the bliss of a good list

the bliss of a good list

Among the things my youngest daughter and I share is a love of a good list. We’ve both been known to add something we’ve already done to our list, just for the pleasure of checking it off.

When everything’s clicking, it seems like a dance … action, check, action, check … the movement is fluid and we are in flow. With that flow, comes the joy.

Yet what happens when the list stops bringing you joy? When checking off those items seems more trouble than it’s worth and a slog instead of a dance?

“It’s important when we’re facing something that’s really hard for us, whether it’s doing taxes, paying bills, or visiting a challenging relative, that we lovingly support ourselves through the process,” writes Madisyn Taylor in the Daily Om. “The more supported we feel, the easier it is to open our minds to the idea that we could change our way of looking at the situation.”

Yes ma’am. More bliss often starts with a simple shift in mindset.

“In truth, most of the chores we don’t like doing are intimately intertwined with our blessings,” Madisyn continues. “When we remember this, we feel gratitude, which makes it hard to stay in a dark mood.”

Funny how it all circles back to gratitude. So today I have a better list. Instead of letting my long list of client projects bring me stress, I will offer gratitude. Instead of the “work” that needs doing in the garden, I will offer thanks for those beautiful flowers and veggie plants. Instead of being annoyed at the paperwork that needs completing for the mortgage refi, I’ll humbly recognize my good fortune to have this home near the ocean.

What’s on my list looks pretty much the same … yet how I go about them, and recognizing why they are the list in the first place, is how I turn that to-do stress into a balm for my heart.

For more thoughts on achieving more bliss in your life, enjoy 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life.

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Rule #3 for a blissy life … a book reading

Rule #3 for a blissy life … a book reading

There’s a lot of strangeness in these days … Jumanji-level strangeness … that can throw us off balance and make us think we don’t know the rules for getting through it.

Yet when we pause and turn down the volume of everything that’s distracting us with fear, confusion and anxiety, we remember we really do know the rules. Like Rule #3, Feel then Decide.

This simple rule helps us get past surface emotions and knee-jerk reactions by turning down the brain noise and letting us hear our hearts again.

Enjoy this reading from Carol’s 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life … and sign up for our newsletter for more book readings from all our 10 Little Rules authors!

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getting hijacked by emotions

getting hijacked by emotions

Sunday was not a good day.

Sunday’s only problem was that it was followed by Saturday, a day I’d been looking forward to since last fall.

Saturday was meant to be my daughter and her fiance’s wedding shower. It didn’t happen as planned (thanks, relentlessly unprecedented spring of 2020). It happened online.

Our Zoom shower was fun, no doubt … more than 30 family and friends joining in, we even had fun games thanks to my younger daughter, the maid of honor. We all toasted the couple with their signature cocktail, had goodie boxes sent or delivered courtesy of the groom’s lovely mom … for the time it lasted it was great fun.

Then it ended. And I was overcome by sadness, missing the people I love and had planned on being with. Trying to remain positive for my daughter’s sake (that’s what good MOBs do, I’m told), I stuffed it away to deal with later.

On Sunday.

I woke up sad, and that made me angry. Cranky, out of sorts, short-tempered and just ugly. Until about mid-day, when I realized I was breaking my Rule #3 — Feel, then Decide.

I had forgotten to feel. Because I didn’t get past my surface emotions, I didn’t have the relief of allowing myself to truly feel what was going on. Around mid-afternoon, I finally gave myself that gift. I got to source (Rule #1), I listened to my heart (#2), and I FELT.

I felt a physical “click” inside my chest when I did, a tangible and visceral opening of some sort, when my feelings made themselves known — kindly, gently, yet insistently.

I felt true sadness, and grief for the loss of what didn’t happen. At first, I felt selfish letting myself “go there.” After all, I am healthy, I am not financially desperate, the people I love are doing fairly well … really, compared to so many others, nothing was terribly wrong.

Yet it’s not selfish at all to feel what you’re feeling. We are all grieving something or someone, the missed events, the cancelled proms, the graduation parties that aren’t happening. We are grieving for our own losses, and for our collective losses.

We are sad.

And sad is okay. Because once we get past our short-tempered, cranky, snappy behavior and understand it’s happening because we are sad, we can take better care of our own hearts … and the hearts of those who happen to have the bad luck to be in the path of our initial emotions.

It’s okay to be sad; it signals that it’s time to wrap up in some love and ride it out. Today it’s raining, but my outlook is a bit sunnier. I received a reminder on my phone that it’s time to check in for my flight home … a flight that I never took in the first place.

Instead of making me mad, it gave me a little smile. It’s a reminder that before long I will be flying again, seeing family again, loving them in person.

I’m still sad … and also deeply grateful for these people I miss, the celebrations we’ve had together and those to come.

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a little bit of bliss …

a little bit of bliss …

These are strange days.

When we are faced with the unknown, it’s too easy to feel like we don’t have the rules we need to get through it. In truth, the rules for how to live our lives haven’t changed; we just get distracted by confusion, anxiety and fear.

Carol Pearson, founder of 10 Little Rules, is about to release a reading from her book 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life, to help us all remember we do know the rules … we just have to feel our emotions, then decide how to move ahead with them. Enjoy the teaser below, then sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss the full reading. Stay strong!

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the bliss of doing women’s work

the bliss of doing women’s work

Women’s work.

Reading through my emails this week, I was struck by the title of Madisyn Taylor’s post in Daily Om.

“In the recent past, the term women’s work has come to have a derogatory connotation. Women’s work encompasses all the domestic chores that have historically been associated only with women–cooking, cleaning, and raising children. Whenever a person is limited to only certain kinds of work in a society, there is a need to break free from that work in order to inhabit a place of choice. However, when we choose to do women’s work because we enjoy it, there is nothing degrading about it. There is an honor to it, and when done alone or in a group this work can be truly meaningful and fulfilling because the home is the foundation of security for all who live in it. The importance of tending the hearth that nurtures all who bask in its warmth cannot be overstated.”

from Madisyn Taylor in Daily Om

Yes.

Madisyn has hit on something vitally important to remember; the idea of choosing to do the work because we enjoy it.

I love to bake. This is no secret to my family, friends and neighbors who often get large chunks of my creations. If I give you something I’ve baked, it means I love you. I might not say the words … but it’s there in every crumb … and every calorie.

My bubble mate (happy anniversary, babe) is retired; I’m still working. He does the laundry … woman’s work? Well, maybe, but to me that pile of freshly folded clothes on my dresser speaks of love and caring, not mandated roles. (Right now i hear him in the kitchen fixing my lunch. He cares for me, nourishes me and checks in on me at my desk several times a time to see if I need anything. I do the same to him when I’m off work.)

It’s a partnership, of caring and helping, beyond gender roles or expectations. And I’m grateful for it.

“The gift of women’s work,” Madisyn continues, “which still often comes from the hands of women, now also comes from fathers, husbands, and hired help. Whatever the source, our sincere gratitude upon receiving these treasures reminds us of the profound value of what is traditionally known as women’s work.”

It’s in that spirit of gratitude and awe that I honor all the “mothers” today .. the ones who nurture, care and tend to the “women’s work” with dignity and joy.

Without this, our world would fall quite short on bliss.

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Taking the risk to blossom

Taking the risk to blossom

I’m a planner, a practical pragmatist. And I’m a dreamer, a romantic heart and soul that revels in the flight of fancy. I’m lodged somewhere firmly between my world as it is, and my world as I see it in my mind’s eye. And here’s the real kicker … I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that my world is anything I want it to be, just waiting. Not insistent, or clamoring, but simply there, waiting for me to decide that it is mine to wander into and claim.

Knowing this, it seems like shucking the husk would be easy. Yes, well, not when the realist, the planner, decides to insert her bossy self and contradict the surety of my brass ring dream. Somehow that part of me does not allow the process to continue. In fact, when the tingle starts, and teasingly promises to launch me beyond my current self to the place I envision, I dig in my heels and refuse to budge.

What is that all about?

Why, when a dream seems to be coming true, does my lizard brain decide now is the time to throw up doubts, anxieties and why nots? Is it the work I am afraid of? The possible sting of failure if I reach and miss? Do I not feel worthy of attaining my goals and dreams, or somehow believe I haven’t yet paid my dues? What is it about the realist in me that insists that this must be so damn hard?

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Anais Nin

Today, my friends…that day is today.

Carol is the founder of 10littlerules.com and the author of the first book in the series, 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life. This post was originally published in her previous book Beginning to Breathe.

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What a yucca plant taught me about communicating

What a yucca plant taught me about communicating

There’s something about digging in the dirt that connects my brain with my heart in a real, tangible way. That’s probably why I love gardening as much as I do. It’s an enjoyable and productive way to spend my time, and checks off quite a few of my rules for a blissy life — get to source, listen to your heart, create beauty, purge regularly.

My neighbor Steve gave us some yucca plants, dug up from his front yard. I’ve heard they can be pokey; I didn’t expect one of the swords to puncture my heal and draw real amounts of blood. My initial reaction was ego driven — damn plant!

But was it the plant’s “fault” for the poke? Did it intend to hurt me? Of course not. The plant (which, if you aren’t familiar with yuccas, are gorgeous in the yard here in coastal NC climate) was simply being itself.

It was my fault, for approaching the plant too quickly, without paying attention to what that plant was trying to tell me, what it needed. I was not paying attention to that plant’s truth.

Hmmm.

Lesson learned.

Maybe it takes a little blood being drawn to make a profound point, whether you’re a plant or a person. One thing for sure, I’ll remember this one, and use it to modify my communication style.

Next up? Seven slightly frost-bitten Rio Sambo rose bushes. I wonder what they’ll teach me?

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The bliss of Getting to Source

The bliss of Getting to Source

I was raised to have faith that were was something deeper to life, something beyond the physical senses. I had faith there was a deeper point to all our existence. Many of us are raised to have this kind of faith.

It wasn’t until my oldest daughter was born and I held her for those first precious moments, that faith turned to knowing. I looked into those wide eyes and saw the Source. I saw the Universe reflected back to me, God’s love in all its mystical beauty and astounding truth. In that all-too-brief moment I went from believing in a greater source to knowing it was there.

This was the inspiration for Rule #1 (Get to Source) in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life. But what does that look like in practical terms?

Some get to their spiritual source through prayer or religious devotions. Others get there through meditation, writing, painting, music, walking on the woods, even weeding the garden. It doesn’t matter how you get there. Just take some time, even a few minutes each day, to shut out the physical and turn your focus on the bigger picture.

When we do, we begin to feel more connected to the whole. We feel less alone. From here, we start to embrace our existence as a vital part of the whole.

Having faith is a powerful thing. Your faith, combined with this deep knowing, amplifies that power in incredible ways. When we are intentional about getting to source every day, that power starts to manifest in entirely new ways.

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