“Outer order contributes to inner calm.” Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project”
I just finished Gretchen Rubin’s book and it really got me thinking. Sometimes I ‘think’ I am happy, sometimes I feel happy, sometimes I wonder if I am only thinking I am happy to feel better on those tough days as a way to be content. But I don’t want to be just content. Don’t get me wrong – I am not a miserable person. But, I think for all us creative sorts at least, we are always searching for more. Striving for that one thing that makes us who we are. But, then again, as a ‘creative’ I find that what makes me ‘happy’ or ‘fulfilled’ is getting things done, doing things. So, there is always something ‘being done’ or something ‘to do’ not just in my business but in my home life as well. I like it that way because I can’t imagine suddenly waking up and having nothing to do. Ugh. Awful for me.
So, the phrase I started this post with is one of Gretchen’s Secrets of Happiness. It hit it on the nose for me or the nail on the head. I like to have things to do but I need order and then I am happier. I am not crazy anal but when things get done I feel accomplishment. That’s huge for me. Our home is what some call a clean home – we don’t have garbage strewn around, nor are there toys all over the ground. It’s just a good rule of thumb to clean up after yourself and it’s something we all do. But, being a very visual person by nature, knowing we still haven’t painted the moulding on the new windows (well, the widows were installed years ago, but the moulding only two!) drives me crazy!
There are always things to be done.
Being a photographer, and it being my main ‘creative’ love, you would think I would have my walls covered in framed images. Not so. I have three images total that are mine on the walls and one from a friend and another from a former art photographer professor of mine. There are frames waiting to go on the walls. Waiting for images to be placed in them first. They went from the closet to the floor in our bedroom and that is as far as they have gotten. I tried. But, hey, there are so many images to choose who has the time?
So, while reading Gretchen’s book one of the things I realized was that in the midst of always having things to do there is not much I am getting done. I am spreading myself too thin. I even took up knitting again so I had something to do while I sat down to decompress at night in front of the tube! It’s so meditative though I just could’t help myself! And I am still working on the same scarf from about 6 weeks ago and I really want it finished so I can start something else. See, too much to do and nothing getting done!
I realized that I really had too much going on so I needed to start laying some ground rules because I was overloading myself. On top of business work I have all these other things going on: I home school, am dedicated to my yoga at least once a day, must get out of the house at least once a day which takes me away from doing things at home (but the fresh air is so rejuvenating for us all!), I am determined to adopt at least a 70/30 raw diet so I am always dehydrating something or soaking nuts or beans or using the blender or food processor or checking out a raw recipe book while having a quick meal in-between home school lessons (breathe). I have to sleep, too. Not something I am good at. And there are about 300 photos yet to be put in albums and these don’t include any from the last three years!
So, after finishing the book I decided to check out Gretchen’s site and do my own Happiness Project as a way to get my life in order. Order for me is what I now believe is my path to happiness. That is why the opening quote struck home so succinctly.
It’s just co-incidence that it’s also the first day of 2011. That was not planned but perfect, I think. I am not one to do resolutions because I think we shouldn’t have to use January as an excuse to change for the better. Now, is a good time to change for the better! But, if I follow Gretchen’s way of doing things, I go month by month with my resolutions as she did, starting in January, and that way I won’t feel overwhelmed and will be forced to pace myself, which is something I am not always that good at doing. Then, after a year, it will be like a new lifestyle of sorts.
I already have some ‘Tamara Rules’ or ‘Tam-isms’ put in place and so far so good:
•Only read one book at a time. I am horrible at reading about five at a time and I found I wasn’t finishing any of them. So, the first one I decided to stick to and finish was The Happiness Project. Good thing!
•Don’t complain if you aren’t going to do something about it. Better yet, don’t complain, and do something about it!
•If you say you are going to do something do it or don’t talk about it. (Pet Peeve and I think this is becoming a house rule.) This one is kind of like the previous but isn’t based on complaints.
I am off to a good start and as far as only reading one book goes…it feels so good to complete something and focus on it until it’s done! I am now reading ‘Yoga and the Quest for the True Self” and it’s so enlightening and a great read before bed. After that, maybe a novel…or The Dancing Wu-Li Masters…or a business book…
Which brings me to this ‘Tam-ism’:
•Read every day. Even if it’s just for two pages or fifteen minutes before bed. Reading fills my mind with new life and besides, I have a lot of books I want to read and finish so I can read more! 🙂
So, all in all, I debated internally about starting a new blog for this project but then thought, nah, I will add it to my photographer’s site and this will make me buck up and keep my resolutions. Remember, goals are something set and achieved, resolutions are ongoing.
I will post next when I have decided what my January resolution will be. I can’t decide between ‘exercise more’, ‘get the house in order (including frames on the wall!’, or as I am switching from shooting weddings and portraiture to only portraiture maybe just ‘getting business in order’. Then again, I could do it all because as we all know, outer order contributes to inner calm. Then I say, one thing at a time, Tam. Remember, getting things in order doesn’t mean doing it all at once. Because then, really, nothing gets done. Right?
So, off I go to check out Gretchen’s Happiness Project Toolbox…
~here we go!~