January 31

One of the secrets
of a happy life is
continuous small treats.

Iris Murdoch


Today's Meditation:

One of my true joys in life is to walk down to a bakery and have a donut and a cup of coffee.  I also like eating out for breakfast or stopping somewhere for pie and coffee.  Of course, since my continuous small treats often consist of things like donuts and pie, I have to run a huge number of miles to burn off the sugars and keep my weight under control--but that's okay by me.  I simply like to have those small treats to lift me up during the day, to give myself something to look forward to and to enjoy.

Because I look so often for the small treats, I find that I don't have much of an appetite for the huge ones.  I don't desire a luxurious car or house.  But one of the most important elements of what Iris says is the word "continuous."  If I'm constantly looking for little ways to treat myself, I never feel as if I'm neglecting myself, and I never feel that I need to compensate for that neglect by buying something extravagant.

One of the most important parts of stopping for pie and coffee, though, is actually taking the time to do so, taking the time to sit still and enjoy something that tastes very good.  The treat isn't just in the food.  So grabbing that chocolate bar without actually taking the time to rest and savor it--to focus on it and enjoy it--really isn't much of a treat at all.

All I really want is a happy life.  That happiness comes from feelings of accomplishment, feelings of belonging, feelings of being loved and of loving, and feelings of compassion for others.  It doesn't come from having the most things or the most expensive things.  We all know that some of the happiest people on this planet are people who don't have much at all--but who treat themselves to small treats on a regular basis.

Questions to consider:

What are some of your favorite small treats?  How often do you treat yourself to them?

From where do we often get the idea that treating ourselves is a negative form of self-indulgence?

What would it take for you to be able to treat yourself today to something special, and to give yourself the time to truly enjoy it?

For further thought:

If someone bases his or her happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn't going to be happy much of the time.  If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.

Andy Rooney


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