Minimalism is a lifelong practice

We started to downsize our possessions well over two years ago, evaluating the items that we use on a frequent basis and discarding the ones that rested on an out-of-reach shelf at the back of the linen closet. We have been working to simplify our lifestyle while continuing to enjoy our adventure. One might assume that after two years, having sold a house and moved overseas, we would have pared down our possessions to our maximum benefit. At least, that’s what we thought. Three months in a small house allow plenty of opportunity for reflection on what one needs to live comfortably.

During those months, we rented a small two-bedroom beach bach (kiwi-speak for ‘cottage’) while waiting for our shipment container to arrive. Last week, upon moving into our house, we were reunited with some 90 boxes of various sizes, containing the items we had packed four and a half months ago to be shipped from Canada to NZ.

While staying in the beach house, we had not missed much of what we had shipped. We had everything we needed, and we were reminded of just how little one truly needs to live comfortably. Our clothes were stored inside individual suitcases, and for the first few days after moving into our house, I worked to become accustomed to walking into my closet to get dressed in the morning, instead of reaching for a suitcase. Shortly after we landed in NZ, I purchased an immersion blender in lieu of a larger standing blender. This small blender works perfectly for smoothies and soups, yet does not take up much room inside the kitchen cupboard. Several weeks ago, while baking a cake for the eldest Wanderlust Junior’s birthday, it occurred to me that I did not have a mixer to make frosting. I used the said immersion blender and the result was better than expected. These days, I choose multi-purpose tools and only spend money on what I know I will use frequently.

Although we were happy to be reunited with a few favourite items, we also understood that we had shipped certain items that we had outgrown within the past few months. Mr. Wanderlust and I understood, after looking at the too-many travel souvenirs that we had kept, that we no longer enjoy many of those items. They are sitting in a box that is to be donated to an op shop (thrift shop, for the non-kiwis). After drowning in the numerous photo albums we had brought with us, I made a decision to stop printing photos on a regular basis. This also applies to our wardrobe. I learned recently that I prefer to wear well-made black, grey, or dark blue tights for yoga, leading me to donate the colourful tights that had been sitting sadly in my closet, all dressed up with nowhere to go. Uncomfortable yoga tops accompanied them in the donations bin.

Some might think that simplifying one’s wardrobe means living with 10-30 items of clothing, and while I do have a seasonal capsule wardrobe, I admit to still having too many items in my closet and will continue to pare down. Some might think that minimalism means living in a tiny home. Others might expect a minimalist to have one nine-to-five job in the interest of simplifying the routine. I work multiple jobs with non-standard hours, and I enjoy this rhythm. Minimalism might be the latest fad word, but for me, it is a lifestyle practice that I am pursuing at my own pace as I continue to re-evaluate what works best for me and my family today.

Join the conversation by leaving a comment below. I’d like to know whether you have a bin into which you add items to donate to an op / thrift shop.

About the time when we bought a house in a foreign country… Online

On Valentine’s Day, we purchased a house in New Zealand while still living in Canada. Two days before our 11th wedding anniversary, we moved into our new home.

After we had made a decision about the city in NZ in which to settle, having done some research to determine in which neighbourhood we want to live, we started browsing, on a daily basis, the local NZ real estate site. We had been researching for almost a year before spotting a house that felt perfect from the moment we first clicked on the listing. In fact, I had the same feeling 10 years prior about a charming house north-east of Toronto that quickly became our home and which we were preparing to list in preparation for our move. This particular house near Tauranga was in an ideal location for us, and only a short drive or a slightly longer walk to the beach. After a telephone call and Skype walk-through with the real-estate agent (the internet is a marvellous thing), we knew we had found our next home.

We sold our Toronto-area house on February 9th, and five days later, on a snowy Valentine’s evening, we took part in our first auction, our first real estate auction, and our first real estate auction to buy a house outside of a country where we had been living at the time. Have I mentioned that the internet can be wondrous? We were also grateful for the time difference that allowed us to take part in the auction at home, outside our regular office hours.

Prior to that experience, we were unfamiliar with real estate auctions, as well as other kiwi real estate jargon. Essentially, an auction is a clever tactic to generate a friendlier version of the bidding war and to get the seller the best value for the house. Mr. Wanderlust and I were on a long-distance call with the real estate agent, who sat in the auction room. At the same time, we watched the auction on a live website. Several other houses were sold first, each going within a matter of minutes. Houses? Hot cakes? Potato / potahto?

Our pulse quickened as we watched a now familiar photo of ‘our’ home appear on the screen. Two minutes later, we were the new owners of a house near Tauranga. We immediately phoned our parents. Repeating the phrase “We just bought a house in NZ” made the fact more palpable. My parents were incredulous.

“You bought a house, sight-unseen?”

“Not exactly,” I assured them. “We had a virtual walk-through via Skype.”

Later, when I showed them the photos, they fell almost as much in love with the house as we are. Perhaps it might be considered unusual to purchase property online, but we knew in our hearts that we had made the right decision.

Mr. Wanderlust, the Wanderlust Juniors, and I visited the house in person several days after we landed in NZ. We were pleased to find that we love our home even more after actually walking through it, finding it in excellent move-in condition. We looked forward to making it ours.

On mutual agreement with the vendors, we set our moving date to late July, and moved in two days before our 11th wedding anniversary. A house is a somewhat unconventional present, but we have always been pragmatic. We jokingly refer to it as the romantic gift to ourselves that keeps on giving. After spending three months in a sweet but very small beach house in which we sometimes – particularly on rainy days – felt all too clearly a shortage of personal space, we are enjoying every moment in our new nest.

A leap of faith feels right sometimes, particularly with a supportive partner.

In the next post, I will share with you several lessons that our family learned while living out of suitcases for three months in a small two-bedroom cottage.

House2

House1

The guilt of unbusyness

When Mr. Wanderlust and I were considering a move to NZ, one of the major deciding factors was our quest toward a quieter life. We had become used to working full-time in the corporate world, rushing every morning to prepare breakfast and pack lunches before taking the Wanderlust Juniors to school, then rush again to the school at 5 p.m. to pick them up from an after-school program, then rush to an evening class. Yes, I did just use the word ‘rush’ and its derivative thrice in one sentence. Our children used to spend more time at their school than we did at our workplaces. Every family must make its own decisions about how to bring up children, based on individual values, and this lifestyle never sat comfortably with me. Although we both enjoyed our work, we sought a schedule that would allow us more leeway to truly enjoy life without needing to race toward the weekend at breakneck speed. That was why we moved to NZ.

Mr. Wanderlust continues to work full-time in our new setting, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead several yoga classes per week. I am continuing to search for additional opportunities, but I do so at a more relaxed pace. After leading classes for three evenings in a row, I felt tired on Thursday last week and decided to dedicate the day to myself, to read, enjoy a leisurely walk, and do some knitting.

I would love to say that I felt gloriously relaxed while sitting on the cosy couch. Instead, I felt guilt at sitting on the couch on a weekday afternoon when many others, including my partner, were immersed in their work. I felt guilt at dedicating some time to my well-being when I could have invested that time in more lucrative pursuits. I could have spent that time preparing dinner for our family. Have you ever felt that pang of guilt? It tends to visit at the worst of times, often after we had been running off our feet and the much awaited downtime has finally arrived. That’s when it sneaks up on us.

We chose the slower life and are continuing to work toward it. I remind myself daily that there is no need to rush, or to spend every waking minute working or planning ahead for the work that is yet to be done. We do not need to schedule every minute of the day. Instead, we should carve out time to focus on self-care. We should carve out time to enjoy a walk in the park or on the beach. We should slow down to say ‘hello’ to a neighbour. We should prioritise leisure time on the couch or in bed with a great book and — in my case — yarn and needles. We should spend more time gardening, practising yoga, or enjoying a delicious cup of coffee at a favourite cafe. It’s also about becoming comfortable with the pangs of guilt that sometimes sneak up on us, then giving ourselves permission to simply sit back without adhering to a packed timetable.

Having spent the afternoon on the couch, I felt recharged as I drove to pick up the Wanderlust Juniors from school, then helped them with their homework and prepared our dinner. Here’s a little known fact of adulthood: Becoming less busy helps us to put our lives in perspective, fine-tuning our focus for the work that matters most; in turn, we end up wasting less time on what is inconsequential. 

It’s a radical decision, to work toward becoming less busy and to enjoy life at a slower pace, and I am embracing my quiet rebellious side. It’s okay to do less and be more.

How do you practise becoming less busy? Please leave a comment below.

DSCN8499
Beautiful Waihi Beach

Favourites from around the web:

The Kind Gesture that Helps Elizabeth Gilbert Find the Light on Her Worst Days

Creative Ways to Inspire Your Yoga Practice this Summer

The Life-Changing Habit of Journaling

How to Retain More from the Books You Read

How to Read an Entire Book in a Single Day

DSCN8518
Waihi Beach in late June

Driving in New Zealand

DSCN8526 DSCN8548 DSCN8531

“I must say, you’re driving quite well,” Mr. Wanderlust complimented me on our second day in NZ. No sooner had he uttered those words that I drove over a curb while manoeuvering a roundabout. A few days later, on our way to Maclaren Falls, we had our first taste of navigating winding roads at 100 km/h. We have also experienced the thrill of driving near the awe-inspiring Karangahake Gorge on the way to Auckland. It felt like an adventure at the time. It still is, but we now feel more comfortable driving on NZ’s beautiful roads, both in town and in rural areas.

Immediately after landing, following a five-hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver, then an 18-hour flight to Auckland and a significantly shorter flight to Tauranga, we hired a car for our first few days in NZ. We were able to load that car with a few pieces of our luggage. We paid for a taxi to transport the remaining suitcases to the house in which we are staying. I circled the taxi, to the amusement of the driver, before recalling that here, what I had come to know as the passenger side is, in fact, the driver’s side.

We had planned to start driving in NZ immediately following our arrival. We felt that this was the best strategy to allow us to become used to driving on the left side. We knew that the sooner we were to get out on the road, the sooner we would feel comfortable driving in our new place. It is easy for me to overthink and overplan, quickly pushing myself to a point of mental and emotional fatigue. Instead, on our second day in NZ, I announced to Mr. Wanderlust that I was to drive the car to the grocery store and to run a few additional errands. 

Mr. Wanderlust and I recently watched The Holiday, and laughed at the scene in which Cameron Diaz’s character freaks out when she get behind the wheel of a car in England. Fortunately, that experience was far from our reality.

Just as, on our first day, I continued to remind Mr. Wanderlust to stay closer to the centre of the road, he did the same for me, reminding me to avoid the curbside and parked vehicles. Before entering or exiting a parking lot, we reminded each other to stay to the left. We also quickly learned to navigate the numerous roundabouts in our city.

These days, we enjoy the serenity of driving along our small city’s two-lane roads. Goodbye, the stress of the 401! The dunes that separate the beach from the road along which we drive to take the Wanderlust Juniors to school in the morning feel like home. Equestrians on horseback can often be seen practising on the grass in front of the dunes. From time to time, we ride alongside tractors on their way to a nearby farm. We are most certainly not in Toronto, but this other T-town is slowly starting to feel like home.

Here’s to going out and winging life, instead of staying at home and contemplating the next move!

canada

If you are reading this on July 1st, we are wishing all our Canadian friends a wonderful 150th Canada Day!

Seasonal confusion

June23a

I write this while watching the rain fall and listening to the wind whistle outside the window of our beach house. This is winter weather in the Bay of Plenty, on the east coast of NZ’s north island. Earlier this morning, the Wanderlust Juniors and I speed-walked to school, huddled together under an umbrella bent out of shape by a strong wind gust. Yet, it’s also warm out, with a daily high of 15-16°C. It would be embarrassing of me to complain about the lack of sunshine in such mild winter weather. I have never been a fan of cold weather, and I love rainy days, with their invitation for introspection.

The Wanderlust Juniors share their puzzled thoughts with me: “When are we going to celebrate Christmas?” I explained to them, again, that although the winter season in NZ is in June, July, and August — the months that we have come to think of as a time of hot, lazy days that stretch on — Christmas is celebrated everywhere in the world on December 25th, regardless of the season. I sympathise with my children’s confusion. A winter without snow does not feel unusual to me. Growing up, I spent several years in Israel where winters were rainy, with a wet chill, similar in fact to winters in our part of NZ. Yet, it does feel odd to think of winter without Christmas and New Year’s Eve, just as, I am sure, it will feel especially strange to celebrate those holidays in the midst of summer.

During a Skype conversation, my mother-in-law shows off a beautiful shift dress that she wears almost on a daily basis, telling me that the weather in the Toronto area has cooled down slightly after last week’s 30°C. We purchased the dress together, three summers ago, at an outdoor market in Kincardine, Ontario while on a summer holiday. I sit at my computer with the heater before me, snuggled inside my favourite grey wrap cardigan that she gifted to me two years ago. The cardigan, the dress, and my in-laws’ faces so close to mine, separated only by the screen of the laptop, blur the mid-summer and mid-winter into one undefinable interconnecting season.

June 23b

Favourites from around the web:

Why You Need “White Space” in Your Daily Routine

“Time scarcity is like kryptonite for creativity. If we want to create an environment that nourishes innovation and imagination, we need to build quiet counterpoints into our daily rhythm. These small moments of “white space”— where we have time to pause and reflect, or go for a walk, or just breathe deeply for a few moments — are what give balance and flow and comprehension to our lives as a larger whole.”

The Secret to Small Talk

“Watching Eli throw himself into every social encounter, it occurred to me that, in similar situations, I focus so much on saying exactly the right thing that I hardly pay any attention to the other person. I’m more concerned about how I look to them than I am about getting to know them. Lacking that concern, Eli grasped what has long eluded me: that most people aren’t excessively judgmental. They’re quick to forgive. And more often than not, they want to connect.”

Resilience and Emotional Agility

Previously on Mindful Daydreamer:

A year ago on the blog: Multipotentiality Exploration

Two years ago on the blog: Watching and Weaving

Wishing you a fulfilling weekend!

What’s an introvert to do?

Two conversations, 14 hours apart, have served as a reminder for me to a) stop overthinking everything, b) get out of my cosy, comfortable, safe shell, and c) drop the labels.

The first exchange was with a woman whom I met on Monday evening. Having lived in several places before settling in NZ, she discreetly snuck in a peace of advice for me to work harder at making friends with the locals, many of whom, in her opinion, are more reserved than North Americans. She must have sensed a whisper-thin trace of loneliness that rested, unspoken, between the lines. Immediately, a sarcastic voice somewhere at the back of my head jeered, “Oh, lovely news for an introvert like me, who has often dreaded the mere idea of having to make the first step toward meeting people.”

On Tuesday morning, as I walked back to my car after taking the Wanderlust Juniors to school, a friendly voice brought me to the present moment, dissipating thoughts of a not-so-distant past. I turned my head and was met with the beautiful smile of a fellow yoga mum who beamed warmly at me as she invited me to attend a class at her studio. More reserved, my foot, I smiled to myself.

I have often hid behind the ‘introvert’ label, using it as a shield from the outside world and as an excuse to stay at home with my books, living vicariously through literary characters and their adventures instead of creating my own. Classifying myself as an introvert is akin to making a sweeping generalisation about the characteristics of a certain group of people. Besides, even extroverts enjoy a cosy evening at home from time to time.

So, what is an introvert to do in a new town, in a new country? She shall be compassionate toward herself and others. She shall ever so gently nudge herself out of her comfy shell, reminding herself of her past triumphs and hiccups that have served as incredible lessons. She shall leave behind any previous labels that have been assigned to her before and which she had assigned to herself, that have served to educate her about herself and the world around her but which, at times, can feel divisive. She shall keep an open mind and an open heart. She shall brush aside traces of doubt before they threaten to disturb her peace. She shall give herself room for introspection, but remind herself that here, in this moment, is where the potential for magic dwells.

I suspect that these reminders might also be timely for others.

Thank you for reading and sharing this blog with a friend.

Stripes2 small

*** Both photographs used in today’s story are courtesy of the incredible Christa Pauwels of Christichka Photography. ***

Favourites from around the web:

10 Literary Romances, Put to the Happily-Ever-After Test — The perfect amount of entertainment to accompany my mid-morning tea.

Making a Marriage Magically Tidy

Integrating Yoga into Daily Life — A great podcast with Canadian yoga teachers Natalie Rousseau and Melanie Phillips

How to Care Deeply without Burning Out

How to parent like a minimalist

To the Hills – Part II, in which we meet an unlikely tour guide

The first time I visited Papamoa Hills, with the Wanderlust Juniors, we walked along the main track to the summit. A week later, when I returned to the hills with Mr. Wanderlust, we climbed over a fence, beckoned by an irresistible view, and chose to take the path less travelled. The choice was easy. We walked toward the sun and the dew-glistened grassy peaks that reminded us of a scene from The Hobbit. The main path provides a great cardio and lower body toning workout, but that’s not what we were after on this day. I have been working to move away from my old tendency to rush through life, to choose to work harder, to move faster, to get more done in a short amount of time. These days, I give myself permission to slow down and enjoy the journey. I’m tired of trying too hard to make something happen. I have been making conscious decisions to keep moving ahead with an attitude of ease and softness.

DSCN8355

These days, I also allow myself, from time to time, to be guided by someone — or something — else. I settle into the backseat and let someone else drive and navigate. Like Alice, I lean into the adventure and allow curiosity to write the story. We wandered along the grassy, gently sloping path, welcoming the warmth of the sun on an otherwise cool morning. As we rounded a corner, we found ourselves almost face-to-face with an unlikely tour guide: a brown cow. She stood still before us, her gaze wandering between us, the visitors, and her fellow grazers on the hillside, behind the low electric fence. Somehow, she had become separated from them.

DSCN8356

The cow sauntered before us and we followed at the same unhurried pace, not daring to attempt to pass behind her every time she slowed and then came to stand still. She positioned her body to block our path entirely, then reluctantly turned her head to glare at us, unimpressed. We had intruded upon her as she tried to make sense of her predicament and now waited for her to continue to move forth. We followed her lead, accompanied by the curious surveillance of the other cows whose breakfast we had interrupted. They ogled us while continuing to chew mouthfuls of grass, their scent transporting me to my childhood summers on the farm in Siberia where my mother grew up and where, much to my repugnance, my grandmother had once attempted to teach me to milk a cow.

DSCN8361

After a short meditative walk, our reluctant tour guide reached a fence and a locked gate, and without so much as a quick glance at us, stepped off the path with surprising grace, giving us passage over the fence, and proceeded with her own snacking on a particularly lush mound of long grass. We turned to thank our gentle guide for leading us along the path and saw that, although she remained separate from her herd, she resigned herself to this situation and continued to do what came to her with ease.

DSCN8410

We continued our journey, climbing over fences to sit on a bench overlooking peaceful farmlands, our new neighbourhood, and the vast ocean beyond. I twirled and danced, singing a few lines from The Sound of Music, much to the amusement of my husband, who was thankful for our solitude on that quiet hill. Then, we proceeded with our walk to the summit, relying on the maps upon which we stumbled along the way. As for our tour guide, I suspect she quietly awaited the return of the farmer at the end of the day, then gratefully followed his lead. How’s that for a lesson in acquiescence?

Are you enjoying this blog? Please share it with a friend.


 

If you were not able to join my live Facebook video earlier this week, you may watch it at your leisure. In it, I share with you my insights to help you reconnect to mindfulness and joy on a daily basis.


Interested in reading more? Here are a couple of posts from the archives:

A year ago on the blog: A story of commitment, dedication, and love

Two years ago on the blog, and something with which I continue to grapple today: A Story to Tell

To the Hills – Part I

On Tuesday, June 13th at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time / Wednesday, June 14th at 12 p.m. NZ time, I will be LIVE on Facebook, talking about how we can practise mindfulness and rediscover joy every day. I look forward to chatting with you.


DSCN8309 DSCN8315 DSCN8343

The sun’s rays broke briefly through the low moody clouds as we sat on a bench that was missing its third plank. The Wanderlust Juniors ate mandarins and granola bars, then the eldest boy fine-tuned his binoculars, a family antique gifted to him by my dad, to better observe the sheep grazing on the hillside. The gloomy clouds reflected our thoughts and emotions, having said goodbye to Mr. Wanderlust the night before at the airport. On Day 1 of his week-long business trip, we felt his absence.

I gently encouraged the Wanderlust Juniors to continue walking up the track to the summit of Papamoa Hills. Reluctantly, they agreed to my idea with the promise that they would later relax at home with a movie. Given a choice, in a manner not at all resembling their usual enthusiasm for adventure outings, they would have spent that entire day indoors, coming up with ideas that would inevitably lead to some kind of trouble. In the interest of self-care, and in trying to keep a copacetic state in my household, I could not have agreed to such a proposition. We needed to leave our small beach bungalow, with its stuffy misplaced emotions. I needed to clear my head of concern about Mr. Wanderlust as I waited to learn of his safe arrival at his destination after a 16-hour flight. I also needed space to breathe after having stopped too many mischievous incidents within the first hour after the boys’ too-early rising. Shortly after 8 o’clock, having packed a small picnic and my camera, we took a short drive to the hills.

The crystal-clear air beckoned forth as we walked the inclining path. The low silver pillows of clouds hovered menacingly overhead, yet we solemnly continued our trek. One boy would stop after every few steps to play dreamily with stones that he picked up along the way, or to collect a couple of sticks. The other would race ahead, then halt and wait for us to catch up. It would be dishonest of me to say that I did not at times feel a pang of frustration at the snail’s pace of our walk. That feeling would arise every time I noticed that another person who had passed by us not long ago on the way up was already returning down the path toward us. I reminded myself to enjoy the flow, however slow it may feel at times, to stop when they stop, to move when they move, to forget my agenda and give up control. Besides, I shrugged, anything is better than trying to entertain two bored boys inside a small home. Before long, we had reached the summit but did not linger. The triumphant ascend reminded my two excitable boys of their adventurous enthusiasm and they raced each other along the winding track to the parking lot.

Later, at home, following a comforting Skype chat with Mr. Wanderlust, the atmosphere felt significantly lighter. The sky released its own heavy weight as the rain came after lunch, making our afternoon at home with a movie and banana-chocolate chip cake all the more cosy.

A week later, Mr. Wanderlust and I returned to the hills for a morning date. Come back on Friday to read part II of the story, in which I tell you of our outing with an unlikely tour guide.

DSCN8325

Favourites from around the web:

Wisdom from Anne Lamott

In defence of slow fitness This is my approach to exercise.

Networking 101: Make Friends Not Contacts

Five ways to survive entertaining as an introvert This is always a good reminder for me.

Something quirky for the fellow grammar nerd: The Oxford Comma’s Online Dating Profile

Thank you for sharing this blog with a friend.

Foreshadowing. Could a favourite children’s book have predicted the future?

Slinky Malinki was blacker than black

A stalking and lurking adventurous cat.

He had bright yellow eyes, a warbling wail

And a kink at the end of his very long tail.

slinky

After Mr. Wanderlust and I started to announce that we were expecting our first baby, a couple of our friends very thoughtfully surprised us with three children’s books. One of those, Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd, would quickly become a favourite for the eldest Wanderlust Junior, later for the youngest, and also for us, the parents. We admired the quirky illustrations of adorable Slinky Malinki the cat, and the Wanderlust Juniors used to comment that he looked very much like our own late cat, Meeshu. It wasn’t long before our boys, learning to speak, started to complete the words at the end of each stanza. Without needing to try, we had memorized the funny rhyming story.

DSCN7987
Hello there, Slinky!

Shortly after arriving in NZ, we started to notice illustrations of a dog called Hairy Maclary in bookshops, the local library, and at the school, and we quickly deduced that the same illustrator also worked on Slinky Malinki. It turns out we were correct.

DSCN7996
I wasn’t able to capture Slinky lurking off to the right-hand side of the kerfuffle scene.

When we first visited the Tauranga waterfront playground, we delighted at a garden of sculptures of a group of dogs that chased a hissing, distressed cat up a pole. A second cat lurks nearby, obscured by a low wooden barrier just steps from the unsuspecting, distracted dogs. Yes, you would be correct to guess that the stalking and lurking kitty was our old friend Slinky. Our investigation concluded a minute later, after we read a nearby sign about Lynley Dodd, who is originally from Rotorua and is a resident of Tauranga. As has happened several times within the past seven weeks since our arrival in NZ, Mr. Wanderlust and I looked at each other with eyes wide in marvel, then laughed.

“The signs were there all along.”

DSCN8000
Leader of the pack and a new favourite literary character, Hairy Maclary
DSCN7998
Wonderful detail

DSCN7991

For over seven years, we read from a beloved book that, somehow, unbeknownst to us, would lead us to its place of origin in what has become our new home.

Do you believe in signs?

DSCN8003
Stalking and lurking, indeed.

Kites and community

Thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s post about homesickness / expat sadness and shared tips and stories. As I seek community in my new home, I also continue to find comfort with my friends and loved ones in other parts of the world.

More on that in today’s blog post…

On Sunday, my dear friend Shlomit was present in my thoughts as I watched the beautiful bluebird kite she gifted to us before we left Canada soar high in the perfect azure sky. The gentle breeze was just as perfect, allowing the brilliant blue kite to hover peacefully in the sunshine among so many others! Standing on the grassy field in the park of Tauranga’s Matua neighbourhood, we had joined many other families who had come to take part in Matariki Kite Day, a festival that celebrates the Maori new year.

4June_Kites

We stood transfixed, gazing attentively at the bird with what I acknowledged to be a sense of tranquility as it dawned on me that I had never flown a kite as a child. As I listed to the rolling laughter of the Wanderlust Juniors, I wondered at how I grew up without having ever stepped onto a grassy field or the sandy beach to experience the sheer pleasure of holding in my hand the reins of something so pretty that transforms the darkest of moods, that plants a rainbow in our hearts.

kite3

I have been pondering the symbolism of kites in literature, thinking of The Kite Runner, where the image of a kite resurrects memories of carefree childhood and innocence. Ziggy Marley, in Love is my Religion, sings, “I don’t want to fight; hey, let’s go fly a kite.” In Maori cultures, the kites of Matariki symbolise a connection between the heavens and earth. While peacefully gazing up at the kaleidoscopic textiles dancing in the gentle breeze, we forget about the ‘to do’ list of the day. Kite meditation — what a brilliant concept! We forget, for a while, about our agenda for the evening as we stand still, smiling in the magic of the moment, surrounded by so many others in our community who have united with one simple desire, to marvel at the peaceful beauty of something so simple and at once so powerful.

kite2

When was the last time you flew a kite?


Favourites from around the web:

Why Everything We Know About Salt May be Wrong

More mindfulness: The Japanese skill copied by the world

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Wishing you a marvelous week with unlimited potential!