“Dropped by R-E-M, on Flickr”
I’m feeling a bit weak mentally today and therefore a bit needy. My brain seems open to attack and its number one attacker is me, of course. The spiraling “What if” questions breed themselves. The frustrated denunciations of self start up. It’s just a mess. Days like today, I wish I owned at least one of three special books I read in the past year and a half that strengthened me one way or another. I don’t own any of them because I stopped buying books in an effort to reduce expenses and I’d discovered the amazing local library system. Sometimes you just don’t have what you need to pep yourself up and something about these books made me feel so many good things like control, relief, liberation, and release. These are the books I think of when I’m in this sort of funk. These are the books I wish I had within reach so I could skim through them and grasp something, anything, from them.
The first is Karen Kingston’s Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui. Something tells me you weren’t expecting that. I’m not even sure I can explain this one. I don’t really believe in Feng Shui completely. I believe in color therapy and I believe a clean and clutter-free space gives a general peaceful vibe that you can’t find in a disorganized space. I believe we find certain things soothing and do believe the more of the outside world you can bring into your home, the better. But do I believe putting a certain color in a particular part of the house makes a particular thing function better? No, not really. But something about this book struck me, motivated me, and empowered me. I needed that so badly. It drove me to purge and purge and keep purging my house. It taught me about letting go– of posessions, yes, but other things too that somehow tangle themselves up with things. I crave leafing through this book again and I especially want my own copy that I can highlight, fold corners, and even write in if I so desire. There are so many parts in my home that need help and this book just got me going and kept me moving.
The second book I read that had a profound impact on me and that I think about all of the time is Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. I don’t really know what expectations I had for this book, but whatever they were, they were exceeded. The chapter on marriage, of course, made me cry and I pretty much skipped it but the rest of the book was very thought-provoking. This book really made me consider my own personal happiness in a variety of ways, something I hadn’t really done in such a long time and something I really needed to do more than ever before during such a chaotic time in my life. The book helped me better understand I was in control of my own happiness, a sometimes difficult thing to own up to, I think. I’d like to read this again and have it readily available for reference. I’ve often toyed with the idea of my own Happiness Project but, something about it is almost too overwhelming for me to consider right now. However, it’d be nice to go back to it and get an idea or two for things to think about as far as enriching my own happiness experiences.
The last book is the shortest book of the three and I’m pretty sure I’d read this again and again because of its brevity and simplicity. It is Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. This incredibly simple book puts forth an effectively simple life strategy composed of four rules. You basically accept these four rules as your way of living. They’re easy to remember, easy to say, easy to understand, and difficult to embrace. 1) Be impeccable with your word. 2) Don’t take anything personally. 3) Don’t make assumptions. 4) Always do your best. I found these agreements to be empowering and liberating at the same time. I could relate to all of them, found comfort in all of them, and learned from all of them. I think the book would be good to have to go back to when, for instance, I find myself taking absolutely everything personally and being unable to stop. It’d be good to reorient myself with the concept and its reasoning.
Everyone has their own restorative potions if you will. While I am overjoyed with how much pleasure crochet brings me, it’s reading that invigorates me, emboldens me, and enlightens me. I like to learn, and I like stories. I think the most powerful thing a person can have is knowledge and information they can use. I fully embrace the saying, “Knowing is half the battle.” When I read a really good book, I feel ready to take on the world in one form or another.
I think, besides raging hormones, I’m bracing for the next few days. In my “too nice” ways, I decided the holidays were important and should be split. Last year, I allowed ExMutant to sleep on our couch so he would be there Christmas morning. Although I would decline, no such offer has been extended to me. So on Christmas Eve, I’ll be sliding into bed alone at some point in time. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just stay awake the whole night—building, wrapping, crocheting, stuffing, drinking. On Christmas morning, I won’t have excited little voices urging me out of bed—just a suddenly too big, too quiet, too empty house. The little ones will arrive around noon and my family will be there to welcome them. Santa will surely have stopped by my house, their true home, as well. We’ll have a great time, I’m sure. They’ll definitely be excited by the ongoing party. I’ll have a big smile hot glued to my face if I have to. But I’m hoping I won’t have to force myself to be joyous. I have, after all, 4 more days to figure out and accept how grateful I should be—not simply for the extra space in my bed, but for the reasons it’s there. “Better alone than in bad company.”