a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Nov, 2016

Luceo non uro

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Yes, I’m blogging in latin now! ;)

Luceo non uro is a phrase I jotted down awhile back on sticky note I keep on my night stand for emergency jottings. I can’t even remember what book I was reading when I wrote it down but the translation is this: I shine, not burn. That phrase hits home for me at the moment because that’s what I’m trying to do with all of this stuff about habits.

I want to shine, not burn, and I know a good set of manageable healthy habits will help me be happier and healthier (both physically and mentally).

And yes, I had a post forthcoming (and still do!) but because there is a giveaway involved it’s taken some time for me to get the information I need before I post it. It is essentially about one habit I’ve taken on that has become a surprisingly pleasant – yet challenging! – part of my day. I apologize for the delay and will post it as soon as I can.

One of the ideas that Gretchen Rubin writes about in her book is the POWER HOUR. This is basically an hour that you spend doing something that’s been haunting your to-do list. My POWER HOUR is once a week, and I put it in my calendar. Last week I spent an hour organizing our home office and let me tell ya, it was deeply satisfying. Yesterday, my eldest and I cleaned out our pantry. Together we removed a garbage bag full of expired food. It was almost too heavy to carry. (!) I feel good that we did it but more than a little sick about the fact that we let all of this food go to waste. I suspect we got rid of at least $100 worth of food: cans of tomatoes I bought on sale and forgot about, stale cereal, expired pancake mixes, mystery flours from the bulk store in sticky plastic bags, and faded spices in little baggies. Ugh.

This whole pantry experience reminded me that although I am normally an underbuyer (although given the number of tins we threw away yesterday would naturally lead one to think the very opposite) I have a tendency to (a) hold on to some things longer than I should and (b) let “garbage” become part of the household landscape and waste space. I use the word garbage as an umbrella term to encompass items such as: clothes I don’t like but keep “just in case,” books I bought and hated (or was given and never intend to read), old magazines, household items we should have donated but just take up space, and, ugh, actual garbage. Like when I was poking around our pantry before the Deep Clean of 2016, I decided to check the expiry date of a tin of fruit and saw that it was way past its best before date. I tossed it directly in the trash bin. It felt liberating, to gain that extra tiny space in the pantry. And I wondered, why haven’t I done this before?

For the rest of the year I’ve decided to get rid of one thing every day: toss, donate, or recycle. I’m adding this to my list of Daily Habits That Make Life Better. My daily vitamins, Litebook, treadmill time, and healthy breakfast are four healthy habits I’ve managed to maintain for a couple of years now. In fact, I’ve been keeping a list of new habits, and tweaking to it as I go. These habits are a tiny, daily, gift to myself, not a chain or a handcuff. Maybe I should list them here?

  • Daily dose of the Litebook
  • … while I’m using the Litebook I’m drinking coffee and working on a special writing project.
  • Treadmill time (minimum 20 minutes in the morning)
  • Daily vitamins: C with dinner, B-complex, D, calcium in the morning, taken with a full glass of water.
  • Healthy breakfast (it’s the same almost every day!)
  • Four dried apricots for iron
  • Make the bed
  • Lunch for health (Dailylunches is still going!)
  • Gym visit 2x weekly
  • Wear my indoor shoes for comfort and stability
  • Take the stairs two at a time
  • Walk the dog
  • Face cream application and tooth brushing as mini meditations (This one deserves some explanation but it’s essentially about reclaiming my time. I will write more about this!)
  • Work: schedule tasks, make task lists, check off items, and turn off work when it’s time to do so.
  • It’s good get ready for bed early, but not too early.
  • Go to bed at bedtime.

The best thing about habits is that once you get them going there is very little energy or thought required to KEEP them going. For example, we brush our teeth without thinking much about it, don’t we?

What do you do every day to help you shine a little brighter? I’d love to hear about it.

5 Responses to "Luceo non uro"

1 | Katie

November 19th, 2016 at 9:17 am


Lovely! Thanks for sharing. I’m finally meditating daily, just 5- 10 minutes. I took the mindfulness stress reduction program two years ago and it really helped get me out of messy life and onto the path again. The key for me was honouring my sleep time.
But the short time I take with breathing, and sometimes affirmations, has really helped me feel the rewards of my day. Insight timer app and stop think breathe app are both free. I use both.
I did buy a light based on your experience, it did help, but I work outside the house, and am on the road by 7, so finding the time to sit with it was a habit I haven’t figured out yet. I use a wake up light alarm clock. That helps A LOT!
And laying out clothes so I don’t think at all in the early morning. I will batch organize my outfits as I put laundry away. It helps clear out the clothes that you don’t love too.

2 | sabrina

November 20th, 2016 at 8:23 am


Andrea — thank you for sharing. I find this inspiring! What changes will I make in my own life. Wait, not changes — habits!

3 | Carla

November 20th, 2016 at 10:52 am


I think these extra things weigh us down so it’s good to make space for lightness yey!

As an avid recycler though may I suggest next time that you empty the contents of the can I to the city compost and recycle the cans? It can also help to identify food that is still good. There’s actually all sorts of randomness in the way expiration dates for food are used so the date doesn’t always mean the food is not safe to eat.

And the unidentified baggies? Yep been there sadly. It’s been a good kick in the behind for me to take note of what didn’t get eaten and try better

4 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Why is it so hard to go to bed at bedtime? - a peek inside the fishbowl

November 30th, 2016 at 4:23 pm


[…] as you can see, I’m still thinking a lot about habits. In this post I listed a few of the healthy habits I have on the go right now. Some are new, some are old, […]

5 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Ottawa giveaway alert: Making healthy changes in the new year? Start here. - a peek inside the fishbowl

December 31st, 2016 at 12:02 pm


[…] the book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin here on the blog before. It was a very insightful read. She’s done a lot of thinking about habit formation: […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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