Pictured above is my favorite seat in the house. It’s my window to the outside world, my prime blogging location, my lifeline. It is my home internet connection.
I find so much inspiration out there on the interwebs. Though I joke about how much time I waste on the computer, it’s hard for me to embrace the notion that it really is wasted time. It’s kind of perfect for a learning sponge like me, always eager to soak up new ideas. And I would be terribly lonely down here were it not for the social connections that my computer enables. It is a vital part of my communication with the outside world.
This week I’ve been thinking about some advice that Gretchen Rubin offered her Happiness Project people: Aim higher. Gretchen offered this tip in relation to work, but I’ve been thinking about how I can use it to improve the non-work parts of my life. Or rather, how I can use it to inspire the non-work parts of my life.
Despite dismantling my life in order to move to Texas six months ago, I’d like to think I have a good life outside of work. I cook my own meals, I write this blog, I read voraciously, I get lots of exercise on my own two feet, and I am very slowly making new friends here. Most nights I get enough sleep and my energy levels are good. But I often feel like I do all of these things because I have been doing them, and I should just keep doing them. My excitement about doing them is no longer tangible to me, and I miss it. I’m reaping the benefits of doing these things without feeling as much joy as I would like. But I don’t think it has to be that way.
Aim higher. The truth is, I think I already aim pretty high in many areas of my life, so the idea of aiming higher is scary. It means I might fail. When I consider my fear against all that I already do, I realize that what I really want is a nudge to do a leeeetle bit more. My life does not need an overhaul; I just need a few sparks of excitement. The best way I can think to accomplish this goal is to try new things and push myself a few steps outside of my comfort zone.
Right now there is a chocolate cake baking in the oven. Normally I’d think that I’m too tired to bake on Saturday morning, or that I have chores or errands to do, but not today. Today the cake will be accompanying me to a pool party that my boss and his wife are hosting for their two labs. I’ve never made this cake before, so I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that it turns out nicely. If the batter is any indication of taste, then this cake is going to be hard to resist. It’s the Black Mocha Cake from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, and it just came out of the oven.
It’s really hard to beat the fragrance of a freshly baked chocolate cake. The smell alone is enough to make me happy. It’s better living through chocolate cake!
The other area of my life where I’ve been embracing the aim higher philosophy is yoga. I’ve been doing yoga for a long time now. I really fell in love with it from the beginning, and it’s become routine for me. My back tends to be sore and tight; all my walking and running doesn’t help matters. Yoga works out the tightness all over my body but especially in my back. Lately I’ve been trying to add variety to my yoga routine by sampling the different classes offered by yogadownload.com: Baptiste power yoga, hatha yoga, yoga for weight-loss, yoga for runners. The free twenty-minute classes are perfect: long enough to be engaging but short enough to do at night before I go to bed. The two selections that I keep coming back to are Dave Farmar’s Baptiste power yoga and hatha yoga. Dave Farmar is hilarious and he teaches such a good class. The pace is perfect and I’ve been able to try new poses like inversions and plow pose just following his instructions and easing into the unfamiliar positions.
Hatha yoga has surprised me. I was initially drawn by the word “gentle” in the class name: “Gentle Hatha Yoga #1” or “Gentle Hatha Yoga #2.” These classes are indeed gentle, but they are more than just gentle. They stretch me and calm me, then I go to bed and wake up feeling incredibly refreshed and ready for my day. There is something about these hatha yoga classes that gives me something I need—peace of mind and body, perhaps? They’re so deceptively slow and maybe that’s their real trick. You don’t push in hatha yoga. You relax into it. It’s wonderful.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you a little more about aiming higher in an edible way. For now, I wish you a beautiful Saturday with plenty of fresh air, relaxation, and, if you like, homemade chocolate cake. Make your day a great one!