“If you're happy, if you're feeling good, then nothing else matters.” ~Robin Wright
I have this morning ritual: I sit in my living room and write down all the things I love about my life. It’s not really that elaborate. My list is usually quite simple.
This morning I wrote about how much I love my new accountant, how grateful I was that the sun came out today, how good it felt to be sore from the yoga class the day before, and how much I enjoy watching my dog play with her toy.
I do this because I know that what you focus on grows, so why not focus on growing the parts of life that I love?
I once had a teacher who would always tell me, when faced with a decision, “choose life.” I took this to mean: make the decision in the direction of expansion, creativity, joy—life.
It might be limited traffic if I'm going to be on the road that day, or gaining clarity on something I need an answer to. Or it might be inspiration for a project I'm working on or money flowing to pay my taxes.
Or it might be something more universal—I want the Haitians to have shelter and a roof covering their heads before the monsoon.
We are so conditioned to be at the effect of our lives that we often forget the power we wield to be the cause. Sometimes the simple act of stating what we want begins the process of creating that end. This is why making a decision is so powerful.
Anyway, while I was doing my morning ritual reading over some of my writing, I came across a passage that actually inspired this memo:
“I want to make feeling good my new religion.”
What would it be like to make feeling good a religion? Does it sound too hedonistic?
I think most of us lean the other way. We have duties, responsibilities, jobs to do. We show up out of obligation. We do something because we think we should or have to or we've always done it that way, even though it stopped serving us a long time ago.
We don't have time. Who has time to feel good? We have work to do! But really, aren't the simple pleasures in life what create the moments you savor?
Last week I was in LA visiting my family. My sister asked if I wanted to spend time with my niece, who was on spring break, while she was at work. So as an activity, I suggested to my niece and my retired parents that we all go bowling. Why not?
On a Monday morning,we were at All Star Lanes, the only foursome in the place. We were bowling to fifties music and watching as more than one ball went down the gutter, but cheering each other nonetheless.
At the end of our game, my mom took out her camera—she brings it with her everywhere—and asked the guy working the shoes to take a picture.
It was a moment. And it was wonderful. And it went in my “things I love about my life” notebook.
My dad said something interesting to me the other day. They just got back from a trip to Australia and now they've decided to plan a new trip to China. He said, “When you're my age, you have to plan things to look forward to.”
There's something poignant about this. We all have to have something to look forward to, and sometimes we have to be the ones that create that for ourselves.
We have to be the ones responsible for our happiness. And yes, even though it seems trite, it is important.
Tell me that your happiness doesn't make an impact on your work place. That it doesn't make an impact on your children. Or your relationship. That your happiness doesn't make an impact on strangers. Or your health. Tell me that your happiness doesn't make an impact on the planet.
Today and every day do something for yourself that brings you pleasure.
It could be as simple as buying yourself a bouquet of flowers to enjoy on your table. Sitting under the sun for a half-hour in the middle of the week. Going on an artist's date to somewhere new.
Getting all your loose change together and buying yourself a mocha. Discovering a local park trail. Perusing the travel section in your local bookstore and deciding where you'd like to visit.
Pulling out an old recipe book and cooking something new. Spending the extra dollar and buying the vine ripened tomatoes for your salad because it tastes better. Packing a picnic and heading somewhere wonderful with your family. Sitting in your backyard listening to the birds sing.
In other words, find something that will make you happy and do it every day. Make feeling good your new religion.
For self-transformation and planetary change. Or, simply because it makes you happy.
Photo by Keenan Turner of M DK Media