Know what you love

by Kristin on September 25, 2009

in Culture, ideas & paradigms

Illustration by Jason Berg

Welcome to installment #2 of the Love List Project! (If you need some background, read these posts: Taking back my life and The Love List Project.)

This week, just to keep things moving as we continue to figure out how this project might develop, I’m going to share what I have on my list so far. I’m also going to share a sampling of Twitter posts with the #lovelist hashtag, so we can see how others are interpreting the concept.

There’s really no right or wrong way to make a love list. I’m sort of making it up as I go. I just hope as our lists develop we can begin to adjust and shape our lives around them, to some extent. The point of the Love List Project isn’t to just give ourselves occasional shots of happy elixir, it’s to make our lives more full and rich, and more affirming of who we really are.

OK, here’s my list:

- I love having a front porch & having the luxury of enough open-ended time to really enjoy it.

- I love hanging out with good friends when there’s no agenda, and the conversation is rambling & full of good stories.

- I love standing really close to J at crowded concerts, where it’s too loud to talk so we just share space & experience instead.

- I love Saturday mornings that are free of concrete plans (other than drinking coffee, cooking a big b-fast & listening to npr).

- An Iron & Wine concert reminds me what I love so much about words & music. I’m completely transported by story, image, sound.

- I love dinner w the whole family around the table, and maybe an extra random person or two.

- A fun night at home with J & all 3 of our silly girls always makes everything better.

- I love traveling because it snaps me out of my usual routine & environment. so many new things to see & ponder!

- I love it when I have the courage to open up to a stranger—I’m often surprised by how much we share in common & connect.

When I look at the list as a whole, I definitely notice some themes. One is that I crave open-ended blocks of time and the organic experiences that flourish there. These next few weeks I’m definitely going to be thinking more about how I schedule my life, what’s necessary and what isn’t.

Now for some of your #lovelist entries. (If you aren’t on Twitter, I really hope you’ll feel like sharing some pieces of your love list with us in the comments section here.)

- When I get off the bus in the morning, and the streets are quiet, it reminds me this city belongs to me. And, I love it. @Lesley3fold

- I love ending a nutty day full of stress with a good talk with my gf. @MoJoJules

- I love the way my dog (Romeo the pomeranian) is always happy to see me. @lizdyer

- I love the inspiration that happens when sermons come together. @RogueReverend

- Today I woke up to my 5 year old saying “I can’t wait to start my day” @mixmade

– I love the affirmation of friends who have no agenda other than accompanying me on my journey! @Debbe_Perry

- I love making things beautiful: editing writing, cleaning a corner, untangling a problem through words. @scheidel

- I love it when people drop by unexpectedly. Apple pie, a bit of ice cream, wine and listening to @rustytriebert play guitar. @mikelarussell

- I love that my street reminds me of the feeling of dorm life – “sure come on over and hang out.” @OSG

- Home made cream of acorn squash soup makes me oh so happy. @delightedscribb

- Few things are better than great friends, good food and interesting conversations. @McMer314

- Received a “thinking of you” email from someone who is crazy busy, but took the time to actually think of me. @lje2me

- I love the act of storytelling: listening, learning, reciprocating. @scheidel

- I love wearing things that remind me of people I love. Today: crisp white collard shirt=my sister, ring=my gram, jeans=friendstacy @revjulie

- music, family, my little boys heads at night to kiss and sniff. @dtatusko

- being at work (at the library) hence, when someone recommends a book, I can request it or go to stacks. @suzigurl

- enjoying simple pleasures: french vanilla coffee from dunkin’ donuts. @starxlr8

And I must say, I’m really curious to know what you’ve been thinking. Does having a more concrete awareness of what you love make you feel differently about your life? Do you find yourself living differently, or wanting to make adjustments? Have you found that many of the things you love most are things you already have, and you just want to make sure life doesn’t crowd them out? Are you comfortable with the things you love, or do you feel some abstract pressure to love other types of things?

Btw, isn’t the illustration Jason made for me great? If you’re writing a #lovelist related post on your blog and planning to link back here, let me know if you’d like to use the graphic, too.

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  • Trina

    I’ve been distracted from the internets these last two weeks (it’s a good thing) but I have been waiting for your post this Friday. I have acknowledged things I love for some time now, part of that ‘crazy train’ I mentioned some posts back (still plan to email you about that) I tend to think of them in the moments rather than a large list, also I like the added suggestion to think about why/how the #lovelist has meaning/impact etc. Plus, the chance to see all of out #lovelists together in one big place, to celebrate our happiness, to be inspired by others happiness. Off to tweet a moment of happiness…

  • Dave Thurston

    I was thinking about this on the drive in to work today. Getting Things Done (GTD) is out there to help the cerebral out there to (well) get things done. One of its premises is to help people focus on *their* important things.

    But it can be difficult to think about those things of importance that are close to one’s heart . . . while in work mode. The great thing about this #lovelist is that the thought process is jump started by just writing “I love it when” or “I love to” . . . and then continuing from there.

    And when you throw the reflection of “I wonder what there is within that love that causes me to really like it” . . . good (heck) great stuff can happen.

  • Meredith

    One of the things I found myself doing was exactly what you suggested – thinking more deeply about the “why” and “so what” of the things I loved. We use “love” a lot as hyperbole, so when it comes to figuring what what I really, truly do love, making myself think past the surface is helpful. When I started to make a list, I came up with a lot of things, but questioning myself further helped me refine what I put on the list.

    One other thing I discovered is that I have to make some of the things I love happen. For example, having a good dinner and conversation with friends. I love doing that, but I have to put forth the effort to do so, because otherwise, on a day-to-day basis, it wouldn’t happen. Writing out all the things I love helped me see that I need to make them a priority because they won’t happen on their own.

  • Jules

    I have been enjoying reading everyone’s lovelist. All have given me a smile and some encouragement. I tend to get energy out of other’s love and happiness. I guess its a part of having some “fellowship” with others. :)

  • Carmen

    Lovelist has me thinking.

  • Jody Wells

    I LOVE your love list idea!!!!! Gives me things to think about……going to throw your idea out in my life and see what I can get from people around me…..a little pay it forward kind of to make the world hopefully a more grateful, positive pace! Great idea!

  • Kristin T.

    Trina, I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to! I’m glad you hear you had good/fun/relaxing reasons to step away from the computer. :) I agree with you about thinking of things you love in the moment, rather than sitting down and brainstorming a long list. That’s what I really like about doing the #lovelist via Twitter—it allows you to have a realization, take note of it, and carry on. When I put the tweets together to make a list after a week, it felt very organic and real. I’m looking forward to seeing your #lovelist tweets!

    Dave, I’m a bit out of it—I just had to ask Jason about this whole GTD thing. It’s definitely an interesting correlation. And you’re right, about how hard it can be to move out of work/task mode toward the things that are close to your heart. I love that the #lovelist is all about mulling these things over and inspecting them, rather than checking them off a list.

    Meredith, you are SO right about this: “We use ‘love’ a lot as hyperbole.” Getting past the surface can be tough. After I think of something I love, I’ve been asking myself if I need more of it in my life. I love coffee, for instance, but I don’t more *coffee,* itself. I need more moments of taking little breaks and treating myself to something I enjoy. I need more reasons to sit with Jason or a friend, and slowly sip & savor. Anyway, I really love how you’re processing your list, and I can’t wait to see bits and pieces of it!

    Jules, isn’t that the truth! Whenever I need a little boost, I just check out the #lovelist results on Twitter. It’s so fun. (Don’t forget, y’all, you don’t have to be active on Twitter to see what others are writing!)

    Carmen, I love it when you really “get thinking.” Always have. Can’t wait to see the ideas begin to beautifully spin their way out.

    Jody, perfect! I’m so glad you’re not only going to be thinking about this, but also talking to others about it. I’m beginning to wonder how many things I spend time doing out of habit or because I think I’m *supposed* to be doing them, rather than for any really positive, affirming reason. (Of course, we can’t spend all of our time only doing things we love, because the bathrooms would never get cleaned!)

  • Cobalt-Blue

    Exercising in the morning always puts me in a good frame of mind for the whole day. My love list would begin with making morning exercise a daily ritual, which includes cycling on the stationary bike and practicing pilates. Now that I’ve shared a lovelist item, I hope to carry through with the decision!

    Yes, I agree that knowing what you love makes you feel differently about your life. Its those things that you love doing, being and/or experiencing that gives you the strength to handle the unexpected situations that life hands us. And when those challenging times happen, you experience peace and joy by doing things that you love as if they were each mini-vacations from your stresses.

  • Julie Hammonds

    The first time I made a love list, it was very important to me to create a physical object. Even though what I was doing — building a new life after a divorce — felt deeply serious, it mattered to me not to try to think or control my way toward the new future I had to build on my own. I wanted to feel my way toward it, to let my heart find the path. I wanted to invite my more creative side out to play.
    So, I taped some sheets of paper together to make a poster-sized canvas and stuck it to my pantry door where I would see it every morning while I made breakfast. Nearby, I kept a box of crayons. As I cooked, I would add items to the love list as inspiration struck. It was an art project, something that engaged my heart, and I am glad that I let that first list be a physical object rather than a file on my computer or even a page in my journal.
    There’s no wrong way to make a list, of course. I now keep a list in a notebook, where only I can see it. I’m very glad love lists are being made here in Halfway to Normal land and on Twitter! But I encourage people also to make an art object, a physical thing. Go on and have yourself a creative outburst. Paint your list on your walls if you have to! There’s something powerful to the act of making. It can help you affirm the commitment to loving your life.

  • Kristin T.

    Cobalt-Blue, yes, I think a big part of this exercise is about admitting that we know what we need. Once we’ve done that, it often feels like we have little excuse to not follow through. Life is complicated, though. We can prioritize, but we can’t always make our days play out like we intended. I guess that’s why your point about unexpected situations is so important—doing what you love “gives you the strength to handle the unexpected situations that life hands us.” Very true. It’s a balancing act.

    Julie, I’m so glad you’re here sharing some of what you’ve learned about love list making! (For those who missed it in my earlier posts, Julie is the person who first introduced the love list concept to me.) I haven’t made my list physical/visual yet, but I can really see the value of doing that. “There’s something powerful to the act of making. It can help you affirm the commitment to loving your life.” I’m convinced!

    (Has anyone else out there made a visual expression of their list yet? Tell us about it!)

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