It is easy when we are faced with unpleasant and devastating news to sink into seriousness, if not despair. Why not? We are often confronting situations that require serious undertakings. And yet…one of the traits of a mentally healthy person is the freedom to enjoy life. Take fall, for instance. I live in eastern Canada and everyday there are more red, orange and yellow leaves on the maples. Even though it is currently rainy, dark and damp there are moments, when the sun comes out, or you are running an errand and you catch a breathtaking glimpse of vibrant colours. When the rain stops your nose wiggles and there it is – a whiff of fall. The lucky ones may get to hear the crunch of dry autumn leaves underfoot or in the spokes of a bicycle.
Life can be tough. But we are tougher and we can help build our resilience when we develop the capacity to enjoy each other and the world around us. But to do that we need to say yes to beauty, laughter, learning and fun. We may not feel like it but we can make a date to take a walk around a lake, or through a forest trail, or visit an art gallery. Perhaps we call the friend who makes us laugh or take in a game or a concert. How about that pottery class that keeps catching your eye. These moments of noticing something outside of ourselves, help keep us sane. They nurture our spirits and boost our ability to bounce back.
I think ordinary moments offer tons of potential for enjoying life but we need to take advantage of them. Staying curious is one sure way to find enjoyment. Extending a helping hand is another. And one we may not give much thought to is not letting our feelings boss us around. If we wait to be in the right mood to do something we will miss many opportunities for joy. Not “feeling like it” is the exact prompt I need to get outside, look around, or pick up the phone and call a friend.
The truth is, life gives us challenges on a regular basis. We use our wit, skill and all the help we can get to take action on the things we can do something about. But don’t stop there. Use all those skills to find precious moments of surprise and delight waiting outside your door.
Note 1: “We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together, and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Note 2: It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and I extend my heartfelt wishes to you all. May you be lucky enough to reflect on and share your blessings with those you love and those who need your love. See you next week, Trudy