A few of my favorite things

What are yours?

One thing I love about the holidays is how we collectively decide that work isn’t the only important activity. For the last two weeks of the year, it’s socially permissible to indulge in festive decorating, music-making, cookie-baking, and gift-giving. We take time to celebrate all the little things we cherish: from eggnog to snow globes to candlelight to evergreens.

To jumpstart your own list of things you hold dear, I thought I’d share with you my list. Though it’s by no means exhaustive, here are a few of my favorite things:

  • Time together with our three grown children and six grandkids, sharing lots of laughter, good food, and gift-giving for the kids.
  • Traditional holiday foods.
  • The Murad holiday party, which is always a fun time with the wonderful Murad team.
  • Crusty pizza! Cheese or mushroom, so long as it’s got a good crust.
  • Homemade dark chocolate with almonds (courtesy of a friend who generously keeps us supplied)!
  • Albert the Camel! Years ago, my nephew, Richard Murad, bought a 200-acre, off-grid ranch outside Ojai, California, and turned it into an animal sanctuary. Rancho Grande is now home to more than 150 goats, 75 alpacas, scores of chickens, horses, pygmy horses, cattle, sheep, heritage breeds of pigs, and most recently, an orphaned camel he named Albert, after my father. Albert has so taken to life at Rancho Grande that he has learned how to let himself into the family’s cabin at night to watch television. But what impressed me most about Albert is the supreme gentleness with which he accepted a tiny bit of food from my one-year-old grandson. Albert reminds us that animals are really much more “human” than we often think.
  • The Dodgers. I’m a lifelong fan.
  • Baseball great, Jackie Robinson. I first heard of Jackie Robinson when I was about 8 years old, and he soon became my hero. Not only was he an amazing ballplayer, I also admired the way he overcame all of the hostility directed at him, especially in the early years of his career, without retaliating in kind. In fact, he remains my hero to this day—out of all the remarkable people I’ve known and admired throughout my life.
  • Painting. As my friends know, I discovered my passion for painting by accident—when surgery for a detached retina kept me lying face down for nearly a month. I’d only painted once before, and the instructor had encouraged me to continue. I didn’t take her advice, however. After all, I was a doctor, not an artist! Why should I paint? But after my surgery, I had nothing else to do. Loralee put some paints and paper below me, and lo and behold, I fell in love with painting. I also love encouraging others to paint, which I do at weekly classes for new Murad employees. Painting also seemed to unleash my creativity in other areas. My first Insight came to me after I started painting—and I’ve since collected more than 500 of them. My guess is that painting activated the right side of my brain, which had been subordinate to the left side for most of my life. Drawing on both sides of the brain is good for me, I think!
  • The color purple. Yes, I know it’s the title of a famous book, and it’s also my own favorite color. That’s why it’s prominent in so many of my paintings—and also my taste in shirts! I’ve never been drawn to the neutral colors that once were fashion’s dictate for men. Life is too short to wear only gray, brown, and navy!
  • Couple dancing. Loralee and I used to be avid ballroom dancers. Although we still love it, I’m not up to some of the more ambitious moves we used to execute. Nevertheless, I still enjoy slow dancing with her. My wife is an excellent dancer—one of the special qualities I most appreciate about her.
  • Hawai’i. Probably half of our family vacations have been to Maui and O’ahu. I love the lush, tropical scenery, the exciting mix of cultures and foods, and the beauty of the people.
  • Drinking my coffee while watching the sunrise. Loralee and I are blessed to live in a top-floor apartment where we enjoy gorgeous views of both the sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is my favorite. I like to sit with my coffee and watch the day arrive. Then I’ll stretch, work out with my trainer, or take a walk with Loralee. “Why have a bad day when you can have a good day?”
  • The Better Every Day app! Yesterday we released a new and improved version, which is available now on Apple (click here) and on Google Play (click here). Start your day with an inspirational quote and a colorful work of art. It’s free, as always: my gift to you.

What about you? What are your favorite things? I wish you a holiday full of them! And remember, appreciation appreciates. When you take the time to acknowledge all the simple riches in your life, they are amplified.

That’s #ModernWellness!


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