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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cultivate What Gives You Joy

The easiest way to identify what our heart wants is to examine the feelings that surface when we relate to something. What feelings arise when you chase down the things that make your heart flutter? True happiness comes when we routinely engage in positive activities that we love. Take a look at your life as a whole and pursue the things that make you feel alive.

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Now there's a starting point. I once read an Erma Bombeck column in which she advocated using and enjoying 'nice' things instead of saving them 'for good.' What use is it to have a chest full of delicate lingerie you never wear, because you are saving it for a special occasion that never comes? or collecting pretty fabrics but never using them because you are waiting for that one right project?

When my children were small, they would sometimes put away special toys or games that they wanted to keep nice, only rarely taking them out to look at or play with. Once I realized what was going on, I said 'You should play with that. You like it, and you can keep it a long time if you are careful with it, but you should enjoy it, not just put it on the shelf. Don't bronze it.' And after while, our family could just shortcut to 'Don't bronze that,' as a reminder to enjoy what you have in the here and now.

No, I can't wear the size 14 jeans that gave me such a thrill the first time I put them on (and they actually fit!), and I can't - yet - walk up the steps to the highest tower at Lincoln Cathedral. Anything more than a very simple yoga position is beyond me, for now. But I CAN wear those shoes I love. The ring my grandmother left me still fits. I can spend time with my family, I can walk, I can play games, I can still read and listen to music and visit friends - I don't want to start gushing how wonderful every experience is. Sometimes there are bad days, and things can look bleak.

To cultivate the habit of searching out the positive things in life, maybe we just need to look around us - joy in small things is there to be found - and maybe we just need to ignore grim reality occasionally, if only to save our sanity.

Another of my GOALS for 2010: discover meaningfulness. And just two more days...

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • RRCAIN
    I love your don't bronze that attitude. My mom had very beautiful expensive china and silver. Sometimes in the middle of the week she would server dinner on it. We would tease her and say you should save that for special occasions, and she would just laugh and say every day your alive is special. She is gone now, but I remember and try to look for special times in every day!
    4085 days ago
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