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.