When in a stressful situation, I’ve always bristled when someone says “Think of your happy place.” I tried to imagine this ideal place, but it just didn’t feel real, causing this vision to slip between my fingers after mere moments. Plus, it was hard to find a quiet moment to meditate at all when I am constantly surrounded by kids at work and at home.
However, I learned to create my happy place--one that I could go back to whenever I wanted even if I lacked peace and quiet. Because we know my life will NOT involve anything quiet.
Allow me to go back in time a bit. When we visited Kauai last year, my husband told me that we should choose an album to play on repeat during our days there. That way, the memories of that trip and the emotions we felt would be embedded in that music. Full disclosure, Jon learned this trick from a longtime friend.
The album we chose? Bloom, by Beach House.
So after spending the day at the beach snorkeling and swimming with the fish and sea turtles, we played that album as we sat in the lanai behind the house. Bloom played in the background as we sipped our cold drinks and listened to the birds calling out from the tops of the palm trees behind our house. When the album finished, we played it again as the not-so-distant ocean waves crashed and the cool wind streamed through the balcony, making the ti leaves and hibiscus flowers dance on their branches.
Bloom played as Jon drew on his iPad and I brainstormed ideas in my notebook. It played while the kids threw a baseball back and forth on the nearby grass.
That was it: a core sensory memory locked.
And a few days later, we arrived back home. Back to reality.
Back to feeling spread thin and overwhelmed by our long list of to-dos, grading, appointments, etc. I immediately longed to return to that porch in Kauai.
I faced grading deadlines and a huge pile of tasks. Getting caught up seemed impossible, but I slogged through the stress for a few weeks. Then, after a super taxing day at work, I slumped into the driver’s seat of my car, completely wiped out. Then I remembered a Thomas Fuller quote: “Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved.” Our memories serve as monuments for us to revisit whenever we need to (and sometimes when we don’t want to, admittedly). We all have our painful monuments, but what about the joyful ones?
The day we spent listening to Beach House came to mind, and I realized I hadn’t played that album since our vacation. I lumbered into the house with my shoulders knotted from the built up tension, and I played Bloom on our record player.
Almost immediately, my tightly wound nerves came loose. My defensive posture dissolved from my shoulders. My mind ceased its racing. I just sat and took in that moment, devouring the calm it provided.
I melted into the couch, letting my weight surrender to its cushions. For a few fleeting moments, I was back on that lanai. My mind had been transported to that magical island where the cool breezes made the palm trees dance.
I found my happy place.
Speaking of happy places: my pets have no problem finding theirs. Here’s Lilo staying warm on cold and rainy days. Amelie and Finn always snuggle together (and usually prevent us from making our bed)
Current Read: Atomic Habits by James Clear
I just started reading James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, which several people (including my husband) recommended. So far, it has lived up to the hype. Already, I’ve learned about the importance of small, incremental changes. Like compound interest in banking, these minute changes add up over time to lead to significant transformations.
Some of my newest habits:
-staying in touch with more friends by checking in frequently (even if just through text)
-networking more and introducing myself to people I don’t know
-walk outside every day
Some habits I want to get back into:
-write creatively every single day
-wake up earlier (4am)
In order to gain some experience in copywriting, I’ve been busy side hustling as a freelancer. It’s been an interesting learning experience, for sure. I’ve created social media posts, email blasts, marketing campaigns, and other deliverables. You can check out my portfolio here. It’s pretty scrappy, but I’ll be adding to it as I create more portfolio pieces.
I didn’t get a chance to re-work my GN memoir synopsis, but my husband and I are going to re-focus on THREE BEE HONEY, starting with a redesign (based on feedback we’ve received). I’ll keep you updated in the coming months!
All this rain has made our yard pop off with countless weeds, which I have been picking like crazy. But I have to say, pulling them out and seeing the garden cleaned out does feel empowering, cathartic even. Maybe pulling weeds is feeding my need for control and therefore a form of therapy? Hmmm…..maybe I’m onto a new business model there.
That’s it for March. I look forward to updating you in April! If you have any friends who’d like this newsletter, feel free to share! :)