I previously spoke about my January Detox and how I try to do it not just for our eating habits but also for everything related to a better quality of life. A fresh start. And my best wish for 2016 is undoubtly more serenity. There is so much going on on every facet of our lifes: work, family, building and housework, activities, travel… This is very exciting but also exhausting and I felt the last few weeks that I really needed to slow down. I’m determined to take profit of the next weeks to reorganize my life in a more relaxed way.
I already told you about my belief that winter is a special time when we should allow ourselves to slow down and rest a little bit more than we usually do. And I also told you about my idea of a “Soft Detox”. So what’s following won’t surprise you as it develops a little bit more this aspect.
Eloge de la douceur
In French, there is only one word for ‘softness’, ‘smoothness’, ‘sweetness’ and ‘gentleness’: it is ‘douceur‘. Whether it is a feather, the fur of your pet, your bedsheets, your skin, a candy, the way you behave or speak. So you can translate “Eloge de la douceur’ by ‘In praise for gentleness’.
Don’t you think that there is not a lot of place for gentleness these days? And I’m not just speaking about our relationships with others. We should certainly begin with ourselves! The idea here is to stop forcing ourselves all the time. It is not just slowing down (which is also important) but it is stopping ourselves to put on our head constraint, pressure and stress.
I know this sounds very cliche but if we are honest with ourselves we may discover that our own life lacks gentleness in several areas. Just to illustrate this, there is a list of Gentleness and anti-Gentleness examples. The idea is to remove as much “anti-Gentleness” as possible and to focus on the “Gentlness” list in our everyday life. You might be surprised byt the “not so gentle’ behavior you might recognize in the first list.
- Being in a hurry. Forcing ourselves into a rythm that doesn’t fit your body. (waking up too early, going to bed too late, adding more ‘to do’ when we feel exhausted…)
- Being resentful. Listening to the negative chatter in your mind
- Not taking good care of our health. Eating poor quality food. Neglecting your health appointments.
- Having a poor grooming. Being harsh with your skin, your hair when grooming yourself.
- Being impatient and agressive everywhere: in a queue at the supermarket, in your car…
- Being under pressure, overwhelmed, stressed out all the time by your external environment : job, family, teacher of the kids, …
- Being under pressure, overwhelmed, stressed out all the time by yourself Forcing ourselves to do things we don’t really want to even if we are not forced to do so.
- Living in a neglected, messy environment.
- Taking your time and respecting your own rythm as much as possible
- Have a calm gentle mind. Nourishing your mind with kind thoughts.
- Taking care of yourself. Be as mindful for your own health that you would for your child or husband.
- Be gentle with your body as if you were in a spa. Feel love when you take care of yourself. Have gentle and mindful gesture for yourself.
- Being patient and courteous. Remember that we find in the world what we put in it. Do we want a more courteous environment? We can begin by showing the good example ourselves.
- Trying to keep a distance between the behaviour of the others and your own state of mind. I know this is the trickiest point for me. Hard to stay relaxed and gentle if someone is trying to push you, even if this person doesn’t realize it. Sometimes you can even feel stressed just by the ‘bad energy’ of others even if it doesn’t concern you. But it sure is a key point.
- Yes,sometimes it seems we love to play the bully and the victim at the same time. How much uneeded constraint do we put ourselves in our life ? How much times a day can we sometimes torture ourselves with negative thoughts? How much pressure are we able to add? There is often a great work to do here. I’m very determined to work on this one too. External pressure is enough work, don’t you think? 🙂
- Creating a serene environment especially at home. It could be a ‘nest’ where you can relax when you need to: a nice sofa with a soft plaid, peaceful art, pastel colours and a piece of chocolate… just relax or meditate… on a daily basis, even for a few minutes!
Douceur is one of the best ingredient to live the good life! Isn’t it exactly what Dolce vita mean? So I wish you a very douce journée!