I've begun living consciously. By this I think about how I spend my time and frame my choices in a more positive and constructive way. When working from home it's easy to let time slip by and then wonder where it went. Today I began thinking and then acting upon what I call the elements of a good day. I've come up with the following:
1. Doing what I love: We all have work commitments, those things we have to do every day to put groceries in the fridge. However, I've discovered that if I can carve out a dedicated space to do something I love each day, the 'work stuff' seems much more pleasant. (Count yourself lucky if your work also happens to be something you love!) I started today by writing a 1,000 words in my novel in progress. Usually I wait until the end of the day to start writing, but by then more often then not, I'm tired and either write half-heartedly or make an excuse not to write at all. By writing first thing, I felt great when I'd reached my goal and was ready to take on the rest of my tasks for the day.
2. Get Moving: This is not about losing weight or getting into shape, although those are great side-effects, this is about getting outside. My favorite exercise has always been a long walk. Now that I live in the mountains, getting outside has the added benefit of being a treat to the eyes, the soul, and the mind. I feel refreshed when I'm walking along and see the far off perspective of Mount Evans, the cerulean blue sky, the sound of the wind in the pines. Sounds cliche, and all the stuff about benefits of endorphins is not discounted, but for me the biggest benefit is that getting outside also helps me to get outside myself and get perspective on the larger picture.
3. Make Contact: Last night I spent a lovely evening with friends at a dinner party. We laughed, shared the tasks of putting dinner on the table, and enjoyed lots of lively conversation. I used to believe that I craved solitude and could easily live in a secluded cabin in the woods. What I've discovered is that in all things balance is essential. Yes, I do need time alone but it's a necessary and rejuvenating break to spend time with friends and family. These relationships enrich my life in ways I never expected and they make me a kinder, gentler, person.
4. Vitamins and Colorful Food: I suppose this is one of those things that you appreciate as you get older. Or in my case, it's one of those things that I've grown to appreciate as I've developed my appreciation of cooking. I have become more aware of the quality of the ingredients I use, a proponent of shopping in the perimeter aisles of the grocery store, where the fresh foods are, and cooking from scratch as much as possible. Home prepared meals from non-processed, fresh ingredients are better for me and actually taste better. I've also become a fan of omega 3 supplements since fish is not one of my favorite foods and I'm intrigued by the myriad of benefits that have been attributed to this oil.
5. Relax the Mind: Each day I try to make time for reading and listening to music, or listening to music as I read. Not only does this inspire my writing, it's a great way to unwind at the end of the day. Next on my list, I'd like to learn how to incorporate meditation into my day. I'm intrigued by the possibilities of what I might learn if I could just quiet my mind and listen.
6. Got God?: Every morning I receive one or two different devotionals in my email inbox. These brief inspiring messages help me to remember that it's actually not all about me, and that there is a 'Higher Power' that has a greater purpose at work, even when I have no clue what it is. And it reminds me to count my blessings, gratitude is an incredibly healing balm.
What are your essential elements to a good day?