只有童年才快樂?

從小,大人們就相繼告訴她:「童年是一生中最快樂的時光。」每聽到這句話,她就很害怕,害怕這是真的。

她告訴自己:他們只是想嚇我嘛,長大後一定會遇到更多的快樂。

可幸地,成長中她體會到其他大人發現不到的,更有層次的快樂。

那些認為童年是最快樂的人,對快樂只有「免費吃喝玩樂」的膚淺理解。

Donating a Beloved Book

It was a picture of a blonde with blue headscarf, pearl earrings and pink lipstick — almost like a Vemeer’s. I was captivated at the first glance.

In the logic of “time first, money second”, I did not want to pay a visit to the book store every a few days just to patronise the art work and so I bought the book. I spent $131 just for a single page. It isn’t even on my bookshelf anymore for I have donated it to my secondary school art teacher. It’s now a minor asset of her art reference corner.

I didn’t regret buying or donating it as I read into the fate of the book. It can either sit on its bored owner’s dusty book shelf or once in a while be discovered by and inspire a group of art students.

I know how much I’d love to read an newly published illustration book rather than the older ones when I was a student. Of course I could see buying a book but not owning it until the end of my life as a waste of money, but it could also be a present from “the new me” to “the old me”.

Ethical Shopping (My First Purchase After A Year-long Book Detox)

During my gap year/spiritual journey in 2011-2012, I found the dharma talks given by Ching Kung master (a Chinese Buddhist monk) so enriching that I didn’t feel like reading anything secular, except for teaching purpose (like the poems and short stories covered in the syllabus of HKDSE English Literature).

During that period of time, it was kind of a guilty pleasure for me to buy this book called Bonjour, Happiness. To be honest, I didn’t even need this book, as I considered myself quite qualified as a French in most aspects of my lifestyle. If it doesn’t cover anything that I don’t know already, why did I buy it?

Well, I spent half an afternoon reading in an air-conditioned, well-lit and spacious bookstore, so it would be morally wrong to walk out of it without leaving anything behind aside from a few strings of hair from the mindless brushing and twirling while reading… I am kidding!

The true reason was, I wanted to be an ethical buyer. As a minimalist, I believe I bear a certain degree of responsibility in supporting the ideas of finding happiness in a less materialistic approach as preached by the author Jamie Cat Callan.

Before that, I hadn’t really picked up a book and walked to the counter for nearly a year. There was only this one time when I wandered around a nearby district and discovered an underground used bookstore with over ten cats lying and jumping around.

I don’t want this place, the home of those cats, to close down but I know it probably will someday as people are less inclined to paperbacks. I want to help with the rent, even by just a few pennies. Besides the boss kindly directed me how to get to my destination. In return I bought a few used books there.

Another example of ethical shopping was I bought a packet of baking soda for $10 at a bakery supply store when I could get the exact same box for $9.5 at a chained supermarket. To which store my money goes to matters because each dollar speaks for what I support. I wanted to support a local store which specialised in baking so I opted to spend my money there.

Compared to this guy here in Hong Kong who started his one-man campaign of not buying things from corporation chain stores for a year, I am only doing so little.

I hope by sharing how little we can do to implement the notion of ethical shopping that more people will join the league and make this world a kinder place.

專心做事就能快樂

買東西令人快樂,那是因為生活上起了些變化的愉悅感。

一枚介指能改變手部活動的氛圍、一個包包能改變隨身物的數量、一雙鞋子能改變衣服的曝光率。

但人的好心情不能老是靠外物來獲得,否則購物導致的財務問題又是一大煩惱。

怎樣才能自製好心情呢?

這是吾研究的課題。

依吾觀察,有魅力的人都能在不同場合維持良好的心境。

他們不一定都在哈哈大笑,有時只是淺淺的微笑,但那已經是「放馬過來」的淡定表情。

吾發覺,每當吾專注於一件事情,為它付出精神和心力,及後必定會愆生出一種自信心。

簡單如寫文章、整理房間、收拾信件、練yoga、修剪毛髮等,只要吾是全神貫注地去完成,心情就會往好的方向走。

如此推論,每天專心做自己喜歡的事,就是快樂的秘訣了。

快樂泉源建造工程

自從實踐極簡生活,吾得重新建立「快樂的泉源」。

這源頭其實一直不存在,一直未曾建立,只是以往在倚靠購物和娛樂來獲取快感或分散不安感。

清除了家中不能帶給吾任何由心而發的愉悅,決心不再倚靠買物來感受「生之喜樂」,那個精神支柱的缺席一下子變明顯了,不得不去面對那有生以來一直逃避的問題。

需要找尋讓自己活得有意義的活動,那份快樂,並不是從事一份埋沒良心地破壞環境,利用別人的無知來賺取金錢的工作,然後飛去外國享用美食和各種尊貴服務,或添置華美衣飾所能體會的。

始終相信,快樂不能只從物質享受上得到。傾向相信,快樂的基礎是健康的體魄和清晰的思維,而快樂的道路就是幫助別人。

現在日夜思索的就是吾能貢牽社會些甚麼。不知道那是甚麼,只好默默累積各種才能:學識、文化、品味……

不能漫無目的地去累積,應該要有方向地積集。

這一點,尚沒有很確切的答案。

(寫於2016年12月18日)

The Power of Happiness

If you look happy doing what you’re doing, people will come and ask you about it. Thus, enjoy what you’re doing.

Happiness is a powerful magnet.

While Cheerfulness attracts people, happiness makes them stay.

I thought fame equals influence. Since I want to change the world, I used to be obsessed with being famous.

Later I realized, you could be the most famous person, but the world wouldn’t change because of you.

You have to be a smiling person to draw people to you and to ask for your secrets to happiness.