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Health & Wellbeing

Health and Wellness — lifestyle

We’ve Got Class

You’re at a party and someone asks “what do you do?” This question will always come up as a conversation starter, but why, and what do they mean?

I think people genuinely ask to make conversation. The question they are looking for an answer to is “what you do for a living?”

Even when the question is posed innocently, the answer can bring judgment. I prefer to be vague about my day job simply because it is the last thing I want to talk about when I’m not in work.

It is a question I personally try to avoid asking. Yes, it is an easy fall back when you are feeling awkward or you are not sure what to talk about. But it’s also easy to ask “what do you do for fun?” or “what do you do in your spare time?”

I love people and I love talking to people, but I really want to know about the person, rather than how they earn a living. That is not what defines a person. There is so much more to us than how we earn our keep but that can define us from other people’s perspectives as they draw conclusions on our interests, earnings, class, etc.

Class. What is class anyway?

It depends on how you look at it.

Class as a noun can be defined as:

“The system of ordering a society in which people are divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status.”

Do we judge people based on their class? Do we decide to be friends with people based on their class? Yes, I think we do.

I have had people from backgrounds of great wealth and status accept me and welcome me with open arms and I have had people look down on me and keep their distance due to what, I assume, they perceived as a difference in status.

On the other spectrum, I have shared meals with people who make less than a dollar a day and they treated me like they would treat any other person.

Why is that?

We often hear the terms upper, lower and middle class.

What is lower class? Lower suggests inferior but we must be careful with the words we use as there is great power in words. Right speech is an important thing. When we use the term lower class we infer inferiority but this is not correct. Lower class or working class does not mean inferior class.

There is nothing inferior about someone who does not have opportunities like education, for example. This doesn’t make them inferior. It means they have a tougher life because it will be more difficult to support themselves and get a job that pays enough to support their family. They may not be able to afford to send their children to college or  even afford the food to keep their family healthy.

It doesn’t mean they are inferior but means their opportunities will be fewer and their lives will be tougher. Because of grit and strength this is something that people can overcome but it will be a more difficult path than that of somebody from “higher class.”

In my opinion, the terms; upper, lower and middle are outdated. These classes are simply different. There is no higher or lower, better or worse. Higher and lower opportunity maybe.

As I mentioned, there is power in words and the above terms are outdated to me. Maybe phrases like the following would be more acceptable:

  • Limited social / economic opportunity
  • Intermediary social / economic opportunity
  • Established social / economic opportunity

Another definition I found for class was:

“Stylishness in appearance or behavior” or “showing stylish excellence”

I would like to think that people with Limited social and economic opportunities are folks that show their “stylish excellence,” in a different way. A stronger way, with more grit and determination than any of the rest of have been given the opportunity to dig deep enough to find.

Peace,

George

 

Autumn: Our Favorite Season, Hygge is back!

We love Autumn so much. Its our favorite season. The reds, browns and burnt orange colors are so warm and comforting. The crisp mornings and longer cozier evenings are very Hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga”.

What is Hygge? It’s a term the Danish have for describing that warm, cozy, content feeling aroused by simple comforts. A very Hygge scene would be by a fire, with woolly socks on, reading a book and drinking a hot chocolate spiked with baileys or whiskey😉

Autumn is our Hygge season. It’s the time of the year we begin to socialize more with our friends. We usually go back to visit our family in October too. We find summers busy and don’t get to see our friends or family all that much.

Fall is our time to reconnect and enjoy home cooked meals with friends. We both have really improved our cooking skills over the past few years and really enjoy entertaining and making our home as comfortable as possible for our guests.

It’s the time of year that life slows down after the hectic summers and before the craziness leading to Christmas. It’s a perfect time to reconnect & recharge.

We restart our Eco nights this time of year too. On Wednesdays we turn off all the lights, light candles, read books and ban screens for one night. It is glorious. We sometimes play a boardgame or I fall asleep by 8:00pm! It’s a night to fully relax and avoid external stimulation of any kind. Bliss.

During this time of the year we always get back on track with our healthy eating and exercise. The weather is usually fresh, and we want to be outside as much as possible. Being from Ireland the cooler temperature suits us better than the heat of the Vancouver summers. Phew!

Going home probably is a big reason why we love this time of year too. The excitement and lead up to our trip back to Ireland is always the highlight of our year. The weather at home is usually frosty mornings with clear blue skies. The tress are a pallet of Autumn shades which is a lovely contrast to the green fields all around.

The food is also a highlight! Pumpkin pie, roasted vegetables, chai tea, soups, porridge, apple pie, stuffing, cranberry sauce & roasted spuds! Thanksgiving dinner basically! Another reason to love Autumn. We usually have friends over who don’t have family here and we all celebrate together as one.

We buy a lot more candles this time of the year. We like to light them in the darker mornings at breakfast and during dinner in the evenings. We are not a fan of scented candles just plain unscented. The lighter throws on our sofa are replaced with heavier blankets for chilly evenings. The big duvet is taken out of storage and returned to our bed. The hot water bottle returns! We love our room cold, we keep our windows open all year round but keep the bed warm with the hot water bottle. Oh yeah!

Honestly warm fuzzy feeling galore for this time of the year! HYGGE! Love love love! Definitely our comfort zone…. bring on warm cozy layers and coats! Autumn we are ready and will embrace every moment.

Are you as excited as we are about Autumn? What is Autumn to you?

I hope you all had a great week😊

Speak soon,

Theresa x

Grin And Bear It: Why Smiling Has A Positive Impact On Our Lives

There are a few things in life I chase, things I crave which are important to me. A good sleep. I forever search for the best sleep and I try to perfect it like an art.

The true self is another thing I strive for. I have written about this several times now.

Calmness, within and without is another of my goals. A destination I journey towards. I am interested in the effects a calm mind has on my life and my personality and the opposite also, for instance, I find I am quick to grind my teeth when I become angry. The effect of this simple act is amazing and lasting. Even as I write this I feel the urge to grit my teeth together and press. Even the thoughts of this act suggest anger in my mind.

“Facial feedback response,” Darwin called it. Your brains reaction to your facial expression.

Anger = Grit Teeth

Grit Teeth = Anger

On a more positive note, the opposite is also true. As you read, smile broadly, Bring the smile into your eye muscles also. Keep it there. It doesn’t matter if it is fake or forced, do it anyway……….Hold it……..Now relax.

How do you feel?

Your brain, through Darwins facial feedback has recognized that you are smiling and boosted your endorphins (happy chemicals) and reduced your cortozol (stress chemicals). You feel better. It is the cheapest therapy available and as a Yoga teacher it is probably one of the easiest but most beneficial poses I could teach. I intend to bring smiling into my classes and will keep you updated.

Thich Nhat Hanh said “Sometimes the joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Force the smile. Grin and bear it.

Why shouldn’t we smile? For one thing we are alive. A quarter of a million people die every day. Sadhguru tells us, everytime we look at our watch and check the time we should be grateful we are alive as our lives are ticking away. If a quarter of a million people die every day then two or three million people loose a loved one every day. If this hasn’t happened today, then smile.

Research has shown that a smile can stimulate us as much as 2,000 bars of chocolate. It reduces stress and blood ressure, enhaces our good mood and according to Penn State University, allows us to be perceived by others as being more competent.

Mother Theresa once said, “I will never understand the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”

Smiles are free. If you don’t have change to give the homeless man outside Wholefoods or even if you don’t want to part with your hard earned cash, a smile is free and easy. It helps, it is contageious and there is a limitless supply.

So the next time you are in a bad mood or stuck in traffic or having a difficult day, fake it till you make it. Plaster a big fake smile on your face, getting right into the eye muscles and hold it as long as you can.

See what happens.

Let me know.

Peace,

George

Kitsilano Farmers Market

Last Sunday Theresa was heading for Connaught Park to the Kitsilano Farmers Market to buy some plastic free produce. I grabbed the camera and decided to tag along.

Armed with our to go cups and Theresa’s homemade granola bars we headed out to a beautiful Vancouver day despite the smoke hanging over the City from the wildfires (fourth worst year to date – last year was the worst). Another reason why we need to be as kind to the environment as possible.

The market is located on the west side of Connaught Park and operates Sundays 10.00-14.00 from May 6 to October 21.

Lots of people, fresh fruit and veg, Bluegrass musicians, cool t-shirts for sale, beer, vodka, ice cream, bread and so much more.

Theresa bought potato to make some chickpea curry, peaches for peach cobbler and tomatoes, blueberries, cucumber and garlic. If you are trying to reduce waste like us, I recommend bringing your own bags as the vendors only offer plastic bags.

All in all an excellent visit. Maybe next time I’m back I’ll visit the R&B Brewing stall to pick up a few brews.

Don’t forget to drop in next time you are in Kitsilano and support the local farmers.

 

Peace,

 

George

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Months Focus: Reducing Waste and Clearing Our Space

This month has been all about removing all the unnecessary items in our apartment and creating space. Each day after work I would pick a cupboard, press, basket, shelf or drawer to sort through. I would empty the contents, clean out the chosen area, stack the contents into piles of recycle, donate or keep.

The items we wanted to keep went back into the space it came from or were placed in an area where it would suit better. The remaining items were recycled (lots of papers, notepads, old notes from University and various courses) or placed on the donation table in our building. The nicer items like plates, teapots, cups and kitchen wares I gave to people in work or friends.

Starting out on this project I really did not think we had much stuff we did not need, I was amazed how much we had that we never used or didn’t suit our lifestyle anymore.

For example:

  • Fancy china dishes we never used
  • Large beer glasses that took up too much space
  • A winter coat that didn’t fit right
  • Workout clothes that didn’t fit right
  • Uncomfortable shoes
  • Decorative items that we never used

The amount of paper we recycled was the biggest eye opener. George and I both have done many courses and had collected a lot of reading material & notes which we never looked at once the course was complete. All this paper took up 4 baskets worth of space. What we needed we kept and the rest was recycled. We did the same with wedding cards, birthday cards, bills, pay slips and warranties. What we needed we kept then recycled the rest. Now we only have one small basket to keep only necessary papers. Phew!

This experience has made George and I more mindful of how much paper we take into and store in our home. We will avoid this as much as we can in the future. Both of us have now told our work to not print our pay-slips but email us instead as it is such a waste of paper. All our bills and bank statements are electronic and if we do get any paper we don’t need we will not keep it will go straight into recycle.

This month has also been about reducing our waste. We feel this month has been a major step forward in our waste reduction goals. Buying from our local bulk store has prevented so many extra containers for items like; honey, beans, goji berries, seeds, nuts, cheese, bread, toothpaste, tea from going into recycle. Many of these we used to buy in soft plastic packages which often cannot be recycled so we are very please we removed these items from our garbage.

George used to have to take out the recycling bin twice a week and now we have reduced that to once a week. Our bin is not huge, it fits under our kitchen sink area. We are very happy to see our progress and our efforts paying off. We still have lots more to work on, but we are extremely happy so far. Once of the coolest things is this month we did not have to empty the trash can at all, all that’s in it is paper towel from wiping fruit and counters. Once our paper towel has been used up we plan on making clothes to replace our paper towels. Excited.

We highly recommend clearing your home space of all the unnecessary items we do not use or need. Your home will look so much brighter, feel more relaxed and create a feeling of space & calm. Add a few green plants and you have your own little mecca to come home to everyday.

How to you keep your home free from clutter? What is your favorite room in your home and why?

We would love to hear your feedback.

Have a lovely week.

Chat soon,

Theresa