I am grateful for…

…Monday morning.

There was a time, not too long ago, when I was not grateful for any morning, let alone Mondays. A new beginning, a new day, a new opportunity. Whenever I heard or read any of this, I rolled my eyes and went back to hide under the covers. Yes, I was depressed and yes, I hadn’t yet hit the bottom.

And there was another time, even longer ago, when Monday was just another day feeding into another week which was part of another month of an infinite row of years. Yes, that’s how we think when we are young: that we are eternal and time will always be on our side, aren’t we stupid. A good number of years in that – now I know it’s rather finite – row passed before I got to the bottom of that depression valley, and all the Mondays – slowly but surely – lost their flavour and excitement and joy.

Until one day. I don’t even remember if it was a Monday – probably not. It doesn’t matter. Out of the blue came the memory of another day from that forgotten youth when a nice kind man had woken me up to say “I have news for you.” (We had had a conversation the previous night and I had confessed to him that sunny mornings were not giving me joy any longer). So I said: “Yeah, what kind of news?”

“Well, mixed really. The bad news is that it’s sunny outside…” – he said seriously.

I smiled thinking of our talk. “Oh yeah?”

“… and the good news is that it’s sunny outside.” – he smiled back at me.

I didn’t get it then, I thought he was just trying to look smart to impress me. He was, in a way (long story short, he’s my husband of twenty years now). I got out of bed, had breakfast with him, and then we walked through sparkling snow for about 4 hours. He was courting me, it was lovely.

Six years ago, he watched me helplessly while I drowned in my own sorrows. Then, as I was saying, that memory came back and I got it: it was all about perspective. You’d think I’m pretty obtuse, how could I not get that in the first place? Oh, but I did: in my head. It sounded like a joke then. And suddenly, so many years later, it sank into my heart and it became reality.

It’s Monday morning. The sun is shining. What? It’s cloudy? So? The sun is still there, above the clouds, and your brain knows it. Now let your heart be flooded with its warmth. Feel the new beginning, the new day, the new opportunity. Life is yours to live it. You gotta want it – and why wouldn’t you? It’s in your power to change everything. Yes, gradually – you know, they say Rome wasn’t built in a day either, and that’s one true saying. So start with that step you don’t want to take and just be grateful for today.

Happy Monday!

Time for a Treat

Thursday morning. Man, it’s the middle of the week. Bad news: work is still there and won’t go away by the weekend (worse than bad news: you don’t have a job; keep reading and hopefully you’ll find some helpful ideas below). Good news: you can take a break any time to recharge your batteries. And what better time than today!

Today you’re gonna GO OUT and have coffee, tea or lunch. With or without a friend. Preferably “with” – a friend who’ll have coffee with you at any time really cares for you and…

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(yes, this is my photo of a sewing kit I bought and I intend to sew this little thing – will post it when ready)

But maybe you are a loner and you don’t have friends (yet! – you’ll make some in due time, plus see picture above). That’s OK, you have a date with your best “friend” then: YOU.

You’re gonna dress nicely for this, even if you go to the cheapest place in town. Why? You respect yourself, you respect your audience, friends, family etc. It all starts with you. Even Jesus Christ gave us the command as such: “Love your neighbour like yourself.” Well, if you don’t love yourself, you can’t really love someone else. Makes sense? That coffee you’re gonna have will make YOU feel good first and foremost, whether you’re helping yourself or others. Get that?

So start with putting on your best comfortable clothes and shoes. Open the door and go straight to that shop and try spot a table by the window or by the fireplace or in a nook. It’s part of treating yourself. Enjoy every sip. This is not the time to start dieting (by the way, any diet sucks – if it’s not attached to a doctor’s prescription or to a healthy and balanced pattern of fasting, don’t inflict it on yourself. I’ll write a separate posting about fasting, promise.)

Talk to your friend or to your self. Take that half an hour or more to focus on positive things. It’s OK if you need to cry and be comforted, just try not leave the table on a sad or angry note. Think of something good for that last sip.

Worst case scenario: you’re totally miserable, you don’t have any friends, you don’t have any money, your best clothes are mostly rags. OK. All it takes is your will power. Do you wanna feel better? Here’s what you do: You put on your best rags. You take a look at that Monday mirror and see that you’re enough the way you are. You get out of your current physical environment and step into a coffee shop and ask for a glass of water and sit by any available window for 10 minutes. Think about the good stuff in your life, anytime, anywhere. There must be something, dig deep into your memory and let the good bits resurface. If a bad memory tries to take over, push it aside gently saying: “I don’t need you right now.” You do this exercise as often as you can (think of), and in a short time you’ll feel better, more confident, richer and more sociable. Stick to it, baby. It’s called the discipline of feeling good.

In any of these instances, appreciate you took the time to dress up and go out because you deserve it.

Happy Thursday!

 

The Winner

I met him once at a party. Slight chances for both of us to have been invited to the same event, never mind attending it. We are in different professions, different social strata, different network circles. Close age though. In a rather ordinary manner, we crossed paths at the bar. There, he grabbed my drink by mistake. He seemed absent minded as I watched him bring the rim of the glass to his lips. 

“Excuse me, that’s my drink. And I believe you won’t like that.”

He blinked and looked straight at me. “Oh. Pardon.” He stretched his hand so brusquely, the drink spilled.

“That’s fine” I said as I took the glass and handed him his. “You look a bit lost. And more than a bit like Vincent Cassel.”

“I am Vincent Cassel.” He smiled.

“Oh. Pardon.” I smiled.

“Pourquoi?” 

“For striking a bit of conversation. You will think I am a fan.”

“And you’re not?” The smile was still there and it got an amused touch.

“I saw you in a few movies. Tough guy. But quite flexible. The Ocean 12 scene where you steal that fake jewel is literally one of my favourite. I think the background music did the trick.”

“Interesant…”

“Will you stop switching to French? This gets flirty.”

“You don’t like French?”

“What is this, an interview? I have a date tonight. Excuse-moi, s-il vous plait.”

I made myself lost in the crowd. Joined one or two other conversations. Tried to make business with an elderly couple who wanted to redecorate their empty nest. As I was handing them my card, I heard his voice over my shoulder.

“I wouldn’t mind a card, s-il vous plait.”

I turned around and smiled broadly. “That was my last. But I can send you a text so you have my number. If you have a phone, that is. Provided you tell me why you want my number.”

“I have a phone, oui.” 

I waited.

“You want the number?”

“Why?” I insisted. 

“Because I need a decorating quote for my new house.”

“That’s not true” I said.

“No, c’est pas vrai. But there’s no other way to continue talking to you. We know nothing of each other.”

“A-ha. And there are no subjects you can think of. Are you always so unsure of yourself? I thought French people had unbounded confidence.”

“And why is that?” he inquired.

“Why, French are arrogant. Who is better than the French? Does anyone dare compare?”

“What other French have you met?”

“A few from France. And lots of Quebecois. I live in Canada. We the Anglophones are not particularly fond of them. Though it really should be irrelevant. French are losers. History has proven it repeatedly.”

“Hmm… vous utilisez des clichees. I thought you’d be more interesting than that.”

“… And yet, no subject. Seulement du flirt.”

He laughed. “I like you.”

“So flattered, monsieur. Where do we go from here?”

The funny thing is that we kept talking. He was quite a conversationalist. Or in French, un causeur. The proof to that is that I do not remember one iota of what we talked about. We wandered through the crowd, seemingly open to talk to others, but I had this strong feeling none of us wanted to let go. At some point, a friend grabbed my arm and said “I got a deal for you.” I looked at Cassel and said:

“It seems like we never exchanged those numbers.”

He laughed. “You’re a sore loser, ma chere anglophone.”

“Right. C’etait un grand plaisir de faire la votre connaissance.”

There was tons of gallantry in his blue eyes. “Moi non plus, madame.”

“Oh, you French! Incorrigible.”

I haven’t heard from him since. There was no way I could have. We are in different professions, different social strata, different network circles. The only thing we have in common is a beautiful conversation we inadvertently had one evening some time ago. And in that, dear Vincent, you’re not the sole winner.