BREAKING A HABIT, MAKING A HABIT – DAY 4
Today we change the focus away from getting rid of unwanted habits. Because making a new habit can be fun… really fun!
Incorporating something into the day that brings a little whoosh of loveliness can be all too rare. Of course, this doesn’t sort out all the horrid, lurking shadows of our lives. But once we let go of ‘project-fix-me’, it can free us up for the odd moment of ‘project-please-me’. Like resting in a lovely moment just because it IS a lovely moment, and for no other reason.
Do I hear the cry, “How selfish and self-indulgent is that?” Yet the great thing is, when we take a moment of joy for ourselves, it strengthens our inner resilience so we can take better care of those around us. Then, second great thing: our more positive mood ripples out and ‘infects’ those around us. The joy spreads like sunshine into the hearts of others.
And as if that wasn’t enough, it goes even further. When someone sees you doing something positive for yourself, it gives them permission to take a moment of joy for themselves. This then spreads out like yet more sunlight, warming those around them and perhaps radiating back to you.
Have I convinced you? Far from being selfish, taking a moment of joy for yourself is beneficial for you and everyone else simultaneously. By helping ourselves, we also help others.
I invite you to spend a moment considering (if you will allow yourself) a moment of joy… Does the inner taskmaster shout, “No time!”? Or the inner cynic yelp, “What crap!”? Or the inner desperado plead, “I’m too far gone to enjoy life…”? They are all welcome to join your inner child as s/he takes a moment of joy.
Is there something that would please you now, which you could prioritise over the dishwasher, TV, social media?
If you are short on ideas, here are a few suggestions from previous students of mine:
• glimpse the sun as it sinks away
• smell daffodils bursting open
• marvel at the petrol-patterned glaze of soap bubbles
• take your glass up to the light and catch a rainbow
• gaze at the moon this evening
• inhale the smell of a loved one (pet or human)
• taste (for once, fully) your favourite drink
• listen to the birds seeking their mate
• put an ear to a tree and hear the sap rising in it.
“Breathe out, touch in, let go”
(from a poem by John Welwood:
John O’Donohue: For a new beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
From ‘To Bless the Space Between Us’ (US) / Benedictus (Europe)
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