This year has been sort of a tough one. Things have just been harder than usual, in the “Wake up, Lil, this is Real Life,” kind of way. My job is getting real, as is my financial situation. Several close friends have had nearly lethal bike accidents, I put a huge geographical distance between my loved ones and me, and heartbreak has left me sobbing on my living room floor. Multiple living room sobbing sessions, actually. That just seems to be the place that I end up when the going gets tough.
Despite that, I have been asked out and hit on more in the past year than ever before! (And no, I haven’t lost weight, gotten a great new haircut, or started wearing short skirts and high heels. And guys, I don’t even shave my armpits!) Besides in the usual cafe/bar scene, I have been asked out in the grocery store, the shoe store, the library, the farmers’ market, and the map store. (The map store, really?) I’ve had people call out to me, and then run to catch up to me and ask me my name. A handsome man, who was singing on the street, stopped singing to talk to me. The charming but married-with-kids millionaire who owns the ad firm next door is constantly smiling at me and checking out my legs. I’ve never attracted this kind of attention before. What changed?
I couldn’t put my finger on it for a while. This past week, things clicked; happiness has made me beautiful. And happiness does not mean being in the perfect relationship, having the perfect job, the perfect body, or being completely enlightened.
Happiness, for me, comes from acknowledging and appreciating the parts of my life that I am grateful for, and breathing into those parts. When I wake up in the morning, I open the curtains and say “Damn, mountains, you guys are killin’ it today.” I ride my bike and whisper up to the blue sky, “Thank you for the sunshine! This day is amazing!” I stare into my bowl of homemade soup and say “This is healing soup. This soup can heal anything.”
We talk about “mindfulness” a lot, but this is the ultimate test. Can you pick your life apart into moments, strung together like pearls, and acknowledge and appreciate the beautiful ones, even when life is tough?
Extra Credit: Next time you are sobbing on your living room floor, try taking a breath and appreciating this hard moment, as much as you appreciate the moments of sunshine and bowls of warm soup.
(P.S. I am a Wellness Counselor in Boulder, Colorado. I teach women how to think and eat for optimal physical and emotional health. Learn more at IdealNourishment.com and read more blog entries here.)