park anymore but that’s ok. Everyone comes into our lives for an unknown period of time to teach us a lesson, about life or about ourselves. I wish him all the best in his new life. X

20140524-183204.jpg

5 ways to create your best life

20140523-012154.jpg
I love this quote. We are here on this earth for a purpose. Some people spend their lives wondering what their purpose is whilst others never question it all. Many lose themselves in the daily routines of life and live life less purposefully than they deserve. Why do you wake up in the morning?Recent research shows that a lot of people don’t know the answer to that question. They have lost their purpose in life.

An easy way to regain this sense of purpose is to ask yourself what is your passion. What is the thing that you would do for the rest of your life never getting paid for it? What makes you so passionate that you want to share it with others in your life? It might be something creative, writing, painting, singing. It might be your family, your business. Whatever it is, it is important to acknowledge the importance of this passion in your life and enable it to expand and develop every day.

This quote makes me wonder what our world would be like if we did not impose self limitations in our lives? If we truly believed we could achieve everything we wanted? If we knew in our hearts that we encompass all the skills and knowledge that we need to succeed in making our wildest dreams a reality. We need to start believing in ourselves.

If you ask what is the speed at which a child learns to read, researchers find the average age and schools then build a curriculum that enables children to learn how to read at that average speed. Is this what we want? A world of average? Average achievements? Average abilities? We are capable of so much more than that but unfortunately we do not live in a society that encourages better than average from everyone. Certainly everyone has the innate ability to be better than average in some area of their lives. Some people have a high intellectual ability, others are more talented with their hands, some people have amazing music capabilities. And yet, we all attend the same schools, do the same exams, adhere to the same rules and standards, essentially established to create a more uniform population, an average one at that.

What would you achieve if you knew you could not fail? Positive psychology has proven that instead of attaining a certain level of success and then allowing ourselves to be happy and proud, we should, in fact, first allow ourselves to constantly experience the positive emotions of happiness and fulfilment which produces greater efficiency and hence creating more success in the area of our choosing.

Without focusing on the specific experiences that may have caused you to settle for mediocrity in your life, it is more beneficial to emphasise the ways in which we can influence positive change in our lives, to create our best lives.

1. Gratitude
Be grateful for everything in your life. If it’s 90% perfect don’t spend your time focusing on how to make that 10% better. Instead focus on all the things in your life that give you love, joy and happiness and then whatever was not quite right will come into line with what you want or maybe it just won’t be important anymore.

2. Take control
Many people live their lives believing themselves to be a victim of their circumstances. However, you only need to look at the most successful pop stars to notice that many of them had a less than charmed upbringing. You are the only person in control of your life. No one can make you feel bad without your permission. If some one is rude to you in a shop don’t let that ruin your day. If your thoughts don’t make you feel good, let go of them. Other people have no power over your thoughts and it is only your thoughts that make you happy. Take control.

3. Make time for yourself
Yes, sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it’s so important to even take 5-10 minutes a day just for yourself. This is not a time for you to write out your schedule for the day or plan tonight’s dinner, instead, this is where you switch your thoughts off, focus on your breathing, listen to calming music if you like, sit out in the sun if you can… Whatever it is, take this time to relax and know that you are worthy of it. Appreciate yourself.

4. Make goals/bucket lists/list of inspiring ideas
Life can be so hectic that we often get distracted and lose creative ideas we have or dismiss them with excuses of lack of time, money, freedom etc. Excuses are the disease of the mind to justify not following your dreams. They enable us to block out our true desires in order to save ourselves from potential disappointment (we think) but really everyone knows the biggest regrets are not the things you attempted and failed, but the things you didn’t even have the courage to try. Figure out what it is you are truly passionate about it. It is your calling. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it everyday, as a constant reminder that you are striving towards something great.

5. Positive affirmations
Every morning, before you get up, give yourself a minute to be grateful for another beautiful day. Predict the wonderful things that will happen during your day. Write out or repeat five positive statements e.g I am healthy. I am loved. If possible repeat these at intervals during the day. In physiology, the repetition of these affirmations strengthens the neural connections in the brain which makes our beliefs stronger and easier to access every day. This repetition of thought which becomes our belief system, is what influences our perception of the reality surrounding us in the physical world. Essentially, we create our beliefs which in turn changes the world we encounter, therefore, thought manifests into reality. Each day it is important we choose our thoughts carefully to create the future we truly desire.

It is my dream that we all become aware of the innate power we have within us, harness it to create positive changes and soon be living the lives of our dreams xxx

Amjed. Giving homelessness a name and a face.

Please click on this link first to watch this short video of a beautiful act of generosity.

Homeless man receives home

Having watched the video of this generous act of kindness initiated by one that dramatically changed the life of another, I was overwhelmed by emotion and a feeling deep inside me, wanting to help some one like that. It was less than an hour later , while I was sitting in the park, happily reading my book, when I was approached by Amjed. In my peripheral vision I saw him approach but I kept my head down not wanting to be disturbed. He spoke to me. I pretended not to hear. ‘Hola,’ he said again, and this time I looked up. He sat down beside me, much to my dismay and struggled to find words to communicate, not surprisingly, as Amjed is from Pakistan.

My initial reaction was to politely nod and smile and return to my book but then I saw the emotions and sadness across this strange mans face as he rambled unintelligibly and pointed to his dust covered shoes. I could see he needed some one to talk to, some one to listen, some one to be his friend so I put the book away and gave him my full attention.
Amjed, came here to Barcelona 12 days ago. I met him on the 5th day. Having lost his nice office job in Pakistan due to the company closing, he received a phone call from a fellow countryman living in Barcelona, offering him a job. With all his savings, he booked a one way flight, said goodbye to his mother and two sisters and off he went in search of a new life, one that could support him and his family in Pakistan. Upon his arrival, the number of his friend was disconnected and he has no other contact information for him and so he is alone with no friends here in Barcelona.
This exchange of information was mostly conveyed through the use of body language and hand actions as his level of English is minimal and Spanish is non existent. He showed me a photo of his family and his home in Pakistan. He explained that he has no papers to work here and despite spending all day walking around Barcelona in search of work, he is unable to find a job as he has no legal rights to work here and cannot speak Spanish. I gave him the number and address of the Pakistan embassy here which were closed for the weekend so I told him to ring on Monday, hoping that they could speak to him in Urdu, his own language and assist him in finding work. He was so grateful he cried and I hugged him. It was obvious he hadn’t had the luxury of a shower in a while but I let him hug me as long as he wanted and tried to send him calming positive energy and strength to get him through this tough time. I wanted to help so much more but felt a bit helpless so I tried convincing myself that listening to him and talking to him had already helped him feel less alone in this unfamiliar city of strangers. I gave him hope.

Almost a week later, today, I met him again in the park. He had been unsuccessful in his attempt to receive help from the embassy. I asked him would he just go back to Pakistan but he explained that there are no jobs there and he doesn’t have the money to go home. He had rang his mother to tell her there are no jobs here and she cried. He said he has walked and walked in search of a job but I understand that it is near impossible to get a job here if he doesn’t have the language skills to even ask for a job. His money ran out quickly and he is now sleeping in the park beside my apartment and a local shop is letting him keep his bag there. My heart is struggling with the sadness of his situation,wanting to help, but not sure how. I decided I would start by teaching him English and today, in his little milka chocolate notebook, we started with some greetings and the questions. He was eager to learn and picked it up quickly, although it was a little funny explaining the words I and you, while pointing to myself and then him, making him think he should use the word you for himself and I for me! We spoke (tried to) for ages and he told me he is good at bowling and he showed me a little game you play with your hands, again, reinforcing his poor background where they entertain themselves with nothing but their hands.

I spoke to a Spanish employee lawyer today, that informed me legal work rights can only be given to people who prove that they have been here illegally for three years and have integrated well into the Catalan society. What options does that leave for my poor friend Amjed? I could just appease myself with thoughts that I’ve done what I can to help and there’s nothing else I can do, but I cannot. This is a lovely man with a gentle soul, who has fallen victim to unfortunate circumstances. I have always wanted to make the world a better place and I feel that the universe orchestrated it so that our paths would cross so I can help him. He is not begging or stealing, nor has he ever asked me for anything, but I wonder how long until homelessness results in those desperate measures and will he become one of the many people I see every day searching the rubbish bins on the streets of Barcelona?

I would really appreciate any advice in how I can help or what I should do to help this man get back on his feet. I know he would work harder than anyone I know and really deserves to be helped.

A walk in the park

image As I relaxed on my balcony enjoying the warm evenings sun, I casually observed the goings on below me. Several older women, all accessorised with small dogs had stopped to chat on the path and a few cars driving by. A peaceful scene by all means until my thoughts were interrupted by an incessant drumbeat, which actually sounded like a marching band, so I decided to investigate. Upon entering the park, it was clear that from above, the leafy branches of the palm trees cleverly disguised the hive of activity that happening right underneath me. I located the source of the band music which was coming from a practice room under the ground. I decided to sit for awhile and enjoy the music while observing some girls training hard, a little boy blowing bubbles and a few adults rollerblading, beside a large colourful monument. On my walk home I saw the dog enclosure in the park was full of people and their dogs while others sat at the little cafe drinking coffee. A father and his sons practised their basketball skills while moms kept a close eye on their children in the playground. Large groups of people gathered around a game of kickball (like netball I believe) and cheered for their favourite team. Lone joggers expertly weaved themselves between these crowds as they continued their daily exercise routine. Students, with their arms full of books, leaving the library after a hard day of studying. So much was happening here, in this little park, that I was oblivious to from above, in the comfort of my own balcony. It made me think about how life is like that. When we are too busy being caught up in our own lives we miss the beauty of life that constantly surrounds us. Happiness comes from the small things in life so let’s try not to forget to come down from our balconies every once in awhile and enjoy the experiences life has to offer in the small things. 20140507-105056.jpg 20140507-105047.jpg 20140507-105110.jpg 20140507-105128.jpg 20140507-105142.jpg 20140507-105417.jpg

There’s no such thing as luck

Hola ๐Ÿ™‚

image

This is my first post written from my new home, Barcelona. It’s been two days since I arrived and I really feel I have a good grasp of the city so far. It’s sprawling neighbourhoods, each with a distinct look and feel, gave me many attractive options to choose from when looking for a new home, but perhaps too many. Do I want to be near the beach? The city? A bit further out to escape the busy city? Needless to say, the task of looking for an apartment in a strange city in a language I don’t actually speak, posed a difficult challenge. The offer of a job in ibiza for the summer, just two nights previous, played in the back of my mind, while I tried to deal with the daunting task at hand. Obviously, it was an appealing option. Beautiful beaches, lots of friends, familiar places and amazing nightlife. Why wouldn’t I jump at the chance to go back? I really was tempted. But I knew that by over thinking the situation it would just make the decision harder, so I explored the city, wandered the carreterra and relaxed in the parks. It was while I was writing in the park, soaking up the suns heat and enjoying the ongoings around me like yoga and language exchange meetings, that I realised there was no decision to be made. I’m here. I’m happy to be here so I’m staying. It’s always difficult settling in but once it’s done then I have a whole summer of great times ahead. imageI really don’t believe life should be a struggle. Try your best but really it’s not meant to difficult. Life has a way of giving you all the opportunities you need to be happy without a struggle, if you allow yourself to be open to them. Last night I had already seen one apartment, which was tiny and expensive and had still another 3 to see that night and more today. It was getting so confusing trying to remember which was which, I felt quite upset and stressed. It was then I realised how absurd that was and made the decision to no longer feel that way. I am blessed to have the opportunity to live in an new and exciting city. That is not something to be stressed about, only grateful. I realised that I was putting myself under a lot of pressure to find a home straight away with the extra stress thinking that I should be looking for a job also. I am a firm believer that you attract your reality with your thoughts and so by stressing and focusing on how difficult it was to find a place, I knew it was only going to make that a reality, so I decided I was not going to go view the places that night, while I was I feeling upset. If you are in a happy place in your mind, you will attract more things that will make you happy and I mentally reminded myself that the right place would come to me easily, without the stress and hard work. Every circumstance is only as easy or difficult as you perceive it to be. I choose to perceive my experiences as joyful and easy. I woke today and organised to go see one apartment. I figured I’d try the 20/80 rule. 20% of your efforts give 80% of the rewards because I really didn’t want to go running all over the city to the 20 or so places I’d contacted. As luck would have it (even though I don’t believe in luck) the lady showing me the apartment had to leave 10minutes before I got there and so there was no one to show me around when I arrived, after getting the metro and walking for 10 minutes! Of course I didn’t get annoyed, I merely thought it was an interesting occurrence. I decided to explore the neighbourhood and within two minutes I got a txt from an unknown number asking did I want to see the room. I assumed I must’ve emailed them the night before, as there was no conversation history, so without knowing anything about it, I said ya sure, what’s the address? Turns out it was only a ten minute walk away (how convenient!) and so, following google maps, I made my way there. imageI was so impressed as I walked by historical monuments, lovely restaurants and a huge arena and silently hoped I hadn’t got the address wrong. Just around the corner from the main street, was my building, right in front of a large park. Another box ticked, great. The apartment was big, bright and had a lovely balcony overlooking the park. That was all I needed. Where can I sign? I couldn’t and still can’t believe how amazing it is that I got exactly what I wanted and it was only my second apartment having to go see and is a million times better than the first one. I moved in two hours later and since then, I haven’t been able to contain my happiness. I want to share it with everyone. I am so happy I didn’t give up and leave or continue stressing, thinking I needed to go see every apartment to make the best decision. Life is meant to be enjoyed. The right things will flow to you easily if you allow them. And then the icing on the cake. I sent a message to all the others, explaining I no longer needed a place and one guy txt back asking where I was from. I noticed I had saved his number as ‘room please’ and I recalled having found a particularly nice place online and decided that was the one I wanted so I saved it as ‘room please’ to tell the universe that’s the one I wanted… and the universe was obviously listening. I scrolled up through the conversation and noticed that he had given me directions that were quite near here. I laughed, thinking it was funny I had rented so close to the one I asked for. Then it dawned on me. It is the one I asked for. It was his sister who had messaged me and met me to show me the apartment. So without realising it, without a struggle, not only did I find a new home, but I got the home I really wanted. I couldn’t be happier and I am so grateful to the universe for once again providing for me. I think it is very easy to get caught up in a moment of weakness, frustration, trouble and get in a negative flow, but it’s important to realise you will only attract more of the same into your experience by focusing on it. So if I’ve learned anything is that the most important thing in life is to feel good, to feel happy, maintain a positive outlook on life and you will attract everything you want and lead the life of your dreams.

Fiji Flashback

I’m so grateful that the weather has been so nice here in Ireland recently. Today is going to be 18 degrees if you can believe it (that’s like 28 in Australia!) but sometimes I allow myself to drift off to memories of island life in warmer seas. I decided to use my notes from my old travel diary to create today’s post about the beautiful Fijian islands that I visited a few years ago.

From the place you’d rather be this lovely Monday morning…

image

Day 1

I arrived at Sydney airport at half 6 this morning and was greeted with the delightful surprise that I cannot go to Fiji on a one way ticket hmmm! Why do they sell one way tickets so? I ended up buying a very expensive return flight on a flexible fare to allow me to change it ( you never know I might want to stay!) problem sorted ๐Ÿ™‚ When I arrived in Nadi (pronounced Nandi) airport I was greeted by 3 men singing and playing some native song and they all wore flowers in their hair! It was just lovely!I was even given welcoming beads to wear ๐Ÿ™‚

Bula means hello and welcome!!
The resort shuttle bus soon came to pick me up and off we went.My driver’s name was Joe and he was very nice. The roads are quite bad and the driving is atrocious and my suspicions were confirmed when I later witnessed a bus crashing into a car!! Interestingly this incidence did not deter my ambitious desire to attempt the local bus getting into the main town, which isn’t far away as I am stayingย on the beach! The bus was about 100 years old and had no windows and I can’t even begin to describe the gear stick!! So far, no other tourists, just me, which is probably why, once in the town, I was accosted by every shop owner trying to get me into their store! Opting for the safer choice, I got taxi back and watched an amazing sunset from the rooftop, overlooking the beach.

image

Day 2
I spent the morning organising my trip and I decided on a bula combo pass, which includes sea transfers and accommodation and food to the Mamanucas and Yasawas. Apparently I will be lucky to have electricity so will have no internet or phone coverage on the islands! The man in the office has kindly requested chicken and chips for me for lunch and dinner at each of the resorts hehe! (Priorities!) Chilled out on the beach for the day!

image

Day 3
Got picked up at 7.15am (what kind of holiday is this?!) and spent the day on the boat. We passed many of the other islands I didn’t choose to stay at, so was nice to see them all. Some of them are tiny seriously! My first island stop is Bounty Island for a few nights. I met some lovely people staying here as there is only one resort on the whole island and set meal times so everyone has to come to eat at the same time when called. It’s quite funny! I’m not sure a roasted pig constitutes chicken and chips, but I embraced the challenge of trying something new. It wasn’t so bad ๐Ÿ™‚ One of the days here I kayaked around the whole island… In 20 minutes!!

image image

Day 6
It seemed the mana flyer (my transport for the day) was on Fiji time, (everything runs late but don’t worry we’re on island time!) when it didn’t turn up to take me to my next island but later, it transpired that it was late because it actually broke down and a little replacement boat came to collect me 3 hours later. While I was waiting I lay out by the pool and watched a little Fijian boy having a scuba diving lesson in the pool. It was very cute! I had my doubts about the dependability of the replacement boat when the engine suddenly stopped mid ocean! Uh oh! I immediately imagined myself heroically swimming to the island with an adventurous tale to tell in the end. Luckily it was just a case of pulling the pipe that was sucking the petrol out of a canister and putting in another petrol container. It had run out of fuel and I found this immensely amusing! I was quite happy bobbing away in those gorgeous waters anyway… As long as the fish didn’t get me ( silly fear of fish.. I’m working on it lol!)

image

image

Eventually landed on Mana island. It seems the lonely planet book review was quite accurate about the resort I was booked into, which is why I didn’t want to stay in this place, but according to Ab, who booked my trip, it was the only place that would accommodate my chicken and chips every day request. I found out later that the english couple next door to me were the only other people in the resort and turns out it was Ab who booked their trip too. It was so unprofessional,more like someone’s home. It didn’t even have a name on the establishment!

Anyway, I went for walk and booked my trip on the seaspray for tomorrow. On my return, I asked about using the internet and turns out there’s no electricity until 5pm. It was raining and stormy so I went to lie down only to find 2 black bugs on my bed eggghh!! There was a loud banging noise and I discovered it was a man making cava, a Fijian drink. I’m curious as to what it tastes like because it looks like mud lol!

Day 7
Had fun today on the day trip to Monuriki which is where Castaway, the movie with Tom cruise was filmed. I needed the fun after a horrendous night last night. Briefly, there were many over living creatures keeping me company in my bedrooms me so my sleep was intermittently distrusted by my compulsive need to use the torch on my phone to check and make sure there was nothing crawling on my bed! At about 2am I heard a strange noise. I shone the light around the room. Nothing. And again… The strange scratchy noise. I shot the light directly in front of my bed to see a dark shadow perched upon the other empty bed. Frozen in fear I mentally calculated how safe it would be to get up and turn the light on. Oh wait… No electricity. Bloody marvellous!! Ok maybe I imagined it… So I look again and there is a big fat rat. Omg!! Grabbed bag and legged it out of the room, with my heart racing.As luck would have it the door to the reception was closed and no one was about so I sought refuge in the building next door. It was a bar that I had watched a traditional Fijian dance earlier. I sat, curled up in a ball, on that chair,a fraud to sleep but my fear disappeared with the night and my spirits rose with the sun and I was ready to enjoy another fabulous day in Fiji.
We visited a few other smaller islands as well as a local village to participate in a cava drinking ritual with an elder from the community.

image

Day 9
Finally, some luxury. I arrived for four glorious nights in Malolo. Walu beach, where I was staying, was specially built for the reality show called The Resort!!!ย In fact Bounty Island, which is a 20hectare coral island, was used for Celebrity Love Island while Mana was the setting for tv show, Fiji Survivor. ( I think I deserve that title!lol!) I spent these few days chilling I a. Hammock, reading by the pool, learning about the medicinal purposes of plants found on the island, enjoying food cooked underground and I even made my own bracelets from leaves and coconuts. I feel very accomplished lol!

image

This is really the colour of the water!!!

This is really the colour of the water!!

I’d love to hear about your experiences of Fiji. There are so many more islands to visit I definitely will return.

Relaxing in Romantic Rome

Here is a photo journal of my few days in the beautiful city of Rome. It really stole my heart and I would definitely love to live here some day.

Trevi Fountainimageimageimageimage

imageimageimage

imageSpanish Steps

 
My Observations…

Everyone is so friendly here. They dont speak with their hands as much as I expected.The men are living up to their Romeo reputations and are not shy in their approving stares!It is not as busy as we expected, even in the very touristy areas like the Colosseum. The streets are filled with trattoria and people eating al fresco, although there is a noticeable lack of presence of open green areas- none to be exact.I read about pop-up pools alongside the River Tiber but we didn’t have time to sample these cooling treats. I did, however, have plenty of famous Italian gelato to cool me down! My favourite part of the city are the cobbled stone streets, and its italianess is accentuated with the many scooters flying along the narrow , haphazard streets.The map of Rome is quite hilarious and seems to have no plan or strategic method to it at all and yet everything seems to be within walking distance, thankfully, as I’d say the public transport leaves much to be desired here!My second favourite feature in Roman life are the shutters on all the buildings.Fascinatingly old most of the time, but beautiful. I imagine myself living in one of these old buildings, waking to the sound of the singing birds, with the sunshine streaming in through the filters of the dusty shutters and when opened, I could observe the busy village affairs on the cobbled street below, with Italian men shouting loudly at a tv screen with the soccer on and the local women sitting on the steps, idly chatting, with one eye on their diapered, bare footed children who are happily playing with stray dogs.I havent actually seen this scene with my own eyes but I can imagine it’s not too far from me!Something new I learned here is that they call many things pizza, not just what we westerns call pizza. After trying spaghetti bolgonese last night I am sure I could adapt to their simple diet of pasta and pizza, with the odd mc donalds thrown in of course ๐Ÿ™‚ I was also saddened to learn that pizza originated here out of necessity to feed the poor population and unfortunately there is still a noticeable homeless population present.There is also a lot of construction work going on in the local buildings and basilicas, though obviously the authenticity and character of the buildings are strictly maintained. Romantic Rome you have truly stolen my heart.

Ciao XX