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Ritual vs Habit

December 29, 2016 , ,




I have started to read about the Danish version of minimalism known as hygge. I purchased a few books on sale and have started to read Hygge: A Danish Concept of Cozy Simple Living, by Noah Neilsen.  This simple but elegant lifestyle is core value centered as opposed to consumer centric.  Keeping a mindful ritualistic pace as well as a clean clear space leads to happiness and contentment with life.  This Danish version of minimalism is more multi dimensional than the similar Spark Joy book about tidying up, Japanese style.  I believe the lessons and the system proposed by Marie Kondo in her joy through tidying books, but I have not yet managed to follow through with the whole system.  Her books have guided me to vastly improve my tidying and set a long term goal of carrying out the system from the first step to the last. She has outlined what I know will be the final solution to clutter in the space and on the schedule.

I am successful at keeping my time to myself and my schedule light and easy to accomplish. I begin early on most chores, like filing taxes.  I have certain ritualistic practices at the end of the year designed to make the first of the next year run smoothly.  I clear my desk and clean out my files.  There is always a pile of paper I can use for starting first in my wood stove.  I keep an IRS pertinent file which I carefully fill for my trip to the accountant.  I file as soon as possible in order to experience the great feeling of relief from having finished it.  I never let it slide because the reward is to be basically finished with the year in taxes until my property taxes are due in November.  That is a wonderful vacation from concern. I don’t make resolutions.  I work for an early tax return in order to liberate myself from that drudgery for an extended period.

I like the elements of Hygge that go beyond cleaning and clearing clutter.  Meditation, simple hospitality, and artistic self expression are part of the Danish happiness template.  Dedicating time to pleasurable shareable activities is stressed over using time to consume things.  A monk like attention to the meditative qualities of daily work and life creates a person who is fully present.  Yoga is designed to train the mind to focus in spite of distractions.  There are other practical ways to unplug from the constant clammer of commercial interests to be closer to nature and to friends and family.  Any chore can become a source of pride and contentment.  The satisfaction in doing little things adds up to a content way of living.

I practice a few rituals upon which I can build my hygge.  My gym time, followed by steam room is a part of my life that reward me directly and over time.  I also exercise at home in my community hot tub.  Few others use it, so I virtually always have the pool deck to myself for a morning or evening stretch and relax in the water.  In summer I enjoy using the big pool as well.  This lifts my spirits and keeps me flexible. I incubate ideas, but do not allow any worry or distress to enter my work out time.  The movement is a remedy which needs to be applied in a pure state.  The steam room and personal grooming time that follows the gym time is part of my daily ritual that makes me feel good as well as look a little better.  I leave refreshed, relaxed, and ready to face any task.  The gym love is probably my strongest positive practice.

I believe the key to happiness is to find contentment in every moment, the face of God wherever one looks.  In 2017 I plan to hone and perfect some rituals I love, as well as find some new helpful ways to be present and find joy.  I believe that less is more and that simple pleasures are always abundantly available. Here are some examples I find very pleasurable:

  • Bathing
  • Skin care
  • Journaling
  • Mediation
  • Food sharing
  • Writing
  • Gardening
  • Art
  • Poetry
  • Exercise

The Danes are some of the happiest people on earth.  I had heard that this was because they have low expectations.  Now that I am intrigued by the hygge concept I see that they have very high expectations for presence, for authenticity, and for intimacy.  I have a couple of other books to read on the subject, but I have already embraced this idea.  I believe that coziness and simple abundance are much overlooked sourced of fulfillment in our society. It is no wonder these Danish writers are all the rage now.  We need a big dose of it in the United States.  How is your own hygge situation, gentle reader? Can you think of ways to leave bad habits in the dust by taking up purposeful happiness?

rest awhile

rest awhile


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I have seen Marie Kondo’s videos and on various TV shows. Some of it makes a lot of sense. I will explore more about Hygge since you explain it enough to pique my interest! Thanks for a very thought-provoking post!


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

December 30, 2016

1 notes

  1. Sunday Rejuvenation, Brunch | mermaidcamp reblogged this and added:

    […] by many proponents of self-care.  I have been reading lately about the Danish practice of Hygge, a simplistic, holistic way to stay centered and happy.  This lifestyle concept is not related to […]


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