May 1, 2022: Planting Seeds of Joy
As Mother’s Day approaches on May 8, I am reminded once again of the invaluable lessons I learned from my mom who passed away in 2005. I’ve always said, “that the best and most important parts of me come from her”. I’m not referring to my curly hair, love of chocolate and green thumb. It’s the qualities of compassion, caring for others, creativity, a sense of humor, and most importantly the ability to find joy in everyday life. We used to joke about how as optimists, when presented with a barn full of horse manure, we would request a shovel…….”as obviously there was a pony in there someplace.” She taught me, by example, how to be grateful for the moments in life that brought joy, and how they didn’t have to be store bought.
In determining what brings us joy, we first have to define what joy actually is. One definition of joy is a sense of great pleasure and happiness (Oxford Dictionary). A more in depth definition explains how joy is determined by our core identities.
Joy is the emotion that makes life worth living in the moment because it resonates with our core identity. It is associated with feelings of ease, appreciation, and meaning.Patty Van Cappellen (2020) The emotion of joy: commentary on Johnson, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15:1,40-43, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2019.1685571
In order to appreciate the joys in our life, we need to first define what they are. Each one of us is unique in our abilities, interests and needs, so what brings us joy is as individual as we are. With so much negativity in the daily news, our thoughts can be overloaded with anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. We lose sight of all the possibilities of joy that surround us each day. Taking the time to reflect on what brings us joy is a powerful antidote to the cultural miasma of dread, fear and uncertainty. It renews the sense of gratitude and positivity.
“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.”Steve Maraboli
Spring is the time when gardeners plant their seeds. They decide what to plant, when to cultivate the soil, and where to gently place each seed. In the same aspect, seeds of joy, can also be cultivated. Identifying what aspects of our life bring us a sense of great pleasure and happiness is the first step.
Yesterday, in the midst of a busy day, there were moments of pure joy. Our 9 year-old granddaughter Zoe was helping her grandfather make their traditional, post sleepover, blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I was reading in bed and delighted in hearing the laughter that emanated from the kitchen as they designed their pancakes in creative shapes. Upon investigating the hilarity, the simple act of seeing them cooking together filled my heart with happiness.
While working on my computer, I heard the tell-tale call of a Pileated Woodpecker approaching the deck where we have an array of bird feeders. The huge and magnificent bird, is usually quite skittish. But for once, he lingered, and with my camera in hand, I spent several minutes observing and photographing, filled with delight at the opportunity to witness close-up in action.
One of my favorite ways to unwind, is to retreat to a deep tub filled with lavender-epsom salts, light scented candles and read with a favorite book. As I eased into the steaming water, and anticipated diving into a book by a favorite author, I was filled with a true sense of contentment….and once again joy. Each of these events were simple ones, yet were rich with contentment and meaning……..moments in time to be celebrated.
“Think joy, talk joy, practice joy, share joy, saturate your mind with joy, and you will have the time of your life today and every day all your life.”Norman Vincent Peale
This appreciation and cultivation of meaningful moments also occurs in our work. My husband Ron and I have a tradition at the end of every day of a show. We ask ourselves the question, “who was our favorite customer?” The answer has nothing to do whether or not they bought anything. It has to do with which interactions brought us the most joy. Who did we connect with on a meaningful level, who did we had fun with, and who left us with a sense we were on the right path with our jewelry business. Choosing to focus on and recognize the joys in our life, pulls our attention to the hear and now, and fills us with a sense of both contentment and gratitude.
Joy can be found in the simplest things: watching a robin build her nest, receiving a dandelion bouquet from a child, taking a walk on a summer’s eve, or feasting on a home-cooked meal.Anne Costa
What are the moments that bring you joy? What seeds can you plant to cultivate your own garden of happiness?
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read our Weekly Wandering’s Blog. We invite you to share your own thoughts, favorite quotes and to share it with someone who might find it meaningful. We’ve included some addition inspirational quotes to bring you joy. Which ones resonate with you?
Stay healthy, safe, and savor the beauty of this Spring season.
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ON JOY
“Following your own path will not please everyone, and many will question your choices, but only you know what will bring you the greatest joy.”Heidi Catherine Culbertson
“Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”Helen Keller
“Suddenly, I was aware that no matter what our age, we never know when we will see our last sunset, and as I began to live my days with that deeper attentiveness, suddenly the sunsets seemed to be more colorful, and it somehow seemed that the moments of joy began to increase.”John Izzo
“Joy must be developed from the inside. If we cannot find happiness within ourselves we will not be able to find happiness anywhere.”Allan Lokos
“Joy is a choice based on being content regardless of circumstances. Understanding what encourages joy in your life can help you cultivate it and build up your resources for when circumstances are difficult.”M. Ahlers
“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”Robert Wagner