Embrace joy for internal enrichment
I like to cook — but I can't follow a recipe. Perhaps it's my inner nonconformist rebelling against being told what to do, or just my conceit that believes adding a bit of this or replacing this with that will make it all the better.
Not every dinner's a winner, but overall my stats aren't bad — I haven't poisoned anyone yet, and on several occasions I've even been asked for a repeat (tricky as every concoction is different).
I follow a very simple food philosophy: if what's going in it is good, chances are what's coming out will be, too. That's followed up with simply trying to strike a balance — if it's heavy on the spice, where can I add cool? If there's tart or acid, is there also sweet, etc?
Lately I've been noticing these simple principles beyond the kitchen.
Over the Easter break my dear friend Autumn bought me a book. If you could see the state of my house, crowded with boxes and boxes of books (still awaiting bookshelves) you would see the funny side of this. But this novel was given in response to me admitting that lately, all I read is work-related stuff. It's one of her favourites, she said, and an easy-read. Since it was a present (and technically the holidays) I cracked the spine and got stuck in.
I laughed and sobbed alternately, and remembered just how good it feels to be moved by a story and provoked into a different way of thinking. I'm now on my third book since then, carrying them around with me, reading snatches when waiting in lines or for appointments. I'm picking well-written, inspiring stories, mostly focusing on growth and change.
I've also been paying more attention to what else I'm reading or watching, steering away from the mindless or melodramatic towards the positive and inspiring; a host of stories and personal accounts of determination, courage and effort.
Because I believe that what goes in, comes out.
If we were to read a chapter a day of work-related material for the next year, by April 2016 we would have significantly increased our subject knowledge. I see it as equally true for our emotional range and intelligence — part of keeping that all-important balance of flavour in our lives.
Author Julia Cameron suggests a once-weekly artist date: time to explore something inspiring, different, playful, that's of interest that feeds “our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration”.
But, if you don't consider yourself an artist, how does this apply?
We all have this ‘inner well' and our capacity for appreciating the beauty of the world, experiencing joy, understanding the human condition and enjoying life should not be shelved like books we intend to read someday. We need this stuff! It enriches us internally, creates balance and cannot help but seep out in our daily expressions.
Try throwing in a little spice and a bit of sweet in life, and see what your experiments produce.
• Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on (441) 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com.