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A Book’s Promise

In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.—Anna Quindlen

Books. I look around my tiny home and am surrounded by bound printed pages. Stacks of them. Everywhere. Three on my desk. Three on my nightstand. On the mantle. On the armoire. On the cabinet. And stuffed within the built-ins.

Some were gifts. Many were purchased because I believed they held a nugget I sought at the time—writing advice, simple DIY projects, mindfulness tools, a peek into the minds of women I admire (Anais Nin, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Georgia O’Keefe), and socially-conscious business practices.

Many remain unread. Especially the three 25-book stacks by the side of my bed. I keep that sacred pile there so that they aren’t tucked away on a shelf, but are in my face reminding me to read them. Instead, I stack more on top. That mind trick I played on myself hasn’t been successful. Yet.

Tim’s mom recently informed me about Bookbub. They send daily emails with .99 – $2.99 Kindle books on sale in the genre of your choosing. Each day when I open the email, I say a little prayer that there won’t be a book on there I “need.” A few times a week, my prayers aren’t answered and now my Kindle collection is growing.

I’d love this to be a  post about how I figured out how to stop collecting books using an easy five-step system.

Unfortunately, it’s more of a confession.

Each book holds a promise. A chance to figure life out, be happier, make the perfect handmade gift, eat more plants, write better, create more, make healthier decisions, do yoga a certain way, have stronger connections, save the animals.

And, I want all of it.

Although I haven’t purchased a book in 48 hours (she writes with a sense of pride), I know there will be more.

Since childhood books have been my trusted companions. My confidants. My opportunity to get lost. My chance to learn more about myself and others. My time to dream.

Books hold a promise of deeper connection. To our inner world and the world we inhabit. What better gift could there be? Bisous. x

P.S. Here’s a fun piece on 11 Bookish Things Every Bibliophile Should Do at Least Once.

Creating To-Dos to Match Dreams

Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.—Carl Sandburg

This is me right now. Although Gizmo is sans bow tie and snoring versus looking up. And Belle is also curled up on my lap since Tim is out of town (that’s the only way I get her attention). Oh, and my hair is super frizzy from all the rain versus curled and, of course, I’m in that same outfit—aka, my uniform.

While hosting this month’s minimalism module for Year of Tranquility (YOT), I’m also engaging along with the group and this week’s practices focus on time and energy usage. Some ideas to protect our output include taking a Sabbath, creating MITs (most important tasks), trying the Pomodoro technique, and tracking time. The last one sheds light on whether our actions are currently in alignment with our values.

Tim left on Monday for a bike tour on the Katy Trail and I carefully crafted the week to rotate around daycare for Mookie, seeing clients, and juggling other appointments. I also penned a list of things I wanted to do while he was gone onto pink paper and stapled it into my planner. The list includes:

  • Make cauliflower wings {done!}
  • Practice hand lettering
  • Finish The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
  • Start The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
  • Work on my memoir proposal
  • Host a FB Live {that one has a question mark after it as it’s still TBD—you’ll be the first to know if I do schedule it}
  • Attend Poplar Spring’s Run for the Animals
  • Take 5 ballet classes
  • Work on editorial calendar
  • Have a declutter day {scheduled for Saturday}
  • Make a matcha latte
  • Update 24 Tools o’ Tranquility
  • Review budgets
  • Dabble in bullet journaling
  • Work on my Year of Tranquility journal
  • Brunch with a girlfriend
  • Peony picking with a girlfriend

Daily I find myself obsessively reviewing my to-dos and trying to knock things off. It’s a superpower (ahem, curse) of mine. The list above wasn’t part of my typical to-dos, but rather bigger things I wanted to try or practice. It’s a list that goes beyond scheduling appointments or everyday tasks and brings what’s percolating in the back of my mind to the forefront.

For example, Tim does the cooking and I’m obsessed with his cauliflower wings so I wanted to give it a go. Last night I got home at 9 after seeing clients and picking up Mookie from daycare and read through his how-to text message. 75 minutest later I was popping crispy florets of cauliflower smothered in buffalo wing sauce into my belly. During the process I wrote a confessional text to him that I think it was my first time ever chopping cauliflower. Now I feel empowered and will be making more tonight.

A few of the items above are creativity related—hand lettering, YOT journal, bullet journaling, ballet, and memoir writing. Often times these are the projects that will fall by the wayside if I focus on checking off the typical to-dos. Although I already had the ballet classes in my schedule, I liked noting that I’d take five. It sounds dedicated, no?!

I share all this as a reminder of what we already know, and Annie Dillard tells us, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” If we value creativity, reading, writing, healthy eating, and relationships and yet those items aren’t showing up in our daily lives, this serves as a wake up call to make some shifts.

If you created a pink list to staple into your planner, what would go onto it? What isn’t a typical to-do, but rather something bigger picture that taps into a deeper longing? Guard your time and energy as your most precious resources. Because, well, they are. Bisous. x

Gratitude

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.—Proust

I’m outside under an umbrella sipping an iced matcha tea during a quick break between clients. There’s a spring in the steps of passersby as DC’s weather transitions to warmer temps.

Tomorrow morning I hop on a plane for a 5:55am flight bound for North Carolina. I’m taking a two-day workshop on Leading Others In Writing for Health at Duke. Never fear, I’ll be sure to share my takeaways and am delighted to learn more about bibliotherapy.

This afternoon I feel an immense amount of gratitude to do this work—therapy, teaching, writing, designing—and I couldn’t do it without YOU.

Over the past 14 years of blogging (gasp!), you’ve been my constant companion. Although I never really know who’s reading, I feel a deep connection to those who consume my words about struggles, lessons, wins, and everything in between.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being part of Tranquility du Jour. If there is anything I can do, offer, or create to serve you better, please let me know. You are truly one of my charming gardeners. Bisous. x