How to Turn Everyday Routines into Extraordinary Pleasures (10 Tiny Tweaks for Real Life)
It was early in the morning -- pre-dawn -- and I was lying awake sleepless in bed. As I tossed I remembered the 'pillow secret,' put it in place, and sunk into a gorgeous revery. It got me thinking about all the tiny little things that make life delicious... how the tiniest tweaks can turn everyday experiences into extraordinary moments of pleasure. Over the course of an hour, more tiny tweaks kept coming into my head -- keeping me awake as I typed away on my phone -- until finally 10 of them came together, and I drifted back into sleep.*
So here they are, my...
10 tiny tweaks to turn the everyday into the extraordinary:
1. The Pillow Secret Pillows are awesome. Especially big fluffy down-stuffed pillows. Fun to surround yourself with while you sleep. When you're laying on your side, try slipping one between your legs. Heavenly for side sleepers (and it helps your back alignment apparently). Down pillows or buckwheat-hull pillows work a charm.
2. Eat Mindfully Mindful eating is delicious. Slow down and pause before you eat a meal. Sit down and quietly center yourself, bless the food, and offer gratitude before your meal. Make the conscious decision to eat slowly and mindfully, it makes the experience so much better. Enjoy -- life is beautiful.
3. Buy Stuff With a Smile Every time you buy something, look at the person selling it to you in the eyes and smile from your heart. Even if you're cranky (or if they appear to be). See their humanity and meet them as a fellow human in the world (and don't just do it for your own gratification, do it because it means something, and it's human...)
p.s. make this a habit and see what happens -- and not just with the cute checkout girls and/or boys! ;)
4. Wake Up a Little Early Set your alarm and wake up 20 mins earlier in the AM. Get up and sit quietly reflecting on nothingness. Don't use the time to process anything. You don't even have to "meditate" -- Just sit and breathe -- just be. When you recognize your mind wandering, just come back to sitting in your center.
Bonus tweak: Go to bed 30 mins early. Use the time to fully relax your body and visualize good things in your life. You can also use mind tricks on yourself -- instead of worrying about things, reframe your experience through a different perception -- experience yourself living the life you envision. So easy and so worth it!
5. Pay Attention! Your attention is the most valuable commodity you have to offer, and it's totally free. When people are talking to you, make every effort to be 100% present to what they're saying. When you respond to them, reflect on what they've said and ask more questions. If you're really not interested in the direction, steer the conversation mindfully. Ask them something you're generally curious about. Make an effort to inquire as to what's really behind what they're sharing, instead of just frantically injecting your own opinion or experience. Make this a habit.
Bonus: When someone asks you a question, or makes a comment to you about something, make it a habit to turn it around, and inquire the same of them. Find creative ways to ask back, or inquire about their interest. Sounds obvious, but we tend to go off on our own experience and forget... this is a small but brilliant habit.
6. Be Honest About Yourself When someone asks you how you are, answer truthfully. Tell them something extraordinary that happened to you that day, something you're genuinely happy about, or some tiny recent victory. Conversely, if you're feeling sad or gloomy why not mention it, or hint on why? This can be a shock to people sometimes, but you'll find it makes for great conversations with strangers.
7. Touch With Heart When you touch your partner or romantic interest (whether in bed or holding hands down the street) try putting your attention into your hand and feeling the experience. Feel warmth and care from your heart radiating out through your hands, and even through your partner's skin. Receive what they have to give, and open your heart. Being receptive is one of the most essential aspects of sharing love, and usually the hardest. Do this with yourself too -- especially if your single -- it can be very healing.
8. Be Your Own Spin Doctor When you get down on yourself about something, make it a habit to find an example of the opposite truth. For instance, you get a big fat bill and go into panic mode, getting mad at yourself for overspending. So, you breathe and ask yourself what's the worst thing that could happen? Once you've seen that and faced it -- you're probably not going to die -- look at where you've improved this tendency in your life. Find one area in which you're making progress with this and acknowledge it for a moment. Rejoice in that! Learn to reframe your negative outlook with a positive spin. This also helps reinforce the good habits.
Bonus: Find an area of your life that's bugging you, and see where there's a negative pattern of thinking. Write out the pattern of what you do, and then consciously reframe it. For instance: "When I see poverty and sadness all around me in my life, I cut off the universal energy flow and create more of what I don't want" becomes, "As I see the joy and abundance all around me in my life, I welcome in the universal energy flow, and bring peace and wealth to myself and others." (Using 'as I see' is a great reframing tool I learned from Alberto Villoldo).
9. Say It Like You Mean It I love you, thank you, I'll be there. Feel it and show it through your eyes and your voice. Say it with conviction. The intention is carried through the sound energetically. Watch the delight in the recipient's eyes, and the changes in their behavior/response.
10. Leave Things Unspoken Not everything needs an explanation. Allow for a pause. Restrain yourself, and see what happens. The mystery in the silence fills in so much more, leaving room for discovery for you and...
p.s. this works for writing too. You don't have to construct a perfect argument or description every time. (Some things are better left to the imagination.)
Which of these will you try out today? What's one tiny tweak you can use to turn an everyday routine into an extraordinary pleasure?
Read more about reframing your reality, aligning with the natural world and dropping into flow in my book: Flow: The 5 Elements Way of Fierce Wisdom, Strength & Beauty
Live well, and please Retweet/Share with your gang... thanks for your support! -- :)
*I use catch notes. p.p.s. wonderful bonus tweak: sleeping nude in the summer ;)