Many of us have been overwhelmed this past year with the sheer gift that life is with all its blessings, opportunities, hurt, grief, and uncertainties. We’ve written and encouraged a regular gratitude practice that can presence joy and contentment at any moment. While it can be simple to practice gratitude and presence happiness, sometimes we miss the opportunity because of trivial irritants, news flashes, or momentary rudeness we encounter. I’ve been striving to find joy, love, and appreciation in the everyday moments of life, even those that might be prickly or increase my level of stress.
Seeing the world through my one-year-old grandson’s eyes has allowed me to look at life and everyday moments through a new lens. He sees the whole world newly and finds glee and enchantment as he goes through his day. He sits in the middle of the living room floor, intrigued and curious, pulling out wipe after wipe from the package or playing with his “big brother” Duke, the Great Dane’s, eyes, ears, whiskers, and tail – all to my daughter’s dismay. Or he squeals with delight when his dad comes home from work or sits quietly on the porch studying the fall leaves. What if we were curious like this sweet child and looked at everything and everyone newly? What joy, contentment -- even glee and enchantment might we find in our everyday lives? When looking at the things in my life, I don’t have to look very far to see beauty and joy in them, like the:
- Snow falling outside
- Interactions with our team members and clients on Teams or in the hallway or at the Thanksgiving potluck
- Familiar discussions, debates, and behaviors of our family members around the Thanksgiving table
- Toddler standing in line at the store asking a million questions of his/her mother
- Cashier with one arm who may be a little slower but is unstoppable in their quest to work
- Body’s ability to move, run, practice yoga despite some creaking or to hold a hand, smile, and embrace a loved one
- Plane flying 30,000 feet in the air, trusting two total strangers in the cockpit with our safety
- Healing touch of a note sent, soup delivered, or a medical worker or caregiver
- Sunset over the ocean on vacation or the sunrise in the field on your early morning run
- Homework not done and trying one more time to make “new math” make sense
- Snowplow slowing us down to 35 mph on the freeway as they remove the snow and ice
- Flag raising and the trumpet playing TAPS as we lay a beloved friend or family member to rest
- Pang of grief when we think of a loved one or miss them at an event that we know they would’ve loved
- Pride in our freedom to vote and uphold our democratic values
Life really is miraculous. And often we miss it. We’re moving too fast to experience the moment here and now, worried about getting to the “next thing.” And in that hustle and bustle, we often get irritated by these moments and miss the joy and gratitude they can bring.
This holiday season, I’m making a commitment to slow down, so I can experience and enjoy the journey moment by moment. I don’t want to miss the amazing work my team does or what their plans are for the holiday weekend. Or helping someone find something in the grocery store or get to their car as I complete my shopping. And I definitely don’t want to miss the taste of the sage in the dressing and gravy or the sweet smell of pumpkin cooking. Or listening to the children’s squealing laughter or to the same story I’ve heard a hundred times before.
I want to see and hear it all newly and revel in what I discover. I expect in those moments there are glimpses of gratitude and joy that I often miss. Where will you find glee and enchantment this holiday season in everyday encounters that you often miss? I’d love to hear your stories!
Wishing you a wonderful, enchanting, and joyous Thanksgiving holiday!