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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Surprise gets started! Bliss initiatives and more...

SURPRISE - A sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment; to come upon or discover suddenly and unexpectedly.

"Sunset Surprise"
Photo by: IdahoCameraman

I've been living this week's virtue even if I haven't been blogging about it. When SURPRISE decided to surprise me and become a virtue in my game (refer to this post for clarification) I have to admit I was primarily concerning myself with good surprises. You know the kind that one plans and springs on others, for their enjoyment but even more so makes one personally happy to pull it off. I'm actually pretty good at that type and have a nice history of fun surprises that I've managed to bring about for my family and friends. I was also delighted to find surprise week landing right in the middle of my Christmas preparations! What could be more perfect?

Of course I wasn't expecting the surprise of intermittant internet service or unnapping daughters or husbands who want to extend vacations and NOT do any computer things...  or the surprise of losing my cell phone and luggage that was $125.00 over weight on the way back from Hawaii... these are all surprises too! I am happy to remember that surprise require us to think out of the box. Research for surprise coming from my life and not from extensive googling. Surprise requiring me to work on my feet and redistribute the extra weight into other bags while in a busy check-in line. The surprise of Jessie staying awake and needing to keep her busy for 5+ hours in a small seat on the plane and the discovery that we can enjoy hours of paper dolls, books and finger puppets together.

Good surprises certainly are cause for joy (and an excellent prelude to next week's virtue!) and noticing them can make even ordinary things special. Like the surprise that the mail that was put on hold was actually kept on hold the way you requested. The surprise hug from Jessie accompanied by a "I love you so much mommy" and/or "Yay!! We are a family." The surprise that at 46 I can still get carded in a bar (which happened on the way home from Hawaii at the Airport bar) and most especially the surprise that my cell phone was in the cute cell phone spot in my suitcase and not on the dresser at the hotel of which I was certain!

As I think you know by now, my 12 month game is based loosely on Ben Franklin's weekly focus on each of his 13 virtues.  I have chosen virtues that I believe will encourage Everyday Bliss.  In addition to focusing on my virtues,  I will be coming up with "Bliss Initiatives" (color coded in purple for quick identification!) which are concrete things that you too can try,  if you want to play along with me.  However, because as Earl Nightingale says, "you become what you think about,"  even if you only follow along,  and never take on any of the bliss initiatives,  I expect some positive results. This week I will be fostering SURPRISE in the following ways!

  • Use "bad" surprises as a prompt for creativity. Look for the silver lining in the things that I don't like and be surprised by my ability to adapt!
  • Create fun holiday surprises for my family and friends. This is a no-brainer for this time of year but still it is a perfect expression for this week's virtue. I will endeavor to up the ante and do some VERY surprising things... I'll keep you posted on this one!
  • Look for small surprises. I intend to be delighted by sunsets and sunrises. Find enjoyment from a wild bird who happens to pause on my lawn. Notice when my family tells me that they love me or when Rob's kisses or hugs linger a bit longer then usual. If you are playing along with me, see what you can allow yourself to be surprised and inspired about!
Next Post: Surprising observations

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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