3 Ways Be Present & Enjoy Life

Here we go.  Another week.  Another powerful thought. 

Reading the chapter in Joyce Meyer’s Power Thoughts on Power Thought #10:  I live in the present and enjoy each moment, brought to mind my Grandma.  She is 85 years old, and every morning, she says, “This is that day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).  Grandma also told me once many years ago that when she goes to bed, before she falls asleep, she thinks of one work thing she wants to accomplish the next day, and one fun thing.  Grandma has had this all figure out for a while—we are meant to enjoy this life God has given us, and that is much easier to do when we live balanced lives.

     There are three other big lessons for me in this power thought.

  1. Enjoy the mundane. 

I think this is an awesome lesson because frankly, much of life is made up of mundane tasks—getting dressed, brushing teeth, grocery shopping, driving, paying bills, doing laundry, running errands, returning phone calls—you get the idea.  These activities take up a huge amount of time every day and every week.  If we see them as “stuff I have to get done,” they are not going to be enjoyable.  If we focus on the moment with gratitude, we can enjoy even the most tedious tasks.  I am thankful for hot water for baths, thankful for clothes to wear, thankful for money in the bank to pay the bills, and so on.

  1. Enjoy your work. 

If you separate your life into work, which is a have-to and a drag, and time off, which fun and what you look forward to, it’s going to be difficult to enjoy all of your life.  We spend so much time working; we must make up our minds to create fun in our work. 

  1. Don’t wait to enjoy your life.

I don’t consciously put off enjoying my life.  Yet, certain thoughts and attitudes creep into my mind:  I will enjoy life when:  when I have a better job, when I lose 20 pounds, when the house is looking better, when my commute is shorter, when the weather is warmer, when everything’s paid off.  There will always be those things that exist in some hazy idea we have about our future—that time when we will finally allow ourselves to enjoy life…but then, new things always pop up, and enjoying life gets put off again.  Let’s stop with the conditions that begin with “when.”  Let’s start enjoying every moment of life today!

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Hooky Days

    Technically, I am on “vacation.”  This is winter break, or actually Christmas Break, and I have a nice long one since I teach college.  Despite this, I still feel the need for a hooky day! 

     Perhaps when I tell people (or admit, is more like it) that I get almost four weeks off for Christmas, the envision me sleeping until noon, lounging in bed reading and eating chocolate, going to lunch and the movies, and spending my afternoon shopping.  The reality is that even when I am “off” like today, I still get up at 5:30 a.m. with my husband, make his lunch, start the coffee, and feed Scout the dog.  I get dressed.  I pray and read my Bible.  This morning, I spent a good chunk of the day cleaning out the fridge, doing lots of dishes, and putting Christmas decorations away.  Then…get ready…I balanced the bank statement!  Doesn’t that sound like fun?

     Here’s the deal–whether you work outside the home or work inside the home, there will always  be lots of work to do.  We all need a break from that at times.  I find that since I started back to teaching and got married three years ago, it is much harder to find a day to play hooky.  I don’t miss school unless I have some kind of emergency.  That leaves me weekends and holidays to play hooky, and when you still have to fix supper and do dishes…where does one find this magical thing called a hooky day?

     I’m not sure, but I am intent on figuring it out.   I used to take a hooky day and celebrate it by sleeping late, taking a bubble bath, going out for coffee and a pastry when I got hungry, and getting a new book or picking up one I hadn’t had time to read.  I have spent a lot of hooky days reading and enjoying the pleasure of a day without responsibilities.  I have also spent the time going to a movie by myself, watching DVDs of a favorite TV show, or getting my hair or nails done.  All fun and nurturing activities.  The point is to do what you want to do and what you feel like doing.  Once, when I was just worn out from having a lot of draining people in my life and feeling like I was “‘going” all the time, I made a point to stay in for an entire weekend day.  That was a big deal for me, because I am typically, on the go-go-go.  I spent most of the day on the couch in my pajamas.  I had a fire in the fireplace, a book my a new author, a movie to watch.  In the early evening, I made bread.  I lit candles, burned incense, and played some soft music.  It was a lovely way to get quiet oon the inside and enjoy my own company.  This may be awful, but during a time in my life when I was extremely, let’s say over involved in church, I would occasionally have a hooky day which involved lots of rest, playing music and making homemade soup.  After I was replenished, and rested, I was able to really be present at the evening service.

     I think that a hooky day now might just require a bit more planning.  I will have to tell my husband the night before that I am going to sleep late, and just go from there.  It has gotten tougher for me to ignore all of the “to-do’s” in my head, so it might be best to have some kind of a plan, and for the plan to include getting out of the house.  I have very high hopes for a hooky day this week; I will let you know what happens.

In case you have never had a hooky day, by the way, and are wondering what the benefits of this seemingly frivolous activity might be, let me tell you:  the benefits are many.  I just don’t feel right if I don’t get time by myself every once in a while to do something I want to do.  It makes me feel rich and enjoy my life more.  I think it makes me more creative and happier and even thinner!  (Yes, thinner.  The theory is that if I don’t get time to myself, I get anxious and feel frustrated and reach for a handful of cookies).