Jammin’ to the Good Stuff

My kitchen shelf is stocked to the brim with homemade jam. Admittedly, I became spoiled at the tender age of twenty-two. It was the first time I tasted Monika’s fine bread spread. Hand-picked, summer ripe fruit and a little sugar are the only ingredients she uses. We are talking Slow Food, locally grown and consumed. It is the kind that is so Slow it can’t even crawl.

My favorite jam is raspberry. Unfortunately, it seems to be everyone else’s too. As abundant as Monika’s garden is, even it has its limits on the raspberry yield it brings every growing season. I am mindful not to be too greedy during my sporadic visits to her house. Inevitably, she will offer me an array of flavors, which I take with a humble bow, trying hard not to eye the jars for fear raspberry might not be among them.

One day, after biting into a not-so-satisfying pear jam, I placed my bread back on the plate and wondered why I didn’t just open up a jar of raspberry jam. What was I saving it for? Why was I being so stingy with myself?

We do this. We put off the good stuff for later. Vacation? One day. That trip with the girls? Maybe next year. That visit to family? Well, they’ll always be there…won’t they?

We deny ourselves a lot of things, but jam? I mean really. Life is too short for bad marmalade. Why suffer when you don’t need to? When you already have a shelf full of stuff that makes you happy? I looked at my reflection in the marmalade spoon and asked: What on Earth are you saving it for?

So I got up, dumped the pear jam and opened a new one filled to the rim with raspberry delight.

We are worth having the good things. And when we forget what we’ve already got, it’s good to be reminded.

Take time to enjoy the good kind of jam. The jam that makes you jump in the morning and say “Yeah!”  It is what makes life so very sweet.

Sleep on It

Sleep is essential, yet many of us don’t get the kind of quality sleep we need to be at our best. Since we spend one-third of our lives on a mattress, wouldn’t it make sense to get a good one?

My life partner got a cheap mattress from a large Swedish brand last year. He lasted a week, then returned it. Instead, he invested in a superior mattress that feels like you are floating.

When DreamZe2015-05-14 11.57.36bra approached me to test out their mattress, I felt a mixture of pleasure and trepidation. A Danish brand, DreamZebra is an online-only company that sells its mattresses worldwide. Ranging from a single to a king-sized mattress, their selection offers something for everyone. You even get a ten year guarantee as an added bonus.

So I ceremoniously performed what they call “the unboxing;” delivered in a large box, the mattress is vacuum-packed in plastic. It reminded me of the Swedish brand’s mattress that my love and I also liberated from its sheath. To my surprise, DreamZebra’s mattress is much thicker, its material of much higher quality and, quite frankly, it’s dreamy “hugging” just made me smile.

Enjoy this rare product video. It’s time to spend a night’s rest in peace.

 

The Joy Choice

No matter what is swirling about you and the squeeze you feel from it- train strikes, illness, pending surgeries or demanding clients — there is always room for joy.

In fact, I have found when I make the conscious choice for joy over suffering that everything works out. Miracle or Universal law? I’d say it’s the latter.

Want to know a secret? Things always work out just as they should, whether we are fretting about them or not. But as life unfolds, we can decide how we are going to feel about it. The joy choice requires a certain level of mental discipline. When standing at the precipice between upset and acceptance, we can ask ourselves: “How do I want to feel about this?” Sometimes I actively choose to feel bad about it. I wrangle. I wrestle. I rant. I rave. And after I have exhausted all my emotional options of negativity, I standing panting in the middle of the room. The only thing that has changed is my brain chemistry. And I’m pretty darn tired from the rage of it all.

Other times  I actively choose joy. I take each moment and drink the nectar of beauty. When negative thoughts come into my mind, I ask them where their invitation to my party is. They blink. They stutter. They turn on their heels and leave.

It is marvelous to have that level of control over your own experience.

Another thing that helps is looking at what is going right in the face of what I perceive to be going wrong. That’s when my focus shifts and that which I think is wrong actually turns out to be a lovely piece of the entire picture.

As my friend Simone likes to say, life is always right. So why do we spend so much time fighting against it?

Opting for joy has been the best decision of my life. And you, my dear friends, are invited to my joy party any time you like. Won’t you join me?