You know those silly meditations when you’re asked to visualize your favorite spot that makes you the happiest or most at peace?
My default was this beach in Kauai I once went to on vacation. I could easily invoke a sense of myself there: carefree, relaxed, no worries … tanned skin, wind in my hair, cocktail in hand, feeling warm & sexy.
But you know why this is silly?
Because it’s a memory from the past. Now just a fantasy. I can’t really repeat that feeling. It already happened!
One Saturday morning, I was down in the dumps, depleted and not feeling well. My best friend knew this and invited me to go with her to the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. I thought I was going to spend the day holing-up, knitting and watching movies, but I couldn’t say “no” to a day with her.
I’d been to the gardens many times, but somehow “smelling the roses” took on a whole new level there.
We DID smell the roses (in fact, the essence of rose is said to combat depression) and hugged this beautiful tree from Argentina (so grounding!), before laying a blanket on this vibrant, electric-green grass and meditating.
It was the beginning of January, and the sun was shining. I felt so grateful and blessed to be in warm weather in the middle of winter.
After our meditation, we went to sit on a bench. We watched children play. We talked about our lives, lost loves, past travels, friends. An old couple sat next to us on a partnering bench. A young man took pictures of his girlfriend doing a cartwheel.
The sun kept shining.
Rather than shutting down, I opened myself up to doing something different. It wasn’t a vacation to Hawaii. It was a stretch to get out of the house and meet a friend while having a difficult morning. But the stretch paid off. I came home refreshed after a Saturday afternoon well spent.
I had newfound energy. I wanted to write. Paint. Be creative.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
Joy is something we can find in any moment;
. . . when we connect with another person;
. . . when we connect with nature;
. . . when we get outside and do something different;
. . . when we see something from a new perspective;
. . . when we look for the beauty in our surroundings—the kind that makes us feel alive.
I swear I’m not a tree-hugger. I’m just into finding joy whenever and wherever I can. And that joy can be found right now, in this moment, just by focusing our attention on something different.
We can either make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. – Carlos Castaneda.
What might you do this week to connect with someone, see things from a new perspective, find the beauty around you, or stretch out of your comfort zone?
Wishing you a joyful week!
P.S. For extra immediate JOY see my recent article for Tiny Buddha Things Happy People Do to Stay Happy