Tag Archives: Happy

Being Kind – World Kindness Day

November 13th will be World Kindness Day –
How will you be kind-hearted the whole year through?

World Kindness Day - Be Kind - 2017 - The Last Krystallos

I wrote about how Kindness is the recipe for keeping romantic relationships alive, The Most Valuable Way to a Happy and Successful Relationship, and it appears it is perhaps one of the best ways to be happy in all our relationships – whether they are life-long or just passing.

Kind words are easy to speak - Mother Theresa - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

In Charles Kingsley’s tale of the Water-babies, Mrs Do-As-You-Would-be-Done-By was a lovely lady who treated the babies as she wished to be treated, with unconditional love and treats. In contrast, Mrs Be-Done-By-As-You-Did was hard and sharp and treated the babies as they treated others, until they learned the lesson of treating others well. Which would you prefer to have around?

We have turned into a society of people who wish to do whatever we want without consequences and that includes how we treat those around us. We need to reassess our ethics. We can fight for and rise to catch our dreams, we can work to succeed, and we can push ourselves, but we don’t need to do it at the expense of others. We can fight to help others reach their potential, help them to succeed, and support those who need it. We can work together, and kindness and compassion are paramount to achieving that.

Unexpected-Kindness-Bob-Kerrey-the-last-krystallos-photo-bekah-shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Kindness is a base response, it’s automatic, it’s a default we should all have.

Kindness doesn’t need explaining. If you ask any child, especially small children, how you should treat others they will almost always say with kindness. Be kind. If they get it, why don’t we?

Kindness covers so many things – when you search the thesaurus you come up with a plethora of words, including:  affection – altruism – benevolence – courtesy – decency – compassion – gentleness – goodwill – goodness – grace – graciousness – hospitality – humanity – patience – sweetness – sympathy – tenderness – tolerance – understanding – unselfishness – charity – consideration – heart – helpfulness – kindliness – philanthropy – tact – thoughtfulness.

Let’s allow our hearts to pick one of these words, one of these qualities, and put it into action in our lives…

Kindness-is-more-than-C-Neil-Strait-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word,
a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
– Leo Buscaglia

What are you going to do today…and tomorrow?
Make Kindness your built-in default.

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Light Up Your Life – Be a Star

How do we deal with darkness and light in our lives?

Light Up Your Life - Be a Star - The Last Krystallos

Terry Pratchett in Reaper Man wrote: ‘Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.’

…but I agree with Robert D. Hales that ‘Light dispels darkness. When light is present, darkness is vanquished and must depart. More importantly, darkness cannot conquer light unless the light is diminished or departs.’

Moreover, Teal Swan tells us: ‘There is no source of darkness in this universe. There is only the presence of light and the absence of light. Darkness does not exist; it only appears to exist. In truth, it is only the absence of light.’

Both Light and Dark - J. K. Rowling - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

However you choose to deal with the two elements, they will touch your life. The old Indian legend: There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is: which wolf wins? The one you feed. Offers the best insight into how we should deal with them.

I often feel, though, that darkness has been given a bad narrative, I like the dark. I love winter and its cosy early nights, I love being out beneath the stars, and sliding beneath a warm duvet to sleep in the pitch black is heavenly. I’m more comfortable with dark colours, earthy tones, and have a black cat. The dark has its place, without it our internal clocks would go crazy, and so would we!

We need the dark to appreciate the light. Like all opposites, without it life would be dull and unrewarding. Even if we use symbolic darkness, we still need sadness, despair, pain, and trials to know and love happiness, joy, good health, and fulfilment.

Stars can't shine without darkness - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

And after all: Stars can’t shine without darkness…

We’ve all been through dark times and, generally, come out the other side better people. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is most welcome. Darkness gives us the opportunity to grasp light and embrace it. Eleanor Roosevelt said: ‘It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness…’ Light your candle and let your light shine.

I’ve written before on who we are, and we’re all a mixture of light and dark, but it would be good to allow our sparkle to shine. We can be positive, happy, and bright, and shine like stars.

Dance until the stars fall from the sky and fill your hair with sparkle and light - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

We are an intrinsic part of this universe, whether you feel it spiritually or physically. In Cosmos, Carl Sagan tells us: ‘The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.’ We are made with the same atoms, molecules, and particles as stars… Think about that for a moment. In fact, this quote from sci-fi writer Doris Lessing enchants me: ‘We are all creatures of the stars and their forces, they make us, we make them, we are part of a dance from which we by no means and not ever may consider ourselves separate.’  So, let’s shine like them.

How do you see yourself? Are you made from the same stuff as stars? Whether you believe in Deity, Humanism, Atheism, or you are just Agnostic, DNA and the science of genetics is undeniable. However we dress it up we are created, made, formed with interstellar dust!

And whenever I talk about dust I am pulled right back into Lyra’s world in Philip Pullman’s: His Dark Materials… I won’t give away what Dust is, but it is integral to consciousness. Go read the books…

Light is a fluid of sunbeams - At-Tunikhi - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

So, light and dark, particles, DNA, and dust, interstellar stardust, are part of us. When we feel dark, or lost in the shadows, we can light the way. Light lives within us, and we can emit it without even thinking. Imagine what we can do if we choose to? ‘To be a star you must follow your own light, follow your own path, and never fear the darkness for that is when the stars shine their brightest.’

Shinesparkle, glitter, effervesce, shimmer, and glow with the light that lives within you.

Light replaces darkness - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Find your path, join your constellation, follow your dreams…
Know that when darkness falls it will always be replaced by light.

‘Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.’
– Sarah Williams, Twilight Hours: A Legacy of Verse

It’s the Little Things…

Have you ever thought how it really is the little things
that make the difference in life?

It's the Little Things in life - that make you truly happy - The Last Krystallos

Last Saturday I had a good day, a really good day! I had no commitments and it was a beautiful sunny morning. I popped into town nice and early, enjoyed the sunshine, and listened to the birds sing amid the hubbub of town life. It’s the little things.

star wars tattoos - the last krystallos

Great legs! © Lisa Shambrook

I wish I’d told the man in front of me on the escalator how much I loved his legs! I did call out how cool it was to hear two girls (mother and daughter) singing ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ at the top of their lungs as they paused at the traffic lights in a cabriolet. And I smiled at a six-year-old Ironman swaggering through the precinct, flexing his muscles and grinning at everyone. It was that kind of day!

The evening before, in the warmth that predicted a beautiful day to come, Vince and I walked Roxy and listened to the birds in the trees. Noting how different their calls and songs were, from the courting couple of cooing and crooning collared doves, to the blackbird’s familiar call, to a robin red-breast singing his little heart out on the top branches.

robin singing - the last krystallos

Sometimes the smallest things are the loudest © Lisa Shambrook

Sometimes the smallest creatures sing the loudest and have the most beautiful voices.

Do we listen?

We even attempted to get a photo of the tiny robin atop the tree (our phone cameras were pitifully lacking for this!), and it was a giggle to watch passing motorists’ passengers straining their necks to see what we were looking at!

It made us realise how lucky we are, and how the littlest things can often be the best things.

It's the Little Things - The Last Krystallos

The little things are the best things © Lisa Shambrook

…Like the way your cat purrs when she snuggles into you – one of your favourite songs playing in your car – brushing your hand across velvet moss – a flower blossoming – new leaves appearing on trees – getting lost within a great book – your dog’s welcome home – your favourite hot chocolate – being silly with friends – the feel of your favourite jumper – a hug – snowflakes – your bed after a hard day – creating art – dancing in the rain – fresh baking – holding hands – watching a sunrise – something that makes you laugh and many more…

What are the little things that make you grateful and happy?

Where is Your Happy Place?

When life is throwing shards of ice at you, your head is ready to explode,
or you are just in a dark, bottomless pit (figuratively – otherwise you’re not going anywhere…), where do you go? Where’s your happy place?

Where is your Happy Place - Lisa Shambrook - The Last Krystallos
Last week I blogged about water – it’s my happy place. Where’s yours?

guernsey-bosherston-penbryn-happy-place-the-last-krystallos

Feet in the water © Lisa Shambrook

I am happiest when I have my feet in water, down at the beach, letting waves ebb and flow as I splash through the ocean. This is where I am in my element. It revitalises me, lifts me, and energises me. It calms me, relaxes me, and soothes my spirit. Sometimes, if I can’t get to the sea, I can sit by or dabble my feet in a river, and the rush of water will still my senses. The sound, the movement, the texture of water all affect me, and without doubt it’s where I am happiest.

trees-anemones-woodland-happy-place-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Woodlands and forests have a similar effect. The magic of trees, bluebells, wild anemones, winding tracks and pathways offer me another place of happiness and retreat. Listening to the wind whisper, fae glancing through flowers, and even trickling streams take me away from the troubles outside and stresses decrease.

black mountain-dryslwyn-llanberris-pass-happy-place-the-last-krystallos

High on a Mountain Top © Lisa Shambrook

My oldest daughter loves mountain tops, the rugged landscape and the freedom of the wind and the air. I, too, feel alive when I stand upon mountains and hillsides!

Where are my other happy places? How do I cope when I can’t get out and throw myself headlong into nature?

My dog and my cats are another safe zone. They have the added bonus of interacting with you too. I’d never known complete unconditional love, until I owned a dog. Her dependence on me is total and she gives me everything. Deep chocolate brown eyes and loyalty that’s unheard of in most creatures, including humans. If things are bad, she knows and she’ll sit beside me with her head on my knees.  She also gets me out, dog walking, and into nature every day! She is my happy place.

misty-raven-roxy-cats-dog-happy-place-the-last-krystallos

Misty, Raven and Roxy © Lisa Shambrook

My cats, though more conditional with their love, are also there for me. Run your fingers through soft fur and listen to a cat’s purr, and you can’t fail to feel better. One reason why it’s proven that the older generation live longer and happier when they own a pet, is that they give you love and a reason to go on.

notebooks-writing-art-happy-place-the-last-krystallos

Writing and Art © Lisa Shambrook

My other releases are writingnothing takes me away from stress and trouble than losing myself in another world, in words and places that don’t exist outside my head – and creativity. Making things, stories, or art, or craft, take me to happy places.

All these things, all these happy places can be solitary, or with my family. My family are always welcome in all my happy places – they make my happy places even better!

Where are you happy places?

Where do you go when it’s all too much?

chocolate-hot-chocolate-happy-place-the-last-krystallos

Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

PS. We probably shouldn’t forget chocolate…that’s always a happy place!

Tell me about your Happy Place…

Dreams and how to be Happier

Have you ever wished you could be happier?
Life can be tough, but it’s important to find sunshine even on rainy days.

dreams-and-how-to-be-happy-the-last-krystallos-titleMy bishop spoke on being happy just the other week and, having recently gone to an Emotional and Mental Health Training Day organised by the church I attend, and currently battling depression, I listened with great interest.  What he said made a lot of sense and he later introduced me to the site www.actionforhappiness.org. Action for Happiness has no religious, political or commercial affliations, and welcomes anyone committed to building a happier and more caring society.
Today I’d love to share their GREAT DREAM poster with you:

greatdream_full_400 actionforhappiness.orgSo here we are: Ten Keys to happier living:

1. giving-dan-giving-blood-the-last-krystallos

Dan giving blood… © Lisa Shambrook

GIVING Do things for others – They say the best way to forget your own troubles is to help others and give service. There’s an old Hindu proverb: Help thy brother’s boat across, and lo! Thine own has reached the shore.

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

RELATING Connect with people – I’m a known loner, a typical INFJ, but when you are part of my life, it’ll be forever. I find socialising very difficult, so Facebook has become a life saver, quite literally, the place where I discovered my people. Without this connection, though I love my own company, I’d be lost.

Walking the dog © Lisa Shambrook

Walking the dog © Lisa Shambrook

EXERCISING Take care of your body – This has become more important to me as I’ve begun to understand how much exercise deflates depression. Your general health has a lot to do with how you feel, so look after yourself. I love walking Roxy, our german shepherd, and daily walks allow me to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Last year, as a family, we learned how important exercise was. We used MyFitnessPal and lost a combined eight stone between us. Never have we felt fitter and better!

Appreciating beauty © Lisa Shambrook

Appreciating beauty © Lisa Shambrook

APPRECIATING Notice the world around – This matches exercise, get out and see what lives around you! I have so many posts on this blog about the wonder of nature, which you can find in the menu at the top under Articles in Simply Nature. I love wading through the ocean and rivers, wandering through woodland glens, climbing mountains and exploring the great outdoors. When I feel down, I need to be reinvigorated by nature, it makes me happy!

Learn more © Lisa Shambrook

Learn more © Lisa Shambrook

TRYING OUT Keep learning new things – Knowledge, you should never stop learning. There’s always something new out there, whether it’s keeping up with technology and the children or learning a new skill just for yourself. Just because our school days are gone, it doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels, get out there and learn new things, have fun!

Set goals, dream big © Lisa Shambrook

Set goals, dream big © Lisa Shambrook

DIRECTION Have goals to look forward to – I once wrote this as a reply on someone else’s blog about achieving their dreams: I began life as a contemplative dreamer…a quiet, shy child with an imagination that spanned so many ideas. It took until I was thirty to turn those gossamer dreams into concrete goals, but I did and now I’m working hard to keep those dreams-turned-goals alive!

(There’s a)… difference hence my gossamer dreams and concrete goals. Putting something in writing, or into action changes the aspect of a dream into something solid.

Dreams have meant so much to me that my (first) book ended up with the tag line ‘it’s those silly dreams that keep us alive’…we need dreams to inspire us and we need to turn some of them into reality to make us grow. Goals are a way of growing and making things happen, but sometimes we just need those airy fairy dreams to give us hope and inspiration!

Bounce back © Lisa Shambrook

Bounce back © Lisa Shambrook

RESILIENCE Find ways to bounce back – Life wasn’t meant to be easy. If we didn’t know the sour we wouldn’t know the sweet. We need the bad to love the good. Opposition in all things is the way of life, don’t let it get you down, let it build you up instead. Be resilient. Be a cat. You know when a cat slips, or makes a mistake? They right themselves immediately and look at you like it never happened… be a cat.

Love life © Lisa Shambrook

Love life © Lisa Shambrook

EMOTION Take a positive approach – Life has negative and positive people. Be someone who people want in their lives. We all suffer at times, and it’s important to be there for each other through the tough times, but as with resilience, we need to embrace the difficult and allow it to strengthen us. The process of refining silver includes being blasted with fire…a lot, but the finished piece is beautiful and brilliant. Let’s concentrate on the good, the positive and embrace the sunshine in our lives.

Be yourself! © Lisa Shambrook

Be yourself! © Lisa Shambrook

ACCEPTANCE Be comfortable with who you are – Love yourself. It’s as simple as that. Whatever your beliefs as to where we come from, we’re all wonderful human beings, with amazing miraculous bodies. I love the Marianne Williamson quote, from ‘A Return to Love’: ‘…We ask ourselves “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually who are you not to be?’

Our deepest Fear... Marianne Williamson quote © Lisa Shambrook

Our Deepest Fear… Marianne Williamson quote © Lisa Shambrook

MEANING Be part of something bigger – My bishop spoke of our faith being something bigger and I took comfort from that. My faith to me is something that encompasses my entire life, my reasons for living and being. You may find something different. There are plenty of things in my life that give me reason to be, from my faith to my family, to my writing and many more wonderful things…embrace them and live happily!

Be part of something meaningful © Lisa Shambrook

Be part of something meaningful © Lisa Shambrook

Do you agree with these points
or do you have any more ideas on how to live happier?