This week I’ve restarted another #100happydays photo project (on Instagram). Over the last couple of years I’ve become more conscious of what habits and practices impact my happiness, and this is definitely one that has a significant postive impact by giving me a reason to seek out, notice and create little moments of gratitude, connection and joy.
Another positive habit is daily journalling. I’ve been using the DayOne app for almost two years and this week I decided to upgrade to the latest version which includes the ability to keep multiple journals (plus some other nice features). Journalling has immediate benefits for me in that writing often helps me to figure out what I think, but the ability to look back and kind of join the dots to make better sense of who I am (or who I am becoming) is also really valuable. I’m also beginning to realise how much I’ve forgotten from the last four years of Ella’s life so I’m also trying to capture notes and insights about the kids – mostly so that I can remember, but possibly also so that when they’re older they can get a deeper insight into who they are.
Three things that have engaged my head and heart this week…
…living with children is probably the most powerful spiritual practice that anybody could ever be engaged in if you open yourself to it that way. I like to look at them as when they’re little as little living Zen masters that are sort of parachuted into our lives to push all our buttons and see how we’re going to work with the challenges they throw at us in addition to, of course, having to put food on the table, pay the rent, build a career, have a loving relationship…
This was a podcast episode with some wise messages about mindful parenting that I really needed to hear this week (see this Sticky Wisdom post). In moments of complete frustration, imagining E and L as little Zen monks brings a smile to my face! And I’m trying to remember to ask ‘what are they trying to teach me?’ rather than ‘why are they doing this to me?’!
2. Robert Sapolsky talking behaviour and biology on the Here We Are podcast
A friend recently recommended Robert Sapolsky’s book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. I have it on hold at the library but to be honest I’m a little daunted by a 800-page book on neuroscience so I went searching for a podcast instead. This episode had some fascinating insights and anecdotes about how the brain works, including a super interesting conversation about how ‘disgust’ is perceived/felt.
3. Jacinta Tynan: Why I’m Compiling a Daily Record of My Boys’ Childhood
This article was definitely part of the motivation for updating DayOne and starting journals for each of the kids. I really like the ‘one-sentence journal’ idea and it only takes a couple of minutes at the end of each day to jot down a few words to capture how they spent the day, a special moment or a funny quote. But listening to Sherry Turkle’s interview on On Being has me thinking about what physical artifacts from my kids’ childhoods I’m keeping (I’m very ruthless and there aren’t many artworks that get kept!) for them to discover later in life, and how I might ensure that the digital memories I’m capturing can also be retained and discovered.