Putting on the Ritz

Luxury does not always require spending money. Don’t get me wrong, I love a high end hotel. I will be forever enamored with the Ritz Carltons…they offer you free champagne at check in. I love going to a fancy spa for a hot rock massage and a facial. But so much of the simplification of life is to learn how to be luxurious in your own home and in the limited time we have everyday. We neglect those tiny embellishments that make life truly pleasurable because we think there is not enough time. Yet, we let the demons of the busy life devour more time than we realize. We watch TV. We sit in the drive thru getting fast food crap. We surf the web and play inane computer games. This is how we deal with time sickness and stress. We buy into the lies that technology and “convenience”  stores help us save time.

So, I have learned to treat myself to a little luxury. I am a lover of whimsy and pampering myself (like here and here). If I accept that is I only get spoiled if I am rolling in moo-la, then I will always feel like the scullery maid. I have tried to create a sanctuary for myself and I return repeatedly to this place.

It is why I take the time to cook and bake. It is why I read. It is why I am exercising regularly. And why I am writing. It is why I practice kindness towards myself and am generous. Anger, bitterness and resentment come from a stingy heart. If I want to love and accept myself with abundance then I will be more successful if I extend my love and acceptance to everyone. I just think everyone needs to take a wee bit of time to pamper themselves. We confuse “checking out” with pampering. Drinking alcohol is fun…or can be. Playing inane games on the PC or piddling on Facebook is silly, but these are escapisms, distractions that keep us DOING stuff. This stuff that engages our brains and keeps us from other things. I suppose reading does this too. But painting your nails, walking on a treadmill, floating in a pool or tub, sewing a pillow case or writing a poem opens our creative mind and lets us FEEL.

I want to live a full life, engaged and present. That means feeling, sensing and knowing. None of that requires much thinking. So, despite being on call this weekend, I will couple that with some luxurious fun. I already started. E sat with me last night on the bathroom floor. I let him pick the color to paint my toe nails. Then the boys helped me clean the house and I did all the laundry. I baked this cake. It was an epic failure because it bubbled out and over the pan and all over the inside of the oven. But….it tastes heavenly. Ugly but delicious.

And in that is a good lesson for my sons. Not everything in life turns out as you planned or expect. And sometimes when it looks like an utter waste, it can still be absolutely the best frackin chocolate cake you’ve ever made…or ate. It won’t win any awards, especially if graded on presentation, but it is not how things APPEAR that really matter. It is what they ARE. And I would rather have an ugly, sinkhole chocolate disaster than a perfect tiered wedding cake that is a window display. That cake may appear perfect and beautiful, but it is plaster frosted over Styrofoam – a sham and inedible.

Make mud pies, stomp in the puddles, get pushed into the pool full clothed, get a new hair cut, finger paint, eat something new, burn your tongue, buy a new lipstick, change perfumes, wear your perfume, get new high tread count sheets…or just the pillow cases and treat yourself better. Be your own Ritz Carlton concierge and let the pampering begin.

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