I t’s early morning as I write this little love letter to you. The sun is beginning to stream through the office windows belying the fact that we’re experiencing single digit temperatures. There are two lit candles on my windowsill and a cup of coffee on my desk. The house is blessedly quiet except for the tapping of my keyboard and some soft sleep noises coming from the bedroom.
I am looking forward to a new year full of love and adventure. I’m also looking forward to creating an awe-inspiring body of work, witnessing the growth of beautiful souls, and expanding my own edges of experiences.
A confession: I both love and hate the first few weeks of the new year.
There is this huge push to DECLARE, to RESOLVE, to IMPROVE and to CHANGE. And everyone is offering to HELP YOU DO IT. The underlying energy of the world provides this amazing momentum to get you off of dead center and Make That Change.
Let’s be honest, we all need a little momentum and motivation to create change in our world. But it’s not long before the push of motivation dwindles and the energy fades.
Inevitably, too many people begin to flagellate themselves for not being good enough or dedicated enough to what they resolved to do. Then comes the self-hatred, throwing in the towel, declarations of too old to change and too lacking in self-discipline.
No matter where you may fall in the cycle of Making Change and Giving Up, I want to tell you, darling, that you aren’t a bad person who doesn’t deserve to achieve your desires. No, it isn’t that you don’t have desire, it’s that you don’t have the tools in place to assist you in succeeding.
What’s the number one thing I usually see missing?
So, you desire to lose weight or write a novel or fall back in love with your partner. But your life is already overflowing with things to do and your calendar is jam-packed. Where the hell are you going to find time to write a paragraph, let alone a novel? How are you going to lose weight when getting up at 4 AM to go to the gym just isn’t sustainable (at least after those first couple of weeks)? And, honestly, who has the time for romance when you’re exhausted long before the end of the workday and the weekends are a series of errands and tasks and cleaning and things?
I’m going to share a secret with you and tell you up front that it isn’t going to sound BIG enough to create change: you become besotted with the art of living.
You create routines that support your dreams. I know routines sound boring and very unglamorous, but they are the backbone to living. Like it or not, you already have routines in place that are either supporting you dreams or simply allowing you to exist. That means things like preparing the night before so mornings aren’t a rush. It means getting up a little earlier and having breakfast and writing before you check your email (or Facebook). It’s packing your lunch and indulging in a novel while you dine instead of spending your lunch hour rushing around doing errands.
It’s creating some connection to the most sacred parts of ourselves and to God (which, honestly, will be different for each one of us). It can be prayer or meditation, running, or reading inspirational text. It can be an infinitesimal moment of presence and gratefulness as we pour a cup of coffee.
Becoming besotted with the art of living isn’t about doing more, it’s about doing less, but doing it more meaningfully. It’s taking a good hard look at your calendar and releasing obligations that don’t serve you. It’s saying no to being too busy, and yes to curling up with your family as everyone reads a favorite book.
It’s attending to the details of life to make them more pleasant. What kind of details, you may ask? All those special little touches to the everyday things we do in order to transform just going through the motions into living artfully: adding slices of lemon to a glass of water, making sure our favorite pen is at hand to write with, and picking up flowers at the grocery store so that we can enjoy them throughout our home.
It’s enhancing the connection we have with loved ones through small gestures, like a love note in a lunch box. It’s doing those necessary tasks in life with love instead of out of obligation, like making dinner and folding underwear. It’s doing things that aren’t necessary for a loved one but will make their life easier, like matching ties and shirts to all their suits.
Becoming besotted with the art of living is about falling in love with who you are in this moment. It’s stepping away from busy as a badge of honor and releasing the need for perfection.
It’s how we become enchanted with our lives.
This, my darling, is how we achieve those big dreams. By creating a supportive daily life that feels nourishing and all kinds of lovely, we are living our dream now and moving towards what we want to create with baby steps.
All the while, we aren’t pushing or demanding of ourselves. We are treating ourselves with love and using compassionate discipline to achieve. We create a life we love and our big dreams and goals, my darling, will fall into place. Best of all, we get to love what’s right in front of us in the now instead of waiting until we get there.
What about you? What can you do to create a nourishing daily life? How can you become besotted with the art of living?
Isn’t it time you became smitten with your own fabulously imperfect life? Isn’t it time that you became enchanted with yourself?
Let’s step away from the need for perfection. Toss aside the labels. And become besotted with the art of living.