‘Scuse Me While I Get All Groovy On You

As I’ve admitted (whined, complained, ranted) before, I’m going through what can honestly be described as The Most Difficult Time of My Life.™ Mostly, it sucks. (Note that I use the flip approach with “sucks” because more apt descriptions are just too devastating.)

But I’m requiring myself to also use this time for reflection and – boy do I hate to type the next words – personal growth.


Pause while I let the oogies pass. I hate all this self-help, groovy talk. But like it or not, it’s true and valuable.

Today, the Happiness Project blog includes a list of “personal commandments” from Pope John XXIII, a.k.a., The Good Pope (1958-1963). I’m not at all religious, but there’s a lot to like in his list. Particularly the idea that “only for today” can be a successful approach.

That kind of thinking is counter to my nature, and mostly, my devotion to planning has been a pretty successful strategy. But sometimes, it’s not optimal. Now is one of those times.

So I’m thinking about this list a lot. At the bottom of the post, I’ll tell you which of these ideas resonated with me the most. You think about yours, too, and post to comments. OK? OK!

1. Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

2. Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

3. Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

4. Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

5. Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

6. Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

7. Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.

8. Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

9. Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

10. Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.

So… I’m lovin’ numero uno (Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.) This is a really big one for me. While I buy into the spirit of #2, it also made me laugh (“dress modestly!”) I can really get behind #5 and guarantee I will spend more than 10 minutes with a book today… and yes, #10, I will believe in goodness.

What do you guys think? Did the Good Pope have it goin’ on? Too goody-goody? Too groovy? Helpful? Lay it on me…

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  • Danni says:

    I like it. I prefer to live by "this too shall pass" during craptacular times.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm thinking #4. Do you remember when we drove to CA after you graduated from college and I told you we needed to be "lik a river"? Sometimes it's necessary to change our plotted course and "just go with the flow". Dare to think our life can be something different that what we planned. All in all I think the Pope got most of it right. Love you! Mom

  • Lory says:

    #5 is my favorite. Can your blog count in my ten minutes? 🙂 I'll whip out Jane Eyre tonight too!

    Almost went for #2, but like you, I cracked at "dress modestly"! Puhleaseee, these athletic thighs are going to make any pants too tight to be "modest".

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    My blog and Jane Eyre in the same sentence is like candy to me… sweet talker!

  • Karyn says:

    I like 2E and 2F. Because I am extremely critical of myself, possibly from my religious upbringing and the guilt of it all, I tend to be extremely critical of others. As I get older, I am learning to let people be people, and I am even happier when people let me be me. Hash House Harriers have helped me with that. And although I am no longer religious, it is helpful to see reminders of just being basically good and decent… to others and to ourselves.

  • Lydia says:

    I hate personal growth, too. That shit gets old fast.

    I very much like the last sentiment in #10. "For 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life."

    It's sort of like Mark Sisson's strategy to pretend you are following the primal eating style perfectly. You're not really (*wink*wink*), but just pretend like you are, for X amount of time, and see how far you get.

    Great strategy for dealing with things that seem daunting.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Yep. I love that idea, too. If you do it right now and right now and right now… look at you! You're doing it.

  • diana says:

    Hey Mel, thanks for posting this list. I am always fascinated to see where principles of the 12-step programs originated. For me, I can go with most of the list, but then, but you have to remember I'm from a different generation! 🙂

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Diana! Nice to hear from you! Good sense is not generation-specific 😉