This article is part two of a trilogy. Last week, you read about morning routines, exercising and learning about the world in My 11 Habits for Daily Inspiration – Trilogy Part 1.
Not coincidentally, my favourite moments this week is in one of the habits in today’s article – family time. We celebrated a special occasion by visiting an acquaintance’s restaurant and dining out as a family. I was secretly pleased to have someone else do the cooking instead. The Christmas celebrations have also picked up and we are marking our calendars with Christmas concerts and sing-along’s.
4. Audio Podcasts
In Habit #2 last week, you read about walking in nature. There are days when I feel really lazy to step out, especially when it is cold and dark outside, which is almost half of the year over here. Stepping out also involves taking time to put on the layers of warm clothing, and it would have been so comfortable and easy to stay indoors. So how do I overcome that inertia?
I gave myself something to look forward to: podcasts.
If you are new to podcasts, it is basically an episodic series of digital audio files that you can either stream online or download onto your mobile device. There are tons of podcasts available for free, name any topic and you will find something.
I particularly enjoy tuning in to interviews with the world’s top entrepreneurs, leaders, authors, influencers, changemakers and other inspiring people.
I listen to them when I am out walking, when I am commuting on buses or trains, or when I am preparing food in the kitchen. It is literally my walking classroom. Largely because of the podcasts, I always come back from my walks inspired and energized with new ideas. It keeps me growing and constantly gives me more to offer to others.
Here are some of what I listen to nowadays…
…and an example for you.
I would highly recommend you to explore this world if you are not familiar with it. It is an underwater world of treasure waiting to be discovered! Some phones have a convenient Podcasts app, otherwise, if you know which ones you are interested in, you can also stream the podcasts from their respective websites.
Another similar idea is to listen to audiobooks, as some of my clients do. They have busy lifestyles and find it challenging to carve out time each day to read, so they leverage on technology to help them ‘read’ as they are driving or travelling.
5. Family Time
I love hanging out with my two favourite people on Earth, Mr Hurry and Little Hurry! They bring me so much joy and bliss each day and I am so grateful for their presence in my life.
Before they came into my life, I have always valued having the freedom to decide how to spend my time and to pursue my own interests. It took a while to get used to having a shared life where it is no longer just about me.
In the beginning, I would view activities such as cooking and housework as have-to’s and feel impatient about having to do them. Somewhere down the road, that changed. Instead of seeing it as an expectation upon me from the family, I told myself one day: This is my job, and I want to take care of my family.
I began to take pride in preparing food to nourish their bodies and souls, and I discovered joy and delight in building a cosy and welcoming home for us.
Besides taking care of each other, we spend time together over meals, watching movies, visiting or hosting friends, playing, travelling to new places, or just snuggling. The activities, however mundane, become meaningful when shared with special people.
I strive to be mindful about being present and undistracted when we are spending time together. This includes keeping the mobile phone at bay, especially in front of the little one.
Love itself is inspiring. They inspire me to want to be a better me.
6. Be an Artist. Create.
Every morning after breakfast, I will plant myself down in front of the computer and write. Regardless of whether I have something to write about, my commitment is to show up and create. Once, I was so dry of ideas that I just wrote a short corny poem about the rain outside my window.
To create is our nature; there is an artist in each of us waiting to burst out and express itself.
To create is joy and fulfillment; when we are able to exercise that potential of ours and offer our uniqueness to the world.
At this phase of life, my two most regular practices of creating are in writing and food, both of which are daily rituals. The result of my writing is this collection of articles that you see here, and the result of my culinary explorations can be viewed at our online food album here and here. We call it our family’s menu and often share it with guests who are coming for dinner. They are pleasantly surprised that they get a menu to choose from!
I live with a man who can’t seem to stop giving.
Mr Hurry would come home from events with a bunch of souvenirs and offer them to friends and neighbours. If he receives gifts, it often gets passed on and ends up in the appreciative hands of someone else. Guests who come over for dinner would leave with a full stomach and a little something to bring home with them. We never go empty-handed to visit someone, even if it is a close friend whom we meet with often.
In the beginning, it would irritate me that he keeps giving things away, even those which I would have liked to keep for ourselves. Even when I have baked something which we both enjoy, we would barely get a taste of it before it too gets distributed. He says that it is because he has got the chef living with him and he knows that he will have more soon. And then he lets out that big grin to hint that he has just placed an order… to yours truly.
Pretty soon, I too started to pick up that habit of giving and realised that it is much more enjoyable to give and share than to keep. I love seeing the looks of surprise and joy on the faces of the recipients. Many of these gifts also become more valuable when they are given to someone else who has a bigger need or appreciation for them.
This involves a change in attitude from living as a consumer to living as a community. In today’s linear economy, we buy, we keep, and then we throw and waste. In practising a lifestyle similar to that of a circular economy, we buy second-hand, we receive, we give and share, we pass it on, and we serve. Not only is the latter better for our Earth, it also brings us much more meaning, joy, abundance, and enriched relationships.
One of the giving practices that I thoroughly enjoy is in coaching. When my clients thank me for what they have gotten out of our sessions, I often tell them how much I have received and learned from them, truly. Our work together leave me inspired, moved, and humbled, and it is hard to say who got more from whom. You can read about the work that we do from their testimonials in Praise.
The habit of giving is a one-way street. Once you’ve rode on it and experienced its beauty, you will not want to turn back.
There are many ways to make giving a small and integral part of your days.
You can give of your belongings.
You can give of your time.
You can give of your attention.
You can give of your smile.
You can give of your kindness.
You can give of your service.
You can give of your love.
And a lot more.
May you find joy in giving, today and every day.
- My 11 Habits for Daily Inspiration – Trilogy Part 1
- My 11 Habits for Daily Inspiration – Trilogy Part 3