Busy days, busy lives. Sometimes I wonder how I cram it all in. (How WE cram it all in, you’re no different I suspect.) Work is all consuming, kids are demanding of time, the laundry doesn’t stop, there are phone calls to make, appointments to attend, errands to run, to-do’s, to-do’s, to-do’s. I get up earlier and earlier, trying to squeeze more out of my day, feeling like somehow I will break the code, outsmart the system. (Newsflash, this whole 24-hours in a day thing is here to stay, not sure who I’m trying to outsmart.) And don’t get me started on how technology makes our lives “easier”. As true as that statement is, it adds headaches when I don’t set boundaries and limits. Check my email? Sure, it’s right here in my pocket! (Email just creates more to-do’s, btw.)
It’s how we live. It’s who we’ve become.
I don’t know about you, but I need my ME time.
There are times when I collapse in bed at night feeling cheated. Those are the days I didn’t have time for my ME stuff: to enjoy a single cuppa tea, walk the dog, read. When one of those things is missing from my day, I get a little annoyed, but when all three are missing, and it goes on for consecutive days, I get in a downright FOUL MOOD. And that’s when I feel cheated.
More Background Noise?
So why would I want to crank UP the background noise? Especially when I don’t function well with noise to begin with.
Because sometimes, what’s in the background, is what provides the peace we need on the days when we can’t have our cuppa.
Recently I’ve discovered three new favorite things. And although they aren’t my highly coveted things: my cuppa, walking the dog, or reading, I like them a lot. I do them often enough that they’ve become my background noise.
They count immensely when it comes to appreciating my day. They’ve slipped into my life and I get great pleasure from them. And the beauty is they fit right into my day with ease, therefore becoming my background noise.
My Background Noise
1. New Favorite Car/Mind Activity
Who doesn’t love to be read to? I for one, do. I love language, listening to how words are clustered together to form ideas, then shared in an intimate way by talented writers. I listen to the rhythm, the flow, and of course, the story. There are so many good stories out there!
Right now, if I’m alone driving, then I’m listening to Elizabeth Gilbert read her book Committed on CD. I don’t give a hoot about all of the extensive research she did on marriage, that’s not a topic I’m clamoring to know more about. It’s her voice I adore. Her literal voice soothes my ears and placates my soul. Sometimes I get lost in it. Then, there’s her figurative voice. The brilliant word-groupings in her prose are simply ethereal. She’s a master of description. It’s very easy to get lost in her voice(s).
Which is a good thing, because getting lost while driving means I get to listen to her longer, extending this private pleasure of my day. I find that I take longer routes home, wanting the background noise to continue, as it transports me to a different place entirely. My mind is free of my to-do lists and I simply enjoy. That’s the thing about her voice and the way she weaves a story: I – SIMPLY – ENJOY. Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert.
2. New Favorite Treat For My Nose/Spirit
It’s said that of all the senses, the sense of smell has the ability to recall time, place, and emotion more acutely than any other. With razor sharpness, every time I smell pears, a pear candle, pear anything, I am right back in the small boarding room I rented in Cuernavaca, Mexico exactly 20 years ago. It was a tiny room, with only enough space for a bed and table. Sitting on top of the table was a bowl, much too large for the small table, with pear potpourri piled so high, it spilled over the sides. With each bump of the table, which I managed to do more times than the average bear, potpourri rained down, covering the floor. On more than one occasion I considered tossing the entire contents of the bowl, but stopped myself each time. How could I, when my host family had so little?
I remember the drunk who slept on my doorstep, and how I went from timidly stepping over him to gliding over with ease, able to apply chap-stick at the same time. I remember the tiny black bugs that crawled through my pan dulce. I remember it all — with just one inhale of a pear. And because of those stellar living conditions, I lived there less than two weeks before changing boarding houses. Two weeks with pear scented potpourri, 20 years later, one sniff, and all I see are a potpourri littered floor, the drunk, and the bugs in my morning rolls.
Luckily, there are also smells that take us back to happy times, carefree times. And that’s what my new Aveda Spirit Spray does. Aveda sells over a dozen of these Spirit Sprays (I’m happy to report that not one of them smells of pear). With one small whiff from the bottle I chose, I knew this was the bottle for me. It smells exactly like Aveda’s signature hair products, Shampure and Confixor. And although my goal isn’t to walk around smelling like shampoo and hair gel, what I love is the feeling of being transported back to a carefree time, my mid to late teens, back when I first discovered Aveda. When I first fell in love. When life was extremely simple in a way that I couldn’t appreciate then, but now know to be true of youth.
One smell, hundreds of blissful memories. But more than the memories, it’s the range of feelings the scent conjures. Simple, innocent, carefree, unencumbered. That’s background noise I can handle.
3. New Favorite Body/Muscle Activity
Jackie Warner offers a crazy, tough workout. Crazy. Tough. And although it’s difficult to squeeze in the time for a workout every day, the lingering muscle soreness that follows is a background noise I like. All I have to do is twist to reach for something up high, and I’m nudged into awareness that those muscles are engaging and strong. I bend down to pick something up, and the tightness in my hamstrings signal that I’m fit. With every movement throughout the day, I’m reminded that I’m healthy and whole; I’m back to my pre-surgery self, I’m Full of Life.
Each moment of soreness brings with it a subtle reminder to offer gratitude for all of it: strength, being fit, healthy, whole, cancer-free — Life.
Mind, Body, Spirit Balance
So when I crawl in bed at night, feeling cheated that I didn’t get to enjoy my cuppa, walk Libby, or read a book, I will focus on the background noise still lingering in my ears, nose, muscles, Being. I’ll focus on the pleasure I received and the mind, body, spirit balance that I am grateful to have experienced because of my background noise.
What are the things you do in the background of your life that lift you up and provide a sense of pleasure and well-being? What are the every day things that play a much bigger role in your life that may be hiding in the folds as your background noise?
Take a moment to identify them.
Trust yourself that you are feeding your mind, body, and spirit with the background noise that is uniquely yours.
The background noise you need to thrive.
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