Read for joy. There’s nothing more relaxing on a cold winter’s night than to curl up in a favorite reading chair, sip on some hot chocolate and open a favorite book. Pick something fun, fanciful or fast-paced that can transport you somewhere else – it’s a trip well worth taking. My only caution is to avoid continuing to read to the point of sleep deprivation – the better the book, the more likely you will avoid sleep to enjoy the next chapter. Below are some great “reads” from my bookshelf:
- The Killer Angels — by Michael Shaara
- The Joy Luck Club – by Amy Tan
- The Hot Zone – by Richard Preston
- Seabiscuit – by Laura Hillenbrand
- The Five People You Meet in Heaven – by Mitch Albom
- A Farewell to Arms – by Ernest Hemingway
- The Four Witnesses – by Robin Griffith-Jones
- Anything by Jane Austen
“Hear” a really good movie. Ever watched a movie and fell in love withthe dialogue and writing? You know you’ve experienced an exceptionally written film whenthe words are still with you long afterthe ending credits. A perfect example is my all-time favorite movie,the 1942 WWII classic, “Casablanca.” These classic lines penned bythe Epstein brothers between Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick, and London actor Claude Rains’ Captain Renault still make me smile:
Captain Renault: In 1935, you ran guns to Ethiopia. In 1936, you fought in Spain, on the Loyalist side.
Rick: I got well paid for it on both occasions.
Captain Renault: The *winning* side would have paid you *much better*.
Rick: Oh? I thought it was because I let you win at roulette.
Captain Renault: That is *ano ther* reason.
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.
Write a poem or letter to a loved one. Wanting to reconnect to a loved one? There is no better way than through a heartfelt sentiment captured through prose. Take a moment to write a poem inspired from the sights and smells of the season…or write a homecoming letter. Letters have particular significance to soldiers serving far from home during this time of year. You only have to read some of the sentiments of soldiers in “Letters from the Front” at http://www.letters-from-the-front.com/ to find that universal truth. Their letters of loss, suffering, homesickness and thankfulness ring true, from the Revolutionary War to modern-day conflicts in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
Storytell with a child. There’s nothing more magical than capturingthe joy of storytelling withthe young. It’sthe ultimate recharger of my spirit to take my own preschool-aged kids on a magic journey throughtheir imaginations. This type of creative exercise nurturestheir creativity and inspires a love for storytelling (both from others andtheir own). It can start with a favorite story or even everyday activities. The key is to take turns tellingthe story – adding rich details leading to a climactic moment and hopefully (with your influence) a subtle life lesson. Here’s one storytelling jump starter to try: