Day 197/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
It wasn't just me and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just the 80ies that impressing others was a top priority.
From the dining room table and chairs, the linens and napkins, crockery and cutlery, the objective was to set a magnificent table for imposing guests who would no doubt judge your every move, and more so the meal that you spent several days planning, preparing and executing.
Excruciatingly torturous, these times did nothing for my self-esteem. It took me a few more years to realise that this wasn't what living was about.
On waking from this nightmare, I realised that what I loved most about having guests, was inviting those with whom I could enjoy good conversations. To lose track of time with as we lounged around a less formal dining table with bright tablecloths and linen napkins that invited informality, delicious yet simple fare, and good wine served with homely crockery and my best crystal glasses and silverware.
An eclectic mix of quality and comfort became my style and one I continue to indulge to this day.
My dining table was sourced from a second-hand dealer, is square and made of solid kauri timber from New Zealand. It's pock marked with the lives of families before mine, and sports the markings of my own family life over the decades since. The chairs are made from another exquisite New Zealand timber, Rimu, and were rescued from a trip to the tip when the house that I rented that was due for demolition. Restored and loved since then, they are part of my family.
There's no keeping this space only for meals. Our dining table is the centrepiece of my small and comfy home. It serves as a workstation when I need the comforts of being surrounded by my books and crafts.
At mealtimes I clear away a small patch space of books and journals, pens and papers, to lay my placemat and serve my daily meals.
During our early family years I opted for practical and robust white crockery, and now I'm hankering for something more creative. My Pinterest board is filled with eye popping pottery that I'm hunting down to bring a creative edge to my everyday dining. Can't wait to enjoy these beautiful pieces, yet to be found.
There's something important and lively about living your best life with your best things around you every day. It wouldn't occur to me to reserve my best for my guests alone. What could be better than living authentically every single day, and inviting others to share that with you when the impulse arises?
That to me is living well.
So fill your vase with a bouquet of flowers and herbs from your garden, lay your best and brightest linen and use your best cutlery and crockery, cook a delicious meal with love, pour a glass of wine into your crystal goblets, and enjoy your everyday meal with the love and care for yourself that you deserve.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.