Everyday Mindfulness, Everyday Joy
Joy is found everywhere in the everyday. Our lives are filled with and surrounded by wonder, even during difficult periods. We don’t need to pay a penny or get on an airplane to find joy. All we need to do is look up and around, use all our senses, and pay attention. Mindfulness, being in the moment, is our greatest source of joy, always available, and easy to learn. I am writing this having just returned from a walk with one of my dogs on a late Sunday afternoon. Although getting lower in the sky, the sun was still shining on this blissful seventy-degree spring day. Cherry blossoms were bursting and sprouting tulips were preparing to bloom.
These obvious sources of beauty provided plenty of joy, but then our walk kept getting better and better. First, I spotted a black cat sitting sideways in a second story window, enjoying the fresh air wafting through the screen. Her profile looked like a Halloween decoration, and I couldn’t help but smile at her picturesque pose.
A few blocks later I heard what sounded like beautiful church bells ringing, but there was no church nearby. Our mystery was solved a few steps later when I spotted the source of the concert: a lovely wind chime on a homey front porch. This sweet music carried us down the street and around the corner until we had walked out of earshot.
Five minutes later I had the privilege to witness a colorful springtime courtship. A female cardinal landed on the tree right next to us. We stopped to watch the scene play out. She flew away just as a male cardinal landed. I don’t where she went, but, apparently, he did!
Our final bonus came as we headed back for home. There, on a beautiful low stone wall, was a squirrel lying on its stomach, all four legs spread out. I had never seen a squirrel in that prone position, and stopped to observe, not knowing if he was merely relaxing or unwell. My answer came when this apparently healthy squirrel spotted us, jumped, and ran away.
This was a mindful walk. I felt lucky to have these four bonus experiences, but it wasn’t pure luck – I was in the moment and open to receive these gifts. Had I been totally in my head, which I have done, I would have missed these glorious snippets of joy. By practicing mindfulness, which is available to all of us at all times, I experienced joy, moment after moment.
Vacations, holidays and special events bring us joy, but most of our lives are lived between these red-letter days. If you want to live joyfully every day, learn mindfulness. Then you, too, will enjoy the black cat, wind chimes, cardinal courtship, and sun-worshipping squirrel on your next walk.