…by Julie Clark Robinson
“Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.”
 -Margaret Fuller

It\’s the inner voice that\’s going to do me in. Not the trans fats. Not
talking on my cell while driving. Not the pesticides on my beloved
cherry tomatoes. It\’ll be the inner voice. For instance, I am a fairly
productive person and I realize that I deserve a break here and there.
In fact, I wrote the book on it, so to speak. The message of my radio
interviews, speaking engagements and book (Live in the Moment) is one
and the same: to help people learn how to cut themselves a break and
create their own pockets of joy, every single day. But even as I try to
live up to my own mantra, my inner voice nags at me.

“Hot tea with lemon? Are you nuts? Grab a bottle of water, that\’ll do.”
 “You can not take the time to plug in your aromatherapy machine and rest your eyes right now.”
 “Just do your own pedicure this time, no one will notice.”

It\’s not that my inner voice hasn\’t read my book. The problem with
inner voices, I now realize, is that they speak the same language as
our outer voices. And in my case, it\’s the voice of a born and bred
American. Who knew that the home of the free and the brave is also
considered by many to be the home of the overworked and under indulged?

I certainly didn\’t. At least, not until was flipping through the TV
channels recently. The show that caught my attention was about the
relaxed lifestyles of other civilized cultures. As I flipped away
during commercials, one of the first things that became apparent to me
was that other cultures do things like siesta and linger…we flip. So I
put down my remote and lingered over one program for a change. (Dare I
fantasize that there\’s a drop or two of blood running through my veins
that\’s from somewhere other than Ohio?)

The people interviewed from Mexico couldn\’t believe how hard Americans
work. They, along with Kuwaitis, take two-hour lunches. People in
Malaysia consider their bi-weekly massages a necessity, and not only do
the French toil only 35 hours a week, they enjoy five weeks of paid
vacation every year. And, as if all this wasn\’t enough to put a sock in
the mouth of my inner voice, I learned that while we tend to reserve
massive shopping, the quest for beauty and lingering over many-coursed
meals for the holidays, other cultures consider these things to be
worthy on a regular basis.

Imagine that! The very things that my inner voice shakes its finger at
me for even considering are a prerequisite for a healthy lifestyle in
many countries. I like that. From now on, I refuse to consider myself
indulgent or selfish over slowing down and enjoying such necessary
things as a nap or a massage. I prefer to think of myself as el
Phénomène De Santé (translation: Health Freak).

My inner voice is just going to have to deal.

Sensory Exercise: Indulge your sense of smell with your
absolute favorite scented shampoo or shower gel – every single morning.
(If you don\’t have one, head out to the most expensive bath & body
store you can think of and let your nose have a mardi gras of its own.)
Instead of just enjoying the smell every morning, let it be your
reminder that Americans are too hard on themselves. Live a little!