I’ve been doing a lot of observing lately. I’ve noticed how absolutely prolific most bloggers I follow are. It’s truly admirable. Many bloggers have taken Sylvia Plath’s great quote seriously and literally: “… [e]verything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.” I see a lot of daily posts, especially on Instagram, about absolutely everything imaginable. From “read about my new Valentino shoes” to “read all about the pigeons around the Notre Dame” to “read about the curry dish I cooked up for dinner”, bloggers turn every aspect of their daily lives into blog entries and they manage to get eyeballs to read their work. How absolutely wonderful!! I wish I could blog about my new shoes, or my new lipstick as passionately and as frequently as I see it done out in the Blogesphere. Alas, I can only blog when I am emotionally moved by a subject, and while I do feel very passionately about many things (from shoes to a night at the opera), I just don’t write about all aspects of my daily life in detail, with passion and frequency.
But, I do have the habit of making occasional lists of life’s little moments that make me happy and make my heart joyful. So, I am reviving my regular Monday series, called Make Me A List Monday to practice intentional mindfulness in my daily life.
Here’s what’s made me blissful in November—so far.
- Baking doggie cookies and watching my little Stella go cross-eyed with pleasure while eating her very first cookie ever. (They’re cranberry flavored and totally smell like real human cookies.)
- Starting a new journal. I absolutely love the feel of the spine cracking for the first time and the sensation of putting pen to the first page. Nothing beats that feeling.
- Afternoon naps. I’ve recently contracted a very bad case of insomnia (both this and the last piece I wrote for this blog were typed and prepared for publishing at 4:30 am). I’ve tried to squeeze my eyes shot and force sleep to come back, I’ve tired counting sheep and I’ve tried to free my mind of all thoughts, which usually only lasts about 5 seconds. So, I’ve given up on fighting my sleeplessness and now simply get up and get on with my day. This chronic lack of sleep has made me fall madly, deeply and passionately in love with naps. Whenever possible, I steal a few blissful Z’s on the couch in the afternoons and I love it!
- A day at the museum. This one is a gem. Nothing makes me happier than the prospect of a day spent at the museum. And nothing beats the feeling of returning to a familiar and well-loved palace of the arts for me. If only I could do it every day.
- Holding hands with my husband. We’ve been married for more than 7 years and we were together for 9 years before we even got married. But, most of the time, you wouldn’t guess that we’ve spent nearly two decades together. That’s because we still hold hands and kiss in public, just like we did when we first began dating. Public displays of affection are the best, especially as the years tick by and the love deepens.
- Making peace with what is. I have finally reached a point where I’ve come to see, accept and make peace with what I cannot change. I used to have a tough time accepting things beyond my control. I would spent days, months and even years ruminating about what someone did, said or failed to do or say to me. These days, I find myself making peace and letting go.
- The sound of seagulls as they fly away for the night. Although it’s November, we’re having summer weather here in Los Angeles. So, as the sun sets earlier and earlier each day, I sit next my open window and hear the seagulls call out to each other as they begin their journey to nighttime shelter. It’s sort of like quitting time and rush hour traffic of the feathered kind. It is simply lovely.
- The crunch of autumn leaves under my feat. You would think that at 80 degrees, the trees around here would get confused and forget to prepare for the shift in the seasons. You would be wrong. Despite the unnaturally warm weather, even for LA, my neighborhood trees have begun their long journeys into winter slumber by shedding their leaves, as they’re wired to do. And, whether I’m wearing boots (a rare occasion in this endless summer) or flip flips, I absolutely love the crunch and crush of dried leaves under my feat as I take my afternoon walks.
- French macarons. Yeah, I’m still a passionate Francophile who takes any chance she gets to live as she would if she were living in Paris. Last weekend, I met a friend for brunch. She left it to me to pick the place. I, of course, picked a quintessentially French bistro in Beverly Hills. As I walked into the place, it felt as if my actual location faded away and I was suddenly in Paris again. Everything about the afternoon was beautifully French, from the food, to the ambiance, to our luxurious leisurely brunch that lasted 3 hours (yes, they began to sweep around us by the time we finally paid our bill and walked out, having been the last people still in the joint). But, as amazing as the food, the surroundings and the company were, nothing cheered me up more than the plate of colorful macarons that capped our beautiful afternoon together. I don’t care what you say, no one can have a bad day when French macarons are around! They are joie de vivre on a plate.
- Lovely and beautifully encouraging notes and comments from readers of my blog. I want a career as a writer. That’s my dream. And when something I write touches someone and moves him or her to write to tell me how much he or she enjoyed my work, I feel complete. In the recent months, and especially in the last few days, I have received some of the most supportive comments from you, readers of this blog. I want you to know that your kind words mean the world to me and give me the hope and the encouragement I need to keep writing. Thank you.
- Counting weeks. I hate to leave it at that, but cryptic is all you get right now. More on this subject soon.
- Embracing my uniqueness and rejoicing in not being like everyone else. This one is a frequent and recurrent theme for me. I go through periods when I get bogged down with conventionality and sheep-like behavior. I strive to “fit in”. I yearn to be understood by the lowest common denominator I share with others, only to realize over and over again that I am not meant to fit in or to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Personally, I don’t think anyone is. But, for me, the yearning to fit in and to be understood is a false choice. That’s because, when it comes down to it, I do not want to conform simply to be A-Okay with those who live and love conventionality and predictability. I am who I am. It is what it is. No one’s approval is necessary or requested.
- The sudden realization that the pep talk I just gave a friend is exactly what I need myself. While I do have some amazing friends who love and support me unconditionally, I am sometimes left out in the cold when it comes to a well-worded, deeply needed pep talk. And I finally realized why. No one else knows what is truly in my heart. I could talk until I’m blue in the face about my fears, my losses, my doubts and my sadness, and I could still not get the verbal reply I am looking for. So, instead of beating myself up or feeling disappointed over what wasn’t said to me, I’ve decided that I am a master at pep talks when it comes to my needs. I not longer look beyond myself for the right words. I look within. If I’m down, I look to me to pick myself up. If I feel fearful, who better to lift me and let me know that I’ll be ok than myself? The pep-talk-giver-in-chief in my life is me and no one else.
Life’s full of signs, lessons and wisdom. It’s also filled with big and small joys and pleasures. I strive for a quiet heart and a mindful mind in order to see, feel and hear the lessons and joys that come from every direction. And when I do, I feel genuine bliss.
Happy November, everyone!