Friday, March 18, 2016

a step into joy...

T'is so much joy. T'is so much joy!
                                                      Emily Dickinson

Sometimes one has to go small to go large. What small act can I practice that will add to my aliveness, expand my consciousness, leaving me different, next year? I just want one little thing, one simple thing to do. Nothing complicated. The other morning I was reading a little book by Thich Nhat Hanh titled, The Long Road Turns To Joy. It's one of my "go to" books but this time I read it differently. The author is talking about discovering joy in one little step. I look down at my foot and think, "Imagine, joy is that available!"

This feeling is no stranger to me or any of us. I know it to be essence, presence and when present it can feel like an ocean of love and laughter emerging from some hidden artesian well deep with-in. So this year, I will attempt to build a place where joy will be more present and more consistently
independent, whether it is a sand-day or a laughing moment.

Zero though seems to be my starting point. I just walked to the kitchen to get tea. Hurrying to return to this writing a few minutes ago, any feeling of joy, presence or steps were lost to "fast forward, next!" And, needless to say, that is not what my book friend is talking about. He suggests each step be a "bell of mindfulness."

A bell of mindfulness. Last year I wanted to feel presence when taking a breath. Initially, I merely felt air in my nostrils. If it was cold enough, I could feel the matter-of fact-physical breath moving down to my lungs. So I wedded myself to observing one little breath as often as I could.  (It truly is amazing how much I ignore breathing in any form!)  After months of practice, my breath is no longer merely a physical thing. Quite frankly, it is beginning to feel like "God" has coated my lungs with what, a velvet caring -- rather like a deep friendship one attends over time.

However, initially in any practice, I often meet boredom, non-feeling and discouragement. Rich feelings cannot be depended upon to propel me forward; they seem to develop along the way.

Thus, in these next months, I want to trigger a feeling of joy, at least in one step en route to the tea pot. I want to instill that small act with a word-feeling, be it a "thank you" as I walk on a beach, catch a sweetness in the face of my grandchild or hear the sound of the sun when it peaks the mountain out my window here. This year I want my step to be a "bell of mindfulness" when I fly down the stairs on my way to nowhere.

photo source: