Posts Tagged ‘relaxed joy’

Ritualized Sanity Strategies for the Holidaze

November 20, 2014

As we steam along towards Thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking a lot about rituals. While the holiday season can sometimes feel much like a six week long endurance test of needless materialism and hysterical joviality, it’s constructive to cultivate low key rituals that provide a relief valve when the rest of life feels “too much.” A re-booter appreciates that while there’s no escaping the holidaze, there are ways to manage them so we don’t go berserk.


What are your private practices? The ones that provide solace in the midst of a frenzied day.


It goes without saying that all of us need to carve out some time alone to collect our thoughts and decompress. As much as we love our involvement with those close to us, they can’t help but impact our energy stores. I hope that you’ve found a strategy to refill those private coffers, whether it’s walking the dog, taking a few extra minutes in the shower, exercising, or some other activity where you can be fully alone or at least fully relaxed.


When was the last time you had a moment to unwind?


There’s a local pub around the corner from where I live that I nicknamed the Cheap ‘n Cheerful. I make a point of going there for Martini Mondays—that’s my ritual. It’s not a great restaurant, but what I like best about it is it has absolutely no attitude. I can be there alone or with friends and nobody will bother me. It’s an entirely straightforward actual and emotional transaction—a far cry from most watering holes in Washington or Santa Barbara where everything is about posturing and ‘tude. Now, I can enjoy a cool vibe, too, but I simply can’t sustain it over the long haul; maybe that’s why I’m having such a hard time finding work in this town. I lack the chops to maintain the supreme self aggrandizement required. I really need to market myself better.


How do those narcissists find the wherewithal?


But back to sanity rituals. The reason Martini Mondays are so great is that for those couple of hours away, I leave my worries behind. I can sit and sip, half watching some game on tv and get back in touch with that part of me that remains buoyant no matter how distressed I am about everything else. When was the last time you were in touch with that cheerful part of you? How do you tap into it?


Re-booters have learned how necessary it is to keep ourselves in balance, and one of the most fundamental aspects of this is to plug into our own relaxed joy. There have been times in my life when that joy was nowhere to be found. Years ago, back in Santa Barbara, I was so lost in my anger and unhappiness that I actually felt livid when I spied a family eating ice cream cones. The indignant rage coursing through me seeing these people enjoy themselves was a seminal event in my life because, as it was happening, I realized how crazy it was, how poisoned my world view had become. I call it my “ice cream moment.” Don’t let this happen to you. In fact, this episode became the harbinger for my re-booting. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the alarm bell that set everything in motion.


When we are striving to fulfill our responsibilities, care for loved ones, pay bills, satisfy ambitions, etc one of the first sacrifices we make are those little indulgences that make us happy. But pleasure is as necessary as sleep. It reminds us of why life is good. It encourages us to feel grateful that we are living the life we lead. It enables us to feel HOPE.


As your to-do list becomes longer between now and the end of the year, I ask you to hold fast to whatever simple indulgences bring you joy. You’ll lose a whole lot more than a few hours if you don’t make the time.



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