Thursday, February 21, 2008

Simple Luxury: Part One

There is something decadent about the word luxury. It's too often equated with life in the fast last, the rich and famous - 'luxury items'. In 2001 when the Howard Government introduced the Goods and Services Tax here in Australia women's hygiene products were considered 'luxury items' and were thus slugged with the new 10% across the board tax. As any woman will attest - sanitary pads and tampons might be considered luxury items to the male population, but to women they are essentials items.

Which brings me to luxury as essential dimension in living our daily life - especially if you strive to live a life of creative abundance. Luxury is however so bound up with ideas about money, success and status, we've created an erroneous belief system around luxury - it something that we're too 'poor' to have, something that is too 'big' for us to share in or even worse something we're 'not good enough' to enjoy.

What we've lost sight of is that luxury is actually a very simple concept,and without making a conscious effort to have luxury in our lives, we are actually become 'poor' and 'deprived' - both at the every day level, as well as at the soul level. Julia Cameron, author of 'The Artist's Way' says that the practise of luxury is actually a shift in consciousness, and that when we begin to acknowledge and invite what feels luxurious to us into our lives, we may indeed discover that there is a new flow of abundance into our lives. Cameron calls it 'authentic luxury' the things we do to pamper ourselves, the things that we love. Even though its my year of authenticity - I instead coined it 'simple luxury' - because it doesn't have to be exalted or complicated.

As I sat reading the section of luxury again, with my hunger sated, I began to ponder what it was that gives me true joy in life, the simple pleasures. Cameron says this is where the root of luxury lie. When it comes to this type of introspection I often get stuck and I can't think of anything that is appropriate. In this case its obvilus the block, my ideas and beliefs around luxury are so deeply embedded in the consumerist notions of luxury=money that its difficult to get beyond them. Unlike the examples given in the book, buying a second hand pair of tweed pants didn't seem terribly luxurious, or fresh raspberries. This made me frustrated. Just when I think I'm back in contact with myself, I feel that I am no closer to being in touch and connected with the 'real me' than I was six months ago.

My omlete arrived as I struggled with connecting with the part of my in which my notions of 'authentic luxury' are held, trying to find my simply joys. I ate the lovely vegetarian omlete that had been bought out, and continued to read and reflect.

After I had finished my late brekky I continued with my note taking, and as I did, I became aware of a beautiful scent lingering on the air. At first I thought that it was the very subtle and sensual perfume of one of the women who had recently wandered past where I sat. But it soon was apparent that it wasn't perfume. It had a fresh earthly quality to it. I looked about where I sat alfresco but no flowers came into sight.

Giving up my search and instead drinking in the small wafts of scent as they came my way, I kept writing, reading and thinking. Then I reached for my tea cup, which was now half cold and the most amazing realisation hit me. The beautiful perfume was coming from my tea cup. Not only did my tea smell divine, it tasted bloody good too. And there was an 'a-huh' moment for me ... and then all the simply luxuries came flooding back to me.

I love to be surrounded by fresh flowers - even if it is a handful of jasmine flowers that I have collected on my morning walk ...

And if I can't have fresh flowers, I make sure that I keep a collection of dried flowers (as I took this photo it reminded me how much I love the cool and sensual feel of clay in my hands - as the strange leaf shaped bowl holding these flowers was made by me last year!)

I love to be encircled in beautiful scents - my oil burners now has a place on my writer's altar above my desk with a couple of bottles of essential oils close by (there's also Bob down the front who came out of a Kinder Surprise egg - he reminds me that life is meant to be fun!)

As I drank my tea and revelled in the beauty of my senses revitalised and my memories evoked, I was thankful for the abundance of the Universe and the eternal flow. I also got brave and asked the young waitress what the name of the tea was. She bought out the packet and gave me the details on the back so I could order my own, only to come back less than a minute later and tell me that they did sell the tea in small pouches and you guessed it ....

... I bought some of my very own. Synchronicity and serendipity strike again.

Now perhaps on my artist's date this weekend I can take myself off to the thrift stores to find a special cup and saucer in which to enjoy my new tea in. Some more beautiful and inexpensive things to call 'mine.' Pampering ourselves is how we practise luxury in our lives, how we open ourselves to the abundance in the universe. It doesn't have to be elaborate, cost lots of money or time (which is important for the mothers among us) - it just has to be meaningful to you and something that you can do once a day, to treat yourself. It's a great way to tell yourself practically 'I love you.'

What simple luxury have you enjoyed today? What will you enjoy tomorrow? I know I'm looking forward to my cup of green tea tomorrow morning as I write my morning pages - the wonderful combination of health giving antioxidants and the decadent scent of jasmine flowers. Simple luxury at its best.


catherine said...

I enjoyed this post a great deal. I'm working through The Vein of Gold. One of the first tasks was to come up with a list of goals you want in live to concentrate on during the daily walks. It took me quite some time to do that; my life is pretty good right now. I was thinking of that when you wrote about not being able to come up with 'luxuries.'
I pamper myself with 'luxuries' like a fountain pen from levenger's for $60, which I love. I do my morning pages every morning with it. And white tea from Teavana. And time to write every night!

Anonymous said...

Culling stuff down to leave only the pretty (to me) and texturally pleasing used every day objects, that's helped me understand what I find luxurious.

Simple luxuries for me are crisp, decent thread count white sheets. Pot plants that survive me.Using crystal glasses for drinking water.Using old china tea cups for my triple ginseng tea, or my chai, or my other tea of choice.

Being water conservative with my own tank water means I can have a filled to the brim bath without affecting anyone else.

Another simple luxury for me after years of nurturing and shared space is the freedom to play my music loud, really loud or spend the day in complete silence.

Uncompromised choice is luxury.

Maleny Catherine

d sinclair said...

every now and then I write a list of 'things that give me pleasure'...its a good reminder of how much I have to be grateful for.

here are a few;

sitting down in the shower to wash my hair (ok, that may seem strange until you see my shower)

dark chocolate

free range eggs at my favourite cafe for breakfast on a sunday morning off from the kids (and any time someone else cooks for me)

dr. hauschka skincare - homeopathic and cosmic and gorgeous - expensive and an essential luxury I can't afford not to have.

thanks for the post Jodi - its good to think about these things!

d x

Corina said...

I do Morning Pages and have for many years. However, I've never done the Artist Date. I should. That feels like a luxury to me. I crave doing it and never get to.

I'll have to do it one day. Soon.

Anonymous said...

I have been sitting here thinking of what luxury means to me. I think that anything I used to do and enjoy and no longer do it (for whatever reason) seems to be a luxury. For me at the moment with an 18 month old boy, Time is my luxury. (Meaning, Time to myself in peace and quiet) I used to have a lot of it before Brendan came along and I took it for granted, that I could do whatever I liked, when I liked. But now, it is the one thing I seem to strive for whenever I see an opportunity. Although I am still guilty of not actually doing something just for me, but rushing around like a mad chook doing housework and catching up on life, instead of chilling out and just doing absolutely nothing!
I will get there one day and relaaaaax!

Thanks Jodi for making me think about it.

Love Julie

Karen said...

Luxury is in the constant awareness of the senses - I remember breaking up with a partner after 5 years and taking a single holiday to Byron Bay and feeling completely reawakened. I can still see a small celtic carving someone has formed into a rock by the sea, a sandcastle washed pink in the sunset with candles lit inside on the beach, the vibrating energy of lay-lines and the face of the sun shining through a blue glass bead. I bought SARK's The Bodacious Book of Succulence and Succulent Wild Woman. Luxury is as you say Miss Jodi forever around and inside us. It is in hanging the washing out after a day of mothering and part-time working and moonbathing as you breathe the light into your lungs. It is a tiny jewelled spiderweb reflecting in the grass as you step into the car. It is the fact that I can drop my head a dozen times in a day and smell the warm scent of my daughter's hair. It is staring up into the mountains and seeing the trace of the tree-line along the ridges and imagining myself there. It is the first stretch of the morning before I HAVE to get up. It is stopping and breathing, deeply, three times and then noticing where I am. It is remembering to smile as I walk down streets and in shops. It is the most of the least. Don't get me started on food!!!! Thanks again soul sista Jodi, much love and laughter, Karen :o)

Square1 said...

Simply luxuries are the best, because they are easily enjoyed and do not come with the price tags of guilt and worry, as do other luxuries that have a physical price tag attached to them as well. I am thinking the luxury of a hot bath and a nap might be in order right now. And a cup of green tea with mint tonight before bed. Life can hardly get much better than that sometimes.

Typical Taurus said...

my latest luxury is sitting on my front verandah watching the leaves of my potted siverbeet twist in the wind and gazing at the flowers on my tomato plant with a sense of anticipation of the amazing, home-grown, organic tastes to come.

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