It Is All In The Attitude, Learn To Do What You Want

Harried? Stressed? Do you crave a bubble of balmy calm all around you? Here, Comfort Queen Jennifer Louden shows how daily peace and playfulness can be yours if you discover your daily intention (aka the art of not doing what you don't want to do) and stick with it!
by Jennifer Louden

My birthday was November 30th. To celebrate, I decided I would only do what I wanted to all day. I didn't make lunch, I didn't drive Lilly to school, I didn't do much work. I loafed, I napped, I read the new biography about Colette, Secrets of the Flesh by Judith Thurman, and I talked on the phone to all my far flung friends and relations.

All during my day I kept thinking, "The only thing that makes this day feel different is my attitude." Because I had set the intention that I would do nothing I didn't want to, I felt peaceful and playful. Even though everything was the same as the day before (i.e. one hundred pressing emergencies vying for my attention), my intention had created a bubble of balmy calm around me.

Then the next day dawned and had me clutched in it's maw before 8 am. Yet, to my credit, I was lucid enough to ask myself, "Why can't this day be more like my birthday?" Of course, my judgmental harping voice promptly jumped in to rasp at me: "You've got sooooo many things to do. If you don't start moving faster, everything is going to fall apart. What is this idea that you have to do only what you want? This is very, very dangerous."

Aha. Let's see, how many times am I going to have to learn this lesson?


Of course I couldn't do just what I want. No adult can, let alone a mother of a five year old. That's not the point. The point is:


Listening to your intention

My friend Patrice declared to her husband Dale yesterday, "I can't do it all." They are starting a new business while raising their two boys and managing all that life entails. "I can't do seven loads of laundry and in my spare five minutes, have a brilliant business idea," Patrice had said. "I can't switch gears so easily." But as I talked to her, I was thinking there IS a way to switch, if you are listening EACH DAY to what your intention needs to be.

It all goes back to my mindful questions, the ones I've been giving you the last few months, questions that are the spine of my new book, The Comfort Queen's Guide to Life (coming in May 2000). These questions (and you can make up more of your own; mine aren't magic) help you hear what is the most important thing to do or feel or NOT do that day or week. Listening for this essential knowledge INSTEAD of declaring from the squirrel side of your brain what you must do, and letting the rest of your life fall into place around this knowledge, that is what makes switching roles and finding divine balance possible.

Creative void
Here's an example. Patrice wakes up and before she hurls herself into the shower and the day, she takes a moment to breathe deeply and ask herself, "What do I most need today?" or "What does my soul need today?" She breathes into the cacophony of ideas and demands that surface. She waits in the creative void (which NO ONE likes to do and all of us MUST do) until the one thing that holds the most heart and soul for her (and soul urgency) emerges. She doesn't let the fact that there are so many other things she needs or wants to do stop her from keeping her focus on that one thing - whether that day it is do seven loads of laundry or "connect with Quinn " or "do one creative piece of work on the business plan."

So let's say the laundry is her soul focus that day (hey, it's as good a focus as any). Then Dale calls from the office to ask her to help brainstorm a pressing and slippery business problem. Patrice can choose to switch into that role BUT SHE KNOWS IT'S EXTRA. It's gravy. That's the attitude part I learned on my birthday - everything I did that day that wasn't about resting, reading, or receiving adulation, felt extra so I didn't feel pressured to do it. So it was easier to do.

Try this - see what happens. And write me at and tell me!!

Shaping the world
In closing, I'm sure I should write something sage and waggish about the new millenium, something that will inspire you to feel immense hope and cheer.

But that isn't my intention today.

I could say come back in a few days and I'll add something witty but I don't want to. To tell you the truth, I'm sick of the millenium. I was all twitterpated about it but now I'm just bored. In fact, I feel like most of the whole world is bored with it. Our attitude about the millenium is our attitude about life right now: it's enough. Just stop. I've had enough.

I will leave you with this thought: millenium or no millenium, every one of you who reads this is more powerful than you know. And the more we unite that power, the more we shape a world we can be proud to live in.

I raise a glass to all of us and toast our regal magnificence.


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