My friend Nina described this year as the Universe coming in, shaking everything up, violently throwing it all in the air, and then leaving it up to us to sift through all the shit when it lands. That’s about right.
When your world feels like it’s falling apart, sometimes it’s hard to remember all the things that aren’t actually shitty. The good things. The things that make us laugh, connect, and feel more alive. Those happy moments seem to get overshadowed by the not so happy ones. A lot of us (myself included) also tend to feel a sense of guilt in enjoying those happy things, as little or big as they might be. Why should we enjoy the good stuff, when others are experiencing so much bad?
But man, there was a lot good that happened this past year. I think it’s time we start remembering those things. We have to. And also feel no guilt in wanting to share and celebrate them. I’ve been trying hard to do this the last couple weeks. Whether that’s scrolling through photos to remind myself of really special moments, reading this list again, or simply taking a moment and closing my eyes, breathing a few deep breaths, and being thankful for those breaths.
Like I said, I’ve been trying really hard. But sometimes it’s easier said than done. Sometimes we need little prompts and encouragement to keep going. Sometimes we need a little ray of sunshine to swoop in when we need it most. Meet Ashley Melillo, one of those incredible rays.
Ashley just published a brand new cookbook called Blissful Basil. The recipes are ridiculously good (as in so good that I made a batch of her Peanut Butter + Caramel Cookie Bars and had to drop them off in front of my neighbor’s door because I had eaten half the tray in one day). The photos are bright and beautiful. And her personal story is really inspiring. But one my most favorite things about this book is how Ashley is bringing it out to the world.
For the launch, she started a campaign called #honoryourbliss. Ashley is not only an author and recipe developer, she’s also a school psychologist. And she knows firsthand the importance of our mental wellness and spiritual happiness, especially during rocky times. She’s truly passionate about helping people find, remember, and/or honor their bliss. This isn’t some schtick. This girl is the real deal. And she has a challenge for us…
She wants us to share our bliss. It can be big, it can be small. It can be ANYTHING that makes you happy (it can also be something that you’re looking forward to in the coming year). Whatever it is, share it here. Challenge yourself if you need to. Just do it.
Next week, I’ll choose a random bliss sharer to win a copy of Ashley’s new book.
Until then, I’m headed over to my neighbor’s to steal back the rest of those bars.
LOVE YOU GUYS,
Photos reprinted from Blissful Basil by arrangement with BenBella Books. Copyright © 2016, Ashley Melillo.