For the second year in a row, I began the new year in a small, sacred place in a part of town that is known more for thoroughbreds and the Kentucky Derby than it is for yoga and meditation. I was surrounded by a diverse group of men and women who chose to start 2019 together practicing yoga and meditation to set our respective intentions for the upcoming year. This particular yoga studio has become a place of healing and inspiration for me, since being introduced to it a little over a year ago. The fact that I ever stepped foot in it, much less adopted it as a spiritual safe haven, has a been a huge, and delightful, surprise to me.
I had practiced various types of yoga over the years, in a quest to be more mindful and Zen, and each time, I emerged from the practice frustrated and anything but peaceful. I wanted to like the practice of yoga. I really did. But I didn’t. So, I rolled up my yoga mat and returned to the regularly scheduled programming known as my life.
When a colleague invited several co-workers and myself to attend a Yoga Nidra practice with her, I was skeptical, but something instinctively told me to give it a try. So, I unrolled my yoga mat and have been unrolling it a couple of times a month in this space ever since then. It was another reminder that when I trust my gut, good things tend to follow. During this New Year’s Day practice, we received another reminder that has been instrumental in how I am choosing to approach not only this year, but every year to follow.
One of the themes that quickly emerged on that first afternoon of 2019 was that there is joy in the ordinary moments of life, if only we are open to them and seek them out every day. This is not necessarily a new concept to me, but it was one that I had definitely lost sight of on more days than not.
Life is a constant hurry up and wait game, or, at least, that is how it can feel, at times. There always seems to be one more hoop to jump through, one more goal to achieve, one more relationship to seek, and on and on and on before we can claim our birthright of joy. In a world that craves instant gratification, when it comes to joy, genuine joy, we seem to put that off indefinitely. We pursue the next best thing. We settle for less than we either deserve or want. We wait for the perfect time or the ideal circumstances to pursue who and want we desire. And we end up living a life that happens to us, instead of living a life that we create and that brings us joy. These were some sobering thoughts to ring in the new year indeed.
As I let this lesson take root in my mind in my heart, I made it my intention to look for, and create, moments of joy for myself every single day, not just on special occasions or when something extraordinary happens. As I implemented this practice, I discovered that amid my perfectly flawed, and sometimes messy and chaotic, life, there were lots of seemingly small, insignificant things that made my heart happy. Once I acknowledged these small things, I was able to begin to feel these moments of joy in a big way.
To give you an idea of what I am referring to with all of this talk of finding joy in the ordinary, here are some of the moments from today that felt simply joyful to me:
Curling up in a big, fluffy blanket in the chair in my bedroom with one of my cats asleep on my lap, as I sipped some of my favorite hot green tea and read a really good book this morning.
Feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my skin on a day that seemed more like spring than winter.
Reading messages from friends and family that made me feel loved, included, and remembered.
Savoring the taste of the delicious pomegranate arils that I included in my fruit, yogurt, and granola mixture for lunch.
Enjoying the fresh scent of a candle that I received for Christmas.
These ordinary moments were duly noted and appreciated, and they transformed today into a really good day overall. My life still has the same imperfections and challenges that it had before any of these moments occurred, but these moments definitely remind me of everything this is going well in my life and help give me a healthier perspective regarding what could be going better.
Whatever brings you joy and makes life better and brighter for you, may you open your eyes, heart, and mind to the extraordinary ordinary each and every day. This life is what we make it, so, let’s make it a good one. And a joyful one.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story