I’ve read stacks of books on being happier. I’ve developed good habits, cultivated positive self talk and wrote pages affirmations. I wouldn’t say that I’m an unhappy person. But I’ve been sold on the idea that I can have a life of ease and comfort. That I’ll be floating on a cloud of constant bliss if I carefully follow all the steps laid out in one of my many books.
It’s didn’t do very much other than keep me occupied for a period of time. It wasn’t until I picked up a book on mindful meditation and started living in the present moment that I found out what true happiness is.
Being in the moment, whether it’s a perfect moment or one that I hope is over soon, opens the door for exploration and delight in ways I never thought possible.
When I’m feeling uncomfortable, like at the dentist for instance, I often will become curious about my resistance to being in that chair. I’ll experience that prickly sensation I get on my arms when I hear any of the equipment turn on. In my mind I’ll create a space where I look for a place of peace amidst my thoughts of “make this stop”. I”ll breathe deeply and intentionally relax my body. It transforms a situation that I want to escape into into a richer experience I want to learn more about while I lean into.
Continue reading “Life can suck, but it doesn’t have to suck the life out of you.”
I’m a person who likes to purge. Give me a nasty old closet and I’m in my glory. I also like to improve myself and that often means ditching or changing habits or ways of thinking. I’ve been talking about the gifts of being in one’s 40s all week and one thing is that when you’re in your 40s you know yourself well enough not to go overboard with stupid things (usually influenced by other people…)
Or at least I thought I did. Over the past few years, in an attempt to reign in some of my more powerful emotions, I stopped emoting quite as much. On the positive it meant less outbursts when things aren’t going my way. Confrontations tended to be a little more clear-headed. But then I realized that I’d stopped laughing and telling jokes. I was starting to take life seriously and the past few years have been hard, not because life has been hard but my favorite part of myself has been missing.
Don’t be so focused on bettering yourself that you suppress your the best part of yourself in order to suppress the things you’d like to change.
Here’s a couple ways to do this:
1. Get clear on who you are any why you love being you. I like that I have the guts to wear a cowboy belt with a giant belt buckle that says “DICK”. I also think that it’s hilarious to walk around with such an offensive word blazing at my waist band.
2. Spend at least 30 minutes a day without the masks you wear on. Whether it be time reflecting in the bathtub or wildly dancing around your home, spending time being you – not you at work, not you when walking home at night in dark and empty streets but the real Honest to the Gods you. For me it’s when I’m cooking that I’m most me. When I’m alone in the kitchen with music blaring in my ears I feel like myself.
3. Stick to your own knitting. That’s an expression someone said to me once which means that you should focus on what you’ve got going on. Sure it’s tempting to emulate the office clown when they soak up so much attention, but in reality you’re going to do a terrible job of it and not only will bring the wrong kind of attention, but you won’t really have a sense of what you can accomplish if you are playing the role of another.
Self-improvement is awesome, losing yourself isn’t.