17 Nov 30 Days of Simple Pleasures – Let the adventure begin!
Welcome to the first day of my new blog series, “30 Days of Simple Pleasures – Finding Joy in the Little Things.”
For the next 30 days I will be sharing daily posts about something that brings me joy. This is an exercise for me to share the different ways I tap into joy on a daily basis in the hopes you might find some new ways to bring joy into your own life. It is also to help met say focused on gratitude and keep my emotional tank full as I accompany my dad on his journey through terminal cancer. Cancer may seem like an odd intro to a joy project but let me tell you I have never been more clear about the vital role joy plays in our lives than I am right now. When something like this happens to someone you love all of the nonsense that consumes so much of our time, focus and energy disappears and what is truly important in life comes into laser focus. I am deeply passionate about joy. We were created by a most awesome God and he created us to love and be joyful. Not one soul was put on this Earth to stress out, be anxious, be depressed and to feel unworthy or unloved yet that is exactly how so many people spend their lives.
Afraid. We are so afraid. We are afraid of what we don’t want. We are afraid of what we do want. What if I don’t get that job, house or relationship? What if I do and then things change? What if I lose friends, a relationship, my identity because of these changes? All of this fear makes us want to be numb. It is easier to check out and get lost in a sea of to-dos than to deal with the pain of being afraid all of the time. It’s hard to let ourselves believe that joy is possible for us and more than that – that it is readily available when we are ready for it. It is everywhere. In everything. It is sitting there waiting for us to notice and to fill us up with the feelings we deeply crave. Wholeness. Fulfillment. Gratitude. Fear and gratitude cannot exist at the same time. It’s like sneezing with your eyes open. It just doesn’t’ work. The cure for all of this fear, anxiety and depression is gratitude. The vehicle for gratitude is joy.
So why don’t more people tap into the joy that surrounds them so abundantly??? Fear. Fear that if they do allow themselves to feel this kind of joy then it will somehow be taken from them. It will just be a matter of how and when they will be robbed of this joy they have finally found. Here is the cosmic joke: It cannot be taken! Joy is everywhere. It is in everything. If one way you experience joy goes away there are millions of other ways to experience it all around you waiting to replace the one that’s gone. If someone steals my brand new magazine they can’t take away the joy it brought me just driving to the store to buy it. They can’t take away that I looked at it inside the store and enjoyed the beautiful pictures before I bought it. In fact if someone did take it I would feel good about the fact that maybe they needed it more than I did that day and in a small way I helped someone (another thing that brings me joy.) You see? So there is no need to be afraid. Jump in to the world of joy and delight in it’s abundance. I promise you it is a game-changer. I hope I can give you some ideas of where to start and I really hope you will share your feedback and ideas with me as we go on this adventure together!
Day 1 – A Hot Cup of Chai and a Moment to Myself
Every morning I start my day with a cup of chai tea. I love the warmth of the mug in my hands and the spicy sweet flavor of the tea. It’s a morning ritual that I rely on. Now what makes the difference for me between my morning daily grind and a joyful experience is how I drink the tea. When I am rushing, making breakfast and lunches at the same time while saying “Get your shoes on” seventeen times I don’t even taste the tea. I just slam it down as a survival mechanism. But when I can, I get up early before my family is awake or I will steal 15 minutes after they leave for school before work. I sneak on to my back porch with my tea and a fuzzy blanket and a drink my tea alone in silence. I look out at my garden and the woods behind my house admiring the beauty. Lately the leaves are changing the colors are most spectacular. I listen to the birds and when I am really quiet I can hear the squirrels jumping from limb to limb. In this moment I forget about everything. There are no bills, obligations, looming deadlines, laundry. Nothing I “should” or “have” to do. There is just right now and right now is perfect. It is total bliss. This tiny bit of time to myself fills up my tank for the whole day. I am much more calm and present on the days I have joyful tea.
I invite you to find a quiet place you like. Fill up a cup with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whatever you like and take even 10 minutes for yourself. Sit quietly and take a moment to notice things you don’t normally notice. Feel the texture of the mug in your hands. Notice the smells around you. Is it a yummy candle? A fire burning outside? Damp leaves? Take a look around you. What do you see? The last bloom of your roses outside? The different shades of green, yellow and red of the leaves? Pine cones on the grass? Take a deep breath and just take it all in. Notice every detail about this moment. In this moment there are no problems. Everything is as it should be and it is a fantastic feeling. Doing this takes some practice but I promise you It will open the door to joy and set the tone for your whole day. Give it a try!