Paradise state of mind: Create your own paradise

Well, it’s a sunny winter day here in Toronto, and this is about as bright and sunny as it gets here in the winter, just about noon, full sun.
And throughout this winter, this is a time when those living in northern parts of the world are really feeling this kind of winter bleakness.
There’s a greyness to it, dull, colourless.
You can just see the silence, the death all around.
And of course the darkness.
Down here, we’re down to eight hours of sunlight per day, sixteen hours of night out of every day.
And the brightest it gets is when we have snow on the ground, but most of the time it’s just sort of a dull grey, with the grey, slushy, dirty snow, sort of rotting brown dead leaves, and really the word “bleak” really applies to this place this time of year.
And really, this is just the beginning, because this is really five months of the year here in Toronto.
And, you know, it’s different for every city.
Every city would have its own schedule of when it’s most bleak, and some might be bleaker than others, some might be bleak all the time.
But it leads to this very common feeling of wanting to be somewhere else.
Endless discussions of wanting to go to the beach.
The beach, some kind of a tropical imagined paradise.
You can see it in advertising.
You’ll be walking down the snowy, cold, windy street, and then the bus shelter will have a big colourful picture of a Caribbean beach, frolicking on the beach.
And so this is sort of a collective dream that is very powerful here in the winter.
What is this? What is this place that is so sought after? We imagine, of course, tropical sunshine, warmth, a pristine beach, warm water, maybe white sand, palm trees.
And it’s connected with notions of leisure, notions that we would be able to sit on this beach, possibly sipping a drink, while catching sunshine and having not a care in the world.
So it’s easy to see how this dream can be powerful when we’re in a cold winter, far away from any habitable beach, and working regularly.
The thought of not having to work and being on a beautiful beach in a warm tropical place is very attractive.
But then you look at what it’s like actually in those places.
When you’re living in a tropical beach world, like, you don’t- it isn’t just sitting on a beach, sipping a drink.
I mean, there’s serious work to be done.
There’s a lot of the reality of this sort of tropical beach paradise, the dirty jobs, the difficulties, the struggles, the poverty, the crowds, the noise, the crime, all the kind of reality of this.
Of course, there’s still beautiful beaches and beautiful moments on beaches to be had.
But there is no real paradise beach where no one has cares, and we can sort of go back to this innocent, childlike, playful state.
That place does not exist, as far as I know.
Although, some people will say- will tell you how to get there.
They’re usually selling something.
I would be curious if anybody has suggestions of places that maybe approach this.
But really, what it seems to me is that this state, this paradise that we dream about, is really something in our own minds.
It is a state of mind.
This paradise, it’s a way of thinking, a way of dealing with the world that gives us that paradise state of mind.
So what is it? A sense of the beauty around us.
A sense of freedom from having forced things that we must do.
A sense that there’s an expansiveness.
A sense that we have some flexibility and free time.
A sense of not having to hurry.
In fact, a sense that we don’t have to live by the clock, that we can live at a slower pace or at a freer pace.
A sense of playfulness, that we can have fun and not be heavily serious about everything.
And it seems like those things are things that you could have on a tropical paradise beach, or you could not.
You could be just as stressed and anxious on a paradise beach as anywhere else.
And is it really possible to have such a feeling and such a disposition in the grey, snowy winter of the north? Why not? It’s all in how we look at it.
And although having a beautiful sunny day at the beach may make it easier and help to get us in that good state of mind, it’s no guarantee of it.
So it seems like this idea of finding paradise is something that we can create within ourselves.
Make that state of mind in yourself.
It’s not just pretending.
It’s not about pretending that, you know, it’s not cold.
But it’s kind of seeing that it doesn’t matter, those external conditions are secondary, and that it’s our attitude towards life that really defines whether we’re in heaven or hell.
So it’s a hard sell to somebody who is, you know, in the middle of winter, to tell them that, but I really believe that it is about the way that we choose to live, and that ultimately it doesn’t make a difference what the weather is.
Ultimately, it’s the weather inside that makes the difference.

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