This morning I woke up thinking more about The Happiness Project book which I have been enjoying and reflecting on so much since our vacation to Seattle a few weeks ago. Since I've been back home and somewhat "in the routine" (if that is every truly possible in the summer!), I've been trying to find ways to let the things that really spoke to me from the book guide my day-to-day living. Not always easy to do - to transfer the vacation "high" back to day-to-day life...
This morning I decided to sit outside on our little back deck. I love it out here on our deck - it is peaceful to be in my own little oasis, but I still have all the smells, sounds, and hustle-bustle around me of the city getting ready for another day. I took a chance to reread the parts of my journal that I wrote as I read The Happiness Project and ideas for how to bring it home and learn from it. As I was rereading, I realized that I am really encouraged when I can remember one of the "12 Commandments" from the book and bring it to mind in the moment when I need it ("Act the way you want to feel!" aka "Fake it til you make it"). I have been focusing a lot on the first four of my own commandments that I made after reading: 1) Be Rachel, 2) Let it go (I really need this one!), 3) Laugh, and 4) Act the way you want to feel. Mostly I think these come to mind so quickly because they are the ones that I can remember in the busyness of the moment! Also, they apply to a wide range of situations.
So I was thinking I should try to focus on a few of the others each week to help me remember them more easily, hoping that repetition (even if just for a week) will help to make it a habit. So I am going to try to focus on 3 of the rest of my commandments each week, mostly to help myself remember to live more thoughtfully and consciously. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, took three goals and spent a whole month working on being more mindful and setting goals toward achieving them throughout the month. I love her idea, but I just don't think that it would be practical for me - summer is so much more flexible and relaxed for me than the rest of the year, and I have no idea how demanding it will be for me to begin seminary this coming fall. So I think working on these over the summer makes more sense for me (and anyone else who doesn't have the flexibility of being a full-time, free-lance writer like Gretchen Rubin!). Hopefully just a week of each will make these stick!
So, this coming week (Saturday-Saturday), I am going to focus on #5, #6, and #7:
5) Do it now!
6) Live with intention.
7) Enjoy the process.
Already this morning, I feel like I have a small victory in trying to "Do it now!" just by sitting out on the back deck to journal and read. Every morning I want to do this and tell myself how good it would be for me to do (instead of dragging myself out to the couch to watch the Today Show each morning...). But somehow I end up doing anything but. I clean up from the night before, watch tv, make breakfast, check email, fall back asleep, etc. These are fine activities, but often leaving me feeling somewhat "blah" and wishing I had begun with some quiet time and reading instead. So this week, I'm going to try to focus on living more intentionally and having a small amount of quiet time on the deck each morning. I'm also going to try to limit my email-checking/computer time by setting a timer for 30 minutes twice a day: morning and afternoon, and walking away after that. Since I don't have an office job or really any full-time job over the summer, there's no reason that I need to be checking the computer so often. I am not looking forward to this- I love surfing my computer to read the NY Times, blogs, email, Craigslist, and who knows what else?! But I know I'll feel good if I challenge myself to live intentionally this week and see how I do without it so frequently. Trying to "enjoy the process"!
We'll see how it goes! I encourage you to find a way to live intentionally, enjoy the process, and do it now! this week.
My porch view this morning:
My new journal and me enjoying it (excuse my sleepy morning look!):
If you're interested in learning more about The Happiness Project, you can check out Gretchen Rubin's blog: http://www.happiness-project.com/