Ahhh, Simple Pleasures

My friend went away for the three-day Easter weekend.  Before she left, she asked me if I’d stop in and check on her cat, Penny.  Just make sure she has food and water, that sort of thing.

Penny the Cat lives across the street and two doors down.  An easy hop, skip, and a jump for my boys and me to make several times a day.  The first time we went to check on Penny, we arrived with board games and Mockingjay, juice boxes and string cheese, clearly ready to campout for several hours.  And campout we did.  Several rounds of Apples to Apples, a few go’s at Blokus, and three Mockingjay chapters later, we headed back home.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself.  To be out of our house, completely digging the change of scenery, kind of like a mini-vacation, minus the packing and traffic felt great!  In some regards, it was better than a hotel;  we weren’t tempted to turn on the TV, there was no XBOX console in the house, and I specifically asked my friend NOT to leave me her wireless password (those are all pluses to me).  I wanted to enjoy the simple pleasures an empty house and a cat had to offer.

The following morning, I found myself sneaking over in my pj’s and slippers, cuppa tea in one hand, laptop in the other.  I was ready to escape the constant video game/Disney channel noise at my house, eager to feel the quiet of the Cat House.  Poised to enjoy the simple pleasure of quiet for 45 minutes, until my boys‘ timer would sound, and they’d come scrambling across the street, ready for more board games, Mockingjay, and Penny Play-time.  (Win-win for all!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This became our pattern.  Mom goes over for 45 minutes of quiet, joined by boys later.  And repeat.  Several times a day, for three days.

For me, this falls under the category of Simple Pleasures.  And I say, Never Underestimate the Power of Simple Pleasures.  (Similar to my friend Sally who says, “Never underestimate the power of a pedi!” — I hear you, girl!  Simple pleasures are where it’s at!)

I’m guessing many of you TLT readers are very hard workers, just as I feel I am.  We’ve all heard it said, “Work hard, play hard.”  I admire those who play hard — mostly because I suck at it.  But I need the balance in my life.  So, for me, a more accurate mantra is, “Work hard, relax hard.”

I’ve found that most of my favorite ways to relax involve these simple pleasures:

  • tea with a friend
  • writing
  • being alone
  • one-on-one dinner with another
  • pedicure
  • reading
  • massage
  • talking on the phone
  • hanging out in an empty house with a cat
  • hanging out in My empty house with My DOG

These are relaxing to me.  These fill my cup.  (And none involves crowds or drama.  Very anti-crowd.  Anti-drama.)  These, to me, are better than a vacation.  That’s not to say I’m anti-vacation — I’m not!  But honestly, often there’s a lot of stress leading up to vacation… and sometimes it persists even after you’ve arrived.

That’s why I love relaxing into simple pleasures.  Most are right at my fingertips, require no fuss, and are very doable (if I’ll just make the time to do them).

Let’s face it.  We’re busy people, leading somewhat chaotic lives.  It’s easy for me to see how irritability sets in so easily.  These simple pleasures provide the balance I need for my personal constitution.  I’ve found that with balance, I’m a much kinder, more patient, loving person.  Any irritability I may have experienced seems to bounce right off.  It has no power over me when I’m in a grounded, balanced place.

I believe gratitude/prayer, and Trusting What Is are all effective ways to strike this inner balance.  And a nice helping of Simple Pleasures solidifies that winning formula.

What are your Simple Pleasures?  What fills your cup?  Jot them down, either in the comment section below, or somewhere you can easily see them.  Know what they are, so you can Go There, Do That, as a way of balancing yourself out — on a regular basis.

See what happens when you begin to weave Gratitude/Prayer, Trusting What Is, and Simple Pleasures into your life… little by little, day by day.

Need some help?  Not sure how?  Let me know and I’ll help if I can.  Want someone to celebrate with?  Let me know and I’ll celebrate with you for sure!

I’m interested in your journey.

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Click to Share this message of Simple Pleasures.  Thank you.  Love, Leslie

A Day of Pleasure. WITH NO GUILT. (You Can Do It, Too!)

Last Friday, I:

started the day with my absolute favorite beverage on Earth (bubble tea), which alone would have me singing and dancing, but, I coupled that with girlfriend time/stimulating conversation.  Heaven!

followed by,

a massage.  My first since before the diagnosis.  Although I was uncomfortable at times (I still have quite a few ‘dead patches’ where the nerves haven’t yet regenerated on the backs of my arms and lower shoulder area, along with not being able to lie down comfortably face down), with some minor adjustments, it was a great massage!  One of the best ever!  Very pleasurable.

then,

a pedicure.  “Excuse me?  Would I care for a manicure, too?  No, thank you.  On second thought.  Yes!  Yes, I would.”  I walked out with deep purple pleasure on my toes and fingers.

and afterward, now back at home,

twenty minute meditation, while staring at the pool, listening to the flow of the water cascading down from multiple locations, Libby, my best girl at my feet.  Quiet pleasure.

Meditation up, boys home from school.  Quick snack, then off to watch The Hunger Games at not just any ordinary movie theater, but one of those fancy kind with the La-Z-Boy chairs, wine, a full menu, the works.  (A first, but definitely not last, for us.) Two hours of sheer pleasure!

Out to dinner.  Excellent Spanish restaurant.  Then boys home in one car with Dad, as I jump in mine and off to Target I go.  Up and down the aisles.  All alone.  Not a care in the world.  Simple pleasure.

There you have it, my very pleasure-filled day.

Reflecting back on that morning, as I was leaving the tea house to drive home, I remember thinking:

I have many, many (did I mention many?) things I should be doing right now….

But, I will not should all over myself today
No, today I shall pamper myself
Drive myself wherever I feel like
To do whatever I want
Because I can (as I visualize my son wearing his 18 shirts)
And here’s the kicker:  I WILL NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT
And I will not freak out that I’m flying by the seat of my pants; I have not made a plan

I have to be honest.  I few years ago, I couldn’t have done it.  A whole day of acting on whatever whim I felt like?  With no previous planning?  No forethought?  No trying to sneak in a to-do that happens to be on my route?  No answering my phone, because even if I want to talk to the person, right now I’ve dedicated time to be with someone I love dearly:  Me.

And the biggest of all:  No Guilt.  No should-ing all over myself.  Not once did I think I should be doing anything other than what I was doing.

You may be thinking, Calm down, Leslie.  You didn’t hop a plane to Paris.  You were tooling around north Dallas.  Big whoop.  Hell yeah, big whoop!  For the literally 12 hours that these activities took place, I felt complete and utter bliss.  That is a big whoop.

Twelve consecutive hours of bliss might happen on vacation.  Or maybe if I had a bad enough cold to keep me in bed all day with a really good book.  But this 12 hours of bliss, and the fact that it was unplanned, was such an extraordinary gift I gave myself.  And it wasn’t my birthday.  I wasn’t celebrating anything deliberately.

In retrospect, I was celebrating Me.  I was honoring myself by having my actions direct the Love I’d typically give outward, back inward.  It was time to pour Love inside.  Within.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe Love and Trust go hand-in-hand.  And with that, I believe wholeheartedly that Love and Trust originate from within.    Love and Trust begin inside of us first.  Once we love ourselves, it becomes easy to love another.  And yes, once we trust ourselves, we know we are capable of trusting others.

Knowing these Truths, why not dedicate a day to showering yourself with Love?  There’s really no other gift quite like it.  There’s something about putting your Love into action and directing that action inward that translates solidly to:

I love myself enough to do what’s right for me.
I am worthy.
I am enough.
I am more than enough.

Please feel free to Click and Share.  You never know, this might be just the thing someone needs to read today.

A Cup of Tea with Adele

I imagine Adele enjoys a good cup of tea.  And I know where she can get one!  While serving her tea with milk (I’m sure that’s how she takes it), I’d like to ask her a few questions.

But first, let me share how I was introduced to Adele.  While driving to basketball practice with my two boys, the older one declared, quite out of the blue, as we hadn’t been discussing anything in particular, “I’m going to be good to my wife.  I don’t ever want a girl to feel like that.”

Hello, Left Field.  Where did that come from?!

“Pardon me?”

“Yeah, Mom.  Just what Adele’s talking about,” said my 12 year old, gestured toward the car radio.

Adele was singing, “Someone Like You.”  A beautiful song, like all of her music.  But the lyrics?  I have to admit, I don’t really listen to lyrics, I simply enjoy the experience.  And in the case of Adele, I get lost in her rich, soulful voice – – there’s not much room for anything else when I listen to her.

My son was referring to the entire song, but specifically the chorus:

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you  
I wish nothing but the best for you, too
Don’t forget me, I begged, I remember you said
Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead

At that point I started paying more attention to Adele.

Back to our cup of tea.  As Adele and I are enjoying our cuppa, I’d like to address with her a few points she made in the three minute clip below.  There are things I’d like to better understand.

Honestly, much of what she said resonated with me.  For example, she said, “I only let people hear music that I like.”  I can definitely relate:  I only let people read my words if I like them first.

And of course, when she said, “I trust myself,” (twice!), you know I let out a “Hell yeah!”  I’m SO on board with Trusting Oneself.

Then came the bit that confused me, kind of.  The last thing she said was, “The only person I’m afraid of is myself.”

While watching the clip, my brain had been processing so quickly, taking in the images, her body language, her spoken words, her sung words, the music, then, screech, screech, my mind was coming to a slow, gradual halt.

“I trust myself.” / “The only person I’m afraid of is myself.”

How do I reconcile those two sentences?

Just a moment ago, I wrote I was confused, kind of.  Here’s the teeny, tiny part of me that might get how those seemingly contradictory thoughts can exist together:

Maybe it’s similar to how I firmly believe I’m my very own best friend in the whole wide world, I love myself like nobody’s business, and I’m able to spend countless hours alone perfectly content, yet I’m my very own worst enemy, who lives in my head, creating obstacles that I must then figure out how to overcome.

Any other Jekyll and Hyde’s out there?

I’m eager to discuss this with Adele;  I’d like to hear if this is similar to what she meant.  Are there, perhaps, different angles I’m not seeing?  The thing is, I may not be able to schedule tea with Adele any time soon, so in the meantime, I’d really love to hear your thoughts.  Can you help a girl out??

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If you enjoyed this, please pass it on.  Click below to Share.  Love, Leslie

 

The Rock or The Bloom?

I’ve been tired lately.  I started to wonder if, like my son, my thyroid had stopped working.  No, that’s not it – I don’t have any of the other symptoms that come with hypothyroidism.

Still, I’m tired.  A bit unmotivated.  And, to be honest, not quite as smiley as usual.  Three very uncharacteristic things for me.

Because of my belief system in Trusting What Is, I haven’t given it too much thought, however, I’m aware of its presence.  And I wonder,  will these feelings persist?  Or, will they dissipate and blow away like dust scattered in the wind?

A few years ago I read Cane River by Lalita Tademy.  In it, Philomene says, “I am the rock in your garden Emily, and you are the bloom in mine.  Count on me.”

I am reminded of this beautiful sentiment, in the almost antithetical relationship presented by the author between these two women.

I believe that from an early age I became the rock.  It was expected of me;  it was an unspoken undertaking of mine where I chose to count on me.

It wasn’t until I became a wife and a mother that the bloom within me presented itself, but just barely, and only for very short spurts.  My comfort level remains as the rock.  I actually enjoy being the rock for others.  But mostly, I enjoy the relationship of serving as rock for myself.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer last summer, the rock became a boulder.

In order to manage my emotions and the sheer logistics of hospital visits and medical appointments, I became the boulder.  Staying strong for myself and everyone around me.

As you know friends, my story has a happy ending.  So why am I experiencing the tiredness now?  The lack of motivation?  Knowing that these symptoms appeared at the same time I received my final release to resume all normal activities, I believe there’s a connection.  And the connection is this:

It’s over.  I thought it was over with the final surgery, but no, I was still holding my breath.  It wasn’t until I received the final medical release, releasing me to resume ALL normal activities, that it finally registered:  It’s over!  No more holding my breath.  No more waiting to jog — I jogged!  I even did squat-jacks and attempted push-ups (I guess you could call what I attempted a “push-up”)!

I may have some unsightly scars as reminders.  And I may have persistent discomfort that lingers as well.  But in time, I’m confident they too, will lessen.  It’s really over now.

The breaking of the boulder began with the words, “You may resume all normal activities.”  Those words were the other bookend I had been waiting for for nine months, ever since this process began.

count on me

What I didn’t realize is the breaking of the boulder takes energy — more energy than I would’ve imagined.  And slowly, as the boulder returns to its more manageable rock form, I welcome the pebble it is sure to become.   Until finally, the pebble becomes the dust I imagined blowing away in the wind.

And then I become the bloom.

count on me

 

 

Stand where you are and notice: are you the rock, the boulder, or the bloom?  One is not better than the other;  they each serve their purpose.  Honor where you are, embrace it, or choose to change it if it isn’t serving you well.

You are made of love.  You have love and goodness inside you, and so much more.

Love, Leslie