08 October 2010

The Simplicity of Change

Beatrice Peltre
I was reading one of my favorite food blogs today, and reflecting on how much this woman and her writing have taught me.  Yes, she creates great recipes, but it's her simple and lovely relationship with food that shines through in her sumptuous posts, and inspires.  Thank you, Bea!

Through her recipes, I have learned basic techniques that I have incorporated into my daily routine of cooking.  Ways to use small amounts of ingredients; the importance of putting thought into how each ingredient in a recipe is seasoned; the joy of lovely presentation; the role of season, gathering, family.  

Wonderful food can be simple.
Simple food can be wonderful.
And little touches make all the difference...

Just like life.  Ah ha!  Always have to connect it in.  But really, life is so often more simple than we think, right?  Our thoughts love to make it complicated and difficult, but problems that loom large can shrink in an instant when seen from another vantage point.  In therapy, I call this "the lever."  

Change often happens slowly, over time, but sometimes one finds the lever.  The lever is that realization, that insight, that bit of permission, that allows us to change, and to realize that it is easy.

The biggest inhibition to change is the idea that we already know what to do. 

I know what to do, I'm just not doing it.

When we say this to ourselves, we give ourselves quite a slap.  What does this mean?  That we're lazy, stubborn, incompetent?  It sounds a lot like a familiar parental strain... 

You know better.

So what?  If we all did what we 'knew better' this world would be filled with entirely different people.  Our journey to live our life to its fullest would not exist.  We would be robotic!

Finding our own unique journey, our own way in the world, is the discovery of true intimacy.  Intimacy with yourself.  And it involves making lots of mistakes.  Lots.

Why are we here?  What is this life about?  These are the questions we need to be asking ourselves everyday.  Not so we can go on a chase, but so that we can live in a place of exploration and receptivity.  So we can experiment, question, wonder.  So we can have an intimate relationship with our own life.

It's fun, I promise.

01 October 2010


The other day I was sitting in my office at the end of the day waiting for K. to be finished with his last patient.  I was laying on my consulting room couch with my feet up, engaged with a book, listening to Friday city sounds.  He saw me and said, "You look relaxed." and I realized that I was.  And thus began some pondering about--and experimenting with--relaxation.

So now here's the weekend, time to relax, and I'm thinking as I write this about what the difference between a relaxing weekend (or day or vacation) and "doing nothing" really is.  Why do we come out of some weekends saying "I feel relaxed" and others saying "I did nothing."

So here are some thoughts:

Relaxation involves -- wait for it -- activity.

Relaxation comes when we are active internally in some way.  Reading a book, sitting by a lake, walking in the forest.  We are not working, but we are also not not doing.  We are relaxing.  We are purposefully engaged in something that has no purpose but our inner pleasure.

So why is relaxation different than distraction?  Aren't we feeding inner pleasure through distraction?  I don't think so.

Too much distraction leads to a kind of out-of-body experience in our own life.  I believe that we need grounding in our life, right here, right now, today, in order to feel good.

What distracts?

TV, Internet, movies



What relaxes?

Unscheduled time spent sitting and listening to beautiful music
Reading a good book
Taking a long walk
Doing something else that is, for you, special

So now I'm off to work on it this weekend, to continue to work at my relaxation research.  It's a tough business.
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