Week 8: Reading, Woeful failings, Important things first

22 in 22? Don’t mind if I do!

These last coupla weeks have been challenging on the homefront, you’ll have to excuse me for being a little absent. More deep thoughts are percolating…until then…

#5 Read Bible on Tablet and the Real Thing

As I mentioned above, this has been a bit of a whirlwind. Transitions do that to us around here: we get out of our routines and everyone has a dickens of a time getting back in. Not to mention that there was some uncertainty surrounding my eldest’s return to school this week due to circumstances outside of our control.

Transitions are already difficult when we know what we are getting back to. When you aren’t certain how they are going to go, they are even more complicated. And especially with that child.

So, I did something, the only thing I could think of to do when faced with such uncertainty. I doubled down on #5. That’s right, I decided that even if everything was shifting sand, I could at least count on finding some stability in my Bible.

So I went looking for stability, and, as usual, I found it. I was behind in my reading plan, but I wanted to read for pleasure, not to read to keep on schedule. So I did just that. I made sure that I took extra time during the day to sit down and read the hardcover version of my Bible, which felt like a special treat.

Whereas everything else around me, including #18 (which you will read about in a moment) felt outside of my control, this one thing made me feel grounded.

#18 Eat Mindfully and With Pleasure

I think I spoke too soon last week, when I wrote about taking time to enjoy my coffee, my clementines and my macarons. I failed so miserably on this front, that it’s genuinely worth noting.

You know, since the start of the year, I hadn’t really binged much. I guess…well…I guess I was so excited about my new projects, and my mind was so full of what I needed to do next that I didn’t either feel the need to binge, or whatever the stress or boredom trigger that causes me to binge didn’t…well…trigger. I felt powerful because I had a plan and knew how to accomplish it.

But this week, actually since everybody got home from their visit South, I have found myself reaching for whatever I can get my hands on. This means something. It means that there is some stress under the surface that I must secretly believe eating can help solve.

When things are out of my control, I seek to control what I can…get some of my power back. I need to learn that eating is not a productive way to do get my power back. Of course, not having delicious snacks on hand would help keep this at bay, too!

#21 Do the Ideal Life Exercise Daily

I have permanent reminders in my calendar for the Ideal Life Theme of the day, which repeats every three weeks. They weren’t hard to set up, it just took a bit of time. Once they were there, though, I felt pretty self-satisfied.

After I did my end-of-year round-up in December and got caught up in my French-language project particularly which started on January 1, I found that the early morning time I usually dedicated to the little tiny 5 minutes of the Ideal Life Exercise was getting booted to a theoretical “other time”.

That theoretical “other time” would usually happen at bedtime, just before I turned my tablet off, when I would check the calendar to see if there was anything going on the next day I needed to be aware of, at which point I was of no mind to ask myself four little questions which could lead to some deep answers and even a few tears if I took it seriously enough.

Why is it so hard to keep a habit that is genuinely good for us, good for our perspective, good for our thought life? The distractions are legion when what we really need to do is re-focus on my real priorities, on who I want to be, not on what I want or need to do.

So I made two decisions: First, doing my Ideal Life Exercise, the one in which each day I look at just one theme and ask myself how it’s going, what’s not working, things I might need to consider, and things I can concretely do today to impact this area, well, it needed to be a priority over the other stuff. Even, it needed to be a priority over my outward facing projects, like blog articles in French or in English, or podcast stuff or anything else.

Sometimes projects can be so exciting, and the feedback loop they create can feel so good, that the the project itself can come in and take over parts of our lives it was intended to serve. And that can start to feel like the tail is wagging the dog.

The second decision was that, based on the fact that if I, an Ideal Life evangelist, had trouble sticking to this when life got hectic, then clearly others who are just starting out (and there are quite a few who are giving this a go!), would struggle just like I did, so I needed to find a way to help others work through this, too.

So after at month of January that I literally did not see fly by, and a month of February marked by intense stress to just get all (and more) of the forward facing stuff done in less than half the time I usually had to do it in, and finding my Ideal Life Exercise was the first thing I let go, (Which is really, really, really too bad!) I decided that in our podcast listener’s Facebook Group we would be going day-by-day through two cycles (six weeks) of the Ideal Life Exercise starting on March 1.

This would keep me accountable to doing my Ideal Life Exercise, and would provide a framework for those who are just getting started.

You are welcome to join us in our private Facebook Group if you want to start investing those couple minutes a day in your Ideal Life, too!!


Episode 31: Mental Health Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Rage; Sublimation; Mental Hygiene. Episode 31: Mental Health is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories. The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up. Links: The Great Bathrobe Refashion: https://lilyfieldschallenge.com/2021/05/18/the-great-2021-bathrobe-refashion/ Rage Refashioning: https://lilyfieldschallenge.com/2021/05/27/rage-refashioning/ Sublimation: https://lilyfieldschallenge.com/2021/06/09/sublimation/ You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com. A great big thank you to Seven Productions here in Mulhouse, France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro to the show. Thanks also to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 31: Mental Health
  2. Episode 30: Contentment
  3. Episode 29: Commitments
  4. Episode 28: Lucidly Ever After
  5. Episode 27: Passionately Curious

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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