Go ahead. Pull up your equivalent of this green velvet armchair we spotted at Ikea. Let’s chat. Today I’m sending you lots of love and five ideas for a February upgrade.
01. Think of a mundane task as a date
In August DP and I will be moving to the Japanese city of Karuizawa and we’ve recently learned that there are no closets in our apartment (!) so we need to sort out some storage solutions. On Saturday, after lunch, DP and I were chatting about this storage conundrum when he asked if I wanted to go to Ikea. To be clear, that’s not a quick trip. It’s two trains and a shuttle bus away from our apartment and it was definitely going to be busy at Ikea. Also, I’m not a very spontaneous person and this trip was not in my plan for the weekend. In that moment, I made a decision to think of this as a date and to say YES! We were out the door within 20 minutes. At Ikea we sat on about 50 different dining room chairs, earned the equivalent of a PhD in wardrobe configurations and I fell in love with the green velvet chair above (which we don’t need) and a gorgeous orange dresser (that we do need). DP bought me swedish meat balls for dinner and we held hands as we sat outside on the wooden bench waiting for the shuttle.
Your date doesn’t need to involve a partner; it could be a date with a friend or a date with yourself. The idea is simply to enjoy and savour the regular moments of our lives.
02. Replace “I have to” with “I’m going to” or “I get to”
Here’s the thing… the words we use matter. It’s so easy to get stuck in the energy of “I have to” ~ especially when you’re having a no-good, low-energy January, The trouble is that the yuckiness lurking below “I have to…” is kicking us in the ass, spiritually speaking. While it’s true that we do have obligations, they are mostly to people we love and who we’ve chosen ~ the people we gave birth to and the people who gave birth to us. So rather than saying, “I have to pick my kids up at school” you could try, “I’m going to pick my kids up at school.” This is such a small shift but it feels SO much better. When you’ve mastered “I’m going to”, try “I get to” for even more gold stars.
03. Buy yourself flowers
There’s no need to wait for someone else to give you flowers. In fact, that may not be how your people show that they love you. If fresh flowers would bring you joy, go ahead and decorate your office or your dining room table with a bouquet of floral loveliness. We have a friend here in Japan who has bought herself fresh cut flowers once a week for almost a decade; the joy she derives from the beauty and fragrance they bring to her home far outweighs the cost.
04. Throw yourself a Dance Party
According to this article dancing really is good for us.
* raises the heart rate causing a release of feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream
* reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol
* helps us reconnect with our body
* frees up the body and allows it to move
* may produce an emotional release that’s cathartic – a letting go of pent-up emotions
* raises spatial awareness
* improves problem-solving skills after just five minutes of dancing (I could not make that up if I tried)
So have yourself a little dance party. Choose some tunes that make you happy and get your sexy groove on. I LOVE the opening credits to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 which is also a dance party.
05. Join us for Geography of Now (Note: This course has been cancelled)
A few days ago, a friend posted a photo of some light pink blossoms she spotted in Tokyo. I’m not sure what kind of blossoms they are. Possibly plum. It’s still too early for cherry blossoms but whatever they are, I felt a wonderful feeling in response to this photo. A kind of opening up.
That, I think, is the secret of Geography of Now. It helps everyone in the group open up creatively. There’s no place you’re supposed to be at the beginning of the course and no place you’re meant to be at the end. You’ll play and explore at your own speed in the company of other generous people.
If you’re craving an opening up… an opportunity to practice creativity, noticing and gratitude, this is your course.
Here’s the trip:
Week 1: Knowing yourself
Week 2: Noticing
Week 3: Photography
Week 4: Writing
Week 5: Gratitude + Skinny Prose
Week 6: Being at home where you are
“The Geography of Now course offers a daily dose of beauty and insight. The assignments are thoughtful and creative, with a little something for each participant’s inner poet and photographer. My favorite aspect of the course was that it gently encouraged me to get outside the box of my desk and computer monitor and to really look for beauty – in my prose, in my house, in my life, and in the people I love. Monna is an insightful teacher who gathers lovely people around her and encourages them to share. I highly recommend the class for anyone who is looking to jumpstart their creativity or just to explore their inner landscape.” ~ Mara Gorman, freelance writer and publisher of The Mother of all Trips, Delaware.
Note: This was originally shared as a Sunday Reader. To receive these love letters directly in your mailbox, subscribe here. I’d love to send you these letters. xo