The Law of Esprit

Good morning, dear reader. Isn’t it a beautiful day? Well, it is here in the Ozarks so let’s just run with that, can we?

I’ve been re-reading a required book when I went through massage therapy school over twenty years ago called The 22 {Non-Negotiable} Laws of Wellness by Greg Anderson. I found this, again, at a used bookstore and somewhat wondered if it was my original book. After all, I had traded in this book back in the early 2000s, and it’s not that popular, so it could be my old book. Who knows? All I know is that it is going to make for a perfect series.

According to the author, there are eight categories of wellness laws: Universal laws, Physical laws, Emotional laws, Social laws, Intellectual laws, Vocational laws, Spiritual laws, and last (but not least), The Greatest Law. We are going to start at the beginning with the first law, which is one of the Univeral Laws. 

The first of the 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness is The Law of Esprit. The Law of Esprit is a Universal Law. Universal Laws are those that include everyone, everywhere, no matter of time or circumstances. 

Now, if you only remember Esprit as a colorful clothing line in the mid-to-late 80’s, don’t worry. I, too, needed to say “Hey Google…” and wait for the creepy voice to ask, “How can I help?” (Apparently, Esprit is still around. Who knew?)

Espirt: the quality of being lively, vivacious, or witty. To have Esprit is to have joy.

Greg Anderson

So, with that, let’s jump in.

Greg Anderson writes “Many people believe that the basic issues in wellness are (1) disciplining ourselves to eat well and (2) exercising regularly. Not true. The single overriding objective in wellness is creating constant personal renewal where we recognize and act on the truth that each day is a miraculous gift and our job is to untie the ribbons.”

Let’s untie the ribbons of Esprit, shall we?

Practicing the Law of Esprit is essentially living life with joy. Now, not all things in life are joyful – we all know this – and frankly, I haven’t evolved enough to sit here and tell you that everyone needs to live 100% in joy 100% of the time. I don’t know how to do that. I’m guessing you don’t either. But, if you want to learn more on how to incorporate this in your life, I have a few tips for you, based on my interpretation of the author’s stance on this. 

It’s important to mention that with Universal Laws, there is always action and reaction. Our goal should not be to control the outcome (reaction) but to understand that we can expect a certain outcome based on the action we took to begin with on some levels. So, with that, let’s get to it.

1) Words matter. I recently (like, as in, ‘today’) started on a journey to lose 70 pounds. As I journaled last night, I thought about how I can lose this weight and keep it off. Well, for starters, let’s stop with the ‘lose weight’ part. When you lose something, you quickly look for it; try to get it back, replace it, right? So, I’m not on a journey to lose weight. I’m on a journey to release weight. When we release something, we learn to live without it. It’s a simple thing to just change up some internal dialogue with a new/different word. Try this for a week or two and give me an update.

2) Look for joy in small, precious packages. I’m pretty easy to please in the gifts department. I don’t think I’ve hidden the fact that a $1 box of Milk Duds can turn a shitty day into something extraordinary. So can the sun…and the rain (that was a metaphor, btw). Think of an afternoon of ‘nothing scheduled’ or a good book. You don’t have to live an epic life all the time to experience joy. Finding gratitude in the smallest of things adds up to a heap load of joy.

3) Be the joy to others. My friend, Katie, despite some personal loss and grief, can always make me smile. She’s funny and nearly always has a kind word to share. She, like most of us, has been dealt some blows as of late and has had every opportunity to grow bitter. But she hasn’t. She is a joy to others all the time. My friend, Machell, makes these quilts that could easily sell for hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars. She spends hours, months, years creating these work of arts. And then…she just gives them away to the people she loves. Crazy, right? I personally have been the recipient of three custom quilts, three fantastic beach bags, and several other awesome endeavors so I can attest: Her gifts bring joy to others.

4) Esprit belongs everywhere. Some of us spend more than 1/3 of our life at work and wait every second of those daily eight hours to get off work so we can make it to those spots that give us joy. My day job is essentially the equivalent of Tier I support on an IT help desk, and when someone says “I’m so sorry to bother you…” I respond with, “It’s really no bother. This is the weird way I’ve chosen to pay my mortgage, so I really loved helping you today.” It’s witty – and slightly sarcastic, but it’s true. Life can be so much harder…I promise. Sprinkle the joy everywhere – including the office.

5) Find an outlet for creativity. I’m no artist and I could never sew a Machell-level quilt but I do seem to be good at creating a comfortable space on a shoe string budget. Decorating my home is an outlet for creativity for me. So is writing. So is my ability to fix problems with out-of-the-box solutions. I can do these things because I’m creative. Creativity doesn’t mean you have to be a great musician or another Van Gogh or a Beverly Cleary (Rest in peace, Love). You can paint rocks and hide them as a form of creativity. Or develop memes that make people laugh. Or paint your nails in all kinds of funky ways. I think our expectations of what ‘creativity’ is can put a damper on being creative. So – grab some magic markers and an adult coloring book and get to work!

As we close, let me ask:

Even in the darkest times, can you focus on one thing that brings you joy? If so, what is that? Can you share your joy (i.e. creations) with others? If so, how will you do that? What words can you replace in your vocabulary to set yourself up for success (There is no “try.” There is only “do.”)

Imma gonna leave you with a song, of course, and then you are going to get up and set the Law of Esprit in motion.

What if there was no ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

I have a confession to make: I swear. Like, I swear – a lot. And recently, I’ve had to explain to my son that there are certain words adults can use that children should not. This all started because he asked, “Why do you say bad words?” I explained to him that words are just words. Some are adult-only words, and some are not. It’s not that I condone my eight-year-old cursing, but I also don’t subscribe to the good/bad mantra when it comes to using the word ‘fuck’. Especially when contextually warranted.

So, for example, when we stopped into Wal-Greens to get our flu shot, and he yelled that particular word at the top of his lungs, I wasn’t as shocked as the nurse who was doling out pain-by-needle. I simply said, “That, my friend, was a very adult word. However, given the circumstances, you get a pass.” (This could be why he’s never invited to church).

The fact is: I work daily to stop judging experiences as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ I learned to experience each activity as it is and accept that everything happens exactly the way it is suppose to happen. To continue, I feel I need to define what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’. The truth is that no event is good, and no event is bad. As I mentioned, I work every day to not categorize such events and simply label an experience as “exactly as it should be” which is: Perfectly perfect

I’d like to pretend that this thought process is very ‘Zen of me’ when in fact, my ability to not judge an experience really comes from a place of survival. The by-product is a feeling of peace.

I’m sure someone somewhere would argue it should be the other way around, but that is just their way of judging my experience and well…another topic for another time.

The moral of the story, dear reader, is…Labeling experiences as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ keeps us stuck in judgment. Some people even use the labels as ways to define themselves. This is dangerous to one’s mental health and keeps us stuck in the past with no hope of enjoying today. My brother and my father died (fact); however, I am not the woman who lost her brother and father (label). Their death is not my story. It’s just a chapter in my life. My first and second marriages ended (fact) but I’m not a failure because my marriages failed (label). Being divorced does not define me as a person. You get the point, right?

It takes many opportunities in one’s life to realize there are lessons within every difficulty. That’s why I now recognize there are no good or bad experiences. Experiences are just that: Experiences. They are what they are. I think all of us could look back on situations we thought we would never survive and be thankful we learned to put them behind us.

I once heard an analogy that there’s a reason why your car windshield is bigger than your rearview mirror. Life is not designed to be lived by constantly checking the rearview mirror. It is intended to be viewed from the windshield as you move forward. Your windshield helps you to see all the paths in front of you, some of which are rockier than others…but still keeps you moving forward. So…go forth and prosper!

As always, here’s a fitting song for today. Are you judging yourself for things that were lessons? What, if any, ‘lessons’ did you survive? I’m always curious and love to hear from you.

Slugs: I’ve become one.

Good morning, dear reader. Did you miss me? Did you notice I’ve been out for a few weeks? I’ve been on a week-long vacation near the white sandy beaches of Florida, but in all transparency, before that, I didn’t have the energy to try to write and post in advance. I mentioned this in my last post, though: I worked hard to ‘prepare’ for vacation. It sucks to have to put in extra hours to get ready to go on vacation. Plus, I’m that person who has to have all the laundry done and the house clean before I leave. I also need my car cleaned out and vacuumed before I drive a long distance. I know. I have issues.

Anyway, this post today is late (or early…depending on whether or not you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person), and its primary focus is based on something that weighed heavily on me while I was away.

And what’s that? You ask. Well, grab a drink and settle in. I’m about to tell you.

I need more structure in my life. I can blame it on WFH or being extremely busy, but honestly…while those things are true…I’m also very disorganized and just plain lazy these days. Just when I had it all figured out, the school district up and decided my kiddo will go back to seated classes for five days beginning next week, and that throws everyone out of kilter again for a few weeks. But, true to form, I’ve been doing a little research, and I’ll share with you what I plan to implement starting Sunday and hopefully, my tips will help you, too.

I like my quiet time, and in my living space, there is little room for it. Unless I want to stay up until 1 or 2 AM, getting some time when no one else is awake will have to come in the morning. By nature, I am a ‘second shifter,’ meaning that my ideal work schedule is 11 AM – 7 PM, so this will be a significant shift for me. However, I’ve been following a friend of mine on fake-book. I’m inspired because she’s been getting up and going to the gym at 4:30 AM each day. No need to get so dramatic, but I will be implementing a few changes.

1) Get up earlier. This waking up at 7:45 AM and having my son to school by 8:30 AM business just ain’t workin’. I mean, he gets there, but I don’t get a shower, put on clean clothes, or get in a full cup of that golden brown liquid elixir of life. If I want to be productive at work, I’m going to need to set some boundaries on my time and get to bed earlier, so I can get up earlier. To accomplish this, I need to find a place for the cat to sleep, find a suitable temperature for my bedroom (too hot, too cold, just right…), and avoid alcohol after 8 PM. 

2)  Move more. Telecommuting from my bedroom to my office leaves me with about 9,940 steps remaining at the end of the day – so I’m going to plan out ways to move more. As much as I love yoga, it will need to supplement some cardio because I can be hyper-focused at work and find myself seated for hours without a break. Some quick things to implement: Actually use my standing desk (yes, my free Varidesk), and I might find one of those fold-up desk treadmills.

3) Change up my simplified wardrobe. I like to be comfortable, but even I can admit that I am sick of leggings twelve months in. Some cute little skirts or dresses, a few pairs of hippie-like drawstring pants, and nice t-shirts might do the trick. Plus, I’d be ready for a lunch date…should the need arise.

4) Simplify my menu. I’ve been ordering from Misfits Market recently and have found a love for pan-roasted veggies. I can eat a ton of these and I love them. At the beach I reconnected with fresh fruit and a Ceaser Salad topped with shrimp. And then, there is always my old stand-by: Summer sausage, cheese, and grapes. These are easy. These are cheap. These are delicious. I want more.

5) “Eat That Frog”: What does that even mean? If you don’t know, check out this blog. My frogs include making lunch for my son, making the bed, writing, and doing dishes. I’ll make a plan to make lunches and do dishes before going to bed. I’ll make the bed after rising, take a shower while the coffee is brewing (my pot takes for-eve-ah to brew four cups), and at a minimum, blow dry my hair. Seriously. These things might help me be more productive – but honestly, I’m just hoping to eliminate feeling like a slug.

So, what about you? I am certainly up for suggestions. I’ve been idle now for about a whole year and, frankly, feeling a bit gross. I’d love to hear what you do to keep yourself organized and fit these days.

I’m leaving you with this song today. Admittedly, I’m fascinated with this artist’s change in lifestyle and focus. I figure if he can make positive changes in his life, I can too.