Here are some daffodils for you! Don’t you need them? Me too!

I’ve had a hideous cold this week, and it’s made me feel grateful for all the shit I usually take for granted– like breathing, sleeping, talking without coughing–

but also daffodils.

In fact, as I looked around my world through my congested haze, huffing the spruce smell of the hippie salve I’d rubbed on my chest, hacking a melodious phlegmy hack, I was struck by something remarkable. My world is freaking beautiful. Not because it’s perfectly styled or tidy or expensive, but because everywhere I look, there are pretty colors, whimsy and art, fresh fruit, green things growing, cushions and rugs– a veritable bounty of beauty. We are so trained to look with yearning at other peoples’ beauty– magazine spreads, catalogs, styled professional shoots– that it shocked me to realize that my actual real life is already abloom with loveliness.

(Take a second and look around. I bet the same is true for you. Look at the photos, the bookshelves, the spices in your cabinet, the cookbooks, the dishes, the pillows– isn’t it sort of amazing, the abundance you live in? And hey, if it’s just NOT, try this or this real quick.)

Darlings. I don’t need MORE things to make my life beautiful. I just need to actually SAVOR what I already have. This not-very-complicated epiphany hit me right in the chest and I coughed so hard I think I cracked some ribs.

So let’s do something fun together next week.

Let’s conspire…with bliss.

I’m talking about another #blissconspiracy!

I’ve run a few of these over the past few years and they have been SO MUCH FUN, but this year I want to try something different.

Instead of looking outward to new forms of bliss we could bring into our lives, what if we all looked to the things we already have close at hand and ENJOYED THEM TO THEIR FULLEST?

For starters, this is a great way to use up all those lovely holiday presents:

  • Light that fancy new candle.
  • Page through that new coffee table book.
  • Really listen to that experimental album.
  • Drink the special artisan tea.
  • Use that exquisite face mask.
  • (Maybe all at the same time. Would that be so wrong?)

There’s such focus during the holidays on accumulating new things: finding that perfect gift, or sometimes, let’s be honest, just stuffing more into the stockings. It can leave us feeling a bit bloated and overfull come January, plus there’s all this new STUFF floating around your house that needs a home!

(Side note: This is why the release of Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show is genius timing– I loved it, AND, it inspired me to run The Queen Sweepthis spring because I know so many people will nevvvvver be able to follow her method through to completion on their own– but I digress!)

Lots of people spend January in a counter-swing of deprivation: behold #zerospendingJanuary, #Januarydetox, #juicecleanse2019, #eatgravelJanuary, #repent, etc. But that kind of punitive stringency usually backfires, and most January diets / resolutions / intense workout regimens just leave us feeling like failures.

So what if we tried something different? What if we deliberately focused on creating more BLISS for ourselves….but using the things that we already have?!?!?!

It’s really straightforward– we’ll be more blissful! Which means we’ll be better partners, parents, lovers, bosses, collaborators, and creatives.

As a bonus, it’s easy on the wallet for everyone who overspent over the hols, and it’ll help us use up excess lovely things rather than have them sit around taking up space.

But most importantly, it’ll help us look around our worlds with fresh eyes and appreciate what’s right there in front of us. There’s a powerful advertising industry bombarding us 24×7 with the message that in order to be happy, we need MORE NEW things. At the same time, Marie Kondo is on tv helping people throw dozens of garbage bags of Things out of their homes so that they can breathe again instead of being choked by all the Things that were supposed to make them happy. Ironic, right?

So let’s give our inner eyes a reset, and instead of focusing on adding things to our lives, let’s use the ever-lovin’-crap out of the ones we already have!

This doesn’t just apply to new gifts. It might mean…

  • Wearing the exquisite clothes already hanging in your closet.
  • Finally using the gift card to that restaurant downtown.
  • Setting the dinner table with your favorite china and tablecloth, just because.
  • Painting your nails (my favorite #blissconspiracy and a direct boost to my mood!)
  • Putting up the art you bought last year but never hung.
  • Wearing that special piece of jewelry.

It might mean letting your beautiful body love what it loves.

  • Dancing your ASS off to King Princess (my favorite artist right now. Ugh, I love her so much.)
  • Snuggling your fur baby.
  • Having an orgasm!!!
  • Staring at the moon for ten minutes instead of trying to photograph it (it never works anyway).
  • Doing a yoga pose, even for just 90 seconds.
  • Meditating.
  • Curling up in a blanket and gazing dreamily out the window.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Praying.
  • Napping.

And for bonus sparklepoints, try:

  • Reading the stack of books you already have instead of buying more. (ummmmmm this is SO ME)
  • Sitting in that lovely nook that never gets used.
  • Planting the herb seeds in the cute container they came with. (also me)
  • Cooking that elaborate dish that you LOVE but takes forever.
  • Rearranging your living room.
  • Doing a dramatic smoky eye one day and NEVER SAYING WHY.
  • Putting pretty paper in your kitchen drawers.
  • Switching to a new handbag and ditching all the extra crap you’ve been carrying around.

You know what will happen when you do this? You will start to retrain your inner calibration toward what brings you bliss….and what doesn’t. For example, I LOVE to buy new books. It gives me the best high, part champagne fizz and part fuzzy sock coziness. And it works no matter how many books I have sitting at home, still unread. But if I say to myself, “No more new books! I’m going to read the ones I have!” and turn to my stacks of, true confession, literally dozens of unread tomes, I have a visceral reaction. Half of the books that I bought….I don’t actually want to read. I only wanted to WANT to read them so that I could FEEL like a person who reads wise erudite things like that. When the truth is that right now I just want to read Frederick Bachmann and the Harry Potter books eight million times.

This is useful, if rather unfortunate, information.

You might realize that you actually loathe the beautiful new gloves your friend gave you. Or that your new candle gives you a headache. Or that wool makes you itchy. In which case you can gratefully LET THOSE THINGS GO instead of hanging on to them for another year!

Getting very curious about my own bliss helps me steer away from the THEATER of bliss– to my truest bliss.

Which might not seem like a big deal but it’s only, oh, the key to life and the secret of the universe.

Because practicing gratitude and honoring the gifts we’ve been given is sacred spiritual work.

As I sit here typing this, I’m well aware that I’m insanely lucky, and if you’re reading this, you probably are too.

As I used to say back in the day, I’m rrrrrich.

(Remember these oldies but goodies???? I kind of miss my I’m rrrrrrich t-shirt!)

I’m rich because when I lie down to sleep, I do it in a soft warm bed. I don’t fear soldiers coming in the night. I don’t fear bullets or rocks in my windows. I am not listening for the banging that means they have come to take my children. In fact, all my kids have bellies full of good food. There is a cup of cool, clean water on my nightstand. We sleep on soft sheets, under downy covers. We are loved.

These simple facts make my family one of the most privileged on this planet.

That simple remembering has popped me not into guilt, as it often does, but into gratitude.

(Look, what can I say, my spiritual epiphanies are not usually beautiful; it took a lot of snotty tissues to get this one.)

Deepening our bliss is just another way of saying I AM FULLY PRESENT AND THANK YOU IT’S AMAZING I AM PAYING ATTENTION HI. It doesn’t mean we become immune to suffering in the world; it means we awake to the miracle we get to live right this second.

Magic is everywhere. There’s a lot of it already in our homes, just waiting for us to give it life and joy with the breath of our own attention.

So come conspire with me. Conspire with BLISS. And let’s see how much joy we can discover right where we already live.

Ok, nuts and bolts– how’s this going to work?

For my fellow Rebels, do it however you want! There’s no email list to opt into, nothing to sign up for, no pitch at the end– we’re keeping it simple. This week, just start savoring the bliss around you, conspire on behalf of your own joy, and post an update or a photo on your favorite social media platform using the #blissconspiracy hashtag. You can tag me if you want to be extra certain I’ll see them! I’ll be posting mine on Instagram because that’s my favorite place to hang out these days, and I love sharing daily behind-the-scenes peeks in the daily Stories!

But for everyone else, if you want to get the MOST out of this challenge, I’d suggest:

  1. Join Instagram. (You can create a private account if you truly don’t want anyone to see what you post but still want to follow along.)
  2. Follow me. I’ll be posting EVERY day this week.
  3. Follow the hashtag #blissconspiracy so you’ll see other peoples’ posts.
  4. Commit to finding ONE thing to savor every day.
  5. Share it with the #blissconspiracy hashtag so we can inspire each other!

We’re going to try this for ONE WEEK and see what happens.

I predict it’s going to be delicious and surprisingly moving.

(Have you seen that meme going around that says,

“Why so optimistic about 2019? What do you think it will bring?”

“I think it will bring flowers.”

“Yes? How come?”

“Because I am planting flowers.”

….like that.)

Let’s start the year off by planting what we want more of. Bliss and gratitude sound really good to me, and I happen to know that they have a wild tendency to bloom into generosity, creativity, new ideas, and unexpected developments. Just watch and see.

much love,

Katherine

The Wise Women Book Club

Anna books
My secret mission is a global takeover by the wise women. Gathering together to bond over literature seems like the perfect place to start.
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