Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Five Simplicities

I've been away on business to Princeton, NJ and a one day shopping fling in Manhattan (amazing how much credit card damage you can do in one day)...so I thought I'd get back in the groove with some simple thoughts that were years in the learning. These simplicities can ease your way in the world and make life a whole lot nicer, for you and for others as well.

1. Be nice to the little people. First of all, there is no such thing as "little people." They are big people in little jobs. They control the access to the big people you want to get to. These people have the ability to make your life hell or heaven. They have the ability to get your papers slid in after five o'clock, to protect you from "situations," and to get you where you want to go.

When I worked in advertising, I always treated the secretaries like queens. Not only my secretary (who would cover me if I spent too long at lunch or stay late to get something done for me) but also, the secretaries of the higher ups whom I had to please. Those secretaries guarded access to the important people and could get me appointments as well as be a source of information when I needed it, even going so far as putting in good words for me. I am not implying that I used these people, just treated them with courtesy and genuine concern. I always gave gifts for Christmas, lunch for birthdays and flowers on special occasions.

Amazing how a small but caring gesture goes such a long way. The mailman will hold a package for you instead of returning it back into the system; the garbage collector might good naturedly take away something beyond the call of duty; a store clerk who actually makes the effort to help you locate what you're looking for or calls you when something's come in.

2. Make your bed each morning. I know, not what you wanted to hear. Not something you think has the key to the universe. And I'm not saying, "make your bed" because someone will come over to your house and think you are a slob.

No. A made bed gives you the gift of a fresh, orderly state of mind from which to begin your day. A made bed greets you happily and calmly each night. This is no joke; it is extremely important. An addendum to this is: wash the dishes at night before you go to bed. Even when you're tired and say, "I'll do it in the morning." You want to start the day inspired and unencumbered when you walk into the kitchen in the early a.m. -- not burdened by yesterday's business.

3. Find the joy in daily life. Do not wait for "big" things or moments to come and make you happy. Don't say, "I'll be happy when vacation comes." Be happy now. If you make something so big in your mind, when it arrives, you will find it doesn't make you as happy as you had imagined. And besides, why wait for a "happy moment" when you can live happy, every day.

Happiness is not something you wait for. Happiness is something you make. Or recognize. Life is made up of a continuity of small moments, therefore, the small things are what add up to big happiness. Try to do everything beautifully, even the "lowliest" task, knowing that you are honoring yourself and others, honoring life itself, and you will find yourself living in grace and... happiness.

Don't take daily life for granted. Happy moments simply need to be acknowledged. It is so easy to say, "I am so depressed," and great courage to say, "I am so happy!"

Take charge of your happiness. Practice it! You are taking your first sip of morning coffee accompanied by the crinkle of The New York Times. Say, "I am happy." Take a walk with the dog, smell the sweet country air and say, "I am happy." Sip a cup of cocoa in bed with a book at night and say, "I am happy." And you will be.

4. If you are sad, lonely, bored, get outside yourself. It's an easy solution and it works every time. I tell you this with great meaning because I spent too many years floundering in loneliness.
Read a book. Books are the ultimate best friend. Books open the world to you. Better yet, go sit in a cafe and read a book. Join a library. "Libraries Change Lives."
Exercise is a great way to get outside yourself, change your attitude and feel better phsycially. Go for a walk, a bike ride, a swim, a rollerblade.
Volunteer. Help someone less fortunate than yourself.
Learn something new. Learn how to sail, how to knit, how to speak a new language.

Life is entirely too short to spend on sad, lonely, bored.

5. Surrender your soul to the joy of art. Make art an integral part of your life. Art is the soul's expression of divine creation. Art is an infinite inspiration to your life. Art comforts and inspires. Art challenges and explains. Go to museums and galleries and see how people over the ages have tried to capture the varieties of the human experience on canvas and in sculpture. Go to concerts and recitals. Bathe your life in music, the soundtrack to your life. Support artists always.

Now...carry on!


√Āngelus said...

HI! I really like your blog, Do U want adopte me as your son? jajaja, I'm joking...i think your blog and your writers are cutes and lovlys and your advices for the life are wise.
Bye, keep writing.

Amber Star said...

This is a great post full of great reminders. I'm a big believer in #5 - art can make such a huge difference in your life, no matter what type it is.

Thanks for a cool blog. I just found it and I really love it.
~Amber Star