I was struggling with picking a topic for today’s blog post. I have a long list of things I could write about, but none I really felt like writing about. I was feeling listless, sub-par, bored, insecure. Which is fine – we can’t always be on top of our game. Not even as a lifecoach.
I remembered I still hadn’t written on last month’s moments of bliss – a practice I started in October and continued in November. But my perfectionistic self was saying: “It’s already mid-jan. You’re way too late with that post. It’s best to just skip it and ignore it.” and “No-one will be interested in reading stuff about December – you need to write forward-oriented-yaay-goforit-2014 stuff”.
So in an attempt to find inspiration, to ground my thoughts, I opened a book I’ve been fighting my way through since last summer: ‘Flow’ , by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It’s a great, if quite dense, read on happiness. I pick up where I left off, and I read: “The most important step in emancipating oneself from social controls is the ability to find rewards in the events of each moment.”
My mind sighed - or it would have, if it could – with recognition. These moments of bliss – recording them – reliving them – experiencing them – being open to them – training yourself to receive them – are an essential part of feeling fulfilled, of feeling happy, content. Not the forward looking goal-oriented stuff. But the living in the moment stuff.
I’ve come to realize these moments of bliss aren’t moments of happiness persé – they’re moments of feeling ALIVE. Moments when you aren’t in your default auto-pilot mode. Moments where your heart and senses are wide open. Moments where your mind just shuts up for a minute. Moments where you are abso-fucking-lutely wholeheartedly, in the present, and happy to be so.
Here are these month’s Moments of Bliss, for the record.
1. Going for a walk in the forest with the elderly lady I visit once a week and being told I can address her by her first name and the informal ‘you’ from now on (something quite extraordinary in German - hierarchical - society). Feeling connected to this woman of a different age and nationality I have only recently met and infinitely happy I contacted the volunteering organization that put me in touch with her.
2. Going to the Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt in its first opening week and experiencing German wintery-pretty-ness in its full glory. Enjoying a warm steaming mug of glühwein goodness and feeling Christmas-y.
3. Attending a cosy primary school reunion at an old classmate’s house in Amsterdam. Laughing at ourselves in old yearbooks and discovering that, after all these years, we still have a lot to talk about and in common.
4. Playing board-games with family after a pre-Christmas dinner. Laughing at the competitive streak in each of us as we try to win the various games. Almost having more fun due to our half-serious attempts to intimidate each other with our game-plan-strategizing.
5. Meeting dear friend A. for a drink and hearing a beautiful and unexpected love story.
6. Flying to the U.K. for Christmas in a tiny propeller plane on a clear day. Gazing upon the gorgeous English country side from the sky all the way there.
7. Going for many long walks along the gorgeous Cornish coast.
8. Warming up in a hot-tub on a cold, rainy night with my husband…. and my two super cute kid cousins. Seeing them all get on surprisingly well in the face of significant language barriers (them speaking Dutch, him speaking English).
9. Having a cosy traditional German raclette dinner for New Year’s / Silvester.
10. Spending our first New Year’s Eve in Frankfurt by watching the outside fireworks from our upstairs’ neighbours balcony. Being glad to be in our own building, close to our home, to spend it with a small group of old friends and new friends. To be home. To have a home.
When was your last moment of bliss?
What about it made you feel alive, and happy to be so?
Do yourself a favour and take 5 minutes out of your day, right now if you can, to note down your recent moments of bliss.