It is time to revisit my Intertwining Wheel of Contentment, represented, of course, by a Ferris Wheel. For me, this is the symbol containing all the aspects of life that interact and act upon my sense of contentment in life. Just as in life, the speed changes, the wind blows and shakes, and there is always Up, followed by Down.
There are six pieces required for contentment in My Life: Health, Security, Hygge (comfort/coziness), Creative Expression, Connection/Love, and Passé Temps (Recreation).
I lost focus on these with my move to Chengdu, but to be honest, well before that time. My Four Weeks in Kham have restored my energy and renewed by dissipated motivation. I return to Chengdu tomorrow. I want to fulfill —and fill— my life with these aspects again. How can I do this? How WILL I do it? Because, I WILL!
Health - I have hiked and walked 90 miles (145 km) in the last 25 days! I believe the high elevation hiking, combined with the return to a much lower elevation in Chengdu, will manifest as an increase in energy, stamina, and motivation! I am hoping this will make my return to running easy! I have to overcome my dislike of running on crowded, polluted, city streets—or just deal with it! Before I left on vaca, I purchased a mini-trampoline (remarketed as a “rebounder”), so that I could run indoors on shitty air days. With my sit-up ball, yoga mat, running shoes, and mini-tramp, I can lose this new shape my body has acquired! I also plan to find some mountains near Chengdu and hike on the weekends—and I have a friend interested in joining me for hikes who can keep me accountable!
My other big challenge is this sweet-tooth of mine; somehow I totally lost that these past few weeks! But then again, my life was so full of sweet air, sweet mountain trails, and sweet people, that my craving for sweets was sated and I was full of the sweetness and joy of life! I had one piece of Dzachusama Hostels homemade chocolate cake (oh, to die for) but it took me days to want it, and then 2 more to even dig in to my to-go piece packed for Yushu. It’s weird... and wonderful! I have no desire for the sugary sweets; what I crave is Cha Soo Ma (Yak Butter Tea) and lots of Tibetan food like potato pie, spicy vegetables, and Then Thuk (handmade-noodle soup)! How will this translate to food in Chengdu? More cooking! More time with friends! More time in nature! The joy of living in sweetness!
Security - Save more money while continuing to travel (and buy a motorcycle!) and live comfortably. Do my best at work. Allow love and romance! Make time for connection.
Hygge - Hygge is the Danish word for a sense of comfort and coziness in surroundings. I will search for another apartment, or accept mine as it is. Within budgetary constraints and priorities of saving, travel, and motorcycles, I will create a Hygge atmosphere in my home—whether new or current— with decor and lighting. I will increase sensations of Hygge by spending more time in nature, in sunlight, and out-of-doors. I will purchase apparel that makes me feel good.
Creative Expression - Besides reading and writing, I will make time for my other creative pastimes: playing chess, drawing, dancing, and singing. I definitely need more dancing in my life, as I have observed that the frequency which I spend dancing around my apartment is directly proportional to the level of happiness I feel in my life! When I am not dancing around “for no reason at all”, this means life is sucky. I will subscribe to a music service. Studying Mandarin—and now Tibetan— offers me a creative outlet as well. I will buy some bluetooth headphones to carry my tunes with me. I will open my journal more often, and actually write with a pen. I will sharpen my watercolor pencils for use in my journal, too. I will buy a (nice) chess set. I will ensure I can express myself creatively in the classroom, as well, even if I have to force the issue.
Connection/Love - I will create more opportunities for connection by spending more time with friends and attending more events. I will Open the Door to Love, and let the Bouncer (my Intuition) keep out the Fuckwits. As Gandalf proclaimed: YOU SHALL NOT PASS [FUCKWITS]! I want and need more fun in my free time! I will fortify my connection with nature through weekend hikes, bringing nature into the classroom, and spending some time in nearby parks. I will try to renew my Daily Gratitude posts, at least by writing them down. I will practice meditation more frequently. I will frequent the Buddhist Temple that is between my house and school — I can stop there after school to refresh and renew and reset after school!
Passé Temps - Les Bon Temps Roullez... Like “Letting the good times roll”, Passé Temps is French for “passing time”; i.e., in contemporary parlance: recreation. Also, how one passes the time with pastimes or hobbies. Doing what I love and loving what I do: hiking, climbing, cycling, running, SCUBA, spending time with friends, dancing, playing chess, studying, reading, riding my motorcycle, having a dog, writing, painting, drawing, learning, teaching, cooking, traveling, surfing, swimming, playing cello (to be learned!) ...
I COMMIT to regular exercise 3-5x per week. I WILL start running again. I will buy a bike that fits well and is enjoyable to ride. I will practice asana and get back into my sit-up/push-up routine daily. When my strength is rebuilt, I will begin climbing again. I will do one thing I enjoy each day! My goal is to run 10mi/week once again. Then start cycling (weather, air pollution, and traffic permitting... not sure about cycling in Chengdu yet) and climbing. Running, yoga, SU/PU, and hiking are sure things, re: exercise. Will see what happens with the rest!
Wo Nang Xing! I can do it!
...Small actions in a dynamic system will trigger vast and unexpected changes