Monday, April 30, 2012


I've been reading a little book called 'The Art of Simplicity' by Candy Paull and it has made me think and rethink about what simplicity is.

Last June I moved into this little place on the beach. A little loft with a deck and ocean views from almost every room, here, on my little peace of paradise I started practicing the art of shedding. Shedding possessions, since the space is restrict I finally come to realize that I really don't need much at all. Anne Murrow Lindenberg said in the book 'Gift from the Sea'

' learns first of all in beach living the art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much. Physical shedding to begin with, which then mysteriously spreads into other fields...'

I have the basics in my little place, basics that makes my life simple yet comfortable. Surrounded by books that have been illuminating my journey to the center of myself. A journey I took in order to destroy myths I have believed in for most of my life; a journey to remove weeds that I have allowed to grow and fed with my own thoughts and actions, allowing them to became strong in my soul; a journey to clear the dust, to face my own demons and let them rest; a journey to open the windows that have been closed for too long and let the sun shine, to bring a new light onto my old self.

I have no illusions that this will be an easy task. It has began about 7 months ago and since it started I have experienced things that are not comfortable to experience. I have realized that it doesn't matter what I say or do, in the end, people's words and action can only affect me as much as I allow them to, and to realize that I have been allowing other people to weaken my soul and spirit is not the best vision of myself.

My spirit was broken, my faith shaken to the core, even my body has weaken, as to reflect all the inside turmoil out, to a point of requiring medical attention. The need for solitude, to listen and understand what is happening grows stronger, I believe it is the next necessary step on this transformation.

I have to confess that it scares me. Sometimes I feel like running back to my shell and closing it in. To a place I feel safe and it doesn't hurt...but no matter how hard it might be, there is this voice inside that tells me that this journey has to be taken and no one can do it for me. This is the beginning of a new life. The life I have been searching for, so I must go on.

But today is Sunday, it's a beautiful day outside, and I have decided that I am spending this magnificent day at the beach, which is what I love to do the most. I got my mp3, a book, my beach chair, a blanket, notebook and pen and I was gone.

Laying on my chair, looking at the horizon, feeling the sand under my feet, made me think about all that I have been reading and how truly simple life can be. Think about how much we go, many times, completely out of our way, to bring complication in.

We live in a world that clamors for "more! more! more!" and forget our own childhood wonders, freedom, purity and simple happiness...a time when all that we needed was the loving hug and kisses of our parents and we knew then that everything else would be okay.

Simplicity opens the way to the heart, a place where we still can - if we take the time of our hustling and bustling lives - find the peace, quiet and hear the voice that guides us.

Simplicity is making elegant choices, treasuring precious moments, and valuing what is of eternal worth. Michelangelo saw in a crude piece of marble the wonder and beauty of the statue of David, we, like David have that inner beauty hidden in the complexity of the lives we create around us.

Simple and easy are not the same thing. Simplicity brings easy, but it is not always easy. Easy is the wish for a magic potion, an instant solution. Easy formulas that reduce life to quantifiable processes are the fascination of our times.

Simplicity is more organic and complex, a pearl of great price that must be sought after with the heart, not just the head. A Simple life is obtained focusing on the essentials of life, rather than allowing desires and fears to take the driver seat. Simplicity is finding abundance in the small things and re-discovering the wonder we once knew.

Now, sitting at the beach and letting my thoughts fly free to the horizon where the water meets the blue sky, made me think about many other times in life, reminded me that it doesn't matter how bad things might be in certain phases of our lives...if we take a break and re-focus we will find that there is still a very special little voice inside each and everyone of us, and all that we need to do is hear it to realize that the things that really count in life are love, faith, hope, health, laugh, joy, freedom, nature, the music of our souls, family and friends....they all are free of monetary cost and offer rewards that money can't buy....all the other things, well, they are just distractions, just a scrap of metal where you can see your own reflection and nothing more.

Focus on what is important, find who you really are and let it show. Take a little step of courage each and every minute on this journey and learn the art of simplicity.

Noemi Cardoso 05/30/2010

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Art of Simplicity.

The Art of Simplicity - Candy Paull

The art of simplicity is not only about things and experiences, it's about the choices you make and how you cultivate character. The old fashioned virtues have been neglected, but they are timeless essentials for a fulfilling life. You know how complex life can get when you procrastinate so long that a neglected problem takes on a life of its own. Suddenly the leak has becaxme a flood, the pile of paper an avalanche inundating your desk, the little white lies turn into a complicated attempt to remember the stories you told. Sometimes the difficult choices turn out to be the simplest choices of all. The choices and atitudes that make life simpler and easier are ones of character and integrity.

One of the easiest ways to cultivate inner simplicity is to practice gratitude. By giving thanks for what we receive, we encourage the universe to shower even more of the good things of life upon us. We come to realize that we are rich in the things that count.

'Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.'- Melody Beattie

'Only one thing is more frightening than speaking the truth. And that is not speaking.'- Naomi Wolf

Most 'looked for' course in Harvard is...

It is Friday night, and while sitting on the couch, working on some research on my computer, I have the TV on for some background noise, then the announcer on RI PBS announces the next segment on the show, it got my undivided attention - The topic is the most 'signed up for' class in Harvard. No, it's not law, no, not mathematics either, and not any of the other expected fields either. The most looked for class in Harvard is 'HOW TO BE HAPPY'.

Yes, that is right. The course with the most number of sign ups for is exactly that 'HOW TO BE HAPPY - WHAT IT TAKES TO BE HAPPY'. I got to say, it makes me think.
Funny is to realize that we grow up learning so many, things like how to read, how to behave, how to speak, learning different languages, how to play sports, how to be successful at work, in life in almost everything we do, but we usually don't learn the most important thing in life - HOW TO BE HAPPY. Sitting here and thinking about as I write I realize that this to-do list is basically made to make us conform to what the world and others expect from us. It sounds like we are doing something wrong in the path, and messing up the whole balance of life.

Go figure! Like most people, we worry about all the other things that relate to others and how others will perceive us, how will others be able to say that we are successful. Have you ever noticed that in the turmoil, of making the rest of the world satisfied, we forget the most important? Missing an important step on learning how to have a meaningful life.

Looks like we spend so much time pleasing people, trying to be what we are not so we can be accepted by our pairs. We forget who we really are and become more what others want us to be. We, sometimes, worry on making people see how strong, powerful and triumphant we are, afraid of showing signs of weakness. 

So many time we so worried impressing people that, not too rarely, are not that important in our lives that we forget to be successful inside ourselves.

What it really means to be successful? From inside out? I believe it starts with a simple thing...being happy with the person we are. All the exterior success means nothing when at the end of the day you honestly look at image reflected in the mirror and realize that all that you have achieved does not bring you true joy and happiness.

At this point I am curious on what they teach on that class, I wish I was living in Cambridge once more so I could sign for the class myself to find out. But since now I am away from Harvard, the only thing I can think of are the simplest instructions; the ones our grandparents knew well; the ones we knew when we were children before we were corrupted by becoming like 'everyone else' idea.

I believe that the secret and response to the question is simple as A,B,C.

A - Don't ever take people and life for granted, love your family and friends (most importantly - let them know that you love them);
B - Be who you are and the people who matters the most will love your for that, not for who you pretend to be;
C - Live each new day as they come, with good, bad and ugly experiences. They, after all, makes you who you are.

Listening to the panel of scientists and professors it comes as no surprise that people who take time to enjoy their family and friends, who exercises a couple of times a weeks, who forgive themselves for mistakes made, who makes time to do something meaningful to others (it does not mean how big or small), who laughs and take time off to just relax and be goofy once a day are much less at risk to be depressed and have higher chances to be a happy and consequently a healthier person.

As you see happiness, now proven by scientists and professors at Havard: is not related to financial achievement or possessions; it does not required complicated formulas or calculations; it's not for sale and it can't be bought regardless of how much money one might have; is not in a distant land nor will only happen when you get there. It's here and now, it's acessible to everyone who cares enough to get it; it comes from inside and then, reflects on everything else.

N. Cardoso 05/2010

"Walk the Talk".

Motivational author and speaker Zig Ziglar once said, "Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be."

Think about words like commitment, honesty, accountability, respect, courage, ethics, and integrity. These are important words when it comes to your success, in pretty much every single field of your life, but these words are meaningless if you don't live by them. After all, if you constantly say one thing and do another, you will lose people's trust and, without the trust of your partner, family, friends, clients, or colleagues, success is impossible no matter how much power and how much money you might have.

The late, great Christopher Reeve once said, "I think we all have a little voice inside that will guide us.... If we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do."

Behaving according to our beliefs can be a challenge. But when it comes to earning trust, keeping trust, and therefore maximizing your success, walking the talk is critical.

N. Cardoso 05/2010

Life is a Classroom.

I was driving to my office this morning, thinking about some of the latest events that has happened in my life and that has pulled me down for a long while there.

The experience I had gone through just a couple of months ago, brought back feelings that I believed I was never to experience again in this lifetime. But noneless here I am, broken, hurt, humiliated, resting my face flat on the bottom of the whole I got myself in, feeling so frail that even the thought of standing up made my body ache inside.

The radio was playing (as always) and a song came on - the lyrics held my attention and then something just clicked: life is much more than our eyes can see and there is so many great reasons to be happy and not let obstacles to drawn us down....this is how the lyrics went:

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it's more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don't you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining
It doesn't matter what you've heard
Impossible is not a word
It's just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody's scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It'll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what our eyes are seeing
You will find your way

So true, we all go through ups and downs in life, it becomes harder to have the downs when you have learned what the ups mean, however this same knowledge on the other token, should be the strenght that pulls you up, to stand up straight, to look right ahead and continue to believe on things you believed.

Cruel, selfish and insensitive people are all around, don't ever change your values and beliefs because they show you how decieving and unescrupulous a person can be. In moments like this it's ok to feel down, to hurt and temporarily loose faith in humanity. Just let it go, step back and evaluate the situation.

Don't duel too much on what has hapopened, time comes that we just have to close the book behind, recognize that these people have been deceiving themselves much more than they have decived you and look ahead.  Forget about having closure, make the closure with your own hands, not why or because of the other person, think about you and think all the reason why you shouldn't hang around anymore.  

Get closer and surround yourself with the ones you care about and truly cares about you. Their love for you will make everything to be fine again. Love is always worth, and it is a powerfull energy that keeps us going like the duracell bunny.
Have a great day!
N.Cardoso 05/2010

The Power of Thoughts

Last Thursday I went to the post office to get stamps to send my Christmas cards to clients and friends. While putting the stamps I was checking the names and realized that a year had gone by, and I haven't made contact with the friends that I was now sending seasons cards.
Three of them got more attention (Noreen, Claudette and Brian). They are people that I love, that have been friends for a long time and for one reason or another life was just happening to all of us and we haven't talk to each other in a year or more. So, as I thought about it,  I made a mental note to contact them as soon as I had a chance.

I left the post office and went on running my errands for the day. Around 12:30 I was hungry and instead going to my usual Panera Bread , I changed my mind and decided to take a break ata local Olive Garden. While the hostess is guiding me to my table I see someone waving at me from the back of one of the many rooms, for my complete surprise, it realize that the happy waiving persons was Claudette, I stop by, we hug, talk for a little and I leave her, her daughter and granddaughter to enjoy their lunch and head to my table, kind of taken by the 'coincidence'.

After lunch I went on with my Christmas errands. About 2pm I get a text message, I fell my phone vibrate and look at just to make sure it was nothing too important - as I look at the a chill runs thorugh my body - it is Noreen, saying that has been too long and we have to set something up and get together (which we schedule fore later today). What was going on? Another coincidence?

Well by the time the day ends and I am finally at home working on my computer I get an email message and yes it was from Brian....

These are very good and close friends, but somehow we all have life happening, we blink and a year goes by. We think about each other, but for one reason or another we can't stop right there at that moment, the day happens and then it is too late, so we think we'll get in touch the next day and time just goes by. I know, It's a shame, but it just happens this way.

Long story short, you can call coincidence, but I believe that there is something more to it. Somehow on that Thursday, the four of us were on the same wave lenght and our thoughts attracted each other.

It felt like something out of the book 'The Secret'. It got me thinking, what a powerful tool we have, makes me wonder what else can be achieved with positive thoughts and reaching the right waves. How come we have forgotten how to use this powerful resource????

                                                                                                   N. Cardoso 12/13/2009