I love spicy food. I really, really, really love it. Hot wings, five-star Thai food, Mexican salsa, bottled hot sauce, you name it. Tonight after our 12 hour drive up to Maine, we decided to have carry out Thai food. It was delicious and it was h-o-t! As I was sitting, eating, sweating, and chugging milk between bites, I was laughing because I was thinking to myself, "WTF?! Is this really fun or what?" and then I remembered a beautiful statement that Gretchen Rubin used in her first book, The Happiness Project around her happiness commandments and I adjusted to myself. Just Be Jen.
As you can imagine, it's not just about the spicy food. Instead, the spicy food is symbolic of all the little things I enjoy in life that literally and figuratively spice up my life; spicy food, fun scarves, good smelling lotion, splurging at the Half Price Books sale, dark chocolate sea salt caramels from Trader Joes, a massage on a Friday afternoon, sneaking to the spa on a Saturday night, Prosecco, having my sun roof open and windows down as I drive home at 10pm on a summer night from work as I sing my lungs out to some Pop 40 tune, etc. It's all about the little things because the little things add up to make a big thing or make a big impact.
I treat my birthdays as a little New Year. I adopt a couple new philosophies that I have embraced/learned/come to meet over the past year and create new ways of being. It's like changing out the wardrobe once in awhile; dump old stuff at the donation center and replace with some fun, key pieces that light you up. The spicy hot food reminded me that sometimes it is sooooo damn worth it to push yourself to the edge sometimes and get a little uncomfortable. It is in those places that we learn the most. So here are my "new wardrobe pieces" for my 31st year on this planet.
"Prioritize your life or someone else will," from Greg McKeown's book Essentialism. I absolutely love this lesson and philosophy and plan on posting it in lots of places. I am out to design, create, and have a spacious life. It's one of my big lessons from India. It's a gentle reminder (okay, not so gentle), to create the life I want. For me. Only.
We can learn just as much from joy and pleasure as we can from pain and sorrow. I've lived my own "work,' of sorts, investigating my dark shadow side, my three evil stepsisters I like to say; achieving to impress, needing to please, and put everyone else first to get love. I did that work. The ship has sailed. The dark shadow side is nurtured enough and is very tame. Now, I am out for more joy and pleasure and a lot of it. Especially as I propel myself head first into wedding shenanigans, I want to enjoy all the bits to the very last bit.
Right Speech. I had a brush with some not super great interpersonal interactions the past couple weeks and really did some reflecting on my own role in the matter. What I gained insight from is that I am not super mindful in my speech. Huh. Sometimes, my words sting and leave scrapes and bruises and scars. Coming to terms with the interactions helped me realize that there is so much more of an opportunity to develop my speech as a spiritual practice. Is it true? is it helpful? Is it kind? It's a lifelong practice of sorts and won't stop anytime soon, but I need to start somewhere and bringing awareness of it to the forefront is the first step.
So that's it. My three new pieces that I am integrating into my current wardrobe. It will take so many reminders and it will take practice and they all will push me. But like spicy food, we have to be willing to be uncomfortable sometimes. That's how we grow.