Friday, October 16, 2015

Day 7: You Can Live Lavishly Even When Your Soul Feels Impoverished

pixie dust
Some days your soul can’t feel its worth. On those days it’s easy to feel a poverty of spirit. But we don’t need to. We can live lavishly even when our soul feels impoverished:

Resist the temptation to blame your circumstances. This is a big one for me. I want to deflect my unhappiness onto something, anything. Because the problem obviously must be external, right? (I mean who wouldn’t be seriously and legitimately distressed to discover that the metropolitan city they moved too didn't have a single drive-thru? Do people honestly expect me to haul my sick kids into CVS for their meds and then into Starbucks for mine? What is this world coming to?)

Remember that motion changes emotion. We all know that working out is good for us, that it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. But when you’re already discouraged, it can feel easier to climb a mountain than to motivate yourself to workout. You don’t have to workout to reap the benefits of motion though. Take the dog for a walk. Weed the garden. Instead of using the school pickup lane, park a few blocks away and walk to get your kids (then breathe deeply while they complain you made them walk that extra 60 feet). 

Retreat to the woods. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, Frost tells us. So go to the woods or at a minimum, experience the benefits of nature. Cut flowers. Fill a basket with pine cones. Add lemon slices or fresh mint to your water. Throw open the windows. Let the sun shine in.

productivity is measured by the yield

Revel in something unexpected. When you’re already fighting a funk, your inner critic gets nasty, doesn’t she? Mine sure knows how to poke the bear. How do you expect to find a job, when you’re lazying over a cup of tea, she’ll tell me. Your house will never be organized if you don’t clean that linen closet TODAY, she chides. Her chirping rankles. Drown that snark in a mid-day bubble bath. Take a blanket to the backyard and read in the sun. Productivity is measured by the yield, not the process.

Redeem your free pass. If you’ve ever done any guided meditation, you know that you train your mind by focusing it on the breath or a visualization. But at the end of the session, you allow your mind to wander, to go where it wants to go. Essentially, you give it free reign to do what it wants to do. Some days, give yourself a free pass to follow your mind, even when it goes where you don’t want it to go. Insight will be waiting for you there too. 

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