For years I have believed that I can only kill plants. Anything green left in my care will wither and die. I even managed to kill a cactus at one point. Late last year the Jasmine tree cutting went brown, and I didn’t have to do anything really just leave them in water and they will take care of themselves. It’s quiet pathetic. Yet I cann’t reconcile this belief with the desire to have a big green indoor garden. One of my most vivid memories of leaving Kuwait was the collection of potted plants my mother was leaving behind. It filled a third of a room and was just beautiful.

So, following in my mother’s foot steps, and inspired by a wonderful person here in Beirut and yet another all the way in California I have started to introduce greens into my home. I got a cutting of an Aloe for my balcony from my friend. And this month I have Jasmine cutting from a tree I walk by everyday. Next I think I will start some herbs for the kitchen and slowly I will turn my ever so brown thumbs into vibrant greens.

Aloe on Balcony

Aloe thriving on balcony ledge

As a Time Management trainer I am constantly preaching for the use of “To Do” lists. And in fact not only do I preach but I practice too. But today I want to write a different kind of to do list. A happiness to do list that needs to be looked at everyday and maybe one day I will be able to cross everything on this list:

  1. Eat something fresh, whether its fruits, vegetables or something freshly baked.
  2. Buy flowers or water the ones you got yesterday.
  3. Have a fresh cup of really good delicious coffee.
  4. Take the time to breathe and breathe deeply.
  5. Write, draw, photograph, tap on a drum… etc. even if it is just a line, a click or some noise. Let your inner creativity play.
  6. Try to find something beautiful to say to someone – anyone even a stranger on the street, and sometimes you don’t have to say it but you can wave it!
  7. Help someone even if you don’t know them or see them.
  8. Play- a card game, a board game, a video game, a sport… but play. As adults we sometimes forget to play.
  9. Connect with someone you haven’t talked to in ages, they would love to hear from you.
  10. Look at this list everyday and try to cross of as many things to do as possible.


Growing up in the 80’s The Sound of Music and many other Julie Andrews movies were the soundtracks of the times. They were standard fare in the video library of anyone who collected videos. One of the most memorable songs was during a thunderstorm, and Maria sang the fear away from the kids. The song was My favorite things…come on I am sure you know it and if not google it now :D.


The technique of disassociation from the unpleasant is to me like a trap door when I want to escape and physically cannot. And so when my mind goes elsewhere, I daydream myself into amazing places. I meet all sorts of people, have some really stimulating conversations. I sometimes even think of my self getting a massage and can feel the muscles relax. Every once in while though I think of my favorite things, and though I may share a few items on Andrew’s list I have a few of my own. Here are some of my favorite things:

  • The smell of Jasmine in the air on a cool summer’s breeze when you least expect it.
  • The tingling of muscles after a good long walk.
  • The warm hug of a long lost friend.
  • Watching the sunset’s reflection from the Books@cafe terrace (I even have a favorite seat).
  • The smell and feel of Zangabeel’s fur.
  • The fullness after a delicious home cooked meal.
  • The crispness of a sweet watermelon.
  • The taste of mint in everything – even on eggs!
  • The rush of waves at my feet.
  • Tulips
  • Hamzah’s homemade cheese cake.
  • A good massage
  • The melting of dark chocolate in my mouth.
  • The feel of soft hair running through my hands (even if its my own).
  • The smile of wonder on a child’s face.
  • The infectiousness of a genuine smile.




I am going to stop here because there are so many things that I can keep counting as my favorite. Thinking about any of these things or even having them around gives me a smile and definitely helps put me in a better frame of mind. They can move me into another state of being when I need to do so.