I want to be happy, no I want to be joyful! I’ve been living on this earth a while. Not as long as some of course, but certainly longer than others and I think I have found a secret to finding just that. Not all the time but certainly maintaining a certain undercurrent of joyfulness, no matter what may be going on. It is a gift that Mindfulness provides me, finding joy in the ordinary. A universal truth is that humans want to be happy. I’m pretty sure we can go just about anywhere in the world and ask anyone we meet and they would all agree, they want to be happy. What makes a person happy may be different but the pursuit is the same. So how are you doing with finding happiness?
For a very long time, I was waiting for happiness to show up. I’m pretty blessed in that I’ve been allowed to taste more than my fair share of happiness in my life. My family is healthy, we have more than we ever need, we all get along well together and enjoy each other’s company. I’ve got a great life, but I would still be waiting. Waiting for that “extra” something to show up.
I lived in anticipation of the next great thing to come my way. I waited for my wedding day to finally get here. The birth of my daughter was 9 months of anticipation. I couldn’t wait to finally finish school and get a “real” job and then after I did, count the days to when my next vacation day would be. I could hardly wait for my babies to become more self-sufficient and to reach certain milestones (and what I wouldn’t give for them to be infants again). And all of those things did make me happy. Really, really happy. But I think I was missing something.
I was missing “the now.” While I was busy dreaming about the future, I forgot that my life was still going on. Because I waited for the “extraordinary” I completely missed out on the amazing, wonderful, and extremely ordinary things occurring in my life on a regular basis. I forgot to savor the sunrise or that amazing first sip of coffee in the morning. Waiting to finish my degree instead of really enjoying my current job as a stay-at-home-mom. How many moms actually long for that gift? I would gloss over the blessing of waking up healthy in anticipation of summer coming where nary a cold or flu bug can be found. I feel like I’ve missed a lot of my life and I’m half way through it!
Here is where the gift of mindfulness has saved me from my constant looking forward. It has allowed me to find joy, not just in the extra things in my life, but in the regular as well. Mindfulness is being aware. It’s being present in the moment. I’ve learned to do this much better in the last few years. I savor that morning coffee now and not just guzzling it down for sanity’s sake. I enjoy every sip, the warmth, the sweetness and the bitter. It is bliss. I’ve had coffee every day of my life since the age of 20, but only now am I really mindful of it. Every morning, I drive my kids to school facing the sun rise. It has only been the last couple of years that I have been awed by its beauty and diversity from morning to morning. I’ve always been crazy wild about my kids but it is only in the last bit that I’ve really begun to notice how unique they are from each other and from us. And they are amazing!
Mindfulness makes me slow down. It makes me enjoy the ordinary things and I’m truly finding that those things aren’t nearly as ordinary as I once thought. We all live an amazing glorious life, I promise you! No matter what problems or difficulties you have, there is glory in it! You just have to notice it! Even if it is as simple as a perfect cup of coffee.
How to Do It?
So where to start? It really is a very simple practice, just be intentional about it.
Give yourself a prompt in the day whether it is on your phone, a sticky note, or a set time of day to just notice what is around you. Turn off the running litany of things to do, things that happened, or things that are going to happen that is in your mind. Savor the moment. Savoring means “taste… and enjoy it completely” (thank you, Google). Notice things about that moment that might have passed you by. Use all of your senses. What do you hear, see, and feel? Notice your internal response to what your senses tell you. That’s pleasure! Enjoy it.
Now mindfulness isn’t always about the good things in our life. Mindfulness is a practice of being fully aware of what is going on, good or bad. That is another post altogether.
Today, savor something ordinary and notice how truly extraordinary those things are.