Welcome to Tuesdays with Chel. This week Chel is off in the wilds of her own Hapfullness so we are revisiting a favorite post. At the end of August we will be picking the next 13 Bliss Habits, Do you want to see one of Chel’s make the list? Do you have one of your own to add? Please let us know in the comments!
Each week Chel Micheline of gingerblue dot com will offer her perspectives on our Bliss Habits. Please enjoy the wisdom and clarity she offers.
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
-Leonardo da Vinci
Inspired by the original thirteen Bliss Habits, and their “retirement”, I decided to make a list of my own, personal “Bliss Habits”. This list is by no means conclusive, but it’s a start…
I’m a nester. I’m not a traveler. I’d rather be home than most anywhere in the world. If I leave, I miss everything- my bed, my shower, my cats, my porch swing, my garden, my pool, my teacups… I feel like my home is my personal sanctuary, and in the last several years I have been shooting out deep roots into the tiny little island I live on. It feels like everything here is a part of me.
I’m not a mindful person, but I’m working on it. It’s a serious struggle for me not to get lost in the chemical storms that stir up in my brain every s often, the bouts of anxiety and restlessness and boredom and sadness. It’s hard not to think ahead, to stress about what I need to be doing, what I *should* be doing. It’s hard not to get caught up in the stories that I have told myself for years and years about my life. Now I am learning to live the truth- just what is happening this moment. And becoming grounded in that truth is helping me so much. I have to keep gently returning my thoughts to the present, to *this*, to right here right now. Sometimes it’s pleasant, sometimes I’m genuinely cranky, but I’m learning to live it as it comes instead of trying to constantly manipulate it and *create* it.
This is a big one because so many things fall under it. But bottom line is this- you gotta figure out who you are, who you *truly* are, and live that truth. For me? It’s being not-so-social, a bit of a control freak, a super picky eater, a person who doesn’t like cooking or any sort of domesticity, but keeps a beautiful garden and a very neat home. I shy away from correspondence but thrive on connection. I love any creative pursuit but creativity as a process burns me out often. I love to write but hate to actually sit down and get to it. I’m all these things and more. And the more I open up, to both the world AND myself about what I’m really about, the easier it gets to live a fulfilling life.
4. Peace and Quiet
Everyone needs a little peace, needs a little time to hear their own thoughts, to hear their own breath, to feel their own heartbeat.
I’m not really talking about “telling the truth” integrity (although that is super important), I’m talking about “structural integrity”. But an abstract kind. Imagine your body was made up of beliefs and ideas and core values instead of cells and tissue. What would those beliefs and ideas and core values be? I think we all need to examine that a little bit more, and then build a structural integrity upon those things. There’s no rule saying they can’t shift or evolve or outright change over time. But it’s good to start somewhere.
Just be a *tiny* bit more compassionate than you already are. It would change the world if everyone opened their hearts just a *tiny* bit more. I’ll tell you a little story: my big “thing” in life is that I can’t stand the idea of animal abuse. I can’t deal with it, I can’t process it. It makes me sad and angry and furious and it makes me question any sort of faith I have in goodness or the divine. I am a vegetarian, I make very conscious choices, I volunteer at an animal shelter, I rescue animals, I put bugs outside (even though they scare me), etc. What else is there? Well, I realized my “next step”, my “tiny bit more compassionate” was learning how to open up my heart to those who abuse animals. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not even close to being anywhere near that. But I’m *conscious* of it. I’m conscious of my own intolerance.
7. Down Time
Everyone needs a time of EVERY SINGLE DAY when they do something they truly enjoy. Not for publication, not for the benefit of practice or building a career or for strengthening skills. Just time to do something absolutely enjoyable for no reason other than just doing it and having a good, soulful time. My “down time” things are drinking tea, reading magazines on the porch swing, playing word games on my iPhone.
8. Big Time
In the last year I have come to discover the absolute necessity of doing something *amazing* every single day. Just for yourself. Proving your inner critic wrong on a daily basis. Trust me, this is STRONG stuff. For me, it’s swimming. I went from swimming two miles a day to five miles. It’s a long haul. It’s exhausting. It’s *BORING*. But every day when I get out of that pool, I feel like SuperWoman, and the rest of the day there’s not much that I don’t think I can’t do. Everyone deserves to feel that way. It doesn’t have to be a big thing- for some people it’s waking up a little earlier, or writing a little bit every morning, or not losing their cool before the kids leave for school or getting on the treadmill or not checking email constantly or running an extra mile. Whatever it is, do it. I promise you, one small shift, your whole perception about yourself and what you can and cannot do will change. And the best part is that YOU’RE responsible for that shift in perspective.
For every sucky thing you have to do in life, make sure you balance it out with something that makes you happy. If there’s no time or room for that sort of equanimity in your life… well, then, you need to make it a priority. And no, I’m not talking down to you because I’m working hard on this myself. Since when did happiness become a reward instead of something that’s just part of our everyday lives?
I’m the queen of frugal, and I am not a big spender, but I believe in treating myself regularly with small things that bring a tremendous amount of happiness. New tins of tea. New sheets of paper. New music to listen to in the pool. Packets of seeds. Fresh baked bread from the bakery. A good book on my Kindle. New pajamas. Laundry detergent that smells like lavender. Seeing on a movie in the theater on the day it comes out. Small things, but all of them bring tremendous happiness, not only while I am doing them, but after, as well.
So what are YOUR Bliss Habits? I know you have them. Let’s hear them!