When Writing is Bliss

Via Flickr

To me, writing is wonderful. Writing is where I want to go when I feel stressed, sad, confused, worried, but it’s also the place I want to go when I feel happy, fulfilled, and at peace.

Writing is to me that place where I always return, no matter where I am in life. It’s the place I might abandon one day, saying that I grew bored, but to which I never fail to return every single time.

A writer once said that writing, to her, was home, and indeed, home it is to me too.

Home is not necessarily a place, though it can be. But even when it is, it’s not about the space in it of itself. It’s not the walls of a house that make it a home. It’s the memories that took place within those walls; the dreams, the hopes, the love, the hate, the happiness, the sadness, and the peace that you’ve felt in that place. All of that is what makes it home.

Home is a state of mind, one where safety takes over, and all the problems from the outside world start to fade. Like drops of rain hitting a glass window and failing to reach the other side, those problems have no power over you once you’re in that place.

Writing is that place to me. Writing is the “what”, and the “where” I come back to time after time, like a child returning to the arms of her mother. However, the experience here is different. Though writing has shaped me, I am the one who also shapes it, each time I sit down to do it. In that, I am both the mother and the child, seeking comfort in one another.

What is your home? 🙂

/Larisa

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Why Love Rain?

via Pixabay
via Pixabay

Vancouver is known for its rainy weather…Sometimes it feels like it’s the only kind this city has (though, of course, this is by no means the case).

Because of this, it’s quite easy to get annoyed with this weather, especially when you’re wearing really nice clothes that get completely wet by the time you reach your destination. The worst is when you don’t realize it will rain that day, so you wear clothing that’s completely inappropriate for what’s going on outside. I had this happen to me the other week, when I wore my oxfords. The result was that I had my pants soaked way above the ankle. The weather sure has its way of letting us know it’s time to change the wardrobe, doesn’t it?

Let’s not even think of the tragedy of forgetting the umbrella home. Despite the fact that I’m quite good when it comes to having an umbrella with me at all time (you’re not tricking me, Sun!), it happens every once in a while that I leave it at home…Now I’m a lot better at it, because I have a small umbrella, that’s nearly glued to my bag, so that this doesn’t happen again.

Despite all these problems that rain brings with, it is also something to appreciate, because it brings a lot of benefits. I won’t go here for the obvious ones (like, not having to water your plants all the time). So, let’s have a look:

1) Rain is relaxing

Goodness gracious! It’s one of the best therapies out there, I kid you not! There are few things that are as amazing as the sound of rain, falling on the pavement, on the window, or even on my umbrella. It’s like a magic eraser, that takes away all the worry and stress that I accumulate during the day.

2)Rain is beautiful

Have you ever actually looked at rain? I don’t mean just to see it, because we all do that, at least when we’re walking through it. The way the drops fall, and splash into the puddles on the ground is magnificent. There’s few things that are as beautiful as the subtle sparkle that rain brings to everything it touches.

3)Rain is motivating

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have a hard time getting things done when it’s sunny outside. Instead of thinking of my homework, or whatever else needs to be finished, I tend to think of how much I’d like to go take a walk, or just sit somewhere in a park and listen to birds sing. Well, guess what? I never think of this when it’s raining, because as beautiful as the songs of birds are, I’d rather stay dry. So, I stay at home and work and work and work.

4)Rain is practical

Do you own a car? Do you hate to get it washed? Let the rain do all that for you! For only the cost of the gas you’ll use while driving around town in the rain, you’ll get a decently to not-so-decently done job. Boom!

 

I hope you enjoyed this list of benefits that rain brings with it 🙂

/Larisa

 

The Wonder of Autumn

Via Wikipedia

A few days ago I had a really beautiful experience that I’d like to share with you. Now, don’t expect anything grand, because it won’t be. It was quite an insignificant moment in the grand scheme of things, but you know what? It’s the little things in life that eventually add up to a wonderful time, so there it is…

I was walking home, listening to a very beautiful track about autumn. The wind was softly blowing through the trees, and at some point, it became just a little bit stronger. Not enough to bother anyone, but quite enough to make the leaves from the trees fall down.

It was a lovely sight, seeing the leaves float in the air, going lower and lower, until they touched the ground, which was already filled with the ones that have fallen before them.

That moment, for me, was absolute perfection, and it made me extremely happy to be lucky enough not only to have lived it, but also to have paid attention to it, because that’s what’s often lacking. There are many gorgeous moments that pass us by, but if we don’t lift our heads up to look at them, it’s as if they were never here.

Fall is a wonderful season, which has so many beauties to offer. The colors that surround you when you’re out walking are truly amazing, while the wind, the rain, and the fading sun all add to the wonder of each and every sight. No filter can match that sort of splendor, can it?

/Larisa 🙂

What Have I Been Reading?

Via flickr

As it might be evident to you from reading this blog, I love reading. Of course, I do have some preferences, which means I won’t just read anything out there. I mean, it’s physically possible, but since I like to enjoy the time I spend reading, I prefer to gravitate towards things that I find interesting.

That being said, I have not been reading very much lately. Wait, let me say that again: I have not been reading anything except for course materials. Now that I think about it, I do  a lot of reading, because there’s quite a bit of stuff that I have to read for my classes.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my courses! I might not love everything I study in them, but overall, I’m in love with each one of them. The field of Psychology is something that interests me a whole lot, so it only makes sense that the courses would, too.

However, I can’t help but feel bad about the fact that I haven’t been able to read anything beyond my class material. My “The Sixth Extinction” book is sitting near my bed, silently criticizing my neglecting it. It’s working, too, because I do feel bad about my lack of attention towards this book, that I have loved reading so far, but for which I don’t have the time right now.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get to reading tomorrow.

Oh man… Who am I kidding? I’ve been saying that for the last couple of months…But still…

/Larisa

Spring’s Lessons

DSCN1174

I was taking a walk recently in the midst of trees blooming and the caressing light of the sunset, and I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. It seems to me that spring is just the perfect season for realizing how beautiful life is, but also for understanding that there’s little time to take in all that beauty. I do realize that I’m making some pretty solid claims, so I’ll explain myself.

The first part, that spring reminds us of beauty, I think is pretty self explanatory. It’s hard not to think so, when everything around you is dressed up in nature’s most beautiful attire. Wherever you turn, there’s a beautiful scent to welcome you. When the wind comes out to play, it starts raining with soft petals. Sometimes, the same wind takes those petals and pulls them up in the air, as if trying to show them off to the world.

I think there’s something to be said about the contrast between spring and winter, because it plays a big role in accentuating spring’s beauty. I don’t mean to say that winter is ugly in comparison, because it surely has its own elegance. However, seeing the branches of trees that have been deserted, fill themselves not with leaves, but with flowers, which are infinitely more beautiful, is quite the spectacle. Where there has been silence, now there’s the song of birds to occupy it. After three months of silence, the most beautiful song in the world sounds even more dazzling than it would have normally.

As for my second claim, that spring reminds us of the limited amount of time we have, it might not apply to everyone. For me, however, it does just that. As I’m admiring the view that surrounds me, I cannot help but think of the fact that it will not last for long. The trees will soon lose all their flowers, and leaves will take their rightful place. It’s not a tragedy by any means, because the deep green of those leaves is bound to delight the eyes that fall on it. But you see, we get to spend so much more time with that green than with the white or pink that flowers wear, that it’s easier to get bored of it. And so, we find ourselves in a constraint when it comes to the flowers of the trees. We love them, but we won’t spend a lot of time with them.

DSCN1168

This makes me want to take advantage of every moment I get to enjoy them. I take more walks, I take my nose out of my phone more, and I also find myself looking out the window more. Even when there’s something else I have to do, I prefer to do it outside. So I’ll often take my notes, and study in the park. The fact that I do all this just to get to spend more time with spring is quite unique. Normally, I don’t go out of my way to do things like these. If there’s something I want to do, but don’t have enough time for it, I simply tell myself I’ll do it later.

And that’s precisely where I’m wrong. I don’t have all the time in the world, as I seem to think. While I’m busy finishing whatever needs to be finished, the world around changes. It might change so much that by the time I could do the thing I wanted to do, that thing will no longer be there. Even if it will remain, my attitude towards it might change, so that I won’t want it anymore. “So what?”, you might wander, “if I don’t want it anymore, then where’s the trouble?”. Well, the trouble is that you wanted it at some point, but you didn’t do anything about it. You essentially lost a chance at doing something you would have enjoyed in that moment.

Now, I’m not saying that people should always do whatever they want, and forget about responsibilities. In fact, I think we should never forget about responsibilities. But we should learn to balance them.

As I’m looking out the window now, there are very few trees with flowers left. I do feel a hint of regret in me, but at the same time, I feel happy with myself for having taken advantage of what spring had to offer. I haven’t grasped the appreciation technique quite completely, but I’m starting 🙂

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/Larisa

The Embrace of a Dog

Tommy

The holiday season is all about love: love your family members, love your friends, love the less fortunate, love the entire world. With so much love concentrated on these “big” things, I believe I forgot to love the “little” ones.

Of course, animals aren’t as important as human beings. Well, at least not as important as some human beings. But they are, nevertheless, important.

I love dogs. I always have, though I never really knew just how much, until this summer, when I got one all to myself. He was only two weeks old when he “landed” in my arms, and I took care of him until the summer was over and I had to go back to school.

But this puppy is not the topic of this blog. I have another dog, who has recently turned two, and it is him that I want to talk about today.

I met Tommy when he was about 9 months old. By that time, he had done most of his physical growing, and all that was left was the shaping of his personality. And what a strange, wonderful personality it is. He is proud like no other dog I’ve ever seen. He is smart. Smart enough that he can learn a command after just a few times of me showing it to him. But he is proud enough that he will refuse to carry out that command unless he wants to do it.

He is very different from my other dog. My other dog is full of love, which he will constantly show by throwing himself in my arms, licking my hands, and sitting as close as possible to me at all times. Actually, he often blurs that line by sitting directly on me.

Tommy, on the other hand, is not like that. He will sometimes come to me to pet him, and sometimes he won’t. He doesn’t like to sit really close to me, and in fact, if I happen to sit next to him, he will often get up and walk away.

But not too far away. You see, even though he doesn’t appreciate being too close, he still likes to be within a few meters of me. It took me a long time to notice this, but after a while, I couldn’t ignore the fact that he would always be nearby. If I happened to move, he would magically change his location as well.

Tommy loves too, but in his own way. I’ve seen more proof of it in the past few months than I would be able to ignore. Yet, what strikes me the most is seeing how much Tommy needs to be loved back, despite not showing it all the time.

Being two years old, Tommy doesn’t need as much attention as the other one, who is, after all, still a puppy. I find myself spending more time with the puppy, trying to train him (and failing, more often than not). Tommy just sits in the distance and watches. Sadly, I don’t get to be around him as much as I’d like to, because I always have other things to do, and so I end up petting him hurriedly and then leaving to get on with my day.

Today, however, I couldn’t follow my normal routine, because Tommy asked for my attention in a way he’s never done before.

I went to where he usually sits, to bring him food and water. When he saw me, he started running towards me, giving me just enough time to place the bowls down. I expected he wanted to play, because that’s what he normally does. However, this wasn’t his intention.

When he got close, he jumped on me, with his front paws placed around my waist like a loving embrace. He remained like that, unmoved, looking at me with his beautiful big eyes, as if asking me to return the gesture. So I did. I embraced him back and petted his smooth, black fur for a while.

It may seem like an insignificant moment in the grand scheme of things, but to me, it was magnificent.

/Larisa

Remember

Canadian military during World War II
Canadian military during World War II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”

― Ernest Hemingway

In honor of Canada’s Remembrance Day, I wanted to make a special post, meant to remind us of two things:

1)      Real people fought, were both heroes and monsters, and died for their country in wars

2)      Wars, no matter why they were started, can never be good

 

People die in wars. On occasions, it is civilians whose lives are taken by a mistake, miscalculation, or, on some terrifying occasions, on purpose. However, the death of soldiers is not only consistent, but required.

This horrid word contains death carefully enclosed in its meaning. Though much shorter than the word murder, and with a much less emotional impact on the average person, war carries with it stronger impact and darker meaning.

If the repercussions of wars would be noises, none of us would be able to sleep, as we’d all be tormented by the constant cries of wars’ impacts.

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/video-gallery/video/8985

I came across the story of a Canadian soldier, Arthur-Joseph Lapointe, which you can read by clicking here.

This man fought for Canada during the First World War, and saw on the front things that not even our most wicked nightmares would ever be capable of depicting.

He lived his days among corpses, many of which he had gotten a chance to see when they still carried life in them. He saw death and lived in it.

Sadly, the arms of death can stretch over oceans, and Lapointe discovered this because, upon his return home, he learnt that five of his siblings had passed away due to a flu epidemic.

It is almost impossible, even under the most powerful spell of creativity, to understand the depths of despair at which Lapointe must have sunk in his time on the front, and on his return to a home that was nothing like the one he had left behind.

The war had changed everything: both the inside and outside worlds of every soldier that had fought on the front.

And it still does so today…