Isn’t it amazing how some moments that at the time may seem so mundane and almost trivial, in retrospect become the most amazing and joyful? Holding a young child and smelling their hair as they sleep beside your heart, the hours spent with mom in the kitchen learning to prepare the family favorites, a simple walk along the beach listening to the sound of the surf.
Each of these holds such power in both its present and its memory. The feeling of warmth when family gathers in joy to celebrate. As life moves on and the natural ebb and flow of life and death continues, these memories of simple pleasures become the treasures that can instantly return us to those moments of harmony and joy.
So often the events that required pomp and hoopla weren’t the ones that really stayed with me. The most simple, like the smell of apple crisp in the fall, or the scent of my baby’s clean hair after their bath, or the warming glow of the sunset on a summer day, leave the most powerful imprint in the psyche. These most natural events are the ones that evoke the most joy, they are the ones that are the ultimate treasures.
May your life be filled with the joy of countless simple treasures!
Joy. What makes us experience joy? When I live in harmony with my nature and allow myself to be me, I experience the most joy. When I don a mask to protect or defend myself out in the world, I am not happy. When I don that mask I feel stress that gradually accumulates out of the pit of my stomach and affects my behavior a little more each day, until I find myself lashing out at those who are closest to me (of course they’re the ones who will forgive me… right?)
When I take the masks off and allow myself to be me, no matter how vulnerable I feel, no matter how I have to force myself to be brave, no matter that initially it may feel incredibly uncomfortable, there is an honesty that comes into play, that feels so good, when I no longer try to pretend to be something that I’m not. In Taoism it is said that humans are naturally kind. When I allow that kindness in my life, life responds in equal or greater measure with kindness.
It’s a little like when you go into the grocery store and smile at everyone no matter how grumpy they appear to be. Most people respond with a smile. Not only do they smile, but often their inner light will come shining through like a beacon, reinforcing the smile in you. When we take off our mask and allow our natural self to enjoy the moment and live in that moment, life can be so much easier and so much more joyful.
Sometime, more often than I like to admit, I forget and find myself in an unhappy state, rushing around, trying to force the universe to conform to my will, instead of allowing it to be itself and me to be me. When I catch myself in that mode, I try to reset – to bring out that inner smile, to find the good in the moment, to let go of the past and the future, and just to revel in the beauty around me and within each perfect moment, to be in Joy.