Friday, September 17, 2010

Happiness Project, Chapter 5. For Reals.

Okay, so I’m back at it again. To be perfectly honest, Chapter 5 - Be Serious About Play wasn’t all that fun for me. However, Chapter 6 rocks and so here I am, in my dutiful fashion blogging about Chapter 5, first. Why? Because maybe you read it, too and have something YOU want to share. I hope so!

Gretchen Rubin’s points from Chapter 5 include: Find More Fun, Take Time To Be Silly, Go Off The Path and Start A Collection.

Each one a nugget in itself, I could write endlessly about any one of these main ideas and how they apply to me, but instead, I want to introduce you to an idea the author has been alluding to all along....Be Yourself.

In her words, “Be Gretchen.”

In mine, “Be Shirin.”

Simply put, the Happiness Project is about self-discovery. I think Rubin would admit her need to write the Happiness Project resulted from living a full and wonderful life, complete with expectations and obligations. Like many of us, she wears many hats and in doing so, she was content, yet not free. She needed to reclaim her freedom to make choices. So far, she has addressed the choices we make toward happiness in the areas of energy, marriage, goals and parenthhood. This chapter on leisure has helped me begin taking seriously what is really fun for me.

Rubin writes on p. 116, “If something was really fun for me, it would pass this test: I looked forward to it, I found it energizing, not draining; and I didn’t feel guilty about it later.” Later on she repeats the notion, “Fun is energizing.”

Anyone say, YES! to that?

She also makes note of the fact that there is a genuine scientific phenomenon called “emotional contagion” wherein we unconsciously catch emotions from other people - whether good or bad.

Anybody find themselves strangely attracted to people who are cheerful, laugh easily or best yet, create fun? Golly. I know I am!

She also introduced the idea of different kinds of fun. Challenging Fun is the fun stuff you have to work at to get good at. Accommodating Fun is the fun stuff you do because people you love find it fun and you know how to make the best of doing what they like. Relaxing Fun is what we call in our family, “vegging” or “chilling out”. Relaxing fun is eating a bag of doritos while watching your favorite sport on TV, without the guilt. If there’s guilt, then you need to eat celery and carrot sticks for it to qualify as relaxing fun.

Since I read this chapter I realized that I get a kick out of watching movie musicals, reading Jane Austen and going to plays. I love shopping for the perfect gift. Challenging Fun for me is homeschooling my children. Accommodating Fun for me is playing Herd Your Horses with my 9 year old. Relaxing Fun includes many things.... fewer calories the better.

I don’t always have time to do what is fun. Or, I get stuck in one form of fun which runs its course and dries me up. It’s been good to identify some of the things that make me happy because it helps me more clearly see what God has made me to be.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made so why I shouldn’t I just... “Be Shirin”?

As I said before, it’s good to mix things up and not put all your happiness eggs in one basket, you must diversify your happiness portfolio. Now that I have a fuller picture of what is fun for me, I can make some more thoughtful choices and get more serious about play!

What is fun for you? Seriously.....

Musicals are often all about being happy, finding happy, living happy. Maybe that’s why I like them!

Take this quiz and see if you can identify the musical that goes with the song.

1. Favorite Things (ask yourself: what are a few of your favorite things?)

2. I Enjoy Being a Girl (what about being a girl do you enjoy?)

3. Happiness (fill in the blank: Happiness is.....)

4. Put On a Happy Face (who helps you wipe off that mask of tragedy?)

5. Make ‘Em Laugh (what makes you laugh?)

6. Put On Your Sunday Clothes (what do you wear that makes you feel wonderful?)

7. Thank You for the Music (what do you sing in the shower?)

Now that I have you thinking, what music makes you happy?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mele Kalikimaka

Being with the Yuens is a lot like Christmas. Much anticipation. Thrills. Noise. Chaos. Fun. Song. Food. Love. AND Peace. We never know what will happen, but we know it will be good.

When my kids were little, I insisted on having every Christmas in our home, with our tree, with our songs, with our stuff. A creature of habit, I like things to be predictable. It feels secure. Yet, I’ve changed in recent years. I’m no longer bound to my town or my home or even my people. I no longer need to have Christmas here. In a sense, I’ve taken Christmas out of the box!

Someday, I want to have Christmas in Hawaii. Maybe the Yuens will join us! And Yes, I COULD drink a mai tai instead of hot mulled cider on Christmas Eve and wear a muumuu instead of flannel Christmas morning. I am more at peace with the unpredictable and new. It’s a lot like fishing, isn’t it?

Sometimes you throw your nets out into the sea and come up with nothin’. The disciples knew that. Other times, you throw your nets out and come up with a whole lot of somethin’! Someone once said, “It’s all good.”

Maybe the Yuens and the Schneiders will meet again in Hawaii! Who knows, maybe we’ll even have another hukilau.

What’s a hukilau you ask?

What?! You don’t KNOW?!

I’m teasing. My favorite line is “Paradise now, at the hukilau.” It’s all there, in this silly, singable song.

And for my friend Jill, listen to the words....they are for you ;)

You can check out Jill’s blog to read about our hukilau prequel. Maybe you’ll understand why I have Hawaii on the brain. It was quite a gnarly ride!

A hui hou kakou - Until we meet again.