Next Stop: La-La Land

Photo La La Land

It’s time for a change. I’m packing up and heading to La-La Land, defined as “the dreamlike mental state which disengages us from the harsh realities of life”.

Every now and again, we need to languish in our own form of tranquility, that indulgence that lulls us into a state of bliss. It can be as lavish as a tropical vacation or as simple as a bubble bath. It’s our own personal whistle that blows inside of us when we’ve had enough and need a break.

What’s really bothering us?  Is it the distressing news constantly being reported or the fact that we’ve neglected to listen to any music recently? Is it the ever-present intrusion of social media in our lives or annoyance at our lack of discipline to turn it off once in a while? Is it the demands on us as spouses, parents and children or the feelings of joy and gratitude that we forget to think about? When we feel an unsteadiness on the balancing act we face each day, it’s time to get on the La-La Land train.

In order to get the full effect, you need to surrender. A quick walk through the park, mumbling to yourself while you recite your to-do list will not cut it. Some say that a nap (or just getting into bed with the covers over your head) is tailor-made as a kick starter. A long run or an intense workout might do the trick. Or, there’s shopping; the sound of the hangers as they glide on the rod have been known to invoke a trance-like state. How about dining out? You and your lobster can become one, as you delve into every nook and cranny. Yoga and meditation do not involve lobster, but also might work. Whatever you choose, really let yourself go and when you return, you will feel as good as new.

I envision my La-La Land as the place where my Christmas Eves look like the cover of the Lord and Taylor Christmas catalog: everyone is dressed in formal attire, gathered around a baby grand piano, rather than the year that we headed home from visiting family with a sick child, a cancelled flight, lost luggage and a car in the parking lot that wouldn’t start. How do you visualize your La-La Land?

Transport yourself, make your life journey a bit more lightweight, and remember to save a seat for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Think Tiny and Live Large: Inspired by the Tiny House Movement

 

Live in a 500 square-foot home (or maybe even smaller)? While I don’t think that I’ll be joining the tiny house movement anytime soon, I have been inspired by their take on simplicity and downsizing. If they can reduce the size of their homes, why can’t I use their principals to scale down my mind’s overload?

As the size of the average single family home in the United States increased, so have our stress levels. And, as our to-do lists swell, our anxiety escalates. How do we keep all the aspects of our lives in check? Maybe scaling down is the answer. Here’s what I’m doing to get myself to think tiny:

Cleaning the cobwebs out of the attic. 
Just like a cobweb, my worrisome thoughts were entangling my mind and creating a constant uneasiness. After reading How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie, I realized that I was wasting precious time and energy agonizing over what I had no control over. Utilizing his simple techniques, I soon was able to reduce my anxiety.

Practicing the Container Store theory.
Enter the mecca of organization and its friendly staff will assure you that there is a place for everything and everything has its place. This reminds me that when I have too much on my mind, I need to try to compartmentalize my thoughts. Just like separating kitchen gadgets into little plastic baskets for easy access, I’m learning to focus on one thing at a time.

Remembering that the design is in the details.
Each tiny house is constructed with the utmost focus on space and creativity. Likewise, concentrating on whatever I am doing at the moment and paying attention to every aspect of it allows for a Zen state of mind. Try this simple exercise: next time you wash a dish, tune out the world and relish every part of the process. Just as I did, you’ll realize the benefits of practicing this in other aspects of your life.

Reminding myself that you take yourself with you wherever you go.
Add wheels to a tiny house and you have the advantages of a traditional, well-built home and an RV all in one. Once you have worked to develop a more compact and efficient thought process, you can be a bit creative and see where it takes you. I like to play “negotiation”, planning a day that includes a little treat that I promise myself and can look forward to once my to-do list is completed.

Tiny house dwellers seem to share a sense of well-being, believing that exchanging quantity for quality allows them a certain freedom. Wouldn’t it be great if we could reside in that same liberated state of mind?