It’s been a tough few days. A series of events can make you feel drained and exhausted. So I’m doing some self-talk about not being too hard on myself and allowing myself to rest.
I have a box of letterpress type to sort, letters to send, and books to read. I love Jill Bolte Taylor’s thoughts about inner peace. Jill is a brain researcher and neuron-anatomist who had a stroke at age 37 and spent eight years coming back from that.
“To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.” – Jill Bolte Taylor
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What? You, too? I thought I was the only one.”
I’ve had several of these moments lately, and each time I feel myself sighing in gratitude. Opening up to friends takes some courage, but when we realize we are all doing the best we can, life somehow seems a little easier.
I’ve always said I print what is in my head. These days I’m thinking about peace. Rick Hanson, author, wrote in his recent newsletter:
“I’ve been reflecting about my tendencies to get attached to views and outcomes: to how I see things and what I hope happens. Normal, sure, but this attachment – this fixation, drivenness, holding on past the point of wisdom . . . no matter how subtle – is still a source of tension, stress, conflicts, and suffering for me, and often for others.”
I think that’s true for so many of us. I am working on being less in the past or future and more in the present. It sounds like such a cliche these days when it seems that mindfulness is so much in the news. But there is a calm truth about the benefits of staying in the moment.
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz”
I know it’s because my heart is racing, or the breathing is shallow. I may not be consistent with yoga or meditation, but I’ve learned it’s my breath that I can always come back to.
And it works. Inhale slowly, hold, and exhale slowly. Within minutes, I can feel it.
Well, I’m not searching, I’m happy.
But this post makes me think.
Doland recommends taking one day every week or every month to simply observe yourself:
It’s about tuning in to what you are doing, who you are doing it with and how it makes you feel. How much worry, stress, anger, joy or contentment do you experience on a given day?
Your happiness audit should assess not only major elements of your life, like your job and relationship, but also seemingly inconsequential aspects like how you occupy yourself on your commute and what you eat for lunch. Check in with how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. You’ll find that certain, perhaps surprising, things give you more pleasure than others, just as some detract.
The solution, according to Dolan, is to deliberately make it very easy to do the things that make us happy. Dolan believes we can structure our time and design our surroundings in such a way that we can quickly make a habit out of doing things that make us happy. These changes are small and incremental, but this is precisely why he thinks they work so well.
Ya, makes me think.