Yesterday I talked about the importance of “small, good things”—those little things that make life worth living and renew us during times of stress and tension.
Naturally, some of my small, good things include holidays, laughter, family time, and special memories made with my children.  But since part of my message concerns intentional and radical self-care, let’s look at some of my more personal small, good things that cater to my individual peace of mind.
They include:
Hot, buttered popcorn. When I was a child, my father would make a big bowl of popcorn and sit on the couch with his four kids and we would watch Happy Days, Sanford and Son, or The Rockford Files as we all pawed at the bowl. I’m sure this memory is why I love popcorn so much.
Coffee.  So many of us enjoy a good cup of coffee. And I’m no different. But how often do we use our senses to enjoy each sip?  How often do we notice the sound of the percolation in the coffeemaker? The rich aroma of a dark roast? The curve of the mug handle or the silver curl of steam as it rises from the pristine liquid surface? That hot first sip of heaven as it lands on our tongue?  The deep, soulful flavor of a cup of black joe? Or the smooth, silky taste of our favorite flavored creamer?  
Hazelnut creamer.  Speaking of creamer, one of my great personal luxuries is using Hazelnut Creamer in my coffee.  French Vanilla is a close second. Whenever my tastebuds get a hold of that Hazelnut Creamer, I always feel pampered.
Music.  Again, the props go to my father whose record collection included some of the greatest music ever recorded. I grew up listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, The Band, Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, and of course The Beatles and The Stones. Not a day goes by that I don’t use music to reboot my energy, lick my wounds, celebrate my triumphs, and/or alleviate my stress.
Real butter.  I grew up in a house where finances dictated that we use margarine, not butter. But my grandmother used real butter. Consequently, every time we visited, I ran to the fridge proclaiming, “I want bread and butter.”  Real butter is one luxury I’ve always allowed myself as an adult, especially because my popcorn jones.
Reading.  I remember the intense feeling of freedom after graduating from college and knowing I could read anything I wanted to and that it wasn’t required. Pure bliss. There were at least four books lying around my apartment, overturned to whatever page I’d left off on. Sitting down for a few minutes to read a book still takes me to my happy place.
Orange juice. I love orange juice. But for most of my life, it just seemed simply too expensive to keep on hand, except on fairly rare occurrences. But that is changing.  I have started treating myself to orange juice periodically just because it tastes good, I like it, and it makes me happy. But mostly, I justify it because I don’t do beer.
Breakfast in a diner.  The older the diner, the better. The weirder, the better. I want to eat breakfast in a mom and pop diner at the edge of town where the waitresses have worked there since 1967 and the old men wear red flannel shirts and drive pick-up trucks.  I want hot coffee, two eggs over medium, extra crispy hashbrowns, and sourdough toast. I want to overhear the old men in the next booth arguing about politics and looking at me funny because my nose is buried in a book. This picture is one of my greatest Zen Moments of my life.
Slippers.  I realized a year or so ago that I enjoy wearing slippers so much around the house because they also make me feel relaxed, comfortable, and pampered.  So I thought why not feel this way all the time?  When it came time to buy a few new clothes for school this year, I bought three pair of loafers. Now I just slip ‘em on in the morning, no muss, no fuss, and—viola—slippers all day long.
These are just some of the small, good things in my life that make me feel renewed, relaxed, and rejuvenated. And do you know what they call those rare mornings on weekends or Spring Break or Winter Break or summer when I’m wearing my loafers, having breakfast in a diner, drinking my orange juice and coffee with Hazelnut creamer and listening to CCR on my earbuds?
I think they call that Heaven.  TZT

Zen Teacher Action Step:

See if you can identify a “Small, good thing” in your life today. Be mindful of that thing that we might call one of our life’s “Perfect Moments.”

Bonus points if you’re brave enough to share it with me!