Podcast 17: Put Things Away in an Exact Place, Beware “My Preciousss,” and the Challenge of Staying in Touch

It’s Wednesday — which means it’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Coming up: To celebrate our 20th episode, we’re going to do an episode that features our listeners. So leave us a voicemail answer at 774-277-9336, by June 24, 2015, to one of these questions:

— if you could change one aspect of a relationship, what would you change? Huge, trivial, any relationship.

— what happiness demerit would you give yourself? what gold star would you bestow?

Thanks so much to the folks who have already sent in comments. Fascinating.

This week:

Try This at HomeHave an exact place for everything. Agree, disagree?

Happiness Stumbling Block: Beware of anything we call “our preciousssssss.” Whenever Gollum refers to the ring, he calls it “my precious.” “Losst it is, my precious, lost, lost! Curse us and crush us, my precious is lost!“ Want to see a ten-second clip of Gollum talking about his precious, from The Lord of the Rings movie The Two Towers? It’s here. Also, I mention being an “Abstainer.” You can hear a discussion of that term in episode 2.

Listener Question: “What’s some deeper advice for Owls living in a Lark world? And did you realize that the tone of the show was ‘yay, Larks’ and ‘boo, Owls?'” Wow, I certainly didn’t mean to sound dismissive. I’m a big believer in the fact of chronotypes (morning people and night people), and that we should try help shape the world to accommodate a person’s Owl nature.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth feels that she’s not doing a good job of staying in touch with her old friends who live on the East Coast. Elizabeth mentions the “update” habit that we discuss in episode 2.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a gold star to my mother-in-law, who helped me re-frame the experience of plane rides, to make them more enjoyable.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors. Check out Smith and Noble, a solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and a free in-home consultation. Limited time.

And Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order.

We’d love to hear from you: does it help you to put things away in an exact place? And what’s your precioussssss? Call: 774 -277-9336 for your questions and comments — especially for the Very Special Episode.

Comment below. Email: podcast@gretchenrubin.com. Twitter: @gretchenrubin and @elizabethcraft. Call: 774 -277-9336.  Facebook Page.

To listen to this episode, just zip to the bottom of this post and hit the red “play” button.

Or if you’re reading this post by email, click here to view online, to listen to the podcast from this post.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really. Instructions here.

Or for an amusing short how-to video made by Ira Glass of This American Life, click here.

If you want to listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Again, be sure to subscribe and listen and subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. And if you enjoyed it, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

HAPPIER listening!

What My Husband Taught Me. About Unpacking.

I’m on Day One of recovering from jet lag. So far, so good.

One of the first things I did after I got home from Australia — after repeatedly hugging every family member and racing from room to room like a puppy — was to unpack.

This was something I learned from my husband.

When I was younger, I followed the “unpack as necessary” approach. I’d leave my suitcase open on the floor, and take out things as I needed them, or when I felt like putting a few things away. It took a few days to empty the suitcase.

But over the years, I learned that this approach drove my husband nuts. It bugged him to see that open, half empty suitcase.

So  a while back, I decided that I could unpack immediately, out of love for him.

And I quickly realized that this approach was much better. So, although I didn’t feel like unpacking within the first hour of getting home, I did — and it was a huge relief to have that task accomplished. Unpacking isn’t hard, but it feels hard.

Also, what a relief to have everything put away. I reminded myself, yet again, of that Secret of Adulthood: Outer order contributes to inner calm (more, really, than it should). OuterOrderContributesToInnerCalm_124842

It was funny, about this trip. I was gone for a week, and although I’ve been away from home for longer stretches, this felt much longer.  Partly, it was the fact that I was so far away; not just traveling around the United States, but on the other side of the world.

But I didn’t anticipate how jarring it would be to cross the international date line. Even though I rationally understand it, of course, there really is something deeply disconcerting about traveling into tomorrow, and then back again into yesterday.

Apparently, it’s not true that people rioted in England in 1750, when the country adopted the Gregorian calendar, to demand that their “eleven days” be restored. But even if they didn’t actually riot, I understand why they might have felt like rioting. It was very weird to see the calendar jerk forward and back, even though I knew that my life was rolling ahead as usual.

So…any tips for jet lag?

Some Photos of My Trip to Australia.

This is my last day in Australia. It’s been a terrific visit, but between the massive jet lag and the several days of intense speaking, I’ve lost my ability to articulate a clear thought.

I think the long silent flight back will be restorative.

In the meantime, because I can’t express a coherent thought, here are some photos of my trip.

GretchenLunaParkFaceAustraliaI loved this crazy giant face at Luna Park. It had a strange oneiric power.

AustraliaGretchenBridgeOperaHere I am at the Harbour Bridge — you can see the famous Sydney Opera House in the back ground.

AustraliaHappinessConferenceCollageAustraliaGretchenLighthouseMany thanks to Lisa Highton, my Two Roads publisher, who took most of these photos.

I’ve loved visiting Australia, and wish I could stay longer and see more, but I’m also ecstatic to be going home.

Yes, I Met the Dalai Lama.

I’m in Sydney, Australia for the Happiness and Its Causes conference. I’ve never been to Australia before, so that’s terrific, and I love being at the conference.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I was also excited to be meeting the Dalai Lama.

I’d been thinking about what question to ask him, if the opportunity arose. I’d decided to ask, “What one habit do you think people should follow, in order to be happier?

But when the moment came, there were several people around, and I was worried about shoving my way into the conversation.

I wanted to ask a question, but I felt sheepish — it seemed somehow very self-serving to do it. Also, I have a friend who’s a devout Buddhist, and I really wanted to present the traditional white scarf (a kata) to the Dalai Lama, to ask him to bless it for her and her family. So when I had the opportunity to stick my oar in, that’s what I did.

One notable thing: very intense eye-contact.

As we all turned to go to the main conference event, I had that let-down, disappointed-in-myself feeling that I used to get when I was too scared to raise my hand in class.

But then I had another opportunity for engagement. We all had to walk a fair distance to the conference hall, part of it outside, and the Dalai Lama (who is eighty years old, and in great shape, but still) grabbed my hand and leaned on my arm for the duration of the walk; Ruby Wax was on his other side.

I didn’t take a single picture. I didn’t even think of it. Later, though I did get a bad photo, as you see. I hope that there’s some official photograph.

One small thing really struck me — the same thing that struck me when I was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, about forms of address.

People constantly refer to the Dalai Lama “His Holiness.” Now, “holiness” is a big word. It would be quite something to be constantly associated with it.

I remember being flabbergasted to learn that the accepted way to address Justice O’Connor was just to call her “Justice.” “Hey, Justice, the cert petitions arrived.” It’s quite something to be constantly associate with justice.

I wonder if after a while,  a person ceases to notice, or if being called by an honorific like that helps people to remember the high standard which they’re called to uphold.

Other random observation: it’s surprisingly jarring to cross the international date line.

Podcast 16: Imitate a Spiritual Master, Try the Strategy of Monitoring, and Acknowledge the Pink Eye.

It’s Wednesday — which means it’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Did I mention that according to BuzzFeed, the podcast is life-changing? Oh right, maybe I did. Anyway, check out 10 Life-Changing Things to Try in June.

Coming up: To celebrate our 20th episode, we’re going to do an episode that features our listeners. So call, email, post your response by June 24, 2015, to one of these questions:

— if you could change one aspect of a relationship, what would you change? Huge, trivial, any relationship.

— what happiness demerit would you give yourself? what gold star would you bestow?

Thanks so much to the folks who have already sent in comments. Fascinating.

henrymolofskyExciting big reveal: Listeners, “Henry Molofsky” is no longer just a name that we list in the credits at the end of the show. Our producer/captive audience Henry steps up to the microphone to share what he’s tried at home, and what works for him.

Try This at HomeImitate a spiritual master. My spiritual master is St. Therese of Lisieux, and her spiritual memoir (if you’re curious) is Story of a Soul. I was surprised to hear the person that Elizabeth picked as her spiritual master! Hint: that person’s autobiography is called Audition. (Sorry, I promised to post a photo of my shrine to St. Therese, but I’m in Australia now, and I forgot to take the picture before I left town.)

Better Than Before Habit Strategy: We discuss the power of the Strategy of Monitoring. Elizabeth explains why this strategy is particularly helpful to her as a type 1 diabetic.

Listener Question: “How do you remain happy through a transition?”

Gretchen’s Demerit: I ignored my pink eye.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth’s friend Mindy Wilson gets a gold star for giving Elizabeth a cookbook – with the knowledge that Elizabeth is an Obliger, and is much more likely to cook if she knows Mindy (and we) are expecting it.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors. Check out Smith and Noble, a solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and a free in-home consultation. Limited time.

And Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order.

We’d love to hear from you — who is your spiritual master, and how do you imitate that person? Comment here, or even better, post a photo of it on Facebook! Also let us know your questions and any other comments, especially for the Very Special Episode.

Comment below. Email: podcast@gretchenrubin.com. Twitter: @gretchenrubin and @elizabethcraft. Call: (774 HAPPY 336).  Facebook Page.

To listen to this episode, just zip to the bottom of this post and hit the red “play” button.

Or if you’re reading this post by email, click here to view online, to listen to the podcast from this post.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really. Instructions here.

Or for an amusing short how-to video made by Ira Glass of This American Life, click here.

If you want to listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Again, be sure to subscribe and listen and subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. And if you enjoyed it, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

HAPPIER listening!