As some of you know I am captivated by the small joys that are part of all our lives. And I am compelled to share a few of mine from this week and suggest that you may want to look at some of yours. It is a lovely practice and it sharpens our attention skills, causes us to smile more often, lightens our hearts and inspires hope.
What got me thinking about this happened on Monday morning. After seeing my grandson Rowan off to school at 7:30, I hopped in my car to go home. No sooner had I gone half a block when a call came in from my son-in-law asking me to turn around and come back. I immediately thought something must have happened, but instead, he said: “I bought you a Grande Americano at Starbucks, so pull up and I will pass it to you.”
I know it is not earth-shaking, but on that Monday morning, I was surprised and delighted. It tasted like the perfect cup of coffee and I was smiling from ear to ear. They say (whoever they are) that it is “not what you do but the way you do it.” And so my enjoyment was more than the coffee; it was the unexpected; the phone call; turning around and seeing my son-in-law and Sasha, the family dog, standing on the sidewalk beaming in my direction with an arm outstretched holding that steaming cup of coffee. My entire Monday just kept getting better.
A reason to get up in the morning
A few days later, out of the blue, my grandson asked if I enjoyed coming over at 7:00 AM five days a week. I answered, “yes, I do.”
“I’ve been thinking about this,” he said, “and wondered what you would do if you didn’t come at that time?” I paused and said, “maybe I would just sleep in longer.”
“Ah ha,” he exclaimed, “and that would not be good for you. Your coming over to be with me is a reason to get up in the morning, and that’s a good thing. Right, Nana??”
He had more to say and it went something like this. “I think it’s good for your brain. You know we talk about things, have breakfast, I play the piano, you do some French on Duolingo, and sometimes we do mental math or wordle together. Nana, it’s important to always exercise our brains, especially older brains, and do things every day that bring joy. And besides, I like you coming every morning.” And we exchanged a knowing glance.
Here is the point
I could consider this a chore, but why would I want that kind of suffering? Here I am: fortunate to now live in Ottawa, healthy, and able to participate in these joyful moments five days a week.
Another delight last Thursday, was a two-hour bike ride, with a friend. The weather was beautiful with blue sky, and sunshine and it felt like early September, not November. We got to enjoy the falls (see banner picture), stop at a tennis club for lunch, and spend almost four unexpected glorious hours outside. It was a mini holiday on a bike.
Life is hard, from time to time, for everyone. Paying attention to small joys opens our hearts, eyes, and minds to see more clearly the reality and wonder of this day, with its endless flow of beauty and surprise. The practice of noticing gives us a chance to expand our view. And with that, we rejuvenate and become more cheerful and content. I heartily recommend this daily practice, for ourselves and as a way to be a small joy for others. In the end, it is the sum of small joys that counts the most.
1:) Photo of coffee beans on the tree thanks to Rodrigo Flores on Unsplash
2:) When my Granddaughter Sophie was seven, she came home from school with a completed project titled, Les Petits Bonheurs. (small pleasures) This project was a booklet where she had illustrated a “small joy” on each page. I was so touched by the wisdom of her teacher and the small joys that Sophie had written and illustrated that I decided on the spot that I would do the same. That was over nine years ago and it has faded away, the actual recording of a daily sketch and a joy. It seems like a good time to revive the actual practice.
3:) Take a moment to have a walk through Kew Garden and listen to an excerpt from Herman Hesse on trees. Watch here.
4:) Thank you for coming by today. You bring with you a wheelbarrow full of joy for me. See you next week. Warmly, Trudy