Friday, January 18, 2008

Taking Time for Joy

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~ Buddha

I just read a great article in the latest issue of Prevention Magazine (pick up a copy, if you get the chance.) It's about making joy last.

They quote a social psychologist, Fred B. Bryant, as follows:

"Finding joy means opening yourself up to it. The value of taking time to appreciate positive experiences seem obvious - trite, even. Yet it's s skill that few people have mastered. The reason is simple: we're busy, and we have a lot on our minds."

Does that sound familiar?

There are many days that all I do is run from event to event: classes, appointments, lunch dates. These are all things that I love to do. Yet I allow myself to become so busy with things I should be enjoying that I get spread far too thin, and lose the joy that each event should bring.

Granted, there are other days when I'm bored silly!

So how do we go about finding a balance, and appreciating the joy in life?

I can't help thinking that the answer to both is about learning to live in the moment. To stop worrying about what's on tomorrow's agenda, or about what we did (or didn't do) yesterday. What's happening at this moment - and how can I more fully participate in it?

A few years ago, one of my stepdaughters asked if I could help her mend a hole in something. We opened up my mom's old sewing machine, and I went to work. She was bending over me, watching as I stitched. I began to tell her stories about my mom teaching me to sew when I was a little girl (and how I never listened!) My emotions got caught in those memories of the past, and I found myself feeling sad because I didn't have a child of my own to pass these stories to.

Then a lightbulb went on inside me and I thought, "Wake up, Pattie! Look what's going on right under your nose!" I was passing along these stories to the next generation. My stepdaughter may not be a child of my body, but she learned a little more that day about my history. It also helped us to bond just a little bit more.

Let's vow to take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the positive experiences that come our way. I know this is an area where I need a lot of work. I want to stay in the moment and open myself up to finding joy.

I will if you will. :-)

Until next time...

1 comment:

Diane said...

I love your point.....being in the moment is not an easy thing for me to do. I think I will make that a goal for a week. Baby steps work good for me!