I come from a culture where I was taught that nothing worth having comes easy.
From a very young age, I knew that it was paramount for me to work hard to get where I want to go and become who I want to be. That principle has instilled in me a sense of discipline and hardwork that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
However, I have been so busy working that I never ever time to get to the “living” part of life. What is the point of spending all your time working and having none left to celebrate the fruit of your work? I never really realized what a counterproductive cycle I was living in until I moved to Dominica, where I discovered these 10 life facts.
1. Nature is free. Be like Nature.
This refers to the nature that surrounds us, and the nature of things within us. One of the best things I have experienced living in Dominica, the Nature Isle, is the ability to get in touch directly with nature: original, pure, untainted, unstained. Not only can you experience it internally, but also internally with the availability of fruits and vegetables, all year long. There are always fruits and veggies for every season, and you get them straight from the ground into your body. Sounds a lot like Eden to me! And if you really want to know what it feels like to get a “breath of fresh air”, then come to Dominica.
2. Life is a party, so dance while you’re still an invited guest.
“We never know what the future may bring: it could be winter, summer, fall or spring” (By Marie Pascale Affana) . So you’ve got to dance, sing, shout, eat while you still can, because you don’t know if you’ll be able to do that tomorrow. So why wait to be happy tomorrow when you can be happy today? Don’t procrastinate on your happiness. Happiness doesn’t wait.
3. Seize the Day.
This saying has had such a great impact on my life that I bought a mug (my “now” favorite mug) to remind me of this every day. I won’t tell you that everyday is a gift, because you probably already know it. I also won’t tell you to live everyday like it’s your last, because I don’t know how to do that (not even sure if that’s realistic) and I wouldn’t want to spend a day thinking about how I’d live my last day. However, what I’d like to share with you is this: everyday comes with a new set of 24 hours, 60 minutes and 86 400 seconds, and the power is in your hands to decide on what you want to do with it. So take it. Take the Power. Take the Frigging Power.
4. Listen to your needs… and attend to them. Your body is comparable to a machine or an engine that needs regular care and servicing to function efficiently. When you feel sleepy and tired, your body needs to re-set. When you feel hungry, your body needs to re-charge. When you feel angry and cranky, your body needs to re-lax. Often times, we tend to ignore those needs and hope they will pass. I have learned to pay a close attention to the messages that my body, my emotions and my whole being are sending. And instead of giving it a quick fix, I have actually learned to address them accordingly. Most of the time (as you would have figured from reading my blog and past posts), the message is hunger (because I am a foodie), and there is no better to address hunger than to eat. 🙂
Breakfast with a view. Buena Vista, Calibishie (Dominica)
5. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.
I am so proud of the person I’ve become. If you had known me a few years ago, I’d have probably been the most uptight person in your friends circle (my current friends actually have a hard time believing that because of how silly I’ve turned out). And this doesn’t make me any less smart or capable than I was before. In fact, being silly give me a different approach to life, and makes me more open-minded to different ideas. Obviously, it’s important to know which cap to wear (silly or serious) based on the situation, but I can guarantee you that 90% of your day does not require you to be this serious. So don’t take life so seriously. None of us is getting out of here alive anyways.
Dominica Carnival, Powder Fete – 2016
6. Do More of what Makes you Happy.
We are all called to live a life of service. And if you just take the time to observe your life, you’ll realize that too. Whether you are a gardener, a chef, a lawyer or a doctor, whatever you do ends up helping someone, directly or indirectly. So, we are constantly being of service to our fellow humans. However, before you can take care of (or provide service to) someone else, you have to take care of yourself. The reason being, you can only provide the best service when you are at your best, and for you to be at “your best”, you have to be happy. So do more of what makes you happy. Find your Happy.
7. Celebrate Small Successes!
Goal-oriented people tend to be very focused on the task at hand and do not stop until they have accomplished whatever it is they had set their heart and mind on. That is great, because it helps you keep the focus. However, what would be even greater would be to look back at how far you’ve gone and celebrate your progress as a way to motivate you to even go further. Are you in college? Don’t wait for your big graduation day to celebrate your accomplishment: be proud of yourself for making it to the next semester. Are you in medical school? Don’t wait for the day you finally become a Doctor to give yourself a tap yourself on the back. Are you working on a special project? Don’t wait for the last day, but celebrate every successful milestone.
8. Be Daring.
A wise woman once told me that you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take, and that wise woman is my mother. More, every time you take a risk, there is a 50% chance of it ending into a positive or a negative result. So why deny yourself of the 50% chance of whatever you want actually happening? And what’s worse than missing a shot? Not taking it. So take a chance! The worse that could happen is you getting a NO, which means Next Opportunity. 🙂 For my part, every time I take a shot, I succeed, because I believe I am going to succeed even before I take that chance.
Performing with Michele Henderson at the World Creole Music Festival (Dominica, 2016).My sister (on the right side) was having a ball of a time. Photocredist: Zaimis Olmos Visual Arts.
9. Show Love to Your Friends, as often as you Can.
A wise woman once told me something deep enough to be reflected upon: our friends and family members are not ours, they do not belong to us. In fact, they belong to God and He only lends them to us for a specific purpose (whatever it may be), until He calls them back when He needs them. (That wise woman is my mother, and I seriously think she will start billing me for using all her quotes in this article).
So, we need to value the time we spend with them because we never know when He would call them back. We also need to show them love and appreciation because as human beings, we all need this. I am not asking you to tell all your friends that you love them everyday (which could be quite a task actually 🙂 and they might not all be receptive to your words, because we all speak different love languages (and thus, we have different ways of expressing our love). Rather, show your appreciation to each one of your friends in a way that he/she would like to receive it. (I guess it’s time to go through that list of 1000+ friends you have on Facebook ^_^)
10. Work on your Resting Face.
Everyone has what we call a “resting face”, and that is basically the state of your face at rest. When you are in the bus (or driving), on your way to work (or school) in the morning, pay attention to the people around you, and see what their resting face is like. Some people look angry (even if they are not), others very pensive, others extremely serious and others quite happy. The thing with your resting face is, it does not always depict your emotion “at the time, but it is the default state in which your face goes when there is no emotion to depict at all. So if the majority of your time, you are angry or anxious, your face is going to get used to that constant emotion, to the point where even when you are in a good mood, you still look mad (and not mad happy, more like “mad mad”). That is one of the reasons why some people are perceived as “less approachable” than others. So make sure you control your resting face, as well as the message it sends. (As you can see in the picture below… I have several resting faces. That’s because I am still working on those!)
The inspiration for this article comes from a heart of gratitude and an amazing change in perspective. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting these thoughts into words.
All pictures were taken by a wide variety of amazing people, but at the same location: The Nature Isle, Dominica.
PS: I will soon start an article series specifically for my travels, tours and sightseeing experience throughout the Nature Isle, Dominica. If you live there, feel free to contact me and contribute! If this is a destination you’d like to visit, make sure you subscribe to follow the upcoming series!
Either way, subscribe to this blog to make sure you keep seeing amazing content!