They pop those little bits of nastiness constantly throughout the day, and sometimes even at 3 in the morning.
They pop more pills than Vivi Abbott in Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood.
They toss down little pellets of worry, shame, guilt, and grief so often that they hardly even notice any more.
The irony is, sometimes they chase them down with green juice and meditation.
It goes sort of like this:
"Ahhhh, green juice."
Because I'm fat and disgusting and no one will love me unless I drop ten pounds this week.
"Ommmmmm, I clear my mind..."
Yeah, because my mind is broken, it's ruined, there's something wrong with me, only major spiritual intervention can make me acceptable....
"Hurray, it's my massage today!"
I need this massage, I need it so much, it's the only thing that makes life bearable, god I hate my job so much but I'm trapped, TRAPPED!
These aren't physical pills, of course-- they're little capsules of crappy thinking.
But they will still totally make you feel like shit.
Unfortunately, there are pharmacies on every corner doling out stress vitamins.
- Maybe it's your angry boss; you absorb some of his suppressed fury.
- The TV news plays scenes of devastation and brutality, and your heart pounds just like it would if you were standing there.
- Even the worthy organization or earnest friend who doesn't think they've done their duty until you are on the floor with grief about the latest global tragedy.
And sometimes it's closer to home.
- Maybe you HATE the color of your kitchen walls, a nasty peuce green that makes you think of moldy vomit.
- You ride the subway to work, and the screeching of the brakes and yammering and clanging make you feel shredded.
- You keep wearing the skirt that's so tight that it gives you a stomachache, because you spent a ridiculous amount of money on it.
- You let someone in your life spew their emotional bile on you, and you keep telling yourself that they're just having a bad day.... and now you are too.
- Or you end your evening watching a crime scene show that details some of the most grisly and twisted aspects of the human experience.
Here is a simple truth that took me 35 years to learn.
Stress vitamins are optional.
You DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE THEM!!!!
I KNOW!!!! Yes, even though they were in your family medicine cabinet growing up. Yes, even though it's considered basic social decency to complain about how busy everyone is. Yes, even though there is real heartbreak and brutality in the world.
Ask yourself what might happen for you if you stopped popping those little horrible pills. All those supplements of judgment and guilt and worry.
No really, just close your eyes for three seconds and picture your life without all those little snags and swallows.
Whoah. Can you imagine how much peaceful space would open up? How much quiet loveliness you'd have inside you?
Now take it a step further.
Imagine what would happen if you switched out those stress vitamins for a steady regimen of bliss vitamins.
What if you took a little hit of bliss 80 times a day? What if you even took it 5 times a day????
Now let me be very clear here, in case the DEA is reading over your shoulder-- I'm not talking about chemically mood-altering substances, except perhaps fair-trade organic chocolate.
I'm talking about planting little seeds of beauty and joy everywhere in your life.
To mix metaphors wildly, I'm talking about feeding the places in yourself where some of your vitality has leached out, through exhaustion or cynicism or simple forgetfulness.
They're different for everyone. I'll tell you what some of mine are.
My favorite bliss vitamins:
- Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea in my purple Anthropologie monogram mug
- Reading Vanity Fair magazine
- A blanket under a tree
- Ice-cold water with cucumber slices
- Childhood books like A Wrinkle In Time, Goodnight Moon, and Brambly Hedge
- Watching the show Parenthood
- A really...erm...blissful shower
- Red flames in my hair
- Temporary henna tattoos
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Beautiful high heels
- Belleruth Naparstak's guided visualizations
I could go on and on and on. None of these lovely things can stop me from experiencing the slings and arrows of grief, heartbreak, challenges. Because LIFE. But when my days are fully stocked with bliss vitamins, it helps me remember to keep turning toward joy, again and again and again.
Now I'd love to hear what your bliss vitamins are-- will you please post on my Facebook page and tell me?
Psssst. I have something coming up very soon-- watch for an announcement on Monday!-- to help you seed your life with a ridiculous amount of bliss. It's free, it's fun, and it involves prizes. I mean SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS prizes, you guys-- there are brown paper packages arriving at my door every day-- and I'm so excited I want to do a very undignified squeal~!!!!
I'll be in your inbox on Monday. Prepare to be scandalized, in the best possible way.