06/28/15

Dance at the world, and the world will dance back.

flamenco dancer. photo credit: spain-holiday.com

flamenco dancer. photo credit: spain-holiday.com

This morning, I went to the bank to pay a bill. I stepped outside and was greeted by a sunny day, which was particularly pleasant after the last few rainy ones. I walked inside the bank and waited behind the only other person in line — a middle-aged man whose face I couldn´t see. The tile floors lended themselves so well to sliding around that I couldn´t help myself. I began to fancy myself an ice skater, the small bank lobby my rink. The man in front of me turned around. What happened next I had not anticipated: he began to dance! Flamenco (1), no less.

I started giggling as we danced around our 2 meter x 2 meter stage. Words flowing as smoothly as his dance moves, he spoke romantically about art and life. He talked about the importance of creativity and how it mirrors the beautiful process of a germinated seed growing into a plant. He even made a direct analogy to the birth of a child, which was surprising considering that children had been on my mind recently.

I have noticed that so many small coincidences in my life connect many of the seemingly random situations I find myself in.. In all this randomness, we make connections. We meet people whose narratives overlap with our own. And it´s crazy how one person´s actions, subtle as they may be, can influence another´s. You notice my smile and wear your own; others notice yours and begin to grin themselves. I goof and dance around, and it turns out you like to do that, too!

Smile, and other people will notice…and some will smile back. Dance, and the world may just dance back. (:

Nirel

(1) Flamenco is a traditional Spanish dance, native to the south. This story takes place in Granada, Andalucía (in Southern Spain).

 

05/30/14
Source: pjmedia.com

HE’s 50 Life Secrets and Tips

Playlist: anything on sound cloud’s “deep house” station

This list (and website) are pretty fantastic. I am a big believer in sharing tips for success in life. I am SO grateful to everyone I have learned from in my life, which makes me especially excited to teach, encourage and inspire others.

I think that people are sometimes afraid to share their secrets to happiness or success because they think doing so will make them lose their advantage over others….as if life is just one big competition….which is unfortunate, because when it comes down to it, we’re all in this together. Don’t you ultimately want this world to be filled with happy, successful people? I do.

If you are doing something that makes you happy and/or successful, share it! (in the comments, if you like 🙂 )

I refer back to the list often, and I suggest you incorporate some of these tips into your life if you haven’t already! They’ve improved my quality of life.

-Nirel xx

06/12/13
Source: pjmedia.com

Mural.ly: A Creative Platform for Visual People

Playlist: Cuban music station on Pandora (for those of you in Canada over the summer, I’m sure you can find a similar station on 8tracks or last.fm)

Creative Intelligence Mind Map

Sample Mind Map; Source: Google Images

ATTENTION ALL VISUAL LEARNERS OUT THERE:

Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend.

I’ve just discovered Mural.ly, a brilliant web-based platform that allows users to create mind maps and vision boards of all sorts and work on them solo or collaborate with others. I don’t know about you guys, but this is one of the most exciting moments of my life. That may sound hyperbolic, but I do love my mind maps — I wrote my university application essay on them and ended up going to a preeeeetty sweet school, soo…

In all seriousness, though, I added it for free as a Google Chrome application earlier tonight and have been fooling around on it non-stop since. Check out some of the demo murals on their website for ideas and go from there. A mural can be as simple as a sticky-note-filled cork board and as complex as a giant diagram you have to zoom in and out from to view the various components and finally the big picture.

So far I’ve made a bulletin board of what I have to do before I leave for NYC in two days (eep! Excited.) and started working on a giant map of my short- and long-term goals. I know once school starts again in the fall I’ll be aggregating my class notes into big, beautiful mind maps. What will you do with your own web-based creative space?

More exciting things to come,

Nirel

01/10/13

I want to do something!

For those of you who do not receive the UBC FYI student newsletter, this is the post I wrote for the most recent one, themed: “I want to do something” (as part of the “I want to have fun” campaign).

Some people go to university to get a degree – and that’s it.

I, however, think those students are missing out on a huge part of the overall experience – which includes what you do outside of school. There is SO much to do on and around campus!

One sunny day, I went for an outdoor run and discovered the amazing UBC Botanical Garden. Once the weather got a bit dreary, I signed up for a free splatter-painting class through Healthy Minds at UBC (twitter: @HealthyUBC) and had a blast making art! I have also attended several lectures – outside of class – that have been super interesting (which you can read about here).

Taking time off from academics every once in a while and doing something other than going to class and studying is something I highly recommend. It gives you a chance to unwind and take advantage of all that UBC and Vancouver have to offer.

We live in a beautiful, international city and go to a school that is on the beach, hosts all sorts of events and has hundreds of student clubs and teams to join, as well as forests and gardens to explore.

Bring a friend, or don’t, and just have fun!

-N

01/1/13

Be Happy Being Alone

Playlist: Dirty Pretty Things – Waterloo to Anywhere, The Black Keys – Brothers

When I first arrived at UBC, it was the first time in as long as I can remember that I was not surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a big family. Trust me, I love that excitement – but shortly after moving here, I realized that I also really enjoy being alone.

Doing things on my own gives me time to think, wander and appreciate my surroundings in a way that is distinct from when I am with other people. It gives me more of an opportunity to learn what I like to do, rather than which activity is the most convenient compromise among whomever I am with at the time.

And, if I do desire the company of others, there is always the option of starting up a conversation with a stranger. I have actually made some of my closest friends that way. My only disclaimer is to use your better judgment to elect someone you’re fairly sure would be safe to interact with (ie. accepting candy from creepy old men = probably not the safest way to make new friends).

Some of my favorite adventures that I have embarked on by myself so far at UBC have been:

  • Going for a run on a beautiful sunny day and discovering the UBC Botanical Garden
  • Meandering around Kitsilano and finding the quaintest/yummiest ice cream and sipping chocolate café
  • Signing up for a free splatter-painting workshop through UBC Thrive and having a blast making art
  • Being at Wreck Beach with a good book on a gorgeous afternoon and reading/watching the sun set
  • Attending several interesting free/$5 lectures (outside of class) and meeting many of the speakers afterward
  • Going to the UBC Jazz Café and Swing Club Halloween event and enjoying the liveliness of the music and people

Keep in mind that your plans don’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be) contingent on your friends’ plans. While it may be reassuring to go everywhere with friends, breaking out of your comfort zone and exploring somewhere independently can be a very liberating experience. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend you give it a try!

-N

Splatter Paint Art by Nirel

My Splatter Paint Art

12/19/12

My heart just melted.

Playlist:  The Frames – Lay Me Down

Wilco – I’m the Man Who Loves You

The Beatles – Girl

I’VE JUST discovered this wonderful Facebook page that someone at UBC recently created, through which people at our school anonymously post positive messages directed at an individual or group.

This page gave me such great reassurance that despite what I’ve heard/experienced about Vancouver being somewhat of a “cold” city (in regards to the way people interact with one-another – ie. waving goodbye rather than hugging/kissing on the cheek), UBC is filled with kind, loving and compassionate individuals.

Anyway, this page is something you’ll have to see for yourself. Even if you’re not affiliated with the school, the heart-warming posts are sure to brighten your day.

It’s called UBC Compliments. (:

Love,

Nirel

 

Edit: I mean, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea about Vancouver – the people here are overall very nice and polite. It’s just that the “warmth” that exists in some other cultures (ie. in Latin America) doesn’t exist as prominently here.

Edit x2: I should give credit where credit is due! As I found out after writing this, Queens University in Kingston, Ontario started the whole “university compliments page” trend. Thanks, Queens U!

 

10/25/12

How I feel today:

Playlist: Asa – Jailer

The sun is out, the sky is blue — and I’m going to Nitobe Memorial Garden! It’s one of those days where regardless of how much school work you have, I promise you it’ll be worth it to take a study break and GO OUTSIDE! Bask in the beautiful, warm(-ish) sunshine and recharge before you go back to work.

Love,

Nirel

PS. A more substantial post is coming soon, I promise… (:

 

10/10/12

The Little Things

No playlist today — just appreciating silence. (:

 

Today has been surprisingly peaceful. Ran a bunch of errands, but still found the time to befriend a really nice Japanese woman on the bus who invited me to have a cup of tea at the tea bar that she manages, help an elderly woman carry her heavy grocery bags to her apartment, treat myself to an ice cream cone, go for a swim and workout, meditate, attend a “relaxation room” event in my residence and skype with my family. Time well spent.

Turn everything into an adventure and life will be SO much more awesome! What I had planned to be a day for returning my borrowed wheelchair to the Canadian Red Cross (no more broken foot!!) and getting my sim card cut so it would fit into my new phone — ooh, errands! how…exciting? — ended up including all these fun little stops along the way. (:

No matter how busy you are, be sure to prioritize and make time to do the things you love. Life is short and, depending on what you believe in, you only live once (and no, that was not a #YOLO reference — unless you want to use it in its proper context, in which I guess that was a reference..). Anyway, the point is, don’t just work, work, work so you can play, play, play. Establish a balance between working hard and reaping rewards along the way (ie. taking the time to sit down for a cup of tea or enjoy an ice cream cone or a pleasant conversation with a friend — or a stranger-soon-to-be-new-friend (; ).

Speaking of busy schedules, I should probably get back to studying…but I hope you enjoyed my little insight of the day!

Love,

Nirel

PS. In case you’re interested, the tea bar is called O5 Tea (http://www.o5tea.com/) .