For weeks, I have been dreading this day. The inevitable dark moment came…
I went to leave for work at 6.45am, and I had to scrape the ice off my windscreen.
My normally perky morning attitude was tested to the max, as I struggled with my icy fingers and chattering teeth. I’m just not built for this climate. I’ve spent too long living in hot countries, my body just resists the cold, as if it’s telling me “get on a plane, and get the hell out of here, and go somewhere you can let me be free again!”
Last year was particularly long and hard, and it really took its toll on me physically, but what got me through it mentally was embracing the Danish concept of “hygge”, or “cosiness”.
This was going to be largely my plan this year, but it seems that hygge is just “so last year, darling”, and although I’m all prepped up with my electric blanket, duckdown duvet, two log burners, and plenty of candles, I was getting the feeling I had to up the ante a bit.
So, then my friend Lisa tells me about “The Little Book of Lykke”, written by the same Danish chap who wrote the best-selling “Little Book of Hygge”.
This new one is based on much more scientific research, and it’s all about finding ways to make ourselves happy. Finding joy and happiness in the small pleasures in life is at its core, but there’s more…
When I start reading about it, I realise it’s right up my strata, or “gade”, I should say, as it’s another Danish term.
Lykke, according to Meik Wiking and his team at The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, recommend that in happiness, or “lykke, largely comes down to creating more “flow” experiences – that is, situations where we lose our sense of time, and our sense of ourselves.
“This is it!”, I think! I know about “flow”, it’s the term I use to describe my yoga classes, but also those other moments when I’m dancing, or playing, or having other “peak experiences”.
It’s when you’re completely in the moment, there’s no ego, no pride, no fear of looking silly – in fact, you’re not even aware of how you are being perceived at all, you’ve lost all self-consciousness because you’re engaged in what you are doing at that moment.
Lykke (pronounced “loo-kak”) is my new inspiration, and I want to learn more.
I always think the best way to learn something is to experience it first hand, and by some weird twist of fate, later on today, I had my “lykke” moment.
I’d been joined by one of my favourite walking partners for a stroll down the beach and a Dirty Chai Latte at Bumble at Bee (one of the perks of being self-employed, I have to admit).
The walk started with a rainbow, which could not be more apt for that moment, and it ended with a cuddle on a little beach next to the marina, which has been named Pirates Cove by some creative beach graffiti artists.
The light on the water, the warm rays of sunshine, the view over the estuary, the company, the moment – all was utterly mesmorising, and I found myself “having a moment”. This is “lykke” I think.
I am filled with gratitude and joy, “the word in yoga is “santosha”, and often eludes me in winter, but it’s here, and I feel lost in time.
Afterwards I’m a little dazed and confused – it’s almost December and I’m lying here sunbathing. I’m meant to hate winter! What’s going on and who is this imposter who has taken over my body? I’m quiet, I’m still, I am in awe of everything around me, and I totally “get it” that life really is about the little things, the moments that take your breath away.
I’m not on a beach in Goa, barefoot in the sand drinking a mojito watching the sunset. It’s a Tuesday morning in Exmouth, I’m 5 minutes walk from my doorstep, and I’m in a state of bliss.
The little moments, with the right people, enjoying the simple pleasures in life, the ones that light us up, this is achievable.
I feel I’m only just scratching the surface though. There’s so much more to this “lykke” business, and I’m inspired to learn more. Apparently, there’s six pillars of happiness I still need to read up on (and try out), so I’m on a mission, but that’s for next week.
For now, I’m off to light a fire, pour myself a glass of Malbec, and enjoy another lykke moment, this time on my own.
So until next week….