Moment of Joy 6/Infinity – Be In The Moment You Are Given

(Editor’s note: Every time you see the words “you” or “we” in the following post, insert the word “I”. Because I am writing to myself as much as to anyone else.)

Yes, I know. I stopped blogging. After the year’s challenge, the rest seemed…forced. No matter my good intentions or good ideas, the words weren’t coming. So I let it go. I figured you would understand. Plus, you didn’t want to read drivel.

But recently, I was challenged to write one more post. So here goes…

When I wrote regularly, I had several rules for myself. One was not to repeat the same theme from any given day. I did pretty well with that.

The other was that I typically wrote at the end of the day, and not the beginning. The reason for this originally was that I wanted to gather the whole day’s events before reflecting. Seems logical. But there was an unintended consequence. Frequently, as I went through the day, the speculative subject of my thanks would float around in my head, waiting to be written. (One of the benefits of thankfulness is that when you go looking for it, you find more of it.) And so I would think early in the day that I knew what I was going to post by the end of the day when I sat down with my computer. But frequently, and today included, it morphed.

“What would you write today?”
“I would probably write something on being careful about your wishes.”

Guess what? That’s not what I’m writing about. ;)

 

I believe that if you can step back from the details of your life and look with some perspective, you will start to see themes emerging. Hell, an entire profession has been created to help people do just that. (Thank you, therapy.) So today, as I was stepping back and listening to the world around me, I began to hear a clear and constant theme, one that has been discussed by me with several different people over the course of the last week. Staying in the moment.

Is it cliche? Possibly. Has it been beaten to death with Facebook memes and yoga mantras? Perhaps. So why, why, why are we so bad at it?

Because we are protecting ourselves. Because of ghosts from the past. Because we’re not sure if we can stand even one more piece of a broken heart.

But guess what? It doesn’t matter. You can worry and plan and cry yourself to sleep over the potential outcome of any given situation, and I would bet it rarely if ever matters one stinking bit. The future will get here, either the good one or the bad one. And you will get up and deal with it, exactly as you did all the other futures that are now in your past. Your track record is good. You’re still here.

So why waste one blazing second worrying about what comes next? If this moment is so spectacular that you absolutely don’t want to lose it, why on earth would you give it away?

Now, if the moment you are in is not so hot right now, I will give you a pass on the future planning. Go right ahead and do something that will catapult you back into some good new days. But more often than not, the things we worry about are far more disparaging than the things going on around us at this very second.

So be in your moment. It was given to you for a reason. Because you deserve it. Because that happy look on your face was a long time coming. Because joy is a gift you should receive with humility.

Today I am thankful for being given this moment of joy. I shall not waste it.

 

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(Post Editor’s Note: I reserve the right to post to this blog whenever I darn well feel like it, from now on.)

Moment of Joy 5/100 – The Anticipation Of Christmas On The Faces Of Children

Ok, I know, I’m woefully behind in posting. It’s not that I’ve lost interest. It’s just that, after a whole year of daily deadlines, I am taking advantage of the slacking off opportunities afforded me now. :)

So this is from a couple of weeks ago. The Worthington Kibourne High School choir was invited, along with the Thomas Worthington High School choir, to participate in the annual lighting of the Christmas tree on the Worthington Village Green. It was chilly, but overall, perfect weather for such an event. And by perfect, I mean not raining, which is always a possibility at this time of year for these events.

At first we got to hear the choirs sing as people started to gather, after which they broke out into small groups and carolled around the square to the delight of passersby. It was a fairly idyllic scene, with horse-drawn carriage rides parading by, hot chocolate to be had, and young voices in accapella song.

As the sun faded and the crowds gathered waiting for the arrival of Santa, the population of little people on the shoulders of their fathers threatened to outnumber those of us to had to stand on our own two feet. Looking up into a sea of faces under the age of five warmed my heart a bit. The memories those families were creating for those children are priceless.

And then we all gathered in candlelight to wait for Santa, who would oversee the tree lighting.

But this little guy is the one who inspired this post. The anticipation of children, in full delight of the season, always brings me joy.

I couldn't resist that adorable face.

I couldn’t resist that adorable face. He was SO EXCITED.

Moment of Joy 5/100 – The Anticipation of Christmas On The Faces Of Children. May we all remember that feeling.

Moment of Joy 3/100 – Breath As Music

I was sitting on the couch this morning, sipping my coffee, scrolling through Facebook on my phone. The house was quiet. (The boy was at an all night church event. He will likely be sleeping till dinner.) The sun was up, but the gray sky gave the impression of it being earlier than it really was. And I was just sitting there. Feeling like I was wasting something.

I should get up and do something. I need something. I need… yoga.

Now, this may or may not be something that randomly occurs to you. It randomly occurs to me. But most of the time, it comes to me in that creaky body, wow I would feel so much better if I stretched, gosh I should really get to class kind of pull. The “shoulds”. This was a little different.

This morning I felt as if I was being pulled right off the couch and onto the ground. I couldn’t wait for a class. I have time to turn on the music. I needed to move, right then and there. So I set down my cup, pushed the coffee table aside just far enough to give me a narrow strip on the rug, and stood in my jammies (ok, fine, they were yoga pants, but that was just luck of the draw today). Facing out through the screen door, I could see the sky. Gosh, I miss my outdoor weekends on the deck with my mat. This is going to be a long winter.

Eyes closed. Breathe in 4 counts. Breathe out 5 counts. Hold for 3. Do it again. And again. And again. I stood there breathing. And when I began to feel the tightness in my shoulders start to release as breath took up the space, I knew I was ready.

Into sun salutations I went. Those familiar beautiful sun salutations. They are like friends now. We know each other. As I lowered into my first forward fold and couldn’t quite put my palms on the floor, the sun salutations forgave my aging back and said “don’t worry, hang with me, it will come.”

I could hear my breath loud and rhythmic in my ears. That and the hum of the refrigerator were my music. My breathing became pulse personified. It was the drum beat that counted out the moves as I ran though them. Exhale chataranga. Inhale up dog. Exhale down dog. Breathe. Move. Dance.

My favorite part of the sun salutation is the close of each one, moving from arms stretched overhead, bringing them back to heart’s center in prayer position. It feels like an amen. So I did another one, from the beginning. Moving now with a little less cracking and a little more grace. And back to heart’s center. Amen. And again. And amen.

With my breath, sun salutations made way to a warrior sequence I made up as a went along. All the familiar poses, in whatever felt right at the moment, and magically, they flowed beautifully and gracefully, one into the other. Alternating reaching out with pulling in, breathing out and breathing in, first the right side, and again on the left.

Without hesitation or much thought I planted my hands on the ground and took a shaky crow pose. But I managed. (Note to self: eat breakfast first). And then laid my head softly on the ground and inverted into a headstand I haven’t taken in many weeks. Yes. This. Even as I lifted, I thought “I can do this.”

Eventually lowering onto the ground after another series, I rested in child’s pose, giving thanks for the metaphor. And as my body asked for twists, I turned onto my back and did those as well. I told myself “stay in this pose until you forget that you are in this pose”, and I let my mind wander, distracted from the contortion and allowing gravity to have its way. It worked. And then go the other way. That side’s a little tighter; it took a little while longer, but it worked over there too. When I realized I had forgotten, that was when I knew it was ok to move again.

And then I drew in, hugged my knees tight, took a deep breath, and with a sigh lowered all the way to the ground, prone to the perceived sky. Relaxed. Freed.

It probably won’t last long as the day brings back the stresses of the world, of my own mind, of the tasks of the day. But for a brief period in time, I was perfectly at peace. With my body, with my failures and my successes. With my life.

Alone, in a quiet house, my breath as music, Moment of Joy 3/100.

Namaste

Namaste

100 Moments Of Joy – Starting Right Now

As I was winding up my year long Thankfulness Challenge, I began to think ahead as to how this blog might evolve once the 365 days were over. The experience of reaching inward to make discoveries about myself at the same time I was reaching outward to engage with the world was something in which I found immense value. But I reached my goal and proved my point, to myself if to no one else. So what comes next?

I knew that daily writing was becoming more difficult thanks to a much different schedule and social life than I had when I started last year (thank you!), but I don’t want to give this up completely. And therefore an idea started to materialize that set a slightly different goal and still maintains the positive spin I have grown to embrace.

100 Moments Of Joy

My new goal is to find and document, in words or photos as best I can, 100 moments that bring joy to me or to someone else over the course of one year.

Joy is different than happiness. Joy can be found in fleeting moments, even in sadness. Joy radiates through the eyes and touches the heart. The Merrium-Webster Dictionary lists one definition of joy as “a source or cause of delight”, and that is precisely what I am setting out now to find. I want to spend a year sharing with you the moments that bring delight into the world. In a time when it becomes to easy to see the bleak, I want to see the sunshine. I want to share the things that made someone smile.

Last year I focused on those things that affected mainly myself. But now it is time to turn that attention elsewhere. Yes, my interpretation of joy can only be seen (and therefore shared) through the lens of my own eyes. But it is not only about me. And I am on the watch now for the ways that joy manifests itself in the entire world.

I was waiting to start until I had a wonderful moment to share, something to kick this off so that you will see what I am trying to get at here. And this morning, I found it. True, it is my moment of joy to start, but when I looked up, I knew this was it.  I smiled and reached for my camera.

My view.

My view.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

On this cloudy and generally cold gray November morning, as I sat at my desk, a sunbeam broke through at the perfect moment and the perfect angle, lighting up the room and igniting my stained glass window in the way for which stained glass windows were precisely created. The air sparkled. The room glowed. And for about 3 whole minutes, the entire world was warm and alive.

Moment of Joy 1/100

I wish you had been here to see it.

We’re on a new ride now. :)