Sunday, September 3, 2006

Living Luxuriously

Yesterday, I did something completely luxurious. I spent two hours in one of my favorite places, a place I hadn't been to in years, indulging in one of my favorite pastimes. It felt wonderfully energizing, yet at the same time extremely soothing. I wanted to stay there all day.

And this wonderful, inspiring, invigorating place? My local coffee cafe, where I sat during the best part of yesterday's rainy morning, continually refilling my cup from the big silver urns, reading my book, surreptitiously evesdropping on various conversations, and making a few notes in my Moleskine journal.

Sitting in a coffee shop for a couple of hours is not something most people would consider luxurious. Neither is walking the hiking trail at the park taking pictures along the way, or singing along karaoke style with your favorite tunes. Nevertheless, these are the kinds of "small luxuries" that are so important to our sense of well being and to our creativity.

I knew this, but it took Julia Cameron and The Artist's Way to remind me. Cameron says that in order to allow our creativity to flourish, we need to practice "self-care," and "pamper ourselves" with the small luxuries that bring us joy. She writes that when we "put a stopper on our capacity for joy by declining the small gifts of life, we turn aside the larger gifts as well," gifts like creativity and contentment.

When I read this, I immediately began thinking about some of the ways I used to pamper myself. Notice I wrote that in the past tense, for I realized that it's been a long time since I've done these things on a regular basis. Perhaps that's why I continually feel so harried, rushed, and unfulfilled with everything in my life - as if I'm always behind the eight ball, and never quite able to catch up with all life's demands.

I scribbled my personal list of small luxuries right in the margins of the book ~

~a trip to the library
~walking in the park
~dancing to music on my stereo
~driving with the windows down and the radio blasting
~a long, hot, bath with a glass of wine, candles, and a good book
~and of course, spending the morning at the coffee shop, reading, writing, people watching

So, what are your small luxuries?? And, how often do you indulge yourself??


Blogger Star said...

This is a wonderful post, Becca. I gave up the luxuries a long time ago also, even the Tuesday nights we used to spend at the library just sitting by the fireplace and big windows reading magazines and browsing books (and that's free!). When we get back from New Jersey I'll have to re-think things a bit.

I've started new digs; come visit. Still under construction ;-)

Blogger AnnieElf said...

Becca - Julie Cameron's book was an absolute Godsend for me. When I did the twelve weeks, I was in my favorite java house every morning before going the work. It was just the BEST 12 weeks. I have her Walking in the World now and I need to start working in that book. Cheering you on, Annie

Blogger Tammy said...

Strolling a bookstore with coffee

Sitting out back at sunrise

Going to a movie

Glad you had fun :)

Anonymous bella said...

Sounds like fun Becca.
I indulge, albeit infrequently, with pedicures, a good book (that's actually a frequent one), and of course, the book shop and local cafe.
It's so true that we need to relax and do things that relax us, things that we enjoy - for our mind, body, and spirit.
I'm glad you had that time to yourself.

Blogger bb said...

1) a weekday morning with my notebook sitting in a cafe sipping a soya latte and letting the words slip out of a fine ink pen.

2) Saturday mornings in the same cafe with my husabnd and the children, sipping decafs and browsing through a huge pile of our favourite papers, magazines, comics.

3) cooking dinner glued to my ipod with kick ass tunes playing and strict instructions to the household of no interruptions on pain of death.

4) friday night candle lit massages with rose and geranium oils with that special someone to the sounds of mozart's moonlight sonata.

good luck with your luxuries, Becca - you know you deserve them :-)

Blogger paris parfait said...

i have Julia Cameron's books, including The Sound of Paper and it's so important to take time for one's self - treating yourself to little luxuries that may not mean anything to anyone else, but are pure bliss to you. We must not get too busy to be good to ourselves on a regular basis. After all, we deserve it! :)

Blogger susanlavonne said...

Here! Here! I too find it a luxury to leisurely lounge in a bookstore...actually I consider it a luxury to do almost anything at a leisurely pace :-)
And I too consider Moleskin journals a luxury...and walks...and..well, everything you listed, except for the dancing...I'm just way too klutzy, even when alone ;-)

Blogger bb said...

mozart's monnlight sonata?!!!

different, but i usually listen to beethoven's ;-)

Blogger JourneyThroughLIfe said...

A trip to the library is also one of my luxuries - one I would like to indulge in more often. I love walking amongst the aisles of books and running my hand along their spines. And when I find something that captures my attention, I am quite happy to sit down right in the aisle and read it!

I have also been longing to sit in the cafes and enjoy solitude amongst company. Been in my thought dreams for a couple of months now!

A wonderful post, Becca! Most inspiring!


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