A few years ago, I stumbled upon the following advice by the great Kurt Vonnegut:
“My Uncle Alex, who is up in Heaven now, one of the things he found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when times were sweet. We could be drinking lemonade in the shade of an apple tree in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?”
So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?’”
I’ve been practicing this diligently and it did me much good.
“If sitting in the shade of this tree, looking at this giant Utah sky isn’t nice, I don’t know what is,” I would say.
“If snuggling with my babies in bed and feeling their sweet breath on my face isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
But I began to feel that “nice” just wasn’t enough sometimes, especially on those days when the world weighs heavily on my shoulders and getting out of bed, getting dressed, and putting my mask on is just too damn hard. On those days, nothing seems particularly nice to me.
But then I read a life-changing Facebook post (yes, such things do exist) by the marvelous and brilliant Dave Rock and I felt like I was given another chance at life, an opportunity to recast some of my daily villains as heroes of sorts. I was shown a not-so-secret path into recognizing our best life when it comes rushing towards us, and I threw myself onto it.
Dave Rock says: “The Favourite Game is, well, my favourite game. […] I walk around saying everything and anything I see, hear, smell, touch, think or feel is my favourite. “You’re my favourite body. You’re my favourite life. You’re my favourite traffic-jam, you’re my favourite stranger, you’re my favourite trash, you’re my favourite sun breaking through the clouds, you’re my favourite stiff breeze, you’re my favourite horizon.”
My favorite Dave (of http://www.flowspeaking.com) also says: “By acting unconditionally delighted by life for long enough we become so. This works just like power-poses and smiling meditation. It’s often easier to change our bodies than to change our minds. And changing our bodies changes how we think and feel. The trick is zero pressure, but total energy. We’re never bypassing other emotions, or self-rejecting, just welcoming delight in. You’re inviting a shift, not making it happen. Millions of years of evolution can do their job fine without our inner control freak stepping in.”
So, let me introduce you to this, my favorite morning. My, hands down, favorite snow ever. My favorite herd of deer leaving piles of my favorite deer poop in my favorite, unkempt backyard. My favorite anxiety that no one will care to read what I have to say. My favorite phobia of leaving the house. My favorite contradictory combo of desires: hide, rolled-up in a blanket like a still warm croissant AND also be seen out in the brisk morning world.
My girls and I got to meet our favorite grumpy early-morning driver and our favorite angry tailgater, but we also saw our favorite whale weather vane and our favorite bright yellow front door. There are so many favorites to choose from.
After dropping off both of my kids at school, I looked in my favorite cracked compact mirror to make sure there was nothing stuck between my teeth (now that my braces are off, my favorite feature) and there it was: my favorite, cracked self, open like a book, a little damaged, sure, but also alive and breathing and ready to see delight in all the unexpected places. And you, dear friend reading this unedited morning ramble, you are my very favorite reader. Thank you.