Tag Archives: blessings

Living Well

Once on our way home from a Vermont ski weekend, we stopped for gas at a service station that offered two welcome perks. What initially drew us in was the covered self-serve island, which kept the sloppy mix of snow and rain off my husband as he filled the tank. The added bonus was a set of speakers on the outside of the building broadcasting music. I’m not the biggest fan of country music, but I was a captive audience that day. I found myself listening intently to George Strait’s catchy tune and poignant message: “There’s a difference in living and living well.” During our trip home, I reflected upon the distinction between living and living well and I invite you to do the same.

How would you define living well? Although what first came to my mind were scenes from glossy travel ads of idyllic tropical beaches (I’m sure that had something to do with our chilly weather) and luxurious spas, I quickly thought of some more everyday, low-cost examples of family and friends living well:

• My father, who settled into his recliner every evening with a sigh and an interesting library book
• Friends who sit out on their deck every summer evening to watch the sun set
• My German host parents who have perfected the art of leisurely mealtimes (gemutliches Essen)
• My friend who makes a nightly ritual out of taking a bath by candlelight

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As you think about your own life, what current evidence do you have that you live well? You might include things often taken for granted: your health, a good night’s sleep, the unconditional love of a pet or more obvious indulgences: a fine bottle of wine, a decadent dessert, silk lingerie. I hope that the length of your list pleasantly surprises you.

What would help you move from just living to consistently living well? There are many small steps you can take that can make a big difference. A shift in thinking is one example. Instead of focusing on what’s lacking in your life use an affirmation such as “All is well. I live well.” and you’ll begin believing it. What are things that you currently do (think eat, drink, sleep, bathe) that with more intention and attention could begin to feel like nurturing rituals instead of routines? What do you have access to but aren’t currently taking advantage of that could contribute to living well? Here’s a list that get you thinking:
• Fine china
• Music—to listen to or play
• Babysitter
• Comfy coach
• Jacuzzi
• Yoga mat
• Exercise videos or equipment
• Unredeemed gift certificates
• Bread machine
• Crock pot
• Fresh flowers

My challenge to you is to not “get through” the coming days, weeks, and holidays but to live them and live them well!

Love Litany

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I once hosted my women’s group for a potluck dinner around Valentine’s Day.  Following our meal and catch-up conversations, I suggested we create a love litany. We quickly passed a rose quartz crystal (known to promote feelings of love and compassion) around our circle.  Each time the crystal came around to us, we shared a few words about something we loved.  It was amazing how quickly the mood of the entire group lifted.

I invite you to bring back that loving feeling with your own love litany. Alone, or better yet, in the company of loved ones, recite your list of loves.  Be as specific as possible, describing what you love about a certain person, place, or thing.  For instance, I love my older son’s persistence.  He’s demonstrated this numerous times, in the way he went the distance to get his black belt in karate and more recently when he taught himself how to surf.  I love the way my younger son courageously strikes out into new realms. For example, he was an exchange student to Chile and was the first from his high school to go abroad as a junior.  I also love how intuitive my husband is. He’s usually able to sense exactly what’s going on with me and will step up to help or make a suggestion that’s right on target.

Love has no limits, so there are boundless things you could add to your litany. Consider the people in your life, your pets, the activities that bring you joy, and pleasing elements of your environment. Continue your litany until you begin to run out of loving thoughts.

What I suspect may not have made into your litany was anything about yourself. If that’s the case, I challenge you to add some things you love about you.  Maybe there’s a physical attribute that you are thankful for.  In my case I’m happy for my high metabolism (thanks, Mom!) and my naturally blond hair (thanks, Dad!) What qualities do you love? I love my creativity and the way I look for the best in people. What is the best in you? Complete your litany by celebrating what you love about yourself.

Given the challenges of our troubled times, we need to have multiple tools available to support us. I hope this love litany exercise helps give you a boost.