Gezelligheid, hygge, sospeso, ujjayi – finding the joy in simple things, even if you can’t spell them!
Thank you for joining me today and reading my blog …
Contrast is a principle of art. It means that, through placing opposing elements, such as smooth versus rough, or light versus dark, we gain a heightened visual experience, greater than if the elements were alone. The same is true for colour. Orange placed next to its’ complementary colour purple, makes the viewing experience more dramatic.
Contrast is also a life lesson. Through the continual sorting and sifting of life’s daily offerings, you learn what you do and don’t want. For example, for many of you, seeking optimal wellness is a daily self care habit you make a priority, because the opposite, or contrast to that, being unwell, doesn’t work for you.
It’s a lesson I learned years ago when I realized, I was sick, obese and unfit. That lead to pain, anxiety and depression. It also meant I could not be the best mother to my children, nor the best wife or person. It was that moment of clarity that sharpened, for me, what I did want – health, wellness and a fit body and sound mind. It also clarified that I did not want more pain.
Contrast sharpens focus and offers clarity. I can remember vibrating with excitement when I finally got that message. I had arrived at a new place in my thinking, thanks to that lesson, and couldn’t wait to get started on my new path. Contrast drives you to expand to new ideas of what you want and I was on fire!
Some people become fearful when this realization hits them. They want to go ahead but are paralyzed because everything feels uncertain, unsafe, unclear. When the pain of where you are now outweighs the pain of uncertainty, you will find your wings. Contrast is always going to come at you. It’s how well you have embraced the concept of it, as your personal “fertilizer” that yields the rewards.
Here are 7 Simple Pleasures, Simple Treasures you can incorporate into your holiday season, to heighten your festive experience:
Sospeso: The dictionary definition of enough is, “adequate for the want or need; sufficient for the purpose or to satisfy desire.” Enough for you may not be enough for someone else. A simple cup of coffee can be the best, warmest gift for someone else. The beautiful Italian tradition called sospeso, began in Naples, Italy, where customers buy a coffee for themselves and one in advance for someone who can’t afford it. This simple gesture will fill your heart with love, I promise. I’ve tried it. I get tearful with joy, every time.
Hygge: The Danish have a word for “life’s simple pleasures.” It is hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”). Hygge is the way in which the smallest of routines garners pleasure through the act of celebrating it. Every time you plan to enjoy a meal or shared time, make it an event. Set the table using fresh greens and colour. Play beautiful music. Serve clean food. Make the most out of the simple pleasures of life.
Gezelligheid: The Dutch have a word that means everything from love, pleasantness, abundance, pleasure, and delight, to so much more. There is no English equivalent and it’s a tough one to say. It means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also imply time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness. Gezelligheid reigns in Dutch culture, and in my house, especially at this time of year. It ranges from making bone broth soup, to baking, lighting candles, and the tree, having friends over and more. My door is open. You are welcome. ’t is gezellig in mijn huis!
Gratituding: The practice of giving thanks has saved my life. At times I have been overwhelmed with challenge; so much so that I cannot seem to find a way out. That is when I practice giving thanks. I know I cannot do my best work or find solutions unless I give thanks for the goodness in my life first. And there is always something to be grateful for. Play the game of Gratituding with your family. If someone seems to be struggling during the holidays, immediately suggest that you each take a turn giving thanks for 10 things in your life. By the time you are done, positive energy has returned. Life feels good again.
Ujjayi: I can spiral. You can spiral. The holidays can do that to a person. When you are hovering on the edge of spiraling, practice the beautiful healing art of ujjayi breathing. I have my yoga teacher from YogaOne, Angelika, to thank for learning this practice. According to her, ujjayyi or “victorious breath,” enhances the yoga experience. Making oceanic sounds at the back of your throat, by slightly constricting your throat, helps to synchronize your breath with your yoga movements. It also helps you focus on your own practice.
Rhonda Byrnesing: Yes I made that up. It’s a word we use in our house to help us switch our attitudes and find balance. Her CD, The Power, is played on repeat in my car and workspace. I have given this CD to hundreds of people, that’s how much I love it. She has a way of delivering simple strategies for achieving balance, even when life delivers heavy hits. Basically, Rhonda Byrnesing means, (to me anyway), to take a breath, find the silver side of the situation, don’t give the negative any power and move on.
Participaction: Be a participant in your own active life. Engaging in your own self-care makes you take a front row seat in your wellness, and takes it out of the hands of others. During the holidays, don’t ignore the need for caring for yourself – love it even more. Participate in your life. Exercise because of your busy schedule! Take a walk with a friend. Hold hands and walk down a lovely wintery landscape, together. Feel invigorated and supercharged in your life, as an active participant.
Remember to share your simple treasures with me below or at the hashtag #trimsimpletreasures.
I wish you health and happiness!
Warmly and will love,