This dropped into my inbox from a member of my tribe today:
I’ve never been one of those people that can truly “Be Still” for more than a few minutes at a time. My brain is always thinking – what about the dishes? Did you lock your car? What about that email from my boss, did I answer it? Did I just offend her by not saying hi? I should really be doing laundry. Those carbs I ate for lunch (and, ok, breakfast too) aren’t going to burn themselves. In order to let myself relax into “thoughtlessness” I have to play an audio-book or a podcast. That way I’m thinking about something other than myself and my responsibilities while I’m “relaxing”. It feels a little ridiculous. Tonight came with a realization, though. It’s a 70 degrees in February (unpredictable mid-west weather at its finest), so when I got home from work, I took my tiny, obnoxious dog for a walk. During my walk I listened to a podcast about Watergate (Slow Burn – if you’re interested) and had to shush my dog – unsuccessfully – every time we passed a dog larger than himself. Hardly the ideal “relaxing” experience.
Then the wind blew against my face. It was a fresh, real, cooling sensation. How often do we stop to notice that? That’s when calm waves started to generate in my core.
When I got home, I made myself some dinner and poured myself a glass of wine while my roommate and her boyfriend were snuggled up on the couch. I recognize that Me from a few years ago would have been bitter and envious about that, present-time Me enjoyed the solitude (and the fact that I added a large amount of wine to my pasta sauce and there wasn’t a soul to question me on it!). I love cooking and spending time with my boyfriend, and he lets me follow my instincts and trusts them (unless it’s pesto). However, I also loved being able to add the extra garlic, salt and onions without having to worry about someone else’s taste buds. The waves got stronger as they became something more like joy.
Then the doubt hit me…am I being selfish?
The answer came as I sat on my comfy bed with my delicious pasta and generous pour of wine and logged into my computer to catch up on a blog I’ve been neglecting. I felt happy. As I filled my belly with yummy food and filled my mind with another’s candid words, I was doing my version of relaxing, and it felt great. Crazy how the feeling of joyous contentment can hit you out of nowhere, huh?
Sometimes I stop and find this feeling in the middle of a hot yoga class when I get beyond hating my reflection in the evil studio mirrors and sweating more than any human being ever should. Other times I feel it when I sit on the couch with grocery store ads and my planner on my lap, ready to plot how I want my week to go.
My point is that happy comes in all shapes, sizes, sensations, and thoughts. Tonight mine came when I was leaning against my too-many pillows, computer on my lap, and overly-large red wine glass in my hand. I hope yours comes to you when you’re relaxed in a luxurious bubble bath, when you’re 10 strides into a daily run, when you’re catching up on “Married at First Sight” with a box of Tag-a- longs, or when you’re sitting in silence for the first time in 8 hours. I hope you enjoy it. Relish in the feeling of happiness. Contentment. Hold onto it and remember it for when you’re sitting in your office and
completely forgot what your meeting was about 5 minutes in. Conjure the waves of it whenever you need it, and recognize it whenever you feel it – because you positively, absolutely deserve every lovely second of it!