Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Makes Me Happy ... Now

Last week my son had a couple of days off from school and we headed to visit family in San Antonio—one of the ten largest cities in the U.S., one of the most overweight cities in America and a population that frankly, loves to shop, party and constantly be on the go!

It was wonderful to have time with my family, to celebrate my baby sister’s birthday and to hold my “chunk of love” nephew, Luca.

But returning to Austin this weekend—after non-stop activity and eating a lot of stuff I don’t normally consume—I felt heavy, lethargic, moody, stiff and sluggish.

I love to indulge now and again and didn’t beat myself up about my choices (French toast over fresh air and a jog around the neighborhood), but I couldn't help but notice the contrast between what I used to eat and do to feel good, versus what I do today to enhance my well-being.

What Used to Make Me Happy in the Old Days
-Eating out and big, fancy meals (the richer the better … no such thing as “over the top!”)
-Shopping (it didn’t matter how much I spent or what I bought, I was partaking in America’s favorite pasttime--buying was fun!)
-Over the top sensory experiences: festivals, art shows, big crowd events (not that I don’t love these occasionally now, but 2-3 times a year is plenty nowdays!)
-Being outdoors and hiking (but truly only if it accompanied a big cookout, feast, or food/drink-centric soiree)
-A full schedule and lots of activity, stimulation, things to see and places to go!
-A large circle of interesting, diverse friends—it was not uncommon for me to have 2-3 “play dates” on a Saturday with different friends at different locales

What Makes Me Happy These Days
-Cooking for a small group of friends and family and enjoying really fresh, delicious, in-season, local fruit and veggies (nothing better than a plum or peach at peak of season—even better if I get to pick it!)
-Spending time just being with my family (hanging in the back yard in a hammock, playing Ruckus or cooking a meal together)
-Long, quiet expanses of unscheduled time with and without friends--this is luxurious
-As much time in nature as possible: vigorous hikes at Big Bend, lazy walks around the lake, hanging out in our neighborhood park, exploring Yosemite or the redwoods with my family or camping on the Olympic Peninsula
-Lazy stretches of time for heartfelt conversation with close friends and family—maybe over food/tea or maybe not (it’s important to me to have people in my life that allow me to show up “warts and all!”)
-Moving my body daily through yoga, dance, hikes, walks with friends, canoeing or anything else that feels really pleasureful (I wholeheartedly believe exercise should be fun!)

Sure there are things I’ve loved since a young age that I still enjoy (reading is one!) and I know having a family changes everything, but my big ah-ha recently is that I now approach the idea of "feeling good" from a different perspective.

I want to nourish my body, mind and spirit. I desire a sustained feeling of well-being (not the 10 minute rush I get from finding a great deal at Target or eating an ice cream sundae).

And that comes from consciously choosing things that truly nurture me.

Because as delightful as they are, fresh out of the oven Toll House cookies will never feed me on a deeper level, but sitting quietly out under a full moon and a huge dark sky filled with thousands of stars, does.

An invitation: Are you interested in slowing down and truly nourishing your body, mind and spirit, tapping into the Transformative Power of Self-Care and enjoying the warm company of like-minded women? Join me April 29-May 1 at Kripalu for my Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: Women’s Self Renewal Retreat in the Berkshires of MA (this retreat center is one of my favorite places on planet earth!)

I love to hear from, connect with and meet The Journey readers at our events. I invite you to:

>Find Your Tribe: Join or become trained to lead Self- Renewal Groups
>Attend a retreat/event including our April 29-May 1 Kripalu Self-Renewal Retreat in the Berkshire Mountains of MA
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The Journey,
a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.

Photo: A beautiful, fragrant lavender farm we visited while on vacation on the Olympic Peninsula, WA state.

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