Friday, August 26, 2016

From Want to Luxe

From Want to Luxe

Something I hear about a lot is how some of us we feel like we never have enough money. We can’t do this and we can’t do that because we can’t afford it. We think about money all the time, about not having it, and we don’t. Funny how that works.

Why can I live in luxury?

How do you feel when you ask yourself that question? When I started asking it, I would feel kind of anxious. I had a lot of mislearning around the notion of luxury. I mixed up luxury with opulence. I tied it to great wealth. I believed it was out of my reach.

I had to soften the Creative Question up; Why would I live in luxury? How could I live in luxury? Frankly, I didn’t see how it could work. I mean, I live in a sweet little duplex, not a mansion with pool and grounds and gates. I messed with the wording some more and started asking, “How do I live in luxury?” Well, that did it for me!

My home may be cluttered mess at present, but it is a luxurious cluttered mess. It has treasures I love, colors that make me feel happy. I’ve put in things like a fireplace and a piano that please me. But beyond that... I can support pets and give them a nice life. I have electricity to light the night, cool a hot day, chill food. I have natural gas to heat water, to cook my food, to keep me cozy in the winter. I have access to exceptional health care. I am loved by people I think are amazing. I could go on and on with all the ways I am blessed with more luxury than most of the kings of history.

In fact, the more I appreciate how much luxury there is in my life, the more luxury shows up. How’s that for a neat trick. Maybe it’s because I’m on the look-out now for it so I notice it.

Luxury isn’t about expense. That sounds weird, but it’s true. We can experience luxury in all sorts of ways. Like many people, I love the feeling of fabrics like silk, cashmere, alpaca, but I’m not interested in paying a lot of money for them. In fact, I’ve found that I prefer to find these luxury fabrics in secondhand stores. I love the feeling of giving them a new life.

Luxury is about uplifting pleasure and comfort. I can bring a lot of that into my life in an instant by paying attention to my surroundings and my thoughts. By enjoying my meal or snack or beverage with attention to it, it becomes luxurious. By being present in my body, fully relaxing into it, my bed feels magnificent, sheltering, and deeply peaceful. By being attentive, even something as fundamental as breathing or sitting can feel luxuriant.

Luxury is about appreciation. Coming home is just coming home until I appreciate it. Then, I enter my nurturing haven. It’s warm on cold days, it’s cool on hot ones. There are two little souls who meow at me in greeting, who fill my home with love. Even now, when it needs work, it still is luxurious to me.

Luxury is about choice. Each day is full of a thousand tiny choices. Some of those choices are just at the edge of conscious thought and we call them habits and routines. Other choices determine how we feel in our lives. Choosing presence, choosing appreciation, choosing luxury, will create subtle shifts in our behavior, in our thoughts, in our other choices. These little shifts happen at a very deep level and will create amazing, positive change in our lives.

By choosing to experience all the uplifting pleasure and comfort in my daily life, I am choosing to be fully alive, appreciative, the master of my own life.

How have I changed from wallowing in want to experiencing the abundant luxury all around me?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2016 all rights reserved 08242016

Friday, August 12, 2016

Happiness Runs

Happiness Runs

Sometimes when I draw a Creative Questions card I really like, I wanna just post answers to the question. Like today when I pulled, “Why am I happy?”

It’s like an automatic endorphin release program. I feel better just asking the question, like I’ve trained my brain to crank endorphins into my system with those four words. That’s just fine with me.

But that feeling got me thinking. What do we mean when we talk about being happy? Well, I can tell you what I mean by happy.

When I feel happy, my chest feels open, my belly feels relaxed, my shoulders soft. When I feel happy, I feel satisfied, light-hearted, grateful, and contented. My breathing gets bigger. I may not love what I’m doing, but it’s ok that I’m doing it. I feel loving and loved, appreciative and appreciated. I may be pleased for you about something nice that is happening for you, with you, by you, or other prepositional phrases involving you. I also tend to feeling capable, competent, strong, soft, smart, lovely, and good enough.

Why do I enjoy a sense of well-being?

I was amazed that I could feel this way while in the midst of chemo. That my sense of well-being was there when I had Chester the chest-tube poking out of me, pulling at my pleura. That I felt peaceful and contented with the fatigue and stuff since then. For me, happiness, that rich, complicated, savory, nuanced feeling is a daily practice, like my appreciations practice.

Why would I practice happiness?

Many years ago, one of my most amazing teachers said, “Just because you address your emotional trauma and deal with your issues doesn’t mean bad stuff stops happening, it just means that you will have more and better resources for dealing with it.” Practicing happy is one of those resources for me.

How can I practice happiness?

When I talk about happiness I mean a whole lot of things. I can make the physical changes happen in my body fairly easily. In fact, if you hold a crinkle-eyed smile for a full minute, your body starts releasing those feel-good chemicals. But there are more components to my happiness. Self-esteem, feeling fortunate, having a sense of being in charge of one’s attitude, all of these things contribute to feeling happy in our culture.

I have also been amazed that I can feel happy even when I am sad. Wha??? Yes, it seems like a paradox, maybe it is, but when I am feeling clean, uncomplicated sadness, I often also feel many of the other things I mentioned above, things that add up to happy. Weird but true.

Why would I decide to be happy?

That’s the bottom line. I have to choose it. I have to decide that I’m worth the effort to be happy, or whatever you want to call it. I have to resolve to make the changes I have to make in my thinking, in my environment, in my companions to support an upbeat lifestyle.

How have I changed from being committed to misery to committing to my own well-being?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2016 all rights reserved 08122016