I have been thinking often about cultivating joy in our lives. What a difference it makes for me when I am actively trying to find reasons to be joyful, even if those reasons originate from the small, or seemingly insignificant moments. Then I came across this post and it put into words what I only had in my head.
It is so easy to feel overwhelmed in life; so many responsibilities, the stressors of adult life, many people vying for your attention. When discussing life goals, I have heard “think about the big picture… long term goals” so many times. I am not saying that it is not important to do that; However, oftentimes, I find myself stuck in those long term thoughts. It then becomes all to easy say that I do not have time to stop and focus on this little moment of time. I have too much to do to get to my goal. It is much more difficult to stop and really give myself permission to be mindful of the present moment.
But when I do, sometimes amazing things can happen. Amazingly simple, little things, that bring joy to my heart. I notice the smile on my child’s face as they play. I see that light-bulb moment go off in their head as something truly clicks. I really stop and taste the coffee in my cup instead of quickly guzzling it for the much needed boost in energy it provides.
A few weeks ago I took my kids to the library. My kids love going, but it is difficult to go as much as they’d like due to the toddler knocking books off shelves, and the constant worry that their voices may be too loud. After a few minutes of general exploring and random book grabbing, my 3-year-old settled in at a table to build Legos. The baby was wanting to nurse, so I sat down in the rocking chair to nurse him (note to self: I would really like a rocking chair at home), and my 5-year-old pulled up a chair next to me and began looking at pop-up books. As I nursed the baby, I looked at my other kids and they were both so immersed in their actives. They looked so grown in that moment. I looked at my tiny infant and just appreciated his smallness that I know will be gone ever so quickly. I rocked him, and I just soaked up that moment. Nothing extraordinary was happening, but I felt so connected to my kids, so much love in my heart. Even a few weeks later, every time I think about those few minutes it invokes a smile. Such a small moment has impacted my mood in a positive, lasting way.
This is a life lesson that I seem to need to learn and relearn again many times. So go ahead and stop. Give yourself permission to enjoy those moments. Draw on the good feelings when you are feeling down. The big picture is important, but for me, I am constantly being reminded that it is really the everyday stuff that matters the most.