- Posted by jdavis on June 10, 2011
Clean the Slate
Every few weeks, I take a day to do absolutely nothing. I’ll read a book, hang out at the beach, or watch movies on a rainy day. I won’t ask myself to put up with other people, with traffic, or with lines in the grocery store. I’ll give myself the easiest day possible, obligation-free. After one of these retreats, I’m refreshed; it’s like a mini-vacation. Now that I realize I need this “nothingness,” I guard it jealously. I just took a “nothing day” on Sunday and had to turn down three invitations. Each time I could say with honesty, “Sorry, but I already have other plans.”
–Kelly Kennedy, Dorchester, Massachusetts
Accept What Is
The secret for living well, for me, is accepting what the day brings. Instead of wishing things were different, I make the decision to enjoy each day, be grateful for it, and cherish it. Living well means knowing I have the choice to view life as a positive experience by accepting it as-is.
–Danielle Pacific, Chicago, Illinois
Finding time daily to nurture my creative side is critical to my well-being. Being the mother of a very active five-year-old doesn’t leave me with a lot of personal time. But I make the most of what I have. It could be something as simple as spending 15 minutes writing in my journal, knitting, or, if I’m really lucky, an hour working on a sewing project. Even decorating cupcakes can be a creative experience. I find these moments provide me not only with a sense of accomplishment but also the peace in knowing that I haven’t lost myself in the roles of wife and mother.
–Mary Kolar-DeNunzio, Shaker Heights, Ohio
Sow Your Joy
My secret is my garden. I water, weed, and prune it every day, and I try to spend that time being as present as possible. This year has been especially rewarding, as many sunflowers came up unexpectedly. Every morning I spent time with them, starting from when they were tiny seedlings. Each day they reached upward, higher, until finally they burst into bloom. When I’m in my garden, I’m reminded that I am not separate, but a part of nature, and what a blessing it is to be involved.
–Serena Palumbo, Santa Cruz, California
We use Thanksgiving as an excuse to think a little bit about all those things we have to be grateful for. But one day a year isn’t enough. If we truly want to live well, we need to make a habit of reminding ourselves, every day, of all the reasons we have to be happy: to be healthy, to have a great family, to pursue a career and have our talents appreciated. As with anything, thinking like this becomes second nature with practice. And once that happens, you can live well no matter what your circumstances are.
–Sally McBride, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
My secret is to stay positive when speaking with others. It’s not always easy — I have to constantly think before I speak. But looking at the bright side of all situations and speaking about the happy things in my life makes me feel lucky to be who I am. Being positive is contagious (negativity just repels the potential for goodness in life) and makes others want to be around me as well.
–Lorin Seidman, Cambridge, Massachusetts