June 28, 2023
July 12, 2023

Having left a role that was full on most of the time, I am now turning my attention to balance and harmony.

So, it was with great interest I found an article in Time 2 supplement (by Harriet Walker) about aramahoshi. If, like me, you’ve never come across it before let me explain.

The term was coined by 14th century monk, Kenko, in an essay, where it translates as the “desirable ideal”. It is better described as moving from a state of need to one of contentment. Many of us are struggling with the cost of living, health, mental well-being and so on, so a desirable ideal may seem more like a pipe dream.

I know I am one of the lucky ones. I have worked hard all my life and now reap the rewards of a pension, loving husband/family, mortgage free home, friends and good health. However, I also have a perfectionist streak that calls to me and rarely lets me be content with my life, my body or pretty much anything else.

I have a ‘thing’ about my arms. Specifically, my ‘batwings’. They are really floppy and I don’t like having them on show. This particular day was sweltering in the UK so I wore one of my uncustomary (is that a word?) sleeveless dresses. Three people mentioned my arms using glowing terms. What is more remarkable is that 2 of them were men! What lesson can I learn from this, I ask? I think we know.

Kenko says “The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty”. I can concur with that. I love variety and never, ever, want to get ‘stuck’ in a routine that would stifle both me and my creativity. Simplicity and purpose though I could most definitely live with.

I have written previously about midlife onwards being in the ‘metal’ phase of our life. The one where we become discerning about the who, what, how, where and why that make up the fabric of our lives. The Metal element empowers us to organise, sort, weed out those things (and people) who no longer serve our needs, drain us, don’t provide us with the joy to raise our spirits.

Hygge – a Danish term in vogue a few years ago, is how I like to think of my life. It represents cosiness. Something I haven’t always had, but now aspire towards. A huge teddy bear, if you like, providing limitless hugs when I need them. That’s why I love the furry top in the photo.. I also have an abundance of huge, fleecy dressing gowns. Nothing bad ever happens when you feel snuggly and wrapped in softness.

Joy is something else I aspire towards. I actively seek it, even in the small things in life. I can find joy in saying “hello” to a stranger I pass in the street, and them smiling back at me. A colleague often speaks about finding joy in ironing her clothes. One of her goals is to create and surround herself with beauty. She says ironing provides a small, but instant, win towards her much larger goal and it’s ultimately satisfying on many levels.

This I have learned. I am a great starter and not such a good finisher. Half read books, a flurry of new passion projects, unfinished box sets – all giving limitless eye-rolling opportunities to my husband who takes it for what it is – bless him. However, employing aramahoshi means that it’s actually OK. Why would I want to finish something that provides no pleasure? At least I gave it a go, and then decided it wasn’t for me. Life is short – right?

Procrastination is something else I’ve been accused of. Time-wasting, to the uninitiated. But here’s the thing. You can’t rush making a great cup of coffee. Pour it our before it’s properly brewed, and it tastes awful. That’s how I prefer to view my dithering. Instead of procrastination, I have decided upon the term ‘percolation’. I no longer feel bad about it. I’m waiting for everything to settle in my mind, my gut and my diary before any of the array of actions I could choose take place. Doing anything too early wastes time, depresses the soul and creates a loser mentality.

Social media. I have to confess I am not a fan. Call me old fashioned, or even old if you must. I am not one of the zillions who showcase their fabulous lives, taking every situation as an opportunity to stream to the world rather than using their senses to see, feel, hear, taste and smell what’s actually in front of them. It’s just not for me. I post if I have something to say. If you are happy to read, comment, question then that’s enough for me. It’s a desirable ideal!

If you like the idea of creating or finding a desirable balance, or if you don’t think it exists, you can join me and my wonderful friends (Kerry, Ellen, Clarisse and Geraldine) at our next Coffee and Conversation to discuss further. It’s on Wednesday July 19th at 5pm UK 12 noon ET and here is the zoom link:

We’d love to see you.

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