Summer – Another Reason to Celebrate Joyful Moments

A Wonderful Morning

Today is the Birthday of one of my readers who is also a dear friend. Lucky me, I got to go on a 30 K bike ride with her, first thing this morning. Blue sky, sunshine, light breeze and the heat was just right. I love Birthdays, as some of you know by now,  and treat each one as a great privilege. It is an added bonus to be strong and healthy and I don’t take it for granted for one moment. Furthurmore, I will celebrate with delight these days and  bike rides and special moments.

As of tomorrow, I will be fully vaccinated. I received my 2nd shot two weeks ago, which makes my immune system at the ready to rebuff Covid 19 and its variants. At the least it should keep me out of the hospital and at the best I should be able to visit my wonderful cousins in the Maritimes, by the end of July. I look forward to the drive, the chaos, laughter, and love that always accompanies these joy filled reunions.

Joy

It seems everyday I have something to celebrate from the time I wake up. For instance: my grandchildren’s convocation (virtual), end of terms, and generally speaking making it through this challenging time. The beauty of nature. A note from a friend. A moving piece of music. The radiance of a tree;  a stone wall covered with a rambling rose; a glimpse of a yellow finch or the red-winged black that streaked through the air at eye level in front of our bikes this morning. And my weekly retreat hour in Emma Rooney’s Forest Bathing Studio. It takes me immediately to a slow and gracious time.

Coincidentally, I also read an article in Tricycle about the complications of joy –  celebrating, taking joy in the joy of others and enjoying the good things in our own lives, when so much is wrong with the world. Is this selfish and thoughtless to readily love the world and its inhabitants, when so much misery exists?

Daisy Hernandes:

wrote an intriguing article on her own struggles with joy, especially around the term mudita, which means taking joy in the joy of others. She suggests that if we can’t take joy in our own lives right now that it may be worth practicing mudita- taking joy in the joy of others.

 

The complicated relationship we have with joy came to mind last year when so many people were dying from COVID-19 and when so many Black lives were lost to police brutality. Friends repeatedly said a variation of the following: “I’m good. I feel so guilty saying that. I know everything is awful, but I’m well.” Their voices would drop in volume by the end of the sentence as if to say I don’t deserve to have you take joy in my joy. I might even be a terrible person for enjoying my life in the midst of so much pain.

Jill Shepherd, (a Buddhist teacher) though, insisted that mudita was necessary right now. ‘It’s precisely because there’s so much suffering in the world that I’ve needed to make the effort to turn toward non-suffering, toward gladness or joy, in order to restore myself so that I can face life’s challenges.’ She was right. Joy can be restorative. It can be akin to a good meal: nourishing and necessary. This made me reconsider…”

Life is full of difficulties. It comes with being alive and there are no exemptions. Or at least I know of none. My experience shows me that when I can notice the joyful moments that are also  in the world, I am better able to manage the challenges.

This poem offers a good reminder of things to remember.

Go into this week
with the attitude that
your peace,
your health of mind,
and your heart
mean more than
getting everything else done.
That your smile matters,
That feeling rested matters.
That holding the hand
of your loved ones matter.
So pause lots,
function at a pace
that doesn’t pull you apart.
Honour the things that
make you feel good inside,
the things that make you feel alive.
Give time to those things this week.
Make time the gift it is,
by giving it to what really matters to you.

— S.C. Lourie of Butterflies and Pebbles

Notes

Note 1:)  The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. Brother David Steindl-Rast

Note 2:) The summer season is short. I find it beautiful with a certain carefreeness that I don’t experience at any other time. Let’s not miss it and only notice summer after it is gone. I invite you to notice something beautiful each day of this summer season. You might jot it down. Your summer treasures of 2021.

Note 3:) Thank you for clicking here and reading this blog post. I am honoured and grateful to each one of you. May you have a lovely week and if it is a difficult one may you give yourself a tiny break by still noticing one beautiful thing each day. This does not mean by any stretch of the imagination, to be a “positive thinking” person.  Rather, I see it as realistic thinking. The truth is, life can be devastating and we must  face that head on and do our best to work with what is, and grieve our losses. Yet, it is true that there are  many beautiful things to notice everyday and by teaching ourselves to pay attention to one of them we may rediscover our grit, a moment of joy, and even the wonder of being alive.

Note 4:) Thanks to Robert-Collins on Unsplash for the joyful image of the children.

14 replies
  1. Jean
    Jean says:

    Hi Trudy,love that word…..moodling.there is always something we can feel joyful for.Joy for the joy of others is a huge one..yesterday, my peony bush,seemed stuck. This morning,a beautiful burst of ten at once.One is already in a rose bowl on my kitchen table.Pure joy.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thanks, Jean, for your sweet messages that you send so frequently.I can imagine your delight when you saw that peony with ten blossoms. Lucky woman!

      Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you Karen for the beautiful wishes. I love “bright luck stars.” And your kind words touch me deeply. I find it to be a great honour to scribble a way every week and wonderful people like you show up and read this blog. Warmest wishes.

      Reply
  2. Janice
    Janice says:

    I am taking great joy in your stunning pansies photo Trudy and it is always effortless to take joy in your joy which you share so generously. Happy summer full strawberry moon to you! love Jan

    Reply
  3. Barbara Sarah
    Barbara Sarah says:

    I don’t usually take (make?) the time to comment on your blog but today I gave m a few minutes to stop by to thank you for your regular reminders of gratefulness living.
    Yesterday while on a walk in my urban neighborhood I stopped by at a friend’s house to say hi. She wasn’t home but her adult son came to the door. I haven’t seen him for a while and was delighted to see him looking well and happy. He welcomed me into their home and took the opportunity to thank me for
    something I had done for him a few years ago that I had totally forgotten about (!) He was having difficulties with the local police and facing possible incarceration. I suggested then that every day he write down five things that he was grateful for and send me the list. We exchanged e-mails for a few weeks and a few years have passed since then. I had totally forgotten about that meeting but yesterday he took the opportunity to tell me how much that small “assignment” meant to him at that time. He said that it helped him to get through that situation and begin to move on with his life! How wonderful it is to get that kind of feedback about things that we do and forget about but can linger in the heart and minds of others. We are blessed indeed!

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hey, Barbara: how lovely to hear from you, right here, on my blog. I love your story and once again it reinforces the simple truth that small ordinary things can have an impact on a fellow human that we usually don’t even know about. That was a special gift for both of you to have that encounter.Thanks so much for reading my blog. I know you are a super busy woman.

      Reply
  4. Wendy Kurchak
    Wendy Kurchak says:

    Hi Trudy,

    I read your “joy” article just after I had finished Jonathan Field’s Good Life Project blog about happiness. I was reminded that these two emotions, although often linked, represent very different states of being and origin.

    After examining the transient nature of happiness, Jonathan says “ A good life isn’t always a happy life. It is, instead, a life that allows for, and is present to, the full sweep of experience and emotion, and is capable of finding meaning and grace in it all.”

    I wonder if it’s grace that allows me to experience mudita; they somehow seem spiritually connected, sacred states of a soul, enduring and simmering even during seasons of stress.

    Summer aka joy, happiness,freedom, books, crickets, water, and home. I want to enjoy THIS summer, without getting lost in my longing to do the summers of my childhood.

    Thanks for your wisdom, Trudy.

    Wendy

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Good morning Wendy: What a thought provoking comment you left this week. Thanks for taking the time to do so. Perhaps you can consider what the longing represents from those childhood summers. For me it meant seemingly endless days and the freedom to do different things. When I go cycling for the morning and stop at the Scone Witch, along the way, for a lemon poppy seed scone,I experience that special sense of summer. If I stay indoors all day and work on my computer I don’t. What I have discovered is that to really enjoy summer I need to make sure I do summery things, even when they require effort: cycling, a picnic, admiring the flowers, swimming in a lake when I’m not by the ocean. Reading more… And if I am anywhere near a hammock I NEVER resist the temptation to climb in. What’s fun is to come up with your new summer rituals for this time in your life. Thanks for reading my blog, Wendy.

      Reply

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