Simple Hygge

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), a Danish word meaning comfort and coziness, warmth and connection. (Though it is said there really is no good English translation.)

Hygge was one of the most popular words of 2016. But I’d like to think it wasn’t the word, but the interpretation, that people fell in love with.

Pictures across the internet portray hygge scenes: friends gathered by a fire; a woman quietly sipping tea; someone reading a book with nothing but nature to distract. Hygge is, in my words, tranquility. Peace. Serenity. I love hygge, and I’m trying to practice it daily.

My morning begins with a session of hygge-ness.(Is that even a word?) Sipping tea. Reading a book. Glancing out the window, seeing nothing but the trees in the distance, and the elderly man who walks his dog in the early morning hours.

Hygge is found in the middle of my day, though sometimes it slips between the pages of my calendar. But usually, I can pull it out, find time to just breathe and whisper a few words of prayer, or maybe jot notes in my journal. Hygge keeps my day relaxing, even in a sometimes hectic world.

My day ends with hygge, quiet reading in bed, sipping more tea as my husband and I cuddle on the sofa. I take a few breaths as I lull into slumber.

But my favorite hygge practice is on the weekend, when all cares are cast aside, all chores forgotten. The dark morning calls my name. As I slip out of the bedroom, careful not to wake my husband, the cool crisp air touches my skin. I hear nothing. It is silence. The world is still asleep.

I pull out my mug, listen to the teapot whistle my name, and crack open a book. Nothing but me, darkness, and hygge.

It is then I know, I have hit upon something great.

The concept of hygge is changing my life. It is changing me.

Hygge may not have a perfect English definition, but the concept is about as perfect as it can get.

What can you do to have a little hygge in your day?

Need a little inspiration? Check out these pictures of hygge.

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A Simple Lesson from “Frasier”

It’s amazing how true to life a sitcom can sometimes feel. I was thinking this the other night as I was watching “Frasier,” the show about a loveable, quirky, albeit haughty, psychiatrist who lives in a Seattle loft with his father, Martin.

In the episode “They’re Playing Our Song” (season 7, episode 13), Frasier is asked to compose a theme song for his radio show. Instead of a short simple ditty, Frasier brings in the big guns, everything from a choir to a full orchestra, along with some unusual instruments.

When the song doesn’t quite fall into place, we find Frasier later sitting in his loft with Martin, wondering what to do.

Scene:

Martin: “And the tune should be something simple . . .”

Frasier: “Truth is, Dad, I’m not sure I can do simple.”

Martin: “I don’t know if you can or if you just don’t want to. But you know, some of the best things in the world are simple. Just like that art gallery you brought me to, you were ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over a painting of a big red dot.”

Such a simple scene, and so much power inside those words.

It seems we often make things harder than need be. I know I do. Like this last Christmas. I over-planned our holiday meal, cooking two main courses, tons of side dishes, and serving two desserts alongside cartons of ice cream and many toppings.

Ironically, the ice cream was the biggest hit. Looking back, that meal could have been a lot simpler than it was. All anybody really wanted was just to be together.

I think life is often like that. We over-plan our schedules, throw ourselves from one activity to the next. We put our children in three different sports, sign them up for everything under the sun. But all we ever want, all our children ever want, is just to do something simple.

It’s often the simple things we love the best. The simple activity. The simple dessert.

Next year, I will know better. I will make less food, and make it easier. And maybe I will forego the three desserts and just serve ice cream.

What can you do to simplify your life?

(Oh, and in case you are wondering, Frasier did finally come up with a short, simple ditty for his show.)

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How Minimalism Gave Me Extra Time

It’s the beginning of the year and all I want to do is clean. I want to sort through closets, rearrange drawers, organize files, and buy new plastic bins for doo-dads I will never use. I want to look through every box and container in our house and clean it all. But I can’t.

I can’t because I have nothing left to clean.

After my last year’s cleanse of $8000 worth of items from the house (not including furniture, books, and movies given to family and friends), my home is organized. Clean. Neat. Nothing to rearrange, not a single thing to put in order. Believe me, I’ve checked.

So now, I have nothing to do. This thing called minimalism has given me way too much time.

What am I going to do with all these extra hours?

Anything I want.>

I can read,
Or do a hobby.
I can volunteer.
I can spend time with family and friends, and not be rushed to get home.
I can go on day trips with my husband, and stop for a picnic.
I can take a walk, and stop and smell those roses everyone is talking about.
I can sip tea,
Take a nap,
Or just sit and think.
I can work on my career.
I can call relatives I rarely see,
Or write a letter.
I can learn a language.
I can exercise daily,
Then cook a labor-intensive meal (not that I will, but I can, because I have time).
I can take a long, luxurious bath.
I can take care of me.

You know, I think I’m going to like this thing called minimalism. I think I’m going to like all the extra time.
What would you do with a little extra time?

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